PART II: APPLICATIONS

Chapter 6

Visions of Equality

Equality, like freedom and justice, is conceived in entirely different terms by those with the constrained vision and those with the unconstrained vision. Like freedom and justice, equality is a process characteristic in the constrained vision and a result characteristic in the unconstrained vision.

From Edmund Burke in the eighteenth century to Friedrich Hayek in the twentieth century, the constrained vision has seen equality in terms of processes. In Burke's words, “all men have equal rights; but not to equal things.”1 Alexander Hamilton likewise considered “all men” to be “entitled to a parity of privileges,”2 though he expected that economic inequality “would exist as long as liberty existed.”3 A social process which assures equal treatment thus represents equality, as seen in the constrained vision, whether or not the actual results are equal. “Equal treatment,” according to Hayek, “has nothing to do with the question whether the application of such general rules in a particular situation may lend to results which are more favorable to one group than to others.”4 There are, for Hayek, “irremediable inequalities,”5 just as there is “irremediable ignorance on everyone's part.”6

The constrained vision of man leads to a constrained concept of equality as a process within man's capabilities, in contrast to a results definition of equality, which would require vastly more intellectual and moral capacity than that assumed. The argument is not that it is literally impossible to reduce or eliminate specific instances of inequality, but that the very processes created to do so generate other inequalities, including dangerous inequalities of power caused by expanding the role of government. Milton Friedman exemplified this aspect of the constrained vision when he said:

A society that puts equality – in the sense of equality of outcome – ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.7

But to those with the unconstrained vision, such dangers are avoidable, if not illusory, and therefore to stop at purely formal process-equality is both needless and inexcusable. “What could be more desirable and just,” Godwin asked, than that the output of society, to which all contribute, should “with some degree of equality, be shared among them?”8 Both visions recognize degrees of equality, so the disagreement between them is not over absolute mathematical equality versus some degree of equalization, but rather over just what it is that is to be equalized. In the unconstrained vision, the results are to be equalized – to one degree or another – whereas the equality of a constrained vision is the equalization of processes. Godwin was prepared to concede some advantages to talents and wealth,9 though other believers in the unconstrained vision varied in how far they would go in this direction. What they shared was a concept of equality – of whatever degree – as being equality of result. When Godwin lamented seeing “the wealth of a province spread upon the great man's table” while “his neighbors have not bread to satiate the cravings of hunger,”10 he voiced a lament echoed many times throughout the history of the unconstrained vision.

Even when equality is phrased as “equality of opportunity” or “equality before the law,” it still has different meanings in the two visions. Although these concepts are expressed in prospective rather than retrospective terms, they can be either (1) prospects of achieving a given result, or (2) prospects of being treated a given way by the rules of the process.

So long as the process itself treats everyone the same – judges them by the same criteria, whether in employment or in a courtroom – then there is equality of opportunity or equality before the law, as far as the constrained vision is concerned. But to those with the unconstrained vision, to apply the same criteria to those with radically different wealth, education, or past opportunities and cultural orientations is to negate the meaning of equality – as they conceive it. To them, equality of opportunity means equalized probabilities of achieving given results, whether in education, employment or the courtroom.

This may require the social process to provide compensatory advantages to some, whether in the form of special educational programs, employment preference policies, or publicly paid attorneys. Though the specific issues of “affirmative action” or “comparable worth” are quite recent in history, the thinking and the vision behind them go back at least as far as the eighteenth century. According to Condorcet, “a real equality” requires that “even the natural differences between men will be mitigated” by social policy.11 Without equalized probabilities of achieving given results, formal equality was inadequate – if not hypocritical – according to the unconstrained vision. George Bernard Shaw, for example, ridiculed formal equality of opportunity:

Give your son a fountain pen and a ream of paper, and tell him that he now has an equal opportunity with me of writing plays and see what he says to you.12

Those with the unconstrained vision see no need to neglect at least trying such efforts toward equalizing chances for particular results. But to those with the constrained vision, attempting to single out special individual or group beneficiaries is opening the floodgates to a dangerous principle whose ramifications go beyond the intentions or control of those initiating such a process. Again, it was not argued that it is literally impossible to reduce specified inequalities seriatim, but rather that the generation of new inequalities by this process defeats the overall purpose and creates additional difficulties and dangers. A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on preferential treatment rejected the idea that ethnic groups could be ranked by the levels of historic injustice suffered and the compensatory preferences to which they were correspondingly entitled:

