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DROWNING IN THEORY: SOCIETAL DECISION FATIGUE

Updated: Oct 10, 2023



“liberation: a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group”

-Merriam-Webster dictionary


A narrow search of the internet provides a lot of origins for the concept of equality. While one attributes its origin to a religion, another paper claims it to be the 1700s.


Its 2023 now and my beliefs would be bordering on lunacy if I thought we were anywhere close to achieving it.


Discussions about equality rarely consider the end goal. What do we want to achieve through equality?


Wouldn’t it be equality if billionaires stopped existing and everyone lived in extreme poverty, struggling to get two square meals a day? Wouldn’t it be equality if poverty ceased to exist and everyone was a billionaire sitting on a yacht in tropical waters?


This is where the question of equality of opportunity and equality of outcome creeps in, and the tendency of claiming one demographic group to have achieved a more equal society than others turn into vanity.


Solving past conflicts and achieving equality of outcome, comes with extreme complications, since to start off, providing children equal access to resource and knowledge would mean their separation from parental influence and funding, and education and accommodation for all in equally funded Government run institutions globally.


This is the issue that equity seeks to overcome. The recognition that different people need different levels of support, be it in terms of attention or investment, to achieve a satisfactory quality of life.


However, we never seem to reach that common ground. There’s always a new humanitarian crisis to solve or a new political philosophy that claims to be better than the last, and for various reasons, we keep moving from one to another.


“But we can’t possibly care about all of them, all the time. There’s even a word for it, compassion fatigue.”

-Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj


We never achieved equal voting rights for all, yet today, the USA is a petri dish for political ideologies, churning out new systems like “anarcho-capitalism” that mean nothing to almost anyone. We never put enough effort into achieving either equality or equity, yet we have liberation popping up as an alternative. It’s always a new terminology, a new system, a new dream to chase. None ever realised.


Are the trafficked children from West Africa more equal to the richest men today who get to enjoy tours to space? Or were they more equal a hundred years back when the highest form of luxury for the richest was frequent flights on a plane?


When do we start to acknowledge that making up new terms everyday might not be having the effect we want in achieving social justice? That perhaps unknowingly we are dividing our attentions too thin? When do we actually follow through and establish one of these systems before looking at them as erroneous and discarding them?

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