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Liberalism and Its Critics

READINGS IN SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL T H E O R Y

Edited by William Connolly and Steven Lukes Legitimacy and the State edited by William Connolly Power edited by Steven Lukes Democracy edited by George Kateb Language and Politics edited by Michael Shapiro Rational Choice edited by Jon Elster

Liberalism and Its Critics


Edited by MICHAEL J. SANDEL

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N e w York University Press N e w York 1984

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Michael J. Sandel, 1984 First published in 1984 in the U.S.A. by New York University Press, Washington Square, New York N.Y. 10003 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Main entry under title: Liberalism and its critics.(Readings in social and political theory) Bibliography, p. Includes index. 1. LiberalismAddresses, essays, lectures. 1. Sandel, Michael J. II. Series. JC571.L536 1984 320.5'1 84-16503 ISBN 0-8147-7840-2 ISBN 0-8147-7841-0 (pbk.)

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Typeset by Katerprint Co. Ltd, Oxford Printed and bound in Great Britain

Contents

Introduction PART 1 1 2 3 4 5 Isaiah Berlin T w o C o n c e p t s of Liberty John Rawls T h e Right a n d the G o o d Contrasted Ronald Dworkin Liberalism Friedrich A. Hayek Equality, Value, and M e r i t Robert Nozick M o r a l C o n s t r a i n t s and Distributive Justice P A R T II 6 Alasdair Maclntyre The Virtues, the Unity of a H u m a n Life, a n d the C o n c e p t of a Tradition Peter Berger O n the Obsolescence of the Concept of H o n o u r Michael J. Sandel Justice a n d the G o o d Charles Taylor Hegel: H i s t o r y a n d Politics MtchaelWalzer Welfare, M e m b e r s h i p a n d Need Michael Oakeshott Political E d u c a t i o n

1 13 15 37 60 80 100

123 125

7 8 9 10 11

149 159 177 200 219

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Contents Hannah A rendt The Revolutionary Tradition and its Lost Treasure Index 239

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265

Introduction

Liberals often t a k e pride in defending w h a t they oppose p o r n o g r a p h y , for e x a m p l e , or u n p o p u l a r views. They say the state s h o u l d n o t impose a preferred way of life, but should leave its citizens as free as possible to choose their o w n values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others. This c o m m i t m e n t to freedom of choice requires liberals constantly to distinguish between permission and praise, between allowing a practice and e n d o r s i n g it. It is o n e thing to allow p o r n o g r a p h y , they argue, s o m e t h i n g else to affirm it. Conservatives sometimes exploit this distinction by ignoring it. They charge t h a t those w h o w o u l d allow abortions favour abor tion, t h a t o p p o n e n t s of school prayer o p p o s e prayer, that those w h o defend the rights of C o m m u n i s t s sympathize with their cause. A n d in a pattern of a r g u m e n t familiar in o u r politics, liberals reply by invoking higher principles; it is not that they dislike, say, p o r n o g r a p h y less, r a t h e r that they value toleration, or freedom of choice, or fair p r o c e d u r e s m o r e . But in c o n t e m p o r a r y debate, the liberal rejoinder seems increasingly fragile, its moral basis increasingly unclear. Why should toleration a n d freedom of choice prevail when other i m p o r t a n t values are also at stake? T o o often the answer implies some version of moral relativism, the idea that it is w r o n g to 'legislate m o r a l i t y ' because all morality is merely subjective. ' W h o is t o say w h a t is literature a n d w h a t is filth? T h a t is a value j u d g e m e n t , a n d w h o s e values should decide?' Relativism usually a p p e a r s less as a claim than as a question. ( ' W h o is to judge?') But it is a question t h a t can also be asked of the values t h a t liberals defend. Toleration a n d freedom a n d fairness are values t o o , a n d they can hardly be defended by the claim t h a t n o values can be defended. So it is a mistake to affirm liberal values by a r g u i n g that all values are merely subjective. The relativist defence of liberalism is n o defence at all.