As these preferences began to have their desired effect, and the consequences of past discrimination were undone, new judicial rankings would be necessary. The kind of variable sociological and political analysis necessary to produce such rankings simply does not lie within the judicial competence. ...13

The unconstrained vision was expressed by an opposing Justice in the same case, without regard to this argument. Instead, a lengthy elaboration of historic injustices and handicaps suffered was cited as arguments for compensatory preferences to achieve equalization of prospects.14 The two visions argued past each other.

CAUSATION

For equality to become an issue between the two visions, there must first be inequality. The existence and persistence of inequality is causally explained very differently by those with the constrained vision and those with the unconstrained vision. Many leading exponents of a constrained vision do not explain inequality of result at all, while many leading exponents of an unconstrained vision find such inequality both intellectually and morally central.

It is not only the existence and persistence of unequal results which have long held the attention of those with the unconstrained vision, but the magnitude of these differences as well. For Godwin, the inequality of property ownership was at “an alarming height.”15 To Shaw, for one person to receive three thousand times the rate of pay of another “has no moral sense in it.”16 Moreover, it is not only the magnitude of unequal results but the source: According to Shaw, “landlords have become fabulously rich, some of them taking every day, for doing nothing, more than many a woman of sixty years drudgery.”17 Capitalists likewise were conceived to prosper in much the same way, profit being considered simply “overcharge.”18

It was not merely that some have little and others have much. Cause and effect are involved: Some have little because others have much, according to this reasoning, which has been part of the unconstrained vision for centuries. In one way or another, the rich have taken from the poor. According to Godwin, the great wealth of some derives from “taking from others the means of a happy and respectable existence.”19 Such reasoning has been applied internationally as well as domestically. Imperial Britain was thus “a parasite on foreign labor,” according to Shaw.20 The correction of such exploitation has been a central concern in the unconstrained vision.

The theme of unjustified taking is not limited to direct employer-employee relationships, to business-consumer relationships, or to imperialist-and-colony relationships. When those incapacitated for work – “those less endowed with bodily strength or mental power” – do not share fully in the fruits of society, they are not merely denied compassion but robbed of rights, according to Edward Bellamy, for most of what makes modern prosperity possible comes from the efforts of past generations:

How did you come to be possessors of this knowledge and this machinery, which represent nine parts to one contributed by yourself in the value of your product? You inherited it, did you not? And were not these others, these unfortunate and crippled brothers whom you cast out, joint inheritors, co-heirs with you? Did you not rob them when you put them off with crusts, who were entitled to sit with the heirs, and did you not add insult to robbery when you called the crusts charity?21

The thesis that material deprivation has been aggravated by the infliction of psychic pain has long been a recurring theme in the unconstrained vision. In the eighteenth century, Godwin declared:

Human beings are capable of enduring with chearfulness considerable hardships, when those hardships are impartially shared with the rest of the society, and they are not insulted with the spectacle of indolence and ease in others, no way deserving of better advantages than themselves. But it is a bitter aggravation of their own calamity, to have the privileges of others forced on their observation, and, while they are perpetually and vainly endeavouring to secure for themselves and their families the poorest conveniences, to find others revelling in the fruits of their labors.22

Awareness of inequalities and revulsion toward them have not been confined to those with the unconstrained vision. Similar reactions have been common to Adam Smith in the eighteenth century and to Milton Friedman in the twentieth century.23 In Friedman's words:

Everywhere in the world there are gross inequities in income and wealth. They offend most of us. Few can fail to be moved by the contrast between the luxury enjoyed by some and the grinding poverty suffered by others.24

While both Smith and Friedman (as well as others with the constrained vision) have proposed various ameliorative schemes to help the poor,25 neither was prepared to make fundamental changes in the social processes in hopes of greater equalization. A vision of constrained options and greater dangers in alternative processes limits the scope of remedies. Moreover, these inequalities were not assumed to be products of the given social system, which Friedman saw as mitigating rather than aggravating them, but as a common misfortune far worse in other systems. According to Friedman: “Wherever the free market has been permitted to operate, wherever anything approaching equality of opportunity has existed, the ordinary man has been able to attain levels of living never dreamed of before.”26 While the material abundance of modern capitalist nations has created fortunes here and there, its main beneficiaries have been ordinary rather than wealthy people, according to Friedman. Modern technological wonders brought little improvement to what the rich already had, however much they revolutionized the lives of the masses:

