Our Founding Myth Of Equality

Our Founding Myth Of Equality

The need for people to believe in this one huge laughable falsity, a falsity that coats our culture in a thick sugary HR-mandated happy-goo, is so strong that they will torture and twist their minds into impossible shifting shapes to accommodate it.

The falsity is egalitarianism, or Equality. The ridiculous belief that all people are, in direct and hostile opposition to all observation in all time, really the same.

There is only one thing in which we all share, and that is having the same essence: we are all man, a rational-spiritual animal. After that slim form of equalness, we are all everywhere different. There are similarities and groupings inside man, of course, most obviously in the sexes and in age. Are there are just as obviously gross equalities, like how some people live in the same state or nation and the others live elsewhere. But people themselves? All different. Even identical twins are different, given the impossibility—I mean this word in its strict sense—of them having the same experiences.

We talked of this last week on the Myth of the 20th Century podcast. The hosts asked me about kids going to college, and I said that no more than 5% or so should. The idea that all should, or, worse, could, is the result of The Great Leveler, which is to say, Equality. Incidentally, you should give this podcast a listen. They rarely slip so badly as to have someone like Yours Truly, and you will enjoy their other guests.

Equality is like the worm that bored through RFK Jr’s brain. It has been eating away at our minds since the badly misnamed Enlightenment, and it now so well fed it is now extraordinarily difficult to get past equalitarian thought-blocks formed by the worm’s tunnels.

Many will grant small inequalities, like how Joe prefers his Funko Pops to be of Marvel characters, whereas Sally enjoys DC. Or it is recognized that newborns are not as tall and engaging as adults.

But there are at least two areas where all mention of obvious inequalities is verboten, real thought crimes, and where even thinking about them causes shame. These are intelligence and beauty.

Equality in attractiveness is held mainly by women. No woman believes it, though. They just say they do. It accounts for “fat acceptance” and the like, and for how they lie (a real skill in women) about how beautiful men pretending to be women are.

But that Equality pales next to Equality in intelligence. All are equally intelligent, says the funding Myth, but they might not have had the same opportunities to express their same-intelligences. Once we force Equity, the equal treatment of all, then the Equality of intelligence will be manifest even to deniers.

Which is great nonsense. The Myth fellows asked me about women in science (this will be tomorrow’s subject, incidentally). I brought up David Stove’s essay The Intellectual Capacity Of Women. Among a host of other points, Stove said that throughout all history women have been in a myriad, and more than a myriad, different situations, such that if they had the same intellectual capacity as men, it would have revealed itself by now. It hasn’t, therefore it is rational to conclude they will not and cannot.

If the difference in intellectual capacities between the sexes—and do note we allow the for differences between age groups—is a forbidden subject, the differences in intellectual capacities between the races is a “hate crime” worthy of the harshest punishments.

Suppose, as has been observed everywhere and everywhen, there are differences between intellectual capacities between East Asians and American blacks. This difference will be, and is, on average. Which means there is a distribution of intelligences in Asians, and a different distribution in blacks. Both distributions are roughly symmetric about their averages, and the Asians have a higher average.

There are several common fallacies, or errors, associated with this difference. And one new one I myself met only just last Friday.

The first error is to suppose that because a person is in one of the groups, that they therefore have an intelligence at the average of their group. Which, when stated so plainly, is clearly false. So if you are a woman concerned with the statement women have a lower intellectual capacity than men, and you view this as an accusation of your own low intelligence, you have made an error. (And, alas, gone some way to confirm the statement!)

This first error is not an error at all if you are making judgments about the groups themselves, or large collections of individuals from those groups. If all you know about two people is that one is Asian and one is black, bet that the Asian is more intelligent than the black.

The second error is symmetric. It is to say that because here is a black who is obviously more intelligent than this particular Asian, that therefore there is no difference between the groups. Or you say that you know lots of blacks who are just as intelligent as Asians, that therefore all the other evidence of difference is wrong.

The third error, also known as Lewontin’s Fallacy, we covered in Class. It is to claim that because the difference between the averages of groups is smaller than the within-group differences, that therefore the groups are ackshually equal. This might be the dumbest error (the others have the tendency to become personal), because it’s equivalent to saying that because 110 – 90 = 20 (group-average difference, say), and that 160 – 80 = 80 (within-Asian difference, say), that therefore 110 = 90.

