19 June 2017

Nikolai Berdyaev on freedom and equality


Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev, a remarkable Russian religious and political philosopher, in one of his lesser known quotes on the subject:
Freedom is the right to inequality.

Equality (if it is understood more broadly than purely formal legal term "equal rights") and freedom are incompatible things. By nature, people are not equal, equality can only be achieved through violence, which will always be an alignment to the lowest level.

It is possible to equalize the poor with the rich, but only by taking away from the rich his wealth.
It is possible to equalize the weak with the strong, but only by taking away from the strong his strength.
It is possible to equalize the fool with the clever, but only by turning the wisdom from dignity into a blemish.

The society of universal equality is a society of the poor, the weak and the foolish, based on violence.
For all those who tend to mix people's equality with people's equal rights.