With June being celebrated as Gay Pride month, every year around this time we seem to experience an increase in conversations and media attention regarding the fight against inequality. Across the country, massive celebrations are held, often meant to highlight the differences human beings can have with one another while maintaining a peaceful coexistence, as equals. And while I applaud this mindset of peace and tolerance towards others, there is a growing miscalculation in this fight against inequality.
The Largest Purveyor of Inequality
More and more people have begun to buy into the notion that the current societal problems ailing us are a direct consequence of inequality. Now, whether you believe this to be the case, these problems, we’re told, “require” the all-too-eager hand of government to resolve. But, as we’ll see, if fighting inequality is your goal, applying a bit of an objective lens to your campaign will uncover that government, as it turns out, is the largest purveyor of inequality that has ever existed; and fighting inequality means fighting government.
Let’s start by highlighting the fact that government itself is inequality, in that it falsely grants some individuals the authority to rule over others, essentially creating two classes of individuals; rulers and the ruled. For obvious reasons, they have tried to blur these lines over time by creating alternative forms of governance like democracy, whereby they repeat nonsensical idioms like “we’re all the government” until the ruled class begins to believe it.
To prove this isn’t true, you could simply walk up to your local police officer and proceed to order them around by telling them you’re the government or try walking into your state representative’s office and tell them you’d like to speak on the floor today using the same line. You’ll either quickly learn which class you belong to, or chances are, end up in a jail cell if you persist long enough.
Throughout history, the most successful groups who’ve pushed for inequality (such as the Ku Klux Klan, slaveholders, etc.) all used government institutions to further this unequal divide, oftentimes under the guise of pushing for equality—think Jim Crow’s “separate but equal.” It’s important to recognize this division if you wish to quash inequality. Because too often, solutions put forth to combat this inherent flaw in government are met with opposition from those ignorant of the facts; usually making outrageous claims to keep government programs in place because private solutions could possibly yield inequality.
Private Solutions to Government Inequality
A good example is when we’re told we can’t privatize the police because it will result in two tiers of policing, with rich neighborhoods receiving exceptional service from their ability to pay, and poor neighborhoods getting none at all. Except that two-tiered policing already exists and is arguably much worse due to government’s monopoly control of it.
We continuously see those with money and governmental connections getting away with crimes, often involving a multitude of victims unable to shoulder the cost to fight back. Meanwhile, those in low-income neighborhoods are routinely profiled and preyed upon by police for victimless crimes, which regularly carry draconian sentences due to mandatory minimums and the War on Drugs; all because they can’t afford to endure the arduous court battles. And when it is pointed out that police do make a mistake, it’s nearly impossible to ensure they are held accountable—unless paid leave is to be considered punishment enough for wrongful deaths.
This one-size-fits-all, governmental approach to policing leaves those worst off among us the least represented. And, thanks to government regulation, it’s difficult for private alternatives to easily enter the market. Even so, we’re still seeing people opt out of using police, instead choosing private security companies wherever possible. So much, in fact, that private security officers now outnumber police in many countries around the world. And that’s not the only place we see government fostering inequality.
The same arguments used to defend the monopoly on police are also used—even more aggressively—against those who wish to end public schools. Rich neighborhoods, we’re told, would hire all the good teachers, have the best equipment, etc., while poor neighborhoods would be left with sub-par teaching staff and a shortage of necessities. Resulting in poor students being uncompetitive after graduation and ultimately ending up in an inter-generational cycle of poverty. Which is absolutely terrible, until you realize that’s already the exact system we have today.
With public schools, students in low-income neighborhoods are forced to attend the poorly-run schools within their city’s borders, while state-mandated accreditation and licensing restrictions keep cheaper, alternative schools from coming in and alleviating part of this problem. It’s so bad in fact, that the inter-generational poverty gap exists in large part thanks to government. Whereby kids in inner-city, public schools are more likely to go to prison than college due to gangs and other criminal activities that have crept into these mismanaged government schools; effectively turning them into a “lack of” concentration camp.
Neither of those two examples comes close to the worst one on our list, though. Healthcare in the United States is a blatant example of the government granting itself a monopoly over an entire industry in the all-too-logical hopes of avoiding the problems associated with a monopoly.
With Obamacare adding more than 20,000 pages of regulation to our healthcare system alone, they have effectively created the same, unequal system we’ve shown already exists in police and education. Prices have sky-rocketed for insurance and simple medicines like Epi-pens, while the “free” market is blamed, rather than the labyrinth of red-tape mandated from the FDA. Which, as of 2014, resulted in the cost of bringing new drugs to market to hit more than $2 billion dollars. This leaves the poorest among us unable to get the medical care they need, while simultaneously making it harder for free-market oriented hospitals to enter the market and alleviate this crisis. When we couple all that with the infuriating notion that those who passed the ACA made sure they could opt-out if they’d like, and the Orwellian tactic of naming it “The Affordable Care Act,” it becomes almost indefensible to say that government is not a nefarious source of inequality today.
What we need is a wake-up call to these egregious scenarios we find ourselves in when we defend the government as it tramples on the rights of individuals. We need to highlight the blatant hypocrisy of asking them to fix this manufactured inequality in our society. But most of all, if we ever hope to improve the well-being of those most vulnerable and poorest among us, we need to realize that inequality isn’t the cause of our problems, but rather a clever symptom distracting from of a much larger disorder: The State.
Thomas J. Eckert is a Copy Editor for Being Libertarian. With a passion for politics, he studies economics and history and writes in his spare time on political and economic current events. He is a self-described voluntarist.