Tous les àtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits.

[All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.] Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10/12/1948) Article 1 (modified from a draft by René Cassin)

I think there has been some misunderstanding of the word ‘equality’ in the context within which I used it in my Communism blog and I think this necessitates explanation:

Equality does not mean ‘same’ it means ‘of the same value’ ie 2 people whilst they may be categorically different in thoughts and appearance not to mention capabilities are both of equal value, no one should be favoured implicitly above the other.
People are not the same, nor would we want them to be so, everybody has different character partially shaped by nature and partially by nurture. We are all born with latent talent and it is both our own and our society’s responsibility to ensure that we get the chance to identify and to realise that talent. This talent may be very specific or it may be more ethereal, no matter, aptitude is always useful if you look properly into how to utilise it. After all who benefits if the most able people become the doctors, the mechanics, the teachers etc. Not just the individual but all the people who may come into contact with what is likely to be an enthusiastic and efficient worker.

Now the problem with the way we currently see talent and its fulfilment is in narrow terms. We look at academic achievement within childhood but also within the context of parental material success -ie you can be extremely bright but you may be at a lousy local school and likewise you can be a gobshite and be at a fine school getting the best education money can buy. This alone is an iniquitous system that justifies fundamental overhaul and we haven’t even looked at those who may not be academically gifted. These who are not academically-minded are at a severe disadvantage from the start – in an education system increasingly pressured to provide results for the right statistics at the right time for the politicians, those children who ‘let the side down’ are left very much to rot. The education system as it stands does not attempt to glean information about an individual to asses their strengths over their weaknesses, they are only geared up to offer a limited range of subjects for which a testing schedule has been established.

This is not to say everybody who wants to be a doctor will be able to be one, that would be both an absurdity and counterproductive to the efficiency of the system. What people must realise is that it is in their best interests to do things they enjoy, it makes them a happier person as well as almost guaranteeing that the post is well filled. The other crucial element to take into consideration is that people must be taught to recognise that whilst a job is important it is only the means by which they serve their function in society. It is strange to think now that a Doctor is the same value as the bus driver but look at it pragmatically and they both serve a purpose, the Doctor may be seen as of greater value because it could be argued that his job involves life or death decisions etc. but equally the bus driver could say that cumulatively he has a day to day effect on far more people. Both are integral to the system, just because the Doctor has academic qualifications should not make his role in society seem any more or less than anyone else. Ah but where’s the incentive then to go on and do all the academic study -well this is precisely the point, this should mean that only the most committed will go to study it, it removes the kudos and potential profit element from the applicant’s thinking and that is certainly a good thing. People need to see that it is important to be part of the whole scheme of things and this I believe can be taught which will reinforce the inherent desire inate in us to belong within a group environment and be accepted by our peers.

In line with this you might be surprised to know that I am in favour of National Service, I just don’t agree that it is anything military and I don’t believe it should be gender specific. I believe that there are 2 things that National Service can do, firstly it can take people at an impressionable age and enable them to become part of the community around them, this sort of work, hospitals, youth work, mental health, the elderly can be of enormous mutual benefit, it is also valuable to give students some time at age 18 to discover a bit about themselves and the world around them. It is important that this takes place outside the confines of education. It is easy to see at University who is straight from school and who has taken some time out. For many some time out focuses the mind far more on why you are actually doing something, this stands up for technical and professional development just as it does for academic.

So the Redbaron’s first policy -Community Service Program -no opt outs. You can tell I’m going for the youth vote!

Soup Of The Day – Potato and Leek

Original Comments:

David S made this comment,
but what if what makes me happy would be to make a captialist society that I think would improve the lives of many. Should I be allowed to do that?
Also what is your view on the opiate of the masses in your Communist ideal.
Visit me @

[Redbaron responds -It is natural for you to think that it is possible for a capitalist society to make many people’s lives better. You have been brought up under that system and told that it works, if you wish to compare the situation with those from the Eastern Bloc many of whom now wish they had their old system back or at least large chunks of it, strange as that may seem but they were educated under that system so it is quite natural. I don’t believe it’s realistic for capitalism to do this because by its very nature it is exploitative and how are you going to change that?
As regards the opiate of the masses, are you referring directly to religion? If so I presume you mean either a) what would I like to do about religion or b) do you need an opiate for the masses to which I would answer a) Get rid of it, perhaps over a period of time and not to be forcing the issue so it should die out after a few generations, b) no you don’t need one and the only reason to have one is so that people do not concentrate properly on the present. I would like them to concentrate on the present, that will in turn allow them to take care of their own future rather than assuming that some supra-natural being is going to do so. If it transpires that there is a God then fine when everyone’s dead then we’ll see but there’s no point worrying about it now.
Thanks for that Dave, I thought I was empty today but you reawoke the brain, now I just have to find something else to do with it!]

comment added :: 8th June 2004, 13:30 GMT+01
john made this comment,
As an ex National Serviceman I do so agree with you. I just wish that the two years of my life had been put to better use. One benefit often overlooked was that it taught you a lot about your fellow man and how to get along with him, no matter what his accent was or his religion or his politics. A valuable lesson for life.
Visit me @

[Redbaron responds -I agree with you entirely John, it is such a pity that most countries choose to use this valuable time to take many nice boys out and teach them how to kill people, not what I would altogether call socially cohesive!]

comment added :: 8th June 2004, 16:47 GMT+01