Thursday, June 02, 2005

Equality of dignity does not entail identity of roles

Perhaps a useful comparison is a variety of creatures occupying different ecological niches in close proximity to each other. With that providential economy so often evident in nature, each, by pursuing its particular mode of life, helps maintain the health of the environment which sustains all. Now suppose that all are suddenly transformed so that they occupy the same niche. Once diverse and complementary, they suddenly experience each other as identical competitors, inclined to view each other as impediments to their ability to accomplish the objective of their role, and many niches whose work was essential to the health of the environment on which all depend go unfilled.