The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefitted little from modern plumbing: running servants replaced running water. Television and radio – the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets – all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of Western capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person.27

In the constrained vision of Friedman and others, “exploitation” situations have been seen as more effectively eliminated by the systemic characteristics of a competitive economy than by the deliberate intervention of political leaders in complex economic processes that they cannot comprehend. The danger was not only in the adverse consequences of their intervention on the economy, but still more so in the dire consequences of such an increased concentration of political power. In short, attempts to equalize economic results lead to greater – and more dangerous – inequality in political power. This was the central theme of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, where the goal of simultaneously combining freedom and equality of outcome in democratic socialism was declared “unachievable” as a result,28 but dangerous as a process change pointing toward despotism.

Democratic socialists were not accused of plotting despotism, and were in fact regarded by Hayek as generally humane individuals lacking the “ruthlessness” required to achieve their social goals,29 but were seen by him as paving the way for others – including both fascists and communists – who complete the destruction of freedom, after the principles of equality before the law and limitations on political power have been fatally undermined in pursuit of “the mirage of social justice.”30

As in other issues, while followers of the unconstrained vision speak in terms of the goals being sought, followers of the constrained vision speak in terms of the incentives being created by the processes being changed.

Irremediable ignorance and irremediable inequality go hand in hand, according to Hayek. It is precisely our “inescapable ignorance” that makes general rules necessary31 and general rules of social processes are incompatible with explicit determination of particular individual or group results. Those who “postulate a personified society”32 assume an intention, purpose, and corresponding moral responsibility where there is in fact an evolved order – and “the particulars of a spontaneous order cannot be just or unjust.”33 Government, as a deliberately created entity, may act on intention and be morally judged by its acts, but not society.34 Government, as a limited set of decision-makers, cannot possess all the knowledge in a society, or anything approaching it, and therefore lacks the omniscience in fact to prescribe just or equal results.

A “society of omniscient persons” would have no need for a process-conception of justice or equality. The “social justice” of the unconstrained vision could be imposed or agreed to in such a society, where – Hayek concedes – “every action would have to be judged as a means of bringing about known effects.”35 But the constrained vision of human knowledge precludes the existence of a society with any such capability, so that the moral criteria appropriate to such a society become moot. The moral principles insisted upon by those with the unconstrained vision are thus rejected, not as wrong, but as irrelevant to the social choices actually available, and dangerous in the concentration of governmental power implied by the pursuit of such ideals.

Because it is “absurd” to demand social justice from an uncontrolled process, according to Hayek,36 such a demand implies the substitution of a very different kind of process. The moral issue thus becomes one of the relative merits of alternative processes. Hayek questioned “whether it is moral that men be subjected to the power of direction that would have to be exercised in order that the benefits derived by the individuals could be meaningfully described as just or unjust.”37

In short, the constrained vision does not defend existing inequalities, or any given pattern of economic or social results, as just. According to Hayek, “the manner in which the benefits and burdens are apportioned by the market mechanism would in many instances have to be regarded as very unjust if it were the result of a deliberate allocation to particular people.”38 The moral justification of the market process rests on the general prosperity and freedom it produces.

The issue between the two visions is not simply one of the existence, magnitude, and persistence of inequalities but also of the extent to which those inequalities are merited. This issue, like the others, goes back for centuries. In the eighteenth century, Godwin wrote of “a numerous class of individuals, who, though rich have neither brilliant talents nor sublime virtues.”39 The privileged and powerful readily become “indifferent to mankind, and callous to their sufferings.”40 A king is “nothing but a common mortal, exceeded by many and equalled by more, in every requisite of strength, capability and virtue.”41 “Garlands and coronets,” according to Godwin, “may be bestowed on the unworthy and prostituted to the intriguing.”42 His target was not simply inequality as such, but especially “unmerited advantage.”43 Variations on these themes have remained a prominent feature of the unconstrained vision. In the twentieth century, Shaw declared that “enormous fortunes are made without the least merit,”44 and noted that not only the poor but many well-educated people “see successful men of business, inferior to themselves in knowledge, talent, character and public spirit, making much larger incomes.”45

