What on earth can you say about people who think like this?
But there’s another…, to oppose social distinction and knighthoods: because they kill people. That was the conclusion of the famous Whitehall II study, which found that social distinction in and of itself led to a gradient of health, with those at the bottom living shorter, less healthy lives than those at the top. The study was controlled for standard risks such as obesity, smoking, and reduced leisure time and physical activity, and for wealth – none of the British civil servants studied was poor in any absolute sense. There mere fact of hierarchy alone meant that people at the bottom were twice as likely to die of heart disease as those at the top. Larvatus Prodeo sums up the political conclusions:
The most obvious such consequence is that the study lends empirical support and an additional line of argument for the radical democratic critique of hierarchical and inegalitarian social structures of all kinds – whether corporate capitalist, Stalinist state socialist, state bureaucratic, patriarchal, clerical or military – and in favour of social democratic policies of redistribution of wealth and opportunity, and radical democratic projects of extending deliberative democratic and egalitarian modes of organisation to all spheres of social life.
And we could start by ditching knighthoods again.
So people who were honored by society (and thus feel better about themselves) live longer than those who have the same health and wealth factors but are no so honored.
Therefore we must make sure that no one is ever made to feel better about themselves lest they get a better deal than anyone else.
Oh, and this proves that taking money from rich people is a good idea.
With logic that bad, how on earth does this guy ever manage to get out of bed?
That’s the left for you – “Let’s all be equally poor and equally miserable and live exactly the same short, miserable, poor lives.”
Frankly, it is a bit of a bumber that there’s equality in the world. But the best way to get what Jim has is not to take it from him, it’s to strive to earn that yourself. This is because trying to take what Jim has tends to destroy not just what Jim has, but Jim too, not to mention the people who are taking it and everyone who’s supposed to share in it.
Without variation, the solution I/S sees to this “problem” has lead to poorer outcomes for everyone involved than the worst outcomes of the solution it replaced. Because it’s a funny thing what happens when you punish success…
Of course, the other possibility for the “knighthoods kill” post is that I/S wants a nighthood and realises that the only people who can now give him one would rather he shuffled off.
More seriously, one is left wondering if he has it in for someone trying to improve his local community. Now that would be sick.
Doubt if I/S has even read the Whitehall II study. There is exactly ZERO evidence that removing social distinctions will improve the health of a society overall. In fact, all the evidence from very egalitarian societies is that overall health remains unchanged. The people who were at the bottom improve slightly, and the people at the top worsen.
Moreover, extremely socialist societies have worse health statistics than extremely capitalist countries. The only determinant, for instance, for life expectancy is GDP/capita. It seems that when capitalist countries get wealthier, they get healthier. Funny that.
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