The last error, which I graciously name for its inventor, is the Stone Fallacy, from the performance of one Lyman Stone on Twitter last week. I admit to being taken by surprise by this one: I did not see it coming. At all.

It is to suppose that because one can discover an equalness between two people or two groups, then even if the people are otherwise different, because of this one equalness, they are therefore Equal in all, especially intelligence. It is equivalent to saying “They are not the same so they are equal.”

I don’t how else to describe it except to show you examples, like this one from Stone:

Consider for a moment a 50 lb explosive and 50 lbs of bricks.

they are equal.

they are not the same.

I pointed out that this means unequal, not equal, and Stone replied, “no, you just enjoy larping about enjoying inequality. we are equal. we have non-identical traits, which nonetheless do not threaten our equality.” And that “equality does not imply identicality”.

Somebody else joined the conversation and said, by Stone’s definition, “By this logic, 16 and 10 are equal because they’re both even”. To which Stone replied, “this is a reasonable statement. they are indeed identical in the particular trait of even-ness, and to the extent we assess (e)quality on even-ness, it would be reasonable to call them equal.”

It’s similar to Lewontin’s 110=90, but more so.

I then asked Stone to provide a definition of equality. And this happened:

This is the kind of exchange you will have at your trial as they justify your execution.

(Incidentally, Stone also said “I believe people all men are created equal. You don’t believe that, go ahead and leave your citizenship at the door. It’s part of the criteria of American nationhood.”)

One last error, implied by and symmetric to Stone’s Fallacy, would be to suppose that because we accept two groups are acknowledged to be different in one aspect or trait, they are therefore identical or equal in all others. No one (except equalitarians) would say they only differences between Asians and blacks is in intelligence, or that only intelligence is important.

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  1. JH

    [W]omen have a lower intellectual capacity than men.

    Briggs, please read this statement again. It literally means that women have a lower intellectual capacity than men. Not on average. It is one of your favorite blanket, untrue statements.

  2. Briggs

    JH, Those with high intellectual capacities recognize when the sentence speaks of the essence, as this does, and when it speaks of all individuals, as this does not.

  3. JH

    Define “intellectual capacity,” Mr. Briggs.

    Think of how mathematical theorems are stated and proven.

  4. Phileas_Frogg

    “The first error is to suppose that because a person is in one of the groups, that they therefore have an intelligence at the average of their group. Which, when stated so plainly, is clearly false. So if you are a woman concerned with the statement women have a lower intellectual capacity than men, and you view this as an accusation of your own low intelligence, you have made an error. (And, alas, gone some way to confirm the statement!)

    This first error is not an error at all if you are making judgments about the groups themselves, or large collections of individuals from those groups. If all you know about two people is that one is Asian and one is black, bet that the Asian is more intelligent than the black.”

    “Statistical groups aren’t particular persons, and particular persons are not the Statistical group to which they belong,” is a hard concept for some people.

  5. Kip Hansen

    Briggs: It is because “we are all man, a rational-spiritual animal” and share a common spiritual parentage, that every human is entitled to our love, compassion, forgiveness, support and a fair-shake from society at large — at least until the person decides to act in certain destructive ways which we call crimes.

    But while we all have eventually-equal potential, it is absurd to think or promote or pass laws that demand that we are all equally able, equally intelligent, equally knowledgeable, equally beneficent, equally practically useful to society, etc.

  6. Is this satire? If so, it’s not as obvious as it might be.. because, of course, you know perfectly well that:

    1 – Stone is right: with respect to weight 1.25 pds of c4 = 1.25 pds of brick; and,
    2 -” equality” to the founders was unconditional – i.e. everyone is born equal with respect to value in the eyes of God, not with respect to conditions like weight, IQ, skin color, or eyesight.

    p.s. Don’t be so bitter – there’s hope. Have you seen the video of John Eastman’s speech in Michigan?

  7. JH

    Briggs, those with high intellectual capacities, e.g., Einstein, would disagree with you and the statement. LOL.