Introduction

What, then, can be the moral basis of the higher principles the liberal invokes? Recent political philosophy has offered two main alternatives - one utilitarian, the other Kantian. The utilitarian view, following John Stuart Mill, defends liberal principles in the name of maximizing the general welfare. The state should n o t impose on its citizens a preferred way of life, even for their o w n good, because doing so will reduce the sum of h u m a n happiness, at least in the long run; better that people choose for themselves, even if, on occasion, they get it wrong. 'The only freedom which deserves the n a m e ' , writes Mill, 'is that of pursuing our o w n good in o u r o w n way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.' He adds that his a r g u m e n t does not depend on any notion of abstract right, only on the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number. 'I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of m a n as a progressive being.'
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Many objections have been raised against utilitarianism as a general doctrine of moral philosophy. Some have questioned the concept of utility, and the assumption that all h u m a n goods are in principle commensurable. Others have objected that by reducing all values to preferences and desires, utilitarians are unable to a d m i t qualitative distinctions of w o r t h , unable to distinguish noble desires from base ones. But most recent debate has focused on w h e t h e r utilitarianism offers a convincing basis for liberal principles, including respect for individual rights. In one respect, utilitarianism would seem well-suited to liberal purposes. Maximizing utility does not require judging people's values, only aggregating them. And the willingness to aggregate preferences without judging them suggests a tolerant spirit, even a democratic one. When people go to the polls, we count their votes whatever they are. But the utilitarian calculus is not always as liberal as it first appears. If enough cheering Romans pack the Colosseum to w a t c h the lion devour the Christian, the collective pleasure of the R o m a n s will surely outweigh the pain of the Christian, intense t h o u g h it be. Or if a big majority abhors a small religion and wants it b a n n e d , the balance of preferences will favour suppression, not toleration. Utilitarians sometimes defend individual rights on the g r o u n d s t h a t respecting them now will serve utility in the long run. But this calculation is precarious and contingent. It hardly secures the liberal promise not to impose on some the values of others As the majority will is an inadequate instrument of liberal politics, so

Introduction

the utilitarian p h i l o s o p h y is an inadequate foundation for liberal principles. T h e case against utilitarianism was m a d e most powerfully by Kant. H e a r g u e d t h a t empirical principles, such as utility, were unfit to serve as basis for the m o r a l law. A wholly instrumental defence of freedom a n d rights not only leaves rights vulnerable, but fails to respect the inherent dignity of persons. T h e utilitarian calculus treats people as m e a n s to the happiness of others, not as ends in themselves, w o r t h y of r e s p e c t . C o n t e m p o r a r y liberals extend Kant's argument with the claim t h a t utilitarianism fails t o t a k e seriously t h e distinction between persons. In seeking a b o v e all to maximize the general welfare, the utilitarian treats society as a w h o l e as if it were a single person; it conflates o u r m a n y , diverse desires into a single system of desires, a n d tries to m a x i m i z e . It is indifferent to the distribution of satisfactions a m o n g persons, except insofar as this may affect the overall s u m . But this fails to respect o u r plurality a n d distinctness. It uses s o m e as m e a n s t o the happiness of all, and so fails to respect each as an end in himself. M o d e r n - d a y K a n t i a n s reject the utilitarian approach in favour of an ethic t h a t takes rights m o r e seriously. In their view, certain rights are so f u n d a m e n t a l t h a t even the general welfare cannot override them. As J o h n Rawls writes: 'Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice t h a t even the welfare of society as a whole c a n n o t override . . . the rights secured by justice are not subject to political b a r g a i n i n g o r t o the calculus of social interests.' So K a n t i a n liberals need an account of rights t h a t does not depend o n utilitarian considerations. M o r e t h a n this, they need an a c c o u n t t h a t does n o t d e p e n d on any particular conception of the g o o d , t h a t does n o t p r e s u p p o s e the superiority of one way of life over o t h e r s . O n l y a justification neutral a m o n g ends could preserve the liberal resolve n o t t o favour any particular ends, or to impose o n its citizens a preferred w a y of life. But w h a t sort of justification could this be? H o w is it possible to affirm certain liberties a n d rights as fundamental w i t h o u t embrac ing s o m e vision of the g o o d life, w i t h o u t endorsing some ends over others? It w o u l d seem w e are back to the relativist predicament - to affirm liberal principles w i t h o u t embracing any particular ends. T h e solution p r o p o s e d by Kantian liberals is to d r a w a distinc tion between the ' r i g h t ' a n d the ' g o o d ' - between a framework of basic rights a n d liberties, a n d the conceptions of the good that people m a y c h o o s e t o p u r s u e within the framework. It is one thing for the state to s u p p o r t a fair framework, they argue, something
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Introduction

