A friend of mine sent me a shot of this poster, which he found hanging on the wall of an exclusive Connecticut private school. I have a suspicion that it can be found in lots of classrooms across the country. Seldom has progessivism been so neatly captured.
Oh, c'mon. It's nice that the short boy can now watch the ballgame. What problem could anyone have with that?
Well, let's imagine this was a real situation, and the boys, hoping for a better view of the game, scamper around and find three boxes. The tallest boy, realizing that his short friend still won't be able to see, gives him his box. Anything wrong here? Absolutely not. It's civil society in action, where people help others of their own volition.
The problem is that that's not what the creators of this poster meant, not at all. The words don't read, "It's nice to help your friends." Rather, they speak of "justice," clearly meant as an imperative. You see, liberalism never trusts people to do the right thing, so the force of law is deployed to guarantee a desired outcome. Coercion is always the first and last answer, in this case spoiling the opportunity for the tall boy to do something nice for the short boy - not because he had to, but because he wanted to. The civil society is undermined.
Let's imagine further. HUD issues a federal regulation that boxes must be provided for short boys at all sporting events. Further, the boxes must meet various federal safety codes, lest a boy fall from one that was sub-standard. Come the inevitable box shortage, it happens that at some ballparks there aren't enough boxes to go around. Protests ensue, with angry demands for "fairness." Realizing they may have a federal lawsuit on their hands, but unable to procure enough compliant boxes, the ballpark owners consult their lawyers and decide to raise the fences high enough such that no one can see over them, tall or not. Problem solved.
And there is progressivism, in a nutshell. Equality created through coercion by dragging those at the top down. It never works out like the poster, where all are raised to the highest level, and it isn't supposed to. In real life it is so much easier to bring people down than raise them up. Just ask Bill de Blasio, New York's radical mayor-in-waiting.
The poster also suggests that justice and equal results are the same thing. This is a dangerous concept that has justified more tyranny, mostly of the Marxist variety, than just about anything over the last century. Looking again, the tall boy definitely has an advantage when faced with a tall fence, but what of other contexts? Perhaps the short boy is a brilliant student. What measures will be suggested then to even that score?
Don't laugh. At a school one of my children (briefly) attended, parents were told not let their kids study anything above and beyond the curriculum, lest they get ahead and damage the self-esteem of the other, less motivated kids. Can't make this up.
Despite decades of evidence as to its disastrous effects, the intellectual left has never abandoned its Marxist longings. They won't call it by its name, of course, but the primal urge is still there, and the agenda still being pushed. Sometimes even in cute posters for our kids.