  8. JH

    And Stove was an idiot when it comes to women’s issue. Just search JSTOR for other philosophers’ view of his writings about women.

  9. James Daniel

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Context is important. Marxists play with words a la Humpty Dumpty so that they mean whatever they want them to mean, so they’ll take “equality” to be absolutely literal, to advocate for what I would call “pathological egalitarianism” of the sort discussed in this blog post. It’s one thing to use the word to revoke the concept of nobility, that some people are naturally of higher moral worth than others, and quite another to assert that everyone is (or should be) exactly the same. It is absolutely clear from the context that exact equality in all regards would conflict with Liberty and pursuit of Happiness (originally Property – a concept that presupposes inequality of material means).

    I agree with the sentiments of this blog post that no, people aren’t all equal in all regards, but it goes too far by accepting the Marxist interpretation as the official definition. The original contextual meaning of “all men are created equal” is important and should be emphasized.

  10. Briggs


    Einstein agreed with Stove.

  11. James Daniel

    If you’ll excuse my entering a second post regarding the context of “equality”, I would like to point out that it’s nothing new for “equality” to have very specific and different kinds of meaning, and especially so in technical fields. For instance, in JavaScript (JS nerds will immediately see where I’m gonna go with this), we might say

    n = 5;

    That is an assignment. “n” is now equal to the integer 5, but it wasn’t necessarily equal before then.

    How about
    n == 5 is true
    n == “5” is true

    That’s an equality operator, but in JavaScript, both are true, which alleviates the need to translate between strings and integers. It’s convenient to retrieve a text value and compare it to a numerical value. There is a third equality operator “===” where:
    n === 5 is true
    n === “5” is false.

    It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking “==” is actually doing a “===” style of check. They’re different kinds of equality. It’s also not unusual to write “n = 5” and think you’re checking for equality when you’re really assigning it.

    And that’s just variables that aren’t objects. With objects, typically, checking for equality will only be true if the pointer to the object is the same (i.e., it’s the same data in the same memory, just with a different variable name), and you have to write special code to see if two objects with different pointers contain exactly the same data. Then there’s issues with checking for null results from databases, as there is a huge difference between “no results were returned” (no rows of data) and “a null result was returned” (a row with a null value in a field), but in both cases we’re thinking of it as “equals null”, but if you do the check wrong, it’s easy to get the opposite of the truth you were looking for.

    Then there is the math joke/pun that says, “1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + … = -1/12”. You can Google for details, but I describe it as a “pun” because the meaning of “equality” is swapping out assumptions underneath the hood. If you do (correct) math a certain way (Riemann Zeta Function), you can get -1/12, but that doesn’t imply that adding all positive integers will get you to 1/12. It’s true for one context of equality, but not for a different context. The pun deliberately blurs those contexts together.

    That’s why we need to still have the word “equality” with its original context as in the Declaration of Independence, and refuse to let people redefine it down a slippery slope to mean absolutely and always equal. “All men are created equal” means a very particular kind of equality that we should preserve and defend. Don’t let the Marxists swap “==” (equal in ways we consider important) with “===” (exactly equal in all regards). Rail against pathological egalitarianism all you want, but let us keep the word Equality.

  12. Cary D Cotterman

    Johnson and Jackson are highly intelligent individuals. Their accomplishment does not refute anything Briggs has said here.

  13. Briggs


    One of my favorite memes, though I can’t recall the exact words, runs…

    “Man: Men are taller than women.

    Woman: But I’m taller than a man I know.

    Every argument with women is like this.”

    Cracks me up every time I see it.

  14. JH

    Einstein agreed with Stove.

    What a B.S.! You crack me up.

    Yes, ON AVERAGE, men are taller than women. I am only picky because you claim to be a person who is skilled in philosophy and logic and statistics.

    There is no evidence that women have a lower intellectual capacity than men on average or in distribution. NO such evidence. Unless you believe that intellectual capacity = brain size.

  15. Briggs


    Einstein said, “So if you are a woman concerned with the statement women have a lower intellectual capacity than men, and you view this as an accusation of your own low intelligence, you have made an error. (And, alas, gone some way to confirm the statement!)”

