Is Equality A Necessity?

Is Equality A Necessity?

For most egalitarians, equality is a moral concept. What moves them is a conviction that gross disparities of wealth, income, status, power, and respect between men do violence to their common humanity and create relationships between them that are profoundly inferior in quality to the best of which they are capable. Others may remain unmoved by such propositions and, especially if comfortably placed themselves, may derive much positive satisfaction from, and offer vehement approval of, those inequalities which seem to their fellows so offensive. Between these two groups there is little likelihood of a rational moral discourse through which egalitarians might hope to persuade the rest to adopt more generous-spirited conceptions of how men could and ought to live together. Attitudes and values on such matters are normally shaped by far more complex and subtle patterns of influence than direct exchanges of argument alone, though these have their place in the process, even if only for their impact upon those whose opinions are not yet irrevocably formed.

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tote | University of California Press Lima