top of page
Equity vs Equality.jpg
Title Deeds.jpg

What’s the Difference?
July 25, 2022

For more than the last two years a tsunami of demands for equity has flooded our social and political spheres with the demand and expectation that we will acquiesce ourselves to its precepts. Yet, when its definition is asked of those who demand it of us, their explanation has been, at best, extremely diffusive and non-specific leaving us to our own devices on how, when and where we should comply with it. However, when our application of it does not lead to the expected outcome in aligning with what the group demands or expects of us, we are often assessed as being prejudiced and labeled as a racist. The attempted application is analogous to the expression, “I don’t know what love is but you’re not doing it.” In this way, using the buzz-word equity has simply become a tool for gaining a specific outcome asserting a group’s preferential treatment over others who are not part of the group.

In understanding the traditional definition of equity, we may add a modicum of understanding by virtue of the word’s historical application of it to the assessment of property and its value assumed to have been earned by its possessor in terms of assets for financial collateral. This has been the most commonly understood definition of the word. Are you confused yet? Don’t be. The word has recently taken on an expanded cultural meaning designed to create favor for its user. Let’s dive a little deeper.    

To understand its currently applied social application, we must first look at the premises behind the difference between the end justifies the means and the means justifies the end. This will serve to clarify a cleaner and more discriminating definition of the concept of equity that has flooded the air waves of our media and infiltrated our current perception of political correctness which, now, seems to be eclipsing our traditional understanding of equality.

When the end justifies the means, our perspective is such that we believe results are more important than how we got to them. This asserts that whatever methods or circumstances are created that lead toward the intended result is not only necessary but proper. Where we run into trouble is when those methods or means injure or offend others in the process. We’ve all heard the expression,” Don’t be offended. It’s just business.” In many circumstances, like in business, there are many of us who just accept as fact that the goal is always more important than the path or method used to get there. The inference and expectation are that we must be thick skinned and just “man up” to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” when we participate in such an endeavor. We just have to accept that the results are more important than how or why we arrived at them. Morals, feelings, values and humanity have no place in the process when the end is more important than the means we used in getting the results we wanted. It’s expected that we just suck it up and move on.

The mean justifies the end is a completely different perspective. The mean is representative of the method that we use to attain our goal. So, if we use the “proper” methods, that is, they follow our morals, feelings, values and have consideration for our humanity toward each other, then the results, accomplished or not, are acceptable.

The “proper” means may mean many different things to different people depending on their culture, religious beliefs, if they have any, and the education or indoctrination that they went through during their upbringing. The main point is that the importance of our actions is not assessed as much for the results that we do or don’t obtain but for the means and methods that we use in accomplishing them.  

Generally, when we speak of the end justifies the means, we can essentially assume that it mostly applies to results that are tangible and usually relative to the physical world. When we speak of the mean justifies the end, we can assume that most of the value held will be in terms of the non-tangible attitude we use in accomplishing our objectives.

We know in life that neither of these perspectives should be used all the time. Sometimes, how and why we do something is more important than how it turns out. Other times, it’s not so important how or why we did it but more importance is given to the fact that it gets done. All of life exists with the balance of opposing factors. This is the basis of the struggle of our lives harbored in our physical bodies.

With this being understood, let’s return to our equity and equality. With equity, its inferred meaning is that everyone should expect to have or be whatever they want or desire regardless of the preparation or effort, or absence of it, that they did or didn’t apply. Unfortunately, this inference usually comes from people who are not willing to lay the groundwork or improve their skills in order to be able to acquire or be what they want. They simply expect that whatever anyone else is or has should simply also be given to them as their due. I might even go as far to say that equity is a symptom of perceived self-entitlement. Entitlement seems to fit the profile for the end justifies the means.

Equality is a horse of a different color. Traditionally, equality assumes that the person who wants or desires something has an opportunity to acquire it based on their preparation, learned skills and applied effort. These qualities are intangible. The equality I speak of is essentially earning the credit and skills that warrant the receiving of their desires. Desires are not “deserved” but simply available and likely to appear if we apply our energy in an appropriate manner that earns them. The difference between equity and equality seems to be on a par with how entitlement and merit are related to each other…or not.

The assumption that we are entitled often comes from being given something but without any need of our personal investment toward its acquisition. As our younger generations are deprived of the learning process involving the earning principle behind work and its application toward what they desire, they’ve missed incorporating the values that much of the older generations have grown up with. That is, if we work for what we want, the energy, patience and skills that we apply toward its acquisition often results in getting what we want. But most of the younger generations can’t even conceive of work and effort let alone incorporate it into their value system. The expectation of instant gratification seems to have tagged right along with it.

Our forefathers were careful to provide laws and traditions that allowed us equal opportunity to acquire and become what we wish. The currently proffered meaning of equity is now missing the idea that energy, credit and work application are and have been the foundations for our freedoms and the manifesting of our American way of life which seems to be deteriorating. Our current political machine is now using a cultivated sense of entitlement with the younger generation’s misunderstanding of equality to promote a “victim” mentality in order to achieve the reshaping of our values. Equity has slowly been engulfing our primarily intangible value foundations by replacing them with an overly materialistic value system. Equality seems to have gotten lost in the “new” system. Through accepting and adopting equity as our principal way of life, we are truly becoming of the world and not just in it….  

bottom of page