Improving the malcontent’s lot becomes linked to the utopian cause. Moreover, disparaging and diminishing the successful and accomplished becomes an essential tactic. No one should be better than anyone else, regardless of the merits or value of his contributions. By exploiting human frailties, frustrations, jealousies, and inequities, a sense of meaning and self-worth is created in the malcontent’s otherwise unhappy and directionless life. Simply put, equality in misery—that is, equality of result or conformity—is advanced as a just, fair, and virtuous undertaking.
Tocqueville pointed out that in democracies, the dangers of misapplied equality are not perceived until it is too late. “The evils that extreme equality may produce are slowly disclosed; they creep gradually into the social frame; they are seen only at intervals; and at the moment at which they become most violent, habit already causes them to be no longer felt”
if the result of individual liberty did not demonstrate that some manners of living are more successful than others, much of the case for it would vanish.”
Equality is also disguised as or confused with popular sovereignty—that is, the conflation of “the people’s will” with egalitarian campaigns, such as “social justice,” “environmental justice,” “immigrant rights,” “workers’ rights,” etc.