13 July 2020

Jia Tolentino on the steps needed to bring about more equality and justice: “[A]t a policy level: slashing the military budget and police budgets; really taxing inheritances; really taxing corporations; instituting a massive wealth tax — and then using that money to fund public schools, public colleges, public transit, universal health care, affordable housing, subsidized parental leave and care for children and the elderly; a higher minimum wage. In order to get there we need to restore voting rights — reverse court decisions on voter suppression, enfranchise incarcerated people, including felons. But on an individual level, I’ve been thinking about what it means to normalize the everyday surrendering of advantage — to put an ideology of equality in practice at a time when it’s obvious that voting once a year or whatever is not going to be enough. I think the American obsession with symbolic freedom has to be traded for a desire for actual freedom: the freedom to get sick without knowing it could bankrupt you, the freedom for your peers to live life without fearing they’ll be killed by police. The dream of collective well-being has to outweigh, day-to-day, the dream of individual success.”