else to affirm some particular ends. For example, it is one thing to defend the right to free speech so that people may be free t o form their own opinions and choose their o w n ends, but something else to support it on the grounds that a life of political discussion is inherently worthier t h a n a life unconcerned with public affairs, or on the grounds that free speech will increase the general welfare. Only the first defence is available on the Kantian view, resting as it does on the ideal of a neutral framework. N o w the commitment to a framework neutral a m o n g ends can be seen as a kind of value - in this sense the Kantian liberal is n o relativist - but its value consists precisely in its refusal t o affirm a preferred way of life or conception of the good. For Kantian liberals, then, the right is prior to the good, and in two senses. First, individual rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the general good, and second, the principles of justice that specify these rights cannot be premissed on any particular vision of tbe good life. W h a t justifies the rights is not that they maximize the general welfare or otherwise p r o m o t e the good, but rather that they comprise a fair framework within which individuals and groups can choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for o t h e r s . Of course, proponents of the rights-based ethic notoriously disagree on what rights are fundamental, and on w h a t political arrangements the ideal of the neutral framework requires. Egali tarian liberals support the welfare state, and favour a scheme of civil liberties together with certain social and economic rights rights to welfare, education, health care, and so on. Libertarian liberals defend the market economy, and claim that redistributive policies violate people's rights; they favour a scheme of civil liber ties combined with a strict regime of private property rights. But whether egalitarian or libertarian, rights-based liberalism begins with the claim that we are separate, individual persons, each with our own aims, interests, and conceptions of the good, and seeks a framework of rights that will enable us to realize our capacity as free moral agents, consistent with a similar liberty for o t h e r s . Within academic philosophy, the last decade or so has seen the ascendance of the rights-based ethic over the utilitarian o n e , due in large part to the powerful influence of J o h n R a w l s ' A Theory of Justice. In the debate between utilitarian and rights-based theories, the rights-based ethic has come to prevail. The legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart recently described the shift from 'the old faith that some form of utilitarianism must capture the essence of political morality' to the new faith that 'the truth must lie with a doctrine of

Introduction

basic h u m a n rights, protecting specific basic liberties and interests of individuals. . . . W h e r e a s n o t so long ago great energy and much ingenuity of m a n y p h i l o s o p h e r s were devoted to making some form of utilitarianism w o r k , latterly such energies and ingenuity have been devoted to t h e articulation of theories of basic r i g h t s . ' But in p h i l o s o p h y as in life, the new faith becomes the old o r t h o d o x y before long. Even as it has come to prevail over its utilitarian rival, t h e rights-based ethic has recently faced a growing challenge from a different direction, from a view that gives fuller expression to the claims of citizenship a n d community than the liberal vision allows. Recalling the arguments of Hegel against Kant, the c o m m u n i t a r i a n critics of modern liberalism question the claim for the priority of the right over the good, and the picture of the freely-choosing individual it embodies. Following Aristotle, they argue t h a t w e c a n n o t justify political arrangements without reference t o c o m m o n p u r p o s e s a n d ends, and that we cannot conceive o u r p e r s o n h o o d w i t h o u t reference to our role as citizens, and as p a r t i c i p a n t s in a c o m m o n life. This debate reflects t w o contrasting pictures of the self. The rightsbased ethic, a n d the conception of the person it embodies, were shaped in large p a r t in the e n c o u n t e r with utilitarianism. Where utilitarians conflate o u r m a n y desires into a single system of desire, Kantians insist on t h e separateness of persons. Where the utilitarian self is simply defined as the s u m of its desires, the Kantian self is a choosing self, i n d e p e n d e n t of the desires a n d ends it m a y have at any m o m e n t . As R a w l s writes: ' T h e self is prior to the ends which are affirmed by it; even a d o m i n a n t end must be chosen from a m o n g n u m e r o u s possibilities.' T h e priority of the self over its ends means I am never defined by my aims a n d a t t a c h m e n t s , b u t always capable of standing back to survey a n d assess a n d possibly to revise them. This is w h a t is means to be a free a n d i n d e p e n d e n t self, capable of choice. And this is the vision of the self t h a t finds expression in the ideal of the state as a neutral f r a m e w o r k . O n the rights-based ethic, it is precisely because we are essentially s e p a r a t e , independent selves that w e need a neutral f r a m e w o r k , a f r a m e w o r k of rights that refuses to choose a m o n g c o m p e t i n g p u r p o s e s a n d ends. If the self is prior to its ends, then t h e right m u s t be prior t o the good. C o m m u n i t a r i a n critics of rights-based liberalism say we cannot conceive ourselves as i n d e p e n d e n t in this w a y , as bearers of selves wholly d e t a c h e d from o u r aims a n d attachments. They say that certain of o u r roles are partly constitutive of the persons we are - as citizens of a c o u n t r y , o r m e m b e r s of a movement, or partisans of a
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Introduction

