Equality is Freedom

Often on this blog I either make or rely on the claim that freedom and equality are ultimately equivalent, and certainly not in conflict, so I thought it might be a good idea to explain it as clearly and concisely as possible. It goes like this:

Equality means relationships characterised by balanced (i.e. close to equal) power. In such relationships coercion becomes very difficult, because any threat by one party can be matched by the other. That is, coercion, to be practical (rather than senseless and suicidal) requires inequality of power.

Hence the promotion of equality (of power) amounts to the promotion of non-coercive relationships, and hence non-coercive action by individuals. If one is not coerced, then one acts from one’s own desires and judgement, i.e. freely, in at least the roughest and most obvious sense.

So equality means non-coercion, and non-coercion means freedom. Simple.