Bob and Ronald are playing a video game. Ronald appears to be winning. Bob: Ah! No fair! You always win! This game is rigged! Seamus: Pff. How could this game possibly be rigged? Bob: Uh-- he memorized all of the maps! Ronald: They’re randomly generated. Bob: My controller is broken! Seamus: I just bought that one. Bob: Gaming is an unsafe space for people like me! Seamus and Ronald stare blankly. Bob: Well if the game ISN’T rigged, how is it that HE has more points than ME? Seamus: (muttering) Maybe he’s just better than you... Ronald: Bob, a disparity is not proof of injustice. Bob: Yes it is! Seamus: Aaaaaactually… Bob: Ugh, here we go. Seamus: Bob, just because one person outperforms someone else doesn’t mean the game is rigged! We all have different interests, talents, and skills, and as a result, we tend to accomplish different things! This is a huge part of why we see disparities on the individual level and also at the group level, and usually… it’s actually a good thing. Bob: Are you suggesting it’s my fault the game is against me? That’s victim blaming! And now you’re telling me it’s ok that some groups have unequal results!? Seamus: When those results are a product of people’s unique choices and actions? Absolutely! If equal outcomes in every arena is mandatory, we end up reducing people to statistics instead of treating them as unique individuals with different goals and values making their own decisions! Bob: I’m sick of hearing these excuses! Someone needs to modify this game so that everyone is a winner! A government guy wearing a suit and tie from the “Department of Equality” enters the frame, presses a few buttons on the game, and the scores even out. Bob: Thank you! Now we’re equal! Ron: What!? No we’re not! You didn’t learn how to play the game better, did you? You didn’t actually beat me. Nothing about our abilities changed. But now, thanks to this jerk, the score doesn’t even mean anything!. Now it actually is rigged! Seamus: Yep. Sorry Bob, you both started out with an equal opportunity to win the game, but you didn’t have equal skills. But there are tons of areas of life where people will never be equal! Ron needs glasses and you don’t. You need to moisturize your butt implants and I don’t! Bob: I thought you were going to stop bringing those up! Seamus: In the end, demanding equal outcomes will never be fair or account for the real differences in people’s choices. It’s just another way of cheating when things don’t work out the way you want. That’s why we need to focus on making sure everyone has equality of opportunity instead. People will never be perfectly equal, but as long as the rules don’t give some people special advantages over others… Ron: Ahem… Bob! Seamus: ...then we should embrace our differences instead of trying to eliminate them.

Common Sense Soapbox

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About this show

Short videos with a punchy, comedic tone and entertaining Socratic characters taking on trending issues and important concepts from a classical liberal perspective, written & animated by Seamus Coughlin.

February 12, 2019

People will never be perfectly equal. As long as the rules don’t give special advantages over others, then we should embrace our differences instead of trying to eliminate them.


Written by Seamus Coughlin & Jennifer Maffessanti
Animated by Seamus Coughlin
Produced by Sean W. Malone