GREAT Summary — Freedom and Equality (Part II)

Okay, okay, okay… It’s a bit more than a summary. It’s an elucidation of “the Pareto Principle.

The Pareto Principle says: “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

Professor Jordan Peterson restates it to describe human behavior saying, “If you have 10,000 people, 100 of them have half the money. So the rule is: the square root of the number of people under consideration have half of whatever it is that’s under consideration.(1)

Imagine that! Shrink the number a bit. Peterson’s restatement implies that if you have a society consisting of 100 people, and they are free to act as humans will, then soon enough 10 of those people will possess half of all the wealth in that society.

Apparently, this pattern has been observed throughout nature as well. Among all animals, as well as among all plants! The Wikipedia page (linked above) shows pea pods for crying out loud — exhibiting the behavior that the Pareto Principle describes.

In other words, in any population of people, animals, or even plants, there will be a tiny minority who will be completely non-productive, and a tiny minority who will be super-productive, such that fully half of all the goods and services produced by that society will come from the far-right side of the curve showing that society’s output.

Holy mackerel!

If it’s all true, and I have no reason to believe it’s not — especially in studying so many civilizations as I have, that means that the only way for there to be anything resembling equality — of wealth, output, possessions, money, gold, land, whatever — is under horrific tyranny, that completely prevents people from being who and what they are. From being people.

If you look at all the societies in which there has been rough equality, all of them have been predicated on the idea that the vast masses of the people serve a tiny ruling élite at the top. Here’s a list of such societies:

  • All the old monarchies, with their kings, queens, pharaohs, emperors, tsars, potentates, monarchs, and their like. The vast majority of people in these societies were roughly equal, while serving a tiny ruling élite.
  • How about serfdom? The serfs — the majority of the people — were roughly equal in status in their society, all while serving a tiny ruling élite.
  • The Soviet Union trumpeted how proud they were of their societal equality. It turned out to be an equality of squalor, of misery, poverty, penury and death.
  • This same “equality“-glorifying ideology produced exactly the same results in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Eastern Europe, and all over the continent of Africa.
  • Africa, Asia, Europe — indigenous societies all around the world — all defied, and continue to defy, the Pareto Principle, forcing the people to be “equal,” and to serve a tiny ruling élite.

The vast, overwhelming majority of the people in the above-mentioned societies lived in deep poverty, or oppression, or slavery, in daily fear for their lives, or unsure of where their next meal would come from. And they were always nearly perfectly… equal. All while their rulers lived in opulent luxury, unaware of, and indifferent to, the suffering of the people.

Here’s a compelling short story, by a great American writer, that describes what a society of equality would look like… from the rulers’ perspective.

The author then moralizes on what he sees as the final fate of such a society. Bottom line: it doesn’t end well… for anyone. The story really depicts how most such societies have ended throughout history. After all, the vast majority of societies that have ever existed, have been like the one depicted in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.(2)

It was only when western civilization came along that societies formed in which people were free to be unequal… all the while revering the only equality that counts: equality before God; the very same equality recognized in the Declaration of Independence.

— xPraetorius


(1) Interesting number that Peterson picks. If you do the math, you see that the number 100, expressed as a percentage of 10,000, is: 1%.

The square root, however, of the American population — let’s use 300,000,000 — represents a tad more than 17,000 people, or one 200th of 1%!  That’s the rule with numbers: the larger the number, the smaller that number’s square root is, as a percentage of the number itself.

And, sure enough, roughly that number of people — 17,000 (give or take), or a number nearly 200 times smaller than 1% of all people in the United States! — do produce, control, move and shake, more than half of all goods, services, money and just stuff, in America.

(2) Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death has always been incorrectly perceived as a condemnation of capitalism. Actually, it’s a brutal, gruesome depiction of Socialism, which is just a fancy word for serfdom. The tale does show a side of some people who exist in capitalist societies: those business people who try to manipulate and use government as a weapon to quash genuine capitalist competition. In other words: capitalists acting like Socialists.

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