Thomas Sowell

So the only way to try to equalize that has any chance at all would be to try to bring Michael Jordan down to my level, whether by drastic rule changes or by making him play with one hand tied behind his back, or whatever.

The problem with this approach, as with many other attempts at equalization, is that it undermines the very activity involved. Basketball would be a much less interesting game if it was played under rules designed to produce equality of outcomes.

Attendance would fall off to the point where neither Michael Jordan nor anyone else could make a living playing the game.

The same principle applies elsewhere. If you are going to try to equalize the chances of women getting jobs as firefighters, for example, then you are going to have to lower the physical requirements of height, weight and upper body strength.

That means that you are going to have more firefighters who are not capable of carrying an unconscious person out of a burning building.

If you are going to have these lower physical requirements be the same for both women and men, that means that you are not only going to have women who are not capable of carrying someone out of a burning building, you are also going to have men who are likewise incapable of carrying someone to safety.

Most activities do not exist for the sake of equality. They exist to serve their own purposes-- and those purposes are undermined, sometimes fatally, when equality becomes the goal.

Nor would a politician encouraging me to feel resentful toward Michael Jordan do any good. If I had such resentments, they would do me more harm than they would do Michael Jordan. They would make me feel bad-- and could make me miss seeing some great basketball.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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