  16. JH

    Briggs, lol. Einstein was disagreeing with your statement about women’s intellectual capacity. Show the entire letter that Einstein wrote.

  17. Glenn

    Although most enlightened revolutionaries like Jefferson believed in Lockean sensationalism, they were not such out-and-out sensationalists that they counted on men and women being able by reason alone to control the environment’s chaotic bombardment of their senses. Something else-some sort of moral gyroscope identified with Scottish moral or common sense thinking and resembling Kant’s categories-was needed to structure their experiences in a confused and chaotic world. As Jefferson said, “The Creator would indeed have been a bungling artist, had he intended man for a social animal, without planting in him social dispositions.'” Jefferson, like others in these years, modified his stark Lockean environmentalism by positing this social disposition, a moral instinct, in every person’s heart or conscience, however humble and however lacking in education that person may have been. “State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor,” said Jefferson. “The [ploughman] will decide it as well, and often better than the [professor], because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.”

    This belief in the equal moral worth and equal moral authority of every individual was the real source of America’s democratic equality, an equality that was far more potent than merely the Lockean idea that everyone started at birth with the same blank sheet. Jefferson’s assumption that people were naturally equal and sociable and possessed an innate moral sense had important implications.

    Quoted from:

  18. Briggs


    You should see what else Einstein said about academics.

  19. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Inequality. I’m hiking with a member of the dumber sex. Look there, I say, see that eagle flashing its white tail feathers far off in the sky? No, it’s too far away, can’t see it, she replies. Further on she finds three stone arrowheads on the trail, underfoot, while I can find not a one. Inequality!

  20. All the while missing the point. The Point: there are no classes. 🙂 People are not noble simply through the virtue of the class they were born into. From which it follows that classes are not based on unearned merit, from which it follows (among other things) that merit must be earned, from which it follows that there must be a opportunity to earn merit, from which it follows that those that so earn merit merit entry into a class.

    Equality. 🙂

    It just so happens that, while MOST – but not all – people in West agree there are no “classes” and don’t kiss each other’s hands anymore, there is still this opening of “race”. And if we know anything at all about people, we know they’re stubborn and won’t change their minds if there is any chance they might still be right. For reference, see Flat earthers. 🙂

    So… until ENGLISH-SPEAKING countries finally see a day of equal opportunity for all races, racism will persist, justified by itself. 🙂 Just don’t ever tell English there are *other* countries that weren’t their colonies, where races work differently. It might pop their headspace bubble. 🙂 I already said a thing about women’s intelligence, I won’t be repeating myself.

  21. Briggs


    And likely only you want to strap them to a shaft and plug something with them.

  22. Rudolph Harrier

    Obviously there’s evidence that women do not as well as men in certain areas that require intense abstract thought. Two easy places to look are the paucity of female chess grandmasters and the low number of women at the top of the Putnam exam scores. Both imply clearly that women have a lower capacity, both on average and in terms of the maximum possible ability, in chess and mathematics.

    Of course this doesn’t mean that there are not some women who are exceptional chess players or mathematicians, and it certainly doesn’t mean that there are not individual women who are much better in those areas than individual men. Beyond that it doesn’t mean that women are inferior as human beings, because in the grand scheme of things because the ability to win a game of chess or to prove a mathematical theorem doesn’t matter much when determining human worth.

    But these ARE clear indicators of a lesser capacity of female intelligence in these areas.

  23. hudbwu said:
    “Just don’t ever tell English there are *other* countries that weren’t their colonies, where races work differently.”

    Do tell!

    What country? How do races work differently there?


  24. @Kent Clizbe: in USA, the “one drop of blood” principle is used. If a person has any black ancestors, that person is black regardles of phenotype. Over in Brasil, a more sensible system is used where people are classified into races according to their phenotypes. Leading to situations where siblings from same parents end up being classed as different races, on account of their phenotype differences.

  25. Johnno

    Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm.

    Equalism makes one an easy target. That’s why gub’mint promotes it!

    We can also conclude here from this exchange that there is a statistical liklihood that JH is a woman.

    But, you know, there are always exceptions… Unless JH now wishes to insist that he and Briggs and I are definitely “equal” no matter what. But I must strenuously disagree, we are better! Superior! Delightful!

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