Because those with the unconstrained vision emphasize the unmerited nature of many rewards, it does not follow that those with the constrained vision assume rewards to be individually merited. Merit justifications have been very much the exception rather than the rule, and largely confined to secondary figures such as Samuel Smiles, Horatio Alger, and Social Darwinists like William Graham Sumner – all of whom have been explicitly repudiated by Hayek, for example.46 Nor was Hayek unique. The leading figures in the tradition of the constrained vision have for centuries pointed out that many rewards are personally unmerited. The moral justification of the constrained vision is the justification of a social process, not of individuals or classes within that process. They readily concede that “inevitably some unworthy will succeed and some worthy fail,” that rewards are “based only partly on achievements and partly on mere chance.”47 This is a trade-off they accept, on the conviction that no solution is possible. But those with the unconstrained vision do not share that conviction and therefore find acceptance of known inequities intolerable.

Although the two visions reach very different moral conclusions, they do so not on the basis of fundamentally different moral principles but rather because of their differences in analysis of causes and effects. The causal reasons for the inequalities in the first place, and the options available for dealing with them, are radically different in the two visions. Adam Smith and William Godwin were both offended by the privilege and arrogance of the wealthy and powerful in the eighteenth century, as Ronald Dworkin and Milton Friedman have both been offended by the economic inequalities of the twentieth century.48 The constrained and the unconstrained visions differ, however, on the plane of causation, as to what can be done about it – at what cost and with what dangers.

Both visions agree that equality of process can mean vast inequalities of results, and that equal results may be attainable only by causing processes to operate very unequally toward different individuals or groups. The differences between the two visions are in the priority that they attach to each goal – and that in turn reflects the extent to which they conceive of man as capable of morally and causally determining the appropriate goal for society. One of the bitter contemporary clashes between the two visions, in various countries around the world, is over compensatory preferences for particular social groups, for purposes of enabling those groups to reach results more nearly like those of more fortunate groups in their respective societies. Although this specific issue has emerged very recently, as history is measured, it reflects a conflict of visions that goes back for centuries.

The relationship between equality and freedom is also seen in opposite terms in the two visions. In the unconstrained vision, equality and freedom are not in conflict, but are in fact twin applications of similar principles, sometimes summarized as “political democracy” and “economic democracy.” As results, this is clearly so, since equalization is central to both concepts. As processes, it is by no means clear that it is so. The constrained vision, which focuses on processes, sees a major conflict between allowing freedom of individual action and prescribing equality of social results. Moreover, it is considered illusory in this vision to expect that prescription of economic results can be achieved while maintaining freedom in non-economic areas.49

KINDS OF EQUALITIES AND INEQUALITIES

If individuals were all equal in their developed capabilities and shared the same values and goals, then equal processes could produce equal results, satisfying both visions. But neither vision believes this to be the case. Some in both camps believe that innate potentialities do not differ greatly among individuals or groups, but this does little to reconcile the conflict of visions, since it is not potentialities but the actual application of developed capabilities which determines results.

No one believed in the innate equality of human beings more than Adam Smith. He thought that men differed less than dogs,50 that the difference between a philosopher and a porter was purely a result of upbringing,51 and he rejected with contempt the doctrine that whites in America were superior to the blacks they enslaved.52 Yet the social inequalities of wealth and status that have been burning issues in the unconstrained vision were of little concern in Smith's constrained vision of man in society. He opposed slavery as a social process, on both moral and economic grounds.53 But such general social results as differences in income and privilege were not deemed sufficiently important to override the process goals of freedom of civil and economic action.

Nor was this a matter of partisanship for the wealthy and powerful. Smith's low opinion of businessmen has already been noted in Chapter 2. He also repeatedly pointed out how the aristocracy, royalty, and the privileged or mighty in general were foolishly worshiped by the masses,54 even to the point of imitating their vice,55 and how this huge psychic windfall gain was taken for granted by its recipients, who did not even regard ordinary people as their fellow men.56 A distinguished scholar once pointed out that several socialist orations could be put together out of quotations from Adam Smith.57 But Smith's constrained vision of man and society led in the opposite direction – to laissez-faire capitalism.

