Why? Why a fixation on an impossible chimera, equality of opportunity, and a complete disregard of a perfectly achievable end conducing to more opportunity for millions of actual people, namely teaching them to read and reckon with facility? The answer, I think, is that chasing chimeras is a source of endless job opportunities and bureaucratic expansion; trying to achieve limited, but achievable and invaluable, goals would demand painful change (and possibly even admissions of guilt). There is every reason why a child born to ignorant parents of degraded habits should not have the same life chances as a child born to wealthy and cultivated parents; but there is no reason why he should not learn – that is to say, be taught – to read and write.
At the Library of Law and Liberty, Dalrymple argues against the idea of equality of opportunity, provided it means more than just equality under the law. Any serious attempt to achieve such a goal, he notes, would soon lead to A Brave New World. But he also notes a corresponding lack of interest in concrete steps that could be taken to improve opportunity, such as better schooling: