Although these concerns are valid, New Egalitarians
articulate them in terms of a peculiar set of tendentious social scientific claims that, upon reflection, have troubling implications.
A distinguished professor of history at Princeton, Wilentz skillfully writes about such egalitarian
reformers as Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglass, W.
Their ideological leanings from elitist to egalitarian
were gauged in a separate survey asking if they agreed with statements like, Its OK if some groups have more of a chance in life than others, or We should strive to make incomes as equal as possible.
, the mere fact that one person earns more income or acquires more wealth than does another person is automatically morally suspicious, regardless of context.
For instance, some egalitarians
hold the view that the net effects of what Ronald Dworkin calls brute luck--luck that one is subject to independent of one's choices--should be shared equally.
are very much in favour of redistribution but, as Machan rightly points out, we don't need political intervention by egalitarians
to redistribute wealth.
Brain surgeons are a rather and here comes that really dirty word in the egalitarian
lexicon, elite group.
For example, "an autocratic government might impose an economic system that treated individuals as equals in Dworkin's sense, but that would not transform the society into an egalitarian
12) I shall develop a view that is implicitly accepted by most egalitarians
, namely that nonsubordination requires redistribution to follow moral responsibility, specifically by eliminating luck's differential effects on persons' fortunes while leaving persons fully to bear the consequences of their (morally responsible) choices.
Dworkin does not only argue that egalitarians
must be concerned with choice and individual responsibility.
Richard Ellis's The Dark Side of the Left is an effort to explain what seems problematic to him though obvious to many of us: How does it happen that leftist egalitarians
in America often begin with humanitarian idealism and end in violent intolerance?
Rejecting trans-racial cultural nationalism as the rationale for social equality, egalitarians
in the United States tend to fall back on vague appeals to social justice inspired by Marxism or the Protestant Social Gospel.
Educators in the United States are "radical egalitarians
," say the authors, who are bent on changing society from within schools.
Cohen in particular) of how egalitarians
can respect self-ownership.
A critical difference between libertarians and egalitarians
is the former's complete opposition to any form of distributive justice--the term philosophers apply to the distribution of services according to need.