Why is equality desirable?

Equality as a political and moral ideal has influenced human society since time immemorial. Every religion and faith of the world advocates equality of human beings, as they consider them to be the creation God. Therefore they advocate equality without any discrimination on the basis of caste, color, sex, race, creed, religion etc.

The doctrine of equality has been a great source of inspiration for several people. For instance on July 4, 1779 the American colonies made a declaration of their independence. It said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, which among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. In the 1789 the National Assembly of France declared “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Similarly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates, “Inequality is most visible in the every area of part of the world. No part of the World is entirely free from social and economic inequalities. Even rich countries a face the problem of economic inequality and extreme poverty.”

So just like liberty, the doctrine of equality too has been a source of great inspiration for the people. Since the French Revolution, equality has served as one of the leading ideals of the body politic. In this respect, it is at present probably the most controversial of the great social ideals. There is controversy concerning the precise notion of equality, the relation of justice and equality (the principles of equality), the material requirements and measure of the ideal of equality (equality of what?), the extension of equality (equality among whom?), and its status within a comprehensive (liberal) theory of justice (the value of equality).

The term “equality” can be defined as “parity”, “equivalent”, “fairness”, “impartiality” or “egalitarianism”. However, when the word is used in relation to human beings it is not intended to connote that all people are identical or at par with each other. In a human rights milieu, “equality” means that we are all equal in one crucial manner: despite of our differences we all have innate value. We are all equally entitled to human rights simply because we are human, and the individuality that make us distinctive as well as diverse should not make us superior or inferior with regard to human rights. The rule of equality hence requires that every human being and the societies must value and accommodate human differences without any discrimination. Another word, which is complimentary to equality, is non-discrimination. It is not easy to think about “non-discrimination” without understanding the meaning of “discrimination” In simple words, discrimination means to “discriminate‖ to “differentiate” to “distinguish” or to “treat differently”. Without the non- discriminative approach, you cannot have equality. So in other words we can say that occurrence of equality means failure of discrimination.

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