But, hey! Solidarność, and all; we should all strive for equality these days, right?
I have a friend, Tarquin and he is sooooo unlucky. Poor lamb can't even get a job. I know! And it's so mean because he's, like, woah! He's so creative and he's in this band, right? And they are way better than those X-Factor losers any day. The only thing he's got going for him is, like, his trust fund, you know? He's worth more than a premier league footballer, any day. And anyway, what do they do to earn so much? It's just not fair.
No, it isn't. Life isn't fair and it's never going to be that way. The entirety of life on earth is, itself, a freakish accident. Do you reckon the cosmos could accidentally organise egalitarianism any better than a committee could design a camel?
Equality isn't even measurable. How can you compare eight hours at a coal face with eight hours in a call centre? Or eight of Wayne Rooney's hours against those of a delivery driver? What about the other benefits of your type of work? How does the camaraderie of interdependent physical workmates stack up against the lonely solitude of a day-trader? Or the frisson of excitement earned by a performer against the fizzling out of a long night shift? How do you cost out job satisfaction? Does a fluffer on a porn set merit the same wage as a runner on Corrie?
So, like it or not, society has come up with a way of measuring worth and - you're not going to like it - it's based entirely on looks, talent, likeability, need and luck far more than it is based on the tricky notion of 'merit'. Merit sounds great, it really does. And it would be a brilliant yardstick if we all looked the same, thought the same and had the same needs. But that's pie in the sky-pixie fantasy; it's hippy dreaming and it's the language of it-ain't-never-gonna-happen-so-get-used-to-it.
No, damn us, we have 'aspirations' which steer us in ways we don't really understand. We espouse causes in youth that repel us in later life and we are utterly partisan when it comes to family, friends, sport, fashion, entertainment and culture. In short, the Left's ideals are simply unworkable and people will earn what human society allows them to earn. But, on the other hand, the Right's pragmatic approach would inevitably lead to more death, as the weak fall by the wayside and, apparently, that's supposed to be a bad thing. (Be patient with me; I'm learning this stuff as I go along.)
So, the Right's job is to pull in the direction of economic progress and the Left's job is to pull back and with luck the knot in the middle of that rope stays more or less in the same place. Trouble is, it's been edging too far to the left of late - into hippy-dippy, magic money tree territory - and it now needs an extra, rightie nudge to bring it back to the wobbly centre ground where nobody is really happy with what they've got yet not enough people are so desperately unhappy that they go around shooting people.