Feed on

Another Reply to Ed

Good to see you have given up on your appeal to authority. What does Harvard have compared to Notre Dame anyway?

But now I am a little puzzled.  In your appeal-to-authority days, you asked: Why should we go with Notre Dame’s Sterba and his deep egalitarianism, when we can have Harvard’s Rawls with his acceptance of some inegalitarianism?

In reply, I happily made you aware of your deeper anti-authoritarian sentiments and also pointed out that Rawls’s lesser inegalitarianism is only provisional, and that when his view is extended, like mine, to meet squarely issues of distant peoples and future generations, his view too would probably become as deeply egalitarian as mine it.

But now you seem to be shifting gear 360 degrees.  Before you seemed happy with Rawls but unhappy with Sterba.  Now your worry about what the rich might find reasonable seems to go against both our views.  Of course, both of us have arguments for a “preferential option for the poor.” You presumably know Rawls’s argument.  Mine is given in the APA address  and briefly in my earlier comment “Reply to Ed.”  What is it that you now don’t find convincing about either Rawls’s or my arguments?

Neither of us endorse property rights as they are.  How would Rawls achieve his ideal of equal opportunity that gives each person in a society the same opportunities for success as anyone else with the same native abilities.  Imagine the redistribution of educational resources necessary to achieve that!  So do you think that the rich have a good moral argument against the redistributive policies that both Rawls and I endorse?  The way I address my argument to libertarians, using their premises, makes it difficult from them to reject my conclusions. So were do you see a problem with Rawls’s or my moral arguments against the rich?

2 Responses to “Another Reply to Ed”

  1. Ed Manier says:

    I feel no need for forgiveness for transgressions I haven’t committed and wouldn’t think of committing; nor do I appreciate compliments for reforms that I haven’t undertaken since they weren’t necessary in the first place.

    None of my gears permit 360, I suppose you meant 180, degree shifts; nor can any of my processors even compute the meaning of a 360 or 180 degree gear shift. I do not care to speculate the old man from Harvard might have thought if he had paid closer attention to your work, and I would just as soon leave libertarians out of the picture, if that’s all right with you. I promise never to use or mention a proper name again in this discussion.

    So let’s drop ALL that business less we corrupt the youth.

    Have you indicated whether the egalitarianism you advocate has to do with opportunity (education) or outcomes (quality of life)?

    I am and always have been solidly on the side of equal educational opportunity, and very much regret circumstances which give parental control of real estate the power to tip the educational balance in favor of their offspring. But we wouldn’t have to abolish private property to change that.

    On the other hand, guaranteeing equality of outcomes just seems quixotic to me and I don’t see how any mental exercise (e.g., such idealizations as perfect vacua or absolute zero) could change that. As far as future generations are concerned, I expect the lot of the less advantaged will continue to depend heavily on medical and technical progress.

    Can we have both economic/technological progress and social justice?

    Is there room in your philosophy for that question?

    • James says:

      I will try to be brief.

      I actually meant 360 degrees. My idea was you were back to your starting point but now facing in the opposite direction. No longer for Rawls and against me, but now against both of us.

      The answers to all three of your questions is yes. Even my 30 pages essay indicates my affirmative answers to these questions.