Egalitarianism refers to a philosophy that believes in some type of equality. The main idea behind it is that all individuals should be regarded and dealt with as equals, at least pertaining to political, religious, social, economic, or cultural equality. The tenets of egalitarianism hold that every human being has an equal moral value or basic worth.
It can be used as a political philosophy that claims that everyone ought to be treated as an equal, provided with the identical economic, political, civil, and social rights. It could alternatively be a social philosophy that pushes for the decentralizing of power and the breaking down of economic barriers between different people. Some individuals believe that this egalitarianism is the natural form of society.
Egalitarianism deals with the studies pertaining to social inequality. Unequal societies lead to many of the world’s great social problems. Among these are infant mortality, homicide, teenage pregnancy, obesity, incarceration rates, and depression. A comprehensive type of study that was performed on the major economies of the world showed that a strong connection exists between all of these challenges in society and issues of social inequality.
Egalitarianism exists in numerous different forms. The most typical basis for it arises from political, religious, or philosophical backgrounds. Political precedents of egalitarianism date back to the Age of Enlightenment in the 1700’s. At this time, modern government founders referenced egalitarian principals of morality that they lived by, such as the American concept of certain inalienable rights endowed to them by their Creator. These were laid into the modern framework of countries like the United States and France.
Religious egalitarianism is heavily rooted in Christianity. This Christian egalitarian world view states that the Bible is the basis for the common equality of men and women, as well as every economic, racial, ethnic, and age group. This comes from Jesus Christ’s example and teachings, as well as other lessons taught throughout the Bible.
In philosophy, egalitarian ideas grew in substance and practice over the last two hundred years. Various sub-philosophies have arisen from this general philosophy, including communism, socialism, progressivism, and anarchism. Each of these concepts favored political, economic, and legal versions of egalitarianism.
Some of these egalitarian philosophies have gained significant and wide standing support with both the general population as well as the intellectuals in numerous countries. This does not mean that such ideas are actually put into universal effect though. On the other hand, democracy does involve many ideas of egalitarianism, at least in the political sphere. Representative democracy proves to be the ultimate realization of such political egalitarianism. Critics of this idea say that even though votes are given out on a one vote per one person basis, the actual power still rests with the ruling class and not the common people.