Darcy, what does the following statement mean to you?
"Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good."
THAT is what I mean by equality.
: The fact is (correct me if I'm wrong) that you have obviously been educated in some subject related to those under discussion. My own postings are from my general knowledge and my own ideas, usually spotnaneous ("yes, we can tell" - don't say it). I contribute to debates on subjects ranging from politics, genetics, quantum physics and history to literature. I may be a jack of all trades, but that doesn't make me less intelligent than the "expert" posters on any of these boards. If my contributions are so amateurish as not to merit response, I would assume that they would not attract serious response. This has not been the case in this debating room.
: Therefore, to say that your analysis of me on the basis of my comments on this board shows arrogance, I would submit, is justified.
Except, of course, that your criticism is subject to your own caveat; you've never met me; you don't know if I'm arrogant or not. All you can say that is my response appears to be arrogant; and this is a subjective perception, not an objective reality.
And who the hell says I have to portray myself as I truly am to you or to anyone?
You're confusing the presented image with the substance.
As I said, I deliberately adopted a provocative stance to bring out the 'I'm all right Jack' response in you.
It was a fairly cheap trick, I'll admit, but it had the desired response; you hit back saying that you effectively had as much right to your opinions as I do mine. Which you do; I have no right to tell you what to think; and you have no converse right to tell me what to think.
Why does a jack-of-all-trades have as much right to an opinion in a subject as an 'expert'?
It is because every human being is equal in rights; everyone is equally free to think about things. This is what is meant by 'equality'. If it weren't the case, I would be able to tell you 'you have no clue; shut up'.
I don't do this, because I feel you have as much rights to your opinion as I do to mine.
: That I was picqued by your comments may prove my own vanity and the predictability of human nature (big news), but it doesn't show anything about social relations (which I thought this was about).
That you buy into the Platonic Form of 'human nature' shows as much as anything else. Macroscopic social relations change radically over time; to preserve some common notion of 'humanity' you need a set of common principles to work on; of which the first is that all humans are ultimately equal.
: : Unsubtle and inaccurate stereotyping, friend.
: Really? A class warrior/ social revolutionary from behind the university fencing sabre? Super.
Are you saying that university scholars and people born privileged can't be part of the revolution?
That would be absurd if it were the case; such inverted snobbery would also strip any revolution of some of the best 'idea' people.
(Note: I recognise that some people are clearer thinkers, some better organisers and so forth; I just don't think that gives anyone rights above that of their fellow human. Thinkers are as valuable as labourers; no more, no less.)
Nonetheless, anyone who thinks that you can't aid in the revolution because you're bourgeois can go and join Mao in hell. If I can't think, it's not my revolution.
: As for my sex, the fact that you assumed I was male and nobly asserted that you would not "flatten me" if we met, despite your own prodigious strength, says something about your own prejudices, don't you think?
By your own argument, the fact that there are stronger and weaker people in the world justifies the strong people using their strength to oppress the weaker; using their 'abilities' to advance themselves.
People do not have equal access to wealth; someone born in Kensington and sent to Eton will have many, many more opportunities and contacts than someone born in Somerset (as I was). As such, your position that capitalism is equally open to all is blatantly false.
And no, I didn't assume you were male; as I said, I already know a Darcey; my initial assumption was the other way.
(Your assumption was that I wouldn't flatten a woman. This is (as it happens) true; mainly because I'm effectively pacifist and have been all of my adult life - ever since I was a cadet.)
: In any event, I'd like to see you try.
I don't think violence solves any problems, Darcy.
 I might fight to defend myself and my family in extremis; I spent four years using five sorts of gun, so I know what goes where; nonetheless, I wouldn't dream of using that knowledge short of the total breakdown of society.