In Western society, one word often heard is "equality." I would wager most Westerners are at least nominal egalitarians after hearing how reverently they speak of it and those they claim "fight" for it.
Is equality a comfortable myth or verifiable fact?
In the context of mathematics and related disciplines, there is no doubt in my mind equality is a reality. If a + 5 is equal to b + 5, then a is equal to b. From henceforth, I shall refer to this as quantitative equality. A qualitative equality, which I believe most people refer to when speaking of equality between persons, strikes me as quite arbitrary, sentimental and unprovable.
Can one prove person a is quantitatively equal to person b? I cannot see how it can be done. Supposing person A is stronger than person B and person B is smarter than person A, does it mean each person's advantage balances the other's and they are therefore equals? No, there are differences in scale to advantages and there are far more abilities and weaknesses to be considered; furthermore, not all abilities have equal utility.
One might object like so: "Lord Feverstone, the utility of abilities is defined by the context. For example, if a soldier is strong and battle-hardened, this ability is of greater utility in that situation than the culinary skills he lacks."
I would answer by saying situations where one ability is emphasised does not happen in equal frequency to situations where another ability is emphasised.
What point am I making? There is no way to prove one person is equal to another. There is no balance sheet and point-value systems which can demonstrate equality. I therefore conclude equality between persons is a comfortable myth.
Western governments are dominated by representative forms of government, whether it be in the form of a republic or a consitutional monarchy. At the heart of representative government is the assumption all are equal. Many object to authoritarian systems of government such as absolute monarchy by saying it does not honour "equality." After all, they also think voting is a right. Since an absolute monarchy does not involve proclaiming and enforcing "equality" let alone voting, they conclude it to be an oppressive, illegitimate form of government.
What is oppressive about recognising the obvious fact there are exceptionally-gifted people in the world? What is illegitimate about rejecting the preposterous notion the ill-informed and the informed should be given equal say over how the government is to be run?
Even if "equality" can be proven, what difference does it make whether I or anyone else give my assent to it or not? As in On Truth and Monarchy, I stated truth is objective. Just because I am not a true believer in equality, does it mean I treat people like dirt? Absolutely not! God treats us all far, far better than we deserve, and He certainly does not regard us as being equal to Himself. There are people in the world who regard others more highly than they do themselves, and they treat such people accordingly. Of course, there are definitely many resentful of those they think are better than themselves. As one can conclude, belief in equality is no prerequisite to treating people well.
I am a believer in what Jesus says in Luke 12:48:
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required...
A related verse is found in James 3:1:
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
When God gives gifts and responsibilities, He expects them to be used wisely. When He returns, will we be found to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to our care? Needless to say, there will be consequences for mismanagement, so we should live our lives in that knowledge. What really matters is not whether we are "equal," but whether we live our lives as God intends.