George Osborne has moved to distance himself from Boris Johnson after the London Mayor suggested society is unequal because many people have low IQs.
The Chancellor said he did not agree with everything Mr Johnson said and stressed the importance of education to spread opportunity.
Delivering the Margaret Thatcher lecture last week, the Tory mayor appeared to mock the 16% of “our species” with an IQ below 85 and urged more action to help the 2% with an IQ above 130.
Hailing greed as a spur to economic activity, he asserted that inequality was essential to foster the spirit of envy.
Why should the more intelligent people need “more action to help” them? Part of me fears it is a self-fulfilling prophecy or a justification for what is already happening:
- The more intelligent gain power by their intelligence
- The more intelligent use their power to better themselves.
- The more intelligent then claim it is good for government to help the more intelligent.
It is a completely self-serving objective being dressed up as a social good.
Why not advocate that no action be taken to help anyone?
But George Osborne’s ideas are just as silly and self-defeating. If there really are low-IQ people in the world, what makes us think these people are being given better opportunities in life by being shoved into compulsory education programs?
I think there is actually increasingly common agreement across the political spectrum you can’t achieve equality of outcome, but you should be able to achieve equality of opportunity.
You should give everyone, wherever they come from, the best chance, and, actually, education is the key to this.
But is this easy to do? Is it even possible? Does a person born in New Mexico or East Washington state or East St. Louis have the same opportunities as someone born in northern Virginia or New York City?
If anything, here in the US, our attempt to offer “equal opportunity” through education has actually made certain zip codes worse off. People are stuck in illiterate non-productivity rather than being allowed to find a job and learn a skill. Education, rather than be an equalizer, is an enforcer of inequality.
(I’m assuming for the sake of argument that we are seriously talking about education. I actually suspect it is often closer to mind control—but that is a different topic.)
Equality of opportunity societies, in my opinion, over-estimate how close they have come to achieving their goal and thus create a false rationale for blaming people for inequality of results.
In my opinion, what we should strive for is equality before the law. We should recognize basic human rights—the rights to life, liberty, and property. And then the government should do nothing else. Whether people in society have equal opportunity or equal results is simply not the government’s business.
Such societies have shown a dramatic increase in the standard of living for everyone. That should be a satisfactory outcome.