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Egalitarianism, Empowerment, Rights, Software and Equity

In a recent discussion, the subject of Egalitarianism was brought up. There are a handful of lines of thought that I wish to present. Firstly, lets define Egalitarianism: it presents equal rights and opportunities to all subjects of an Egalitarian domain(or as best they can approximate this with).

1. Just because you have the rights and opportunities, does not mean they are invoked.

2. Invocation, requires the empowerment to be invoked.

3. In a situation with supply and demand operating as factors, with a smaller supply than there is demand- from the economics of this situation they are empowered. In a situation with a larger supply than there is demand- from the economics of this situation, they are no longer empowered.

4. Where the economics of the situation don't empower people, it leads to competition. This competition leads to a meritocratic selection of people. The opposite is true. This is why companies acting in an egalitarian society, will attempt to become monopolies, or worse duopolies(the reason it is worse, is it evades and skirts most antitrust lawsuits, and acts as an agent of the "bigger brother" in that monopoly).

5. Corporations as they are internally structured are rarely Egalitarian. This should be obvious, they are authoritarian, and the values proceed top-down from authority. I would say these values somewhat align with the various themes of the book Invisible Cities.

6. FOSS projects are also not egalitarian. There is an authority that determines what is merged and what is not merged, and when you make a pull request. They can deny this for whatever reason they want.

7. The use of FOSS projects is egalitarian. This is because you effectively own it(especially in the case of MIT and CC0 projects), and can rip it apart and use whatever you want of it. As a result, all FOSS projects have the opportunity and equal rights under you, to be selected for your own work.

7a. As a post-script note, most software development is egalitarian, as it is done by a single person making a software program and selecting tools and code they want to use. This is with respect to the domain and not to the business- and with respect to their own perceived notion of quality, however correct, incorrect, or untested this notion may be.

8. Equal opportunity is not equivalent to exposure of opportunity. The universe has an infinite amount of generosity, that is in front of us, but we haven't claimed. As an example, there was an equal opportunity among all people to find Pythagoras' theorem. However, the exposure of the opportunity is in modern times determined by schooling, but in its origin(and it has originated in multiple places) by creative individuals.

9. Equal opportunity is only a best attempt, and is restrained by natural forces. Nobody has the equal opportunity to cook with gas, as this is dependent on their access to the resource of gas(often a step on top is the infrastructure or network of people presenting opportunities).

10. Equal rights is a misnomer, and is not universal. Firstly this follows from accounting for how right is a "spook" and exists a phantasm of the mind in support of structure and order. Secondly, this follows from how it is not universal. A CEO and an employee do not have equal rights as the Employee is bound to the will of the CEO by contract. A citizen's rights is bound to the will of their government by the contract of their citizenship. Human rights exist only within the context of humans that recognise AND follow it.

11. The way I view human rights, is that 2 people, if you remove their immutable characteristics, and accept they have identical mutable characteristics, when going into the black box that is the legal system, will have identical outcomes. The addition of laws dependent on immutable characteristics, makes 1 person unequal before the eyes of the law to the 2nd person. As a result, the human rights are not equal.

12. The alternative to equal rights is equitable rights. This also does not work, as justice is blind to whether equitable rights have gone too far in either direction- and equity swings into inequity.

13. Returning to empowerment, even given 2 identical people before the law, there can exist some other element that makes it feel like there isn't equality. There can be some element that makes you feel that you aren't empowered in a system where you are. By analogy, you can see the depressed who are empowered to cook food, keep clean etc, yet do not feel empowered and lay in bed.

14. The best example of this lack of empowerment comes, returning back to how FOSS project use is egalitarian. If you find an issue as a result of this FOSS project, you can make a fix to it- but how empowered do you feel actually giving back to the FOSS project? Accepting for a moment that egalitarianism is important to this FOSS project.

15. Returning back to rights. The abuse of rights, and the abuse of equity into inequity are corroding forces that turn a high-trust society into a low-trust society. By anecdote, I have been to places where there is this low-trust society and there are armed guards outside of stores to prevent shoplifters and guard against armed robbers- and on the contrary in my country of England, this is not the case currently, though in the stores I have been to, this is fast becoming the case.

I present this line of thoughts mostly as a defence of Egalitarianism, because I see so many poorly made arguments made against it. I am not an Egalitarian, as Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities tends to logically follow into equal respect, and a lot of compromise- and compromise harms the integrity of ideas, people, systems, products and so on-- and further it also harms the use of heuristics to trim the tree of choices down(heuristics, include social heuristics, which tends to be harmful towards other overly optimistic social ideals).

I am not an Egalitarian, mainly as I do not currently see a sequence that from it leads to higher quality that breaks from Sturgeon's Law(90%+ of everything being crap). Instead, I see the equality of opportunity, as drowning us in opportunists, and these opportunists result in far more crap. Consider when videogame storefronts used to be curated. A lack of curation results to a whole load of hogwash(which does get filtered a bit by natural causes...).

Published on 2024/03/26

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