Economic inequality is damaging to the fabric of society. If this is news to you, then you need to catch up on a book called The Spirit Level (here is a good place to start).
It’s a simple and compelling message, and it seems to have the political “Right” in a complete panic. The Spirit level is “The book that has the Tories running scared”. Our own local tories are floundering all over the place trying to work out how to respond.
Why are some people so scared that this message of equality will catch on? Deborah Coddington’s piece yesterday provides clues to Right wing “thinking”. It starts off almost rationally:
Actually I have no problem with closing the gaps. I think that’s an admirable objective, but I suspect my aspirations are vastly different from those of some of my colleagues. Because when most people talk about closing gaps between rich and poor, they want to drag the successful down to the level of the lowest, whereas I’d lift everyone up to the top, if I could.
Given those two alternatives why pick the bad one? Why assume that most people “want to drag the successful down to the level of the lowest”. What the hell are you basing that assertion on Deborah, other than your own fear and ignorance? I was puzzled at this point, but reading on things became a bit clearer:
But that’s not what spirit-levellers want. They would take money off the successful (the “rich”, as they prefer to spit at them) and give it to those they call the “vulnerable”. …
If the gaps are really to be closed, spirit-levellers would have to go further and place handicaps on successful people to ensure they don’t find ways to break the mould. Clever brains like Sam Morgan’s, for instance, which enabled him to come up with Trade Me, would have to be dulled with drugs. Fashion designers like Denise L’Estrange Corbet, who sees beauty where I see bolts of cloth, would have to be blinded. Cut out Kiri Te Kanawa’s voice box – I think you get my drift.
Yup, it’s perfectly clear now. Deborah Coddington is a loony. I don’t recall when I have ever read such a crazy, nasty, stupid piece of nonsense in a supposedly mainstream publication. In fact I was going to say that she’s so completely nuts that it would be wrong to quote her views as representative of the Right, but lo and behold up pops National Party blogger DPF to endorse the piece.
How is it possible to have a rational political debate with people who ooze drivel like this? And what is it about the concept of equality that terrifies the political Right to the point of derangement?