As I was in the cafeteria at Mondoville today, I was chatting with the Angel’s’ Legal Aid (as I serve the role of Devil’s Advocate, so…), and the topic of egalitarianism somehow crept into the conversation, which reminded me of the famous anecdote from the Life of Johnson:
Sir, there is one Mrs. Macaulay* in this town, a great republican. One day when I was at her house, I put on a very grave countenance, and said to her, “Madam, I am now become a convert to your way of thinking. I am convinced that all mankind are upon an equal footing; and to give you an unquestionable proof, Madam, that I am in earnest, here is a very sensible, civil, well-behaved fellow-citizen, your footman; I desire that he may be allowed to sit down and dine with us.” I thus, Sir, shewed her the absurdity of the levelling doctrine. She has never liked me since. Sir, your levellers wish to level DOWN as far as themselves; but they cannot bear levelling UP to themselves.
This anecdote may be seen in lots of class envy arguments, but I was also reminded of it this afternoon when I read a blog post from David McElroy that exposes an elite northeastern college’s Macaulayan tendencies. Check it out.