Must Equality Be Achieved By The Axe?
There is unrest in the forestRush
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw
While listening to these words by the canadian band “Rush”, I couldn’t help but feel that this was a metaphor for a bigger and more current subject, Equality! Musicians and artist, even court jesters, have always had the ability to shine a spotlight on difficult subjects. And in this case, I think Rush’s allegory can be applied as a warning to those politicians who are thinking of using the axe to correct real or perceived inequality.
If you are an oak, there is a lot to like about the way you are made. And you are right in wondering why others can’t be happy in your shade. Why is it unfair for the maple to be born in the shade? Sure the maple needs light, and should be allowed to grow in such a way as to maximize it’s light, but must we cut the oaks in order to make light for the maples?
We live in interesting times. Around the world, there is a debate taking place about creating a more level playing field. But what does that mean, and what is the best way to accomplish this goal? Equality, should it be about opportunity or outcome? What do you think?