1) the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability
2) uniform character, as of motion or surface.
3) Mathematics . a statement that two quantities are equal; equation.
This is the dictionary definition, but is this the real world application of equality. When I was a child and I was given a cookie to share, it was expected that I would split the cookie into equal shares for each child. We have all done this and sometimes we give just a little bit more to ourselves than to everyone else. It may not be much, but strictly speaking it wasn't equal.
The same things occurs in America today. Everyone I speak with subscribes to the concept of equality as long as they receive just a little bit more than others. Also, most individuals I have spoken with about this believe that equality is a good concept for others but not for them. Through a vast range of justifications, as a people we can also come up with a reason as to why we deserve more.
Have you ever been willing to forgo something for the greater good of those around you. If you have children, maybe you have given up that treat for yourself to satisfy the needs (or even wants) of your children. How about with your friends or co-workers? You have just been given a cash prize for a contest at work. You know that a co-worker was just as deserving (maybe even more so). Do you ever share the prize or give it to the other person entirely. That is equality, rewarding everyone equally (and punishing everyone equally as well).
The concept of equality is rampant throughout socialist writings. Well that is up to the point where the downtrodden actually receive equality and then continue to demand more. Using any group of individuals in the United States, you will find the haves and the have nots. Understand that the haves simply have more of something than the have nots. It doesn't have to be the top earners vs the lowest earners.
Let's use a simple example. There are 10 homeowners in a development. Five of these homeowners have large front porches and often they can be seen sitting outside enjoying the evening and generally appearing to live a better life. The five homeowners without front porches begin to become resentful because they don't think their life is as good as their neighbors. This could be resolved in one of three ways. 1) Over time they could build their own front porch and live the life they think they deserve, but only if they have the resources to do so (equality). 2) Or they could demand that the homeowners who already have front porches provide the money needed to give everyone else a front porch (equality). 3) Lastly, the non-front porchers could pass an ordinance that outlaws front porches thereby requiring the haves to remove their front porches in order to comply (equality). Each solution provides equality, but which solution you advocate speaks volumes about what you believe.
In example one, as the have not, you save up your money so that some day you are able to customize your home to improve your quality of life. There is a great sense of accomplishment from this scenario and you are more likely to build the porch the way you want it and to maintain it to keep it nice. This shows a person who believes equality comes from hard work and sacrifice.
Example two shows a person who expects that since I don't want to save my money to improve my quality of life, someone else should provide the resources to do so. This puts a porch on your house, but you didn't sacrifice anything and you are more likely to treat the porch as a disposable addition to your home. You don't feel the need to take care of the maintenance of the porch since it didn't cost you anything (money, sacrifice or labor). When it rots from lack of care, you will just demand the porchers pay for another one. This example shows a person who believe equality comes when one group is forced to give to another (sacrificing their resources) thereby make both side equal.
The third example shows a person who believes that if they can't have a porch then you shouldn't have one either. This person constantly believes that society should provide equality by lowering the standard for everyone. This person also hasn't had to sacrifice and in fact caused the other group of homeowners to sacrifice their own happiness to satisfy equality. This group believes that equality comes when all individuals have less of everything because everyone can't have all. Instead of lifting up those around them, they are more interested in tearing down everyone to the lowest level possible to meet the definition of equality.
When you say you believe in equality, what do you truly mean and are you willing to live the consequences of that belief?