For related issues, see the sections on Community (the Multiculturalism stuff), Freedom, Justice, Majority Rule, and The State




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EQUALITY


For related issues, see the sections on Community (the Multiculturalism stuff), Freedom, Justice, Majority Rule, and The State.




Equality is good


Equality is a fundamental moral position

Lee Loevenger (Washington DC lawyer; degree in psychology), “Skepticism and Science in Mental Testing,” Skeptical Inquirer, Summer 1993, p. 417

“The equality of rights, the equality of everyone before the law, is not merely a legal principle but is founded on basic concepts of morality. It has nothing to do with individual equality or inequality of intellect or in any other personal characteristic. Indeed, to consider that inequality of personal abilities or talents is even relevant to the principle of equal rights is implicitly to assert that such factual inequality might justify unequal treatment, which is contrary to our fundamental political principles.”


The Stoics of ancient Greece conceived a universal, equal citizenship

Anthony Quinton (emeritus prof. of philosophy, Oxford Univ.), “Political Philosophy” in The Oxford History of Western Philosophy, ed. by Anthony Kenny, 1994, p. 287

“The Stoics, looking behind the distinctions between men which the Cynics had repudiated, concentrated on the common humanity which united them. Seeing all humans as endowed with reason, they took them, on that account, to be, in a fundamentally important respect, equal. They arrived at a cosmopolitan conception of an ideal community of all people, a potential world-state of which everyone is a citizen.”


The Judeo-Christian tradition has been crucial for the concept of equality

Michael Novak (former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission; American Enterprise Institute chair in religion and public policy), “A New Vision of Man: How Christianity has Changed Political Economy,” Imprimis, May 1995, p. 4

“In this respect, Judaism and Christianity grant a fundamental equality in the sight of God to all human beings, whatever their talents or station. This equality arises because God penetrates below any artificial rank, honor, or station that may on the surface differentiate one from another. He sees past those things. He sees into us. He sees us as we are in our uniqueness, and it is that uniqueness that He values.”


Legal equality ignores the differences between people

Lee Loevenger (Washington DC lawyer; degree in psychology), “Skepticism and Science in Mental Testing,” Skeptical Inquirer, Summer 1993, p. 417

“Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek is quoted as saying, ‘It is of the essence of the demand for equality before the law that people should be treated alike in spite of the fact that they are different.”


Equality may be a fundamental ‘given’ of moral philosophy

Peter Berkowitz (senior fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford Univ.; instructor at George Mason Univ. Law School), “Other People’s Mothers,” The New Republic, January 10, 2000, p. 32

“Singer contends that the equation of ethics with equality is not willful or partisan but a necessary inference from the ethical point of view. ‘Equality,’ he declares, ‘is a basic ethical principle, not an assertion of fact,’ which is his way of saying that equality inheres in the very logical structure of the idea of ethics.” [Reference is to contemporary philosopher Peter Singer]


Freedom and equality are mutually reinforcing

Kathleen M. Sullivan (prof. of law, Stanford Univ.), “Law’s Labors,” The New Republic, May 23, 1994, p. 45

“The long answer is that equality and liberty are mutually reinforcing. Neither should eclipse the other as a strategy for all time.”


Liberal constitutionalism is predicated on equality before the law

Eric A. Posner (Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago Law School), “The Limits of Limits,” The New Republic, May 27, 2010, p. 38

“Up to a point, this is correct. Liberal constitutionalism implies that everyone ruled by the government has equal rights under the law.”


Equality reinforces liberty

Kathleen M. Sullivan (prof. of law, Stanford Univ.), “Law’s Labors,” The New Republic, May 23, 1994, p. 45

“Justice Robert Jackson once suggested that equality serves as a backstop to liberty; there ‘is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority be imposed generally.’”


Equality of opportunity is crucial to avoid oppression

John Dewey (American philosopher and educator, 1859-1952), “Democracy,” (1937) in Readings in Philosophy, 3rd edition, ed. by J.H. Randall, Justus Buchler, and Evelyn Shirk, 1972, p. 290

“In short, each one is equally an individual and entitled to equal opportunity of development of his own capacities, be they large or small in range. Moreover, each has needs of his own, as significant to him as those of others are to them. The very fact of natural and psychological inequality is all the more reason for establishment by law of equality of opportunity, since otherwise the former becomes a means of oppression of the less gifted.”


Modern morality generally requires equal opportunity for the good things in life

Ralph Barton Perry (1879-1957; American neo-realist philosopher and prof. at Harvard), in Morals and Values, ed. by Marcus G. Singer, 1977, p. 313-314

“There was a time when the European conscience would not have been disturbed by the thought that a single favored individual, or a small caste of the elite, should enjoy happiness through the misery of thousands of lost souls. The new conscience not only requires that the majority shall be admitted to happiness, but that no man should be excluded from it. It is as though one were to feel that the feast cannot begin until every one is seated at the table, and that joy cannot be unalloyed without a sense of universal participation.”


Moral cosmopolitanism treats all people as requiring equal treatment

Julia Driver (Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College), “Cosmopolitan virtue,” Social Theory and Practice, October 2007, p. 596

“Moral cosmopolitans view all human beings (or all rational beings) as equal members of the moral community and thus deserving of equal moral treatment. On this view, biases and prejudices of all sorts are not morally appropriate. Political cosmopolitans hold that political systems should be set up to recognize the equal rights of all human beings (or all rational beings). On this view biases and prejudices would be ruled out on the political, or institutional, level. A person can be one kind of cosmopolitan without being the other. However, it seems generally the case that political cosmopolitans are also moral cosmopolitans. If one undermined moral cosmopolitanism, then that would cut into support for political cosmopolitanism.”


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