“Like and equal are not the same thing at all.” ― Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (1961).
I've just finished reading (i.e. listening-to-the-audiobook-of) A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle; which is a US classic of children's fantasy, but which I never really heard of until fairly recently.
It is certainly a worthwhile book, with several very effective and enjoyable parts - although I found that, overall; it lost narrative pull as the book went on (it seemed to have too much explanatory exposition), it did not end fully-satisfyingly; and therefore I would not (at first reading) regard it as first-rate (not - for me - in the same class as The Hobbit, Narnia, Wind in the Willows etc.).
But an aspect that I much liked was the explicitly Christian and mystical element to the book; its presentation of Life as a spiritual conflict, its making of a loving (esoteric and eccentric) family into the main agent for Good.
However, the title phase “Like and equal are not the same thing at all.” jumped-out at me as a false statement, and representative of a belief that has (over the past fifty-plus years) been very wholly destructive of The West.
Perhaps naturally, this became one of the best known, most quoted, phrases from the novel.
For totalitarians, communists, socialists and nowadays the politically correct and Social justice Warriors; for things to be Equal' they must be The Same; so - since we (supposedly) favour Equality - then society must become homogeneous, which means totalitarian (since sameness requires an all powerful authority to enforce it).
'Eqaulity has been, for serious Christians, a Trojan Horse; a smuggled-in deception, later deployed to attack (and substantially destroy) the citadel of the faith - indeed equality has replaced Christianity in the mainstream churches.
Wrinkle in Time (in characteristically modern, particularly American, fashion) tries to oppose this by drawing a distinction between 'eqality' which is good (e.g. because the US declaration of independence, quoted prominently and approvingly in the novel, says "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."); and on the other hand likeness, alikeness, sameness - which are bad.
But we should recognise that all attempts to distinguish an ethic of equality from sameness will fail; do fail, have failed.
So, the result is that all attempts systematically to promote equality, as an over-arching ethic, end-up by promoting sameness, and justifying totalitarianism - which is intriniscally evil.
If enforced sameness is an evil, then so is equality.