1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people
I am well aware there are many inequalities in our world, some of them political, some of them social, some of them simply by not being born as smart or lucky as the person next to you. Many of those inequalities would be hard, if not impossible to erase. But, as a human being, and as a person that believes the Most High loves us all, and cares for each of us with the same deep loving nature, it seems incumbent upon me to work and live in such a way as to eliminate as far as it is possible in a single life, the inequalities that stem from behavior toward ones fellow man. Sadly, what is quickly forgotten in practice, is that all of the Holy books that I have read speak of treating others in a manner that is compassionate and kind. That is said in many different ways in each book, so it’s really hard to miss, unless you are intent on doing so. But, the key here is practice, living daily in a manner that is gentle and kind, no matter the circumstances. In a world increasingly intent on violence, this is most difficult, and I cannot say that I am any better than my fellow humans in carrying out the instructions to be kind. I try. I listen actively when someone speaks, whether it is about daily issues, or about deeply personal issues that affect a person’s life on the whole. Many times that is all that is needed, just someone to listen. Truly listening to someone speak of their problems is, by default, an equalizer. When you actively listen to another, you are setting aside your own issues for the moment and giving that other person center stage.
But, egalitarianism requires a much broader practice than just “saying” that you believe in equality for all. It requires actually “seeing” all other people, no matter race or creed, as your equal in the eyes of God and man. That’s a tall order, to be sure. One needs to be prepared to go out of one’s way to do for others. If someone needs a ride, find a way for them to get it, if a child needs food, find a way to get them food. If a person needs a coat, find one for them. These are simple things, and can be done with little or no effort, but they do take time. Something no one seems to have extra of these days.
But, there is much more to egalitarianism than simple charitable acts. Egalitarianism requires that, if there are choices to be made, all persons affected by those choices get a voice and a vote. This is not as easy as it sounds. Even in the US, the people’s vote for president is buffered with the Electoral College because the founding fathers of our country did not trust the common man to choose a leader wisely. It is not uncommon for this sort of thing to be built into systems around the globe, so that one’s vote is actually only a voice in the process. Now, truly, if I must have only one or the other, I want a voice, as that can influence the vote, but I would always prefer to have both.
Still there is more: Egalitarianism requires that even in the simplest transactions of the day, buying a roll or coffee for breakfast, shopping at the local supermarket, speaking to the mail delivery person, in all activities you are required, if you are an egalitarian, to be civil even when you can’t find it in yourself to be kind. The people that serve your needs are your equals, not your subordinates. They have chosen to serve as a way of life, you are not their superior even if you are among those they serve. Egalitarianism as a way of life requires a commitment to yourself and your fellow humans to be aware at all times that the person with whom you are interacting is your equal.