True and False Equity

“In the beginning, God created heaven, and earth” (Genesis 1:1). Shortly thereafter, Satan fell from heaven, and led the inhabitants of earth astray.

Both of the Devil’s sins—refusing to serve the Lord, and recruiting others into his rebellious ranks—are rooted in an appeal to what contemporary culture falsely calls “equity”—a squishy concept by which puerile vanities masquerade as progressive ideals.

Is there something you want, but can’t have? Or anything that bothers you, which you can’t easily evade? Simply blame the powers that be, and insist that the fulfillment of your fancies, however foolish, is an absolute imperative of so-called social justice.

The essence of equity—one of many terms defined so definitively by Aristotle—is the correction of a general rule in accordance with objective reality.

Equity is necessary because, as Hamlet told Horatio, there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in our philosophy—not to mention our laws.

Law, like any instrument, is valid when it does good. Even the best law, however, will occasionally do harm, in exceptional circumstances, in which case fulfilling the intention of the law—that is, doing justice—requires an adjustment to the terms in which the law generally speaks.

This tweaking of law’s measure, when guided by a prudent grasp of what is good and how the good is best achieved, constitutes equity.

Paradoxically, justice without equity is not justice, but its opposite. Likewise, however, we must observe that equity without justice is not equity, but iniquity.

Returning to the Enemy, his revolution resulted from a resentment at having to bow before a true God who would also become true Man; to honor as Queen the simply human Mother of that Son of Man; and with them to keep company with sinners with the intent of inviting them, through penance and the acceptance of divine mercy, back to the light of eternal life.

In rejecting such a state of affairs, Satan failed to reflect (or accept) that God, the source of his own angelic nature, is Love; that Love is willing to empty itself for the sake of the beloved; and that by refusing to embrace such condescension, he was abandoning the very excellence in which he took such sinful pride.

In effect, what Satan considered a correction of heaven’s course sent him careening into a pit of eternal darkness and despair.

The same is true of the ruse the Devil used to seduce our first parents, and by which he continues to deceive his victims to this day.

God’s law, according to the Serpent, is meant to keep us down. Only if we are bold enough to adjust it to our own tastes can we achieve our true potential, and “be as Gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

In truth, we are created in the image and likeness of God, knowing good and possessing dominion over creation. Since we possess this likeness to God as a gift, however, the dignity and power it bestows can never make us equal to him. To know and possess what is good, we must accept our dependence on the Creator and Giver of every good gift.

Today the Devil’s agents strive harder than ever to persuade us that the perfect satisfaction of our earthly desires is possible if only we entrust ourselves to a managerial elite empowered to bend or break every rule of law or morality.

The “good” at which such “equity” aims is not only a delusion, but a perversion.

Human beings are created equal in dignity and the enjoyment of certain rights. Any attempt to render us equal in material goods or social status, however, entails the violation of those rights, and the violation of various divine commandments: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness.

Genuine equity demands discretion in the name of genuine goods. We do not trust a man with the keys to his own car, when he is roaring drunk.

When those passing themselves off as wise attempt to substitute genuine goods with dangerous daydreams, however, the fault is ours if we accept the wooden nickel of pseudo-equity, in exchange for their destructive dominion over our God-given souls.

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