Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund: The first rule of LEAF is don’t talk about LEAF

The second rule of LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) is that you don’t write abut, or talk about LEAF.

At least, not without their permission.

That’s what they told me in a phone call after I explained I was writing an article about equality, as defined by feminism.

I had called to ask the definition of a phrase used by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund on their website: “Substantive Equality.” How does addition of the word “substantive” affect the definition of the word equality, to which it is attached as an adjective?

By itself, equality is already slippery. In the context of law or basic civil rights, it generally has two distinct, and mutually exclusive, meanings. The most obvious of these is equality of either opportunity, or of rights in the eyes of the law. This is a straightforward definition most Canadians and Americans will recognize. However, without an identifying prefix or suffix, what some practitioners of Social Justice mean when they use the word “equality” is “equality of outcome.” They mean use of quotas, reserved seats, or group-specific discrimination to ensure that a pre-determined numbers from selected demographics are represented in a field of what previously would have been achieved by merit.

The two “types” of equality, as mentioned, are exclusive of each other. The reason equality of opportunity and equality of outcome don’t overlap is that people are not identical to one another. A child of recent immigrants, may work significantly harder, and achieve more than a child raised in the comfort and convention of the suburban middle class.

If the immigrant kid professionally outperforms the comfortable suburban kid because he worked harder in school getting an unequal result, tough luck for anyone who prizes equality of outcome. On the other hand, in some cases growing up in an established community, and being connected to the business associations of an already prosperous network might give the comfortable suburban kind an advantage that kid whose parents arrived by boat doesn’t have. This isn’t equality of outcome either. And, again, tough shit.

But life isn’t fair, and not everybody has smart, or well-connected parents.

However, when we, or anybody else, attempt to impose equality of outcome, we do so by suppressing the choices and the rational discretion of individuals. We can only create equal outcomes by using force against other people.

In attempting to unnaturally create an artificial equivalence of outcome, we must step on and suppress individuals, as well as diminish the actual achievement of members of a favoured group who would have succeeded by their own merit.

But LEAF, the women’s Legal Education and Action Fund has their own terminology. They call it “Substantive Equality.” And yes, this is how they explained it to me when I called them to ask them.

Q: What does the word substantive change about the word equality?

A: “Um well, it’s the basically it’s the kind of equality that Canada has signed on to. And what it means is, like, a formal definition of equality would mean that everybody gets the same thing. Substantive equality has to take into account um history and patterns of discrimination, and seek to allow the law to benefit everybody equally. So it doesn’t necessarily mean everybody is going to get the same thing.”

So, as with “social justice,” which is the opposite of justice, “substantive equality” is the opposite of equality.

And this is what the largest feminist legal activism organization and intervener in the Canadian Criminal Courts promotes as equality.

If, as is often claimed women have in history been discriminated against – then treating them actually equally eliminates that discrimination or imbalance.

Reverse discrimination – or, as it’s called by Social Justice Warriors, “substantive equality” – is practiced by those who above all should know better. It is inexcusable.

So what are these equality warriors with deep pockets and law degrees actually seeking? Legal discrimination, a tilted playing field, and one group advantaged over another in the eyes of the law. However, because in history, other, different discrimination existed, they get to claim that what they’re doing now is actually equality. Are you convinced?

But, of course, none of this can be talked about, certainly not including mention of the name of LEAF (the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund), because as their education manager told me on the telephone today, their permission is required before public mention of any of it.

I need their permission to talk about it. I’ll get right on that.

Note: This item first published on Community Organized Compassion & Kindness. –DE

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