Adam Smith's sweeping egalitarianism was by no means unique among those with the constrained vision. Alexander Hamilton, for example, had similar views regarding the moral level of different groups:

Experience has by no means justified us in the supposition, that there is more virtue in one class of men than in another. Look through the rich and poor of the community; the learned and the ignorant. Where does virtue predominate? The difference indeed consists, not in the quantity but kind of vices, which are incident to the various classes. ...58

To those with the unconstrained vision, to say that people are innately equal, but that vast differences in economic and social results exist, and that privileges are both taken for granted and repaid only in arrogance, is to say that the existing society is intolerably unjust and must be drastically changed. Some would say that such a system must be changed “at all costs” or by “whatever means are necessary.” At the very least, social mobility must be increased. Smith reached none of these conclusions. William Godwin once more serves as a perfect counter-example of the unconstrained vision, for he agreed completely with Smith on the innate equality of human beings,59 on the inequalities of wealth and status,60 and on the arrogance of privilege,61 but reached opposite conclusions on the need for drastic change (though by entirely peaceful means in Godwin's case).62 The difference between them was in their respective visions of man and of social causation.

Many of those with an unconstrained vision and a passionate opposition to inequality of results assume that those who oppose them must be in favor of inequality of results, either on philosophic grounds or as a matter of narrow self-interest. In reality, those with the constrained vision may be passionately devoted to certain processes (freedom to choose, the “rule of law,” etc.) and only secondarily concerned with whether any particular result is equal or unequal. They may not be at all opposed to the advancement of untouchables in India or blacks in the United States, or similar groups in other countries – and may even have contributed efforts toward such advancement themselves – but nevertheless fight strongly against process changes intended (by those with an unconstrained vision) to aid such advancement.

While the belief that people's capabilities are equal can be found among exponents of both visions, so can the belief that these capabilities vary enormously between social groups. The view that races, classes, or sexes innately differ greatly in capabilities would be a conclusion for which a constrained vision would be necessary, but not sufficient, and is in fact rejected by many for whom intellectual or moral constraints apply to all human beings, without group distinction. As for developed capabilities, these are often conceived as being far more unequal by believers in the unconstrained vision than by believers in the constrained vision.

As noted in Chapter 3, the distribution of knowledge and reason is vastly more unequal in the unconstrained vision, because its definition of knowledge and reason as articulated information and syllogistic rationality puts them much more in the province of the intellectual elite. But the cultural conception of knowledge in the constrained vision makes it far more widely diffused, and the systemic logic of cultural evolution and survival in competition dwarfs to insignificance the special logical talents of the intellectual elite. Thus, while the common man was seen by Hobbes to be more capable in some respects than his more highly educated social superior,63 and the latter's social claims were at least viewed very skeptically by Smith, Friedman, and Hayek, a vast chasm between the existing intellectual and moral capabilities of the common man and those of the intellectual elite has been an enduring characteristic of the tradition of the unconstrained vision.

In an eighteenth-century world where most people were peasants, Godwin declared that “the peasant slides through life, with something of the contemptible insensibility of an oyster.”64 Rousseau likened the masses of the people to “a stupid, pusillanimous invalid.”65 According to Condorcet, the “human race still revolts the philosopher who contemplates its history.”66 In the twentieth century, George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the “detestable” people who “have no right to live.” He added: “I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves.”67

While the unconstrained vision has featured egalitarianism as a conviction that people should share more equally in the material and other benefits of society, it tends to see the existing capabilities of people as far more unequal than does the constrained vision. Among contemporary economists proposing ways of advancing Third World nations out of poverty, those representing a constrained vision (R T. Bauer and T. W. Schultz, for example) depict the peasant masses of the Third World as a repository of valuable skills and capable of substantial adaptations to changing economic conditions, if only the elite will leave them free to compete in the marketplace,68 while those further to the left politically, such as Gunnar Myrdal, depict the peasant masses as hopelessly backward and redeemable only by the committed efforts of the educated elite.69

It is only when estimating the potential intelligence of human beings that those with the unconstrained vision have a higher estimate than those with the constrained vision. When estimating the current intelligence of human beings, those with the unconstrained vision tend to estimate a lower mean and a greater variance. It is the greater variance which lends logical support to surrogate decision-making, whether in the form of more government planning in economics, judicial activism in the law, or international-agency efforts at population control or control of natural resources under the sea. Counter-examples can be found on both sides, of course, as for example among the leaders of the French Revolution or V. I. Lenin in modern times, both of whom praised the masses. But the public statements of those holding or aspiring to power are hardly decisive evidence. On the other side, Burke's famous outburst against the “swinish multitude” supporting the French Revolution was atypical even of Burke,70 much less of the tradition of which he was part.

