The Equality-Equity Meme


This meme has been used by statist redistributionists aka "socialists" - people who want the government to take from some and give the loot to others who they like or think more deserving. Is this really a "killer argument" for statist socialism? I don't think so. Here are my main objections to this meme's message.

  1. Wicked or Tame Problem: The framing of the inequality problem is wrong. Poverty and economic inequality are wicked problems - chronic and ongoing. The meme casts it as a "tame" problem, an acute problem with a one-time solution. Not so! State redistribution is not a one time fix, but an ongoing robbery of people's productivity, with little or nothing to show for it.
  2. End-state or Entitlement Justice: The framing of the meme favors an end-state theory of distributive justice. What if justice has a lot to do with history - how the situation came about? I think it does. This is called the Entitlement Theory of Justice. Entitlement Theory norms probably created the ballpark in the first place. End-state theory only looks at a snapshot in time. It doesn't give history or future - processes - any weight whatsoever.
  3. Personal Morality or Social Policy: The meme frames the issue as if it were for a mother nurturing her children. A mother should certainly rearrange the boxes! But in politics we are talking about adults, not children, and about guns and prison and maybe even killing people to rob and redistribute the goodies. As a libertarian, who believes in sovereignty of the individual, I don't agree with the whole citizens as children of the State implication.

All three objections have to do with framing. This shows how important framing of issues and principles can be. If propagandists for State redistribution can convince people that (I) there is an easy fix, (II) the past and future don't matter, and (III) we are all little children of the State so mind yo' Momma (or your strict Pappa if you're a conservative), then the bloodsuckers have it easy. It's vampire heaven with the sanction of the victim!

Here are two on-the-mark counter memes.

The first shows how statist rulers actually implement redistribution, chainsaw and all!


The second shows the process - the productiveness over time - effectively countering the naive "snapshot" framing of the original.


For a history of this meme, see Evolution of an Accidental Meme by Craig Froehle.

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