History of egalitarianism
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25-04-2014, 06:11 PM
History of egalitarianism
One idea that is often considered a self-evident truth is that all human beings are born equal, although I look around me and see plenty of different people.

But I am not interested in arguing against such a noble thought, I am interested in the history of the concept, and it seems to be fairly recent, from the last few centuries. They seemed to speak about it in ancient Athens, if I can trust the sources I've read, but Athenian democracy was far from egalitarian, so if they spoke about the concept, I'm not sure they understood it.

Does anyone here know about the history of egalitarianism? Not only in European cultures, but in general. I'd like to know.

Thanks!
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28-04-2014, 05:46 AM
RE: History of egalitarianism
The idea that all humans are "born equal" is clearly nonsense. We have equal rights under law in the western world (and even that can be questioned) but, there is no natural egalitarianism.

I think the concept of egalitarianism as we know it today, started as a mix of enlightenment liberalism, and Christian non-predestination thinking.
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28-04-2014, 05:56 AM
RE: History of egalitarianism
Also, our distant cousins the Bonobos, are fairly egalitarian, but they aren't our only distant cousins!
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28-04-2014, 08:15 AM
RE: History of egalitarianism
I'm a compromisive egalitarian.
If all parties agree with how they are treated, then they can be treated differently.

Insulting me will convert me real fast!
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Can we define him as he defines himself? Or will he define himself as we define how he defines himself? But, if we do that, will we define him as he defines himself based on our definition of how we see him define himself?
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28-04-2014, 02:57 PM
RE: History of egalitarianism
(28-04-2014 05:46 AM)Juv Wrote:  The idea that all humans are "born equal" is clearly nonsense. We have equal rights under law in the western world (and even that can be questioned) but, there is no natural egalitarianism.

I think the concept of egalitarianism as we know it today, started as a mix of enlightenment liberalism, and Christian non-predestination thinking.
(28-04-2014 05:56 AM)Juv Wrote:  Also, our distant cousins the Bonobos, are fairly egalitarian, but they aren't our only distant cousins!
Hello Juv, thanks for an interesting approach.

I'm not sure I've understood what you're saying, though. Is there no natural egalitarianism, or can the fair egalitarianism displayed by the bonobos be considered a natural egalitarianism? After all, bonobos are natural things.

Maybe both kinds of egalitarianism are not strictly the same notion; our egalitarianism involves the invention of abstract rules of behaviour that are mandatory for all people within a certain jurisdiction. I'm not sure about bonobos, but I don't think they make up codes of conduct. Do you know anything about that?

Regarding our species, then, do you also have the impression that egalitarianism is relatively recent (a few centuries old)?

Thanks Juv, have a good time.
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28-04-2014, 03:06 PM
RE: History of egalitarianism
(28-04-2014 08:15 AM)Alex_Leonardo Wrote:  I'm a compromisive egalitarian.
If all parties agree with how they are treated, then they can be treated differently.
If people are happy, then I'm happy.

But what I would find fair is that people treated me in the same way as I treat people; if I don't like how I am treated, then maybe I should treat people in a different way. Do you see what I mean? I may not agree with the idea of people stealing things from the house where I live, but if I happen to be a thief too, then I can fuck off.

I don't know if I am a compromisive egalitarian or not, but if people show no respect towards others, then I think they can be treated in the same way.

Although I'm not suggesting that my view contradicts yours, I think they may even be complementary. In any case, I thank you for sharing it.

What about the history of egalitarianism? Do you think it is a notion as old as human beings, or would you say it is a relatively modern invention? Or maybe somewhere in between?

Thanks. Have fun.
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14-06-2014, 05:20 AM
RE: History of egalitarianism
I think before we can come to a conclusion on whether or not we are born equal, we would have to first figure out what being equal means. The definition of equal varies and not everyone wants the same amount of equality. Now that I think about it, not many people want to be in the same position in life as everyone else. It is natural for humans to want to be better than other humans, not their equals. Many of us may want equal opportunity, but not many people want to be just average, they want to be better than average. People generally want to be better than their neighbors.
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14-06-2014, 02:41 PM
RE: History of egalitarianism
(14-06-2014 05:20 AM)Marflaxen Wrote:  I think before we can come to a conclusion on whether or not we are born equal, we would have to first figure out what being equal means. The definition of equal varies and not everyone wants the same amount of equality. Now that I think about it, not many people want to be in the same position in life as everyone else. It is natural for humans to want to be better than other humans, not their equals. Many of us may want equal opportunity, but not many people want to be just average, they want to be better than average. People generally want to be better than their neighbors.

Welcome to the forum.

I too, look forward to the day when everyone is better than average. Thumbsup

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14-06-2014, 03:02 PM
RE: History of egalitarianism
(25-04-2014 06:11 PM)living thing Wrote:  One idea that is often considered a self-evident truth is that all human beings are born equal, although I look around me and see plenty of different people.

But I am not interested in arguing against such a noble thought, I am interested in the history of the concept, and it seems to be fairly recent, from the last few centuries. They seemed to speak about it in ancient Athens, if I can trust the sources I've read, but Athenian democracy was far from egalitarian, so if they spoke about the concept, I'm not sure they understood it.

Does anyone here know about the history of egalitarianism? Not only in European cultures, but in general. I'd like to know.

Thanks!
From my legal studies and constitutional law, it is not quite that easy. From the both legal and philosophical point of view, people are NOT equal, except in their rights and dignity.
Human dignity is an interesting philosophical concept and it might as well be called integrity or totality of what is a human being, which is always evolving knowledge. It always includes property rights and unbroken will.

I had a big problem with one user here long ago, Ghost. He was very into equality and he resented the truth that we are all different and we may naturally form hierarchies on that difference. If hierarchies are inevitable, then our greatest need is to make them voluntary, objective and open to improvement. A hierarchy of competence at something is natural, but then there are many such hierarchies, ad hoc.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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14-06-2014, 05:54 PM
RE: History of egalitarianism
(28-04-2014 05:46 AM)Juv Wrote:  The idea that all humans are "born equal" is clearly nonsense. We have equal rights under law in the western world
Except that men can walk around topless and yet it is a crime for a woman to do so.

What is meant by Equal?
It seems to me that taller people are advantaged and more beautiful people are advantaged and people born into wealthy families are advantaged. People born into "free" secular countries are advantaged. Chinese in Malaysia are disadvantaged. Cripples are disadvantaged.

Myself, I wasn't given the golfing gene and my parents didn't pay for expensive golfing lessons for me from the age of three years old. From what point do people consider everyone being born equal?
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