More important, it is the logic of each vision, rather than the isolated examples, which point in the direction each has tended to go. Except for that sub-set who are explicitly racist or Social Darwinists, followers of the constrained vision have no reason to expect the kind of vast differences in capabilities which are the logical consequence of conceiving knowledge and reason in ways which make them accessible to the few but not to the many. There is no need to question the sincerity of those with the unconstrained vision when they make the well-being of the masses their central concern, for it is not by choice but by the logic of their assumptions that this well-being of the masses is achievable only through the leadership and commitment of the elite.

Which vision is more of a vision of equality depends upon the particular aspect of equality considered salient. By and large, the elite and the mass are closer in capability and morality in the constrained vision, while they are more equally entitled to comparable shares of benefits in the unconstrained vision.

SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS

The crucial difference between the constrained and the unconstrained visions of man is not in their perceptions of people as they are. What fundamentally distinguishes the two visions is their respective perceptions of human potential. The average person as he exists today is not seen in optimistic terms by those with the unconstrained vision. On the contrary, some of the most sweeping dismissals of the current capabilities of ordinary people have come from those with the unconstrained vision, from Godwin in the eighteenth century to George Bernard Shaw in the twentieth—even as they urged sweeping economic equalization. Indeed, one of the arguments for sweeping equalization of material conditions is that it will enable the masses to improve themselves, in addition to enjoying life more fully. In short, the gap between the actual and the potential is greater in the unconstrained vision than in the constrained vision. So too is the gap between the existing masses of people and those who have advanced further toward the intellectual and moral potentialities of man.

The concept of “equality” thus has opposite implications in the two visions. To those with the unconstrained vision, a greater equalization of material conditions is imperative, even if the means of accomplishing this require the more morally and intellectually advanced to restrict the discretion of others in the marketplace, or through judicial activism in the law, or by other social or political devices. The concepts of compassion, leadership, commitment, and rationality are featured prominently in the unconstrained vision.

To those with the constrained vision, however, the gap between the actual and the potential is much smaller, and with it there is a correspondingly smaller difference between the intellectual and moral elite, on the one hand, and the ordinary person on the other. Vast differences may exist within given areas of specialization – hence Burke's reverence for authorities within their respective specialties71 – but believers in this vision have long pointed out areas where ordinary people are greatly superior to intellectuals, so that there is no such general superiority as to justify one group's restricting the discretion of others and acting as surrogate decision-makers for them. To those with the constrained vision, equality of discretion is more important than equality of condition.

The two visions' respective estimates of existing human capability (intellectual and moral) differ not so much in their estimates of the mean as in their estimates of the variance. The extent to which the discretion of some should be substituted for the discretion of others – whether through influence or power – depends not on the average rationality of man in general but on the differential rationality of different sets of human beings. The greater this differential, the stronger the case for surrogate decision-makers to exercise discretion for others.

Where this differential is thought to exist only within given areas of specialization, individuals lacking particular expertise may remain “free to choose” to purchase such expertise as they see fit – from doctors, lawyers, photographers, etc. – but where the differential is thought to be general and pervasive, then the layman lacks the prerequisites even for choosing the amount and kind of surrogate decision-making needed, much less to reject their fundamental principles. Thus, “a more equal world is a better world, even if most people prefer inequality.”72

It is not over the degree of equality that the two visions are in conflict, but over what it is that is to be equalized. In the constrained vision, it is discretion which is to be equally and individually exercised as much as possible, under the influence of traditions and values derived from the widely shared experience of the many, rather than the special articulation of the few. In the unconstrained vision, it is the material conditions of life which are to be equalized under the influence or power of those with the intellectual and moral standing to make the well-being of others their special concern.



Chapter 7 >>