cause. But if we are partly defined by the communities we inhabit, then we must also be implicated in the purposes and ends characteristic of those communities. As Alasdair M a c l n t y r e writes: 'what is good for me has to be the good for one w h o inhabits these roles.' Open-ended though it be, the story of my life is always embedded in the story of those communities from which I derive my identity - whether family or city, tribe or nation, party or cause. O n the communitarian view, these stories m a k e a moral difference, not only a psychological one. They situate us in the w o r l d , a n d give our lives their moral particularity. What is at stake for politics in the debate between u n e n c u m bered selves and situated ones? W h a t are the practical differences between a politics of rights and a politics of the c o m m o n good? O n some issues, the two theories may produce different a r g u m e n t s for similar policies. For example, the civil rights m o v e m e n t of the 1960s might be justified by liberals in the n a m e of h u m a n dignity and respect for persons, and by communitarians in the n a m e of recognizing the full membership of fellow citizens wrongly excluded from the c o m m o n life of the nation. And where liberals might support public education in hopes.of equipping students to become a u t o n o m o u s individuals, capable of choosing their o w n ends and pursuing them effectively, communitarians might s u p p o r t public education in hopes of equipping students t o b e c o m e good citizens, capable of contributing meaningfully t o public delibera tions and pursuits. On other issues, the t w o ethics might lead to different policies. Communitarians w o u l d be m o r e likely than liberals t o allow a town to ban pornographic bookstores, on the g r o u n d s that pornography offends its way of life and the values that sustain it. But a politics of civic virtue does n o t always part c o m p a n y with liberalism in favour of conservative policies. For e x a m p l e , com munitarians w o u l d be more willing t h a n some rights-oriented liberals to see states enact laws regulating plant closings, to protect their communities from the disruptive effects of capital mobility and sudden industrial change. M o r e generally, w h e r e the liberal regards the expansion of individual rights a n d entitlements as unqualified moral and political progress, the c o m m u n i t a r i a n is troubled by the tendency of liberal p r o g r a m m e s t o displace politics from smaller forms of a s s o c i a t i o r T ' t o m o r e comprehensive ones. Where libertarian liberals defend the private economy a n d egali tarian liberals defend the welfare state, c o m m u n i t a r i a n s w o r r y about the concentration of power in both the corporate e c o n o m y a n d the bureaucratic state, and the erosion of those intermediate
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Introduction

forms of c o m m u n i t y t h a t have at times sustained a more vital public life. Liberals often a r g u e t h a t a politics of the c o m m o n good, and the moral particularity it affirms, open the way to prejudice and intolerance. T h e m o d e r n nation-state is not the Athenian polis, they point o u t ; the scale a n d diversity of m o d e r n life have rendered the Aristotelian political ethic nostalgic at best and dangerous at worst. Any a t t e m p t to govern by a vision of the g o o d is likely to lead to a slippery slope of t o t a l i t a r i a n t e m p t a t i o n s . C o m m u n i t a r i a n s reply t h a t intolerance flourishes most where forms of life are dislocated, roots unsettled, traditions undone. In o u r d a y , the t o t a l i t a r i a n impulse has sprung less from the convic tions of confidently situated selves than from the confusions of atomized, dislocated, frustrated selves, at sea in a world where c o m m o n m e a n i n g s h a v e lost their force. As H a n n a h Arendt has written: ' W h a t m a k e s mass society so difficult to bear is not the n u m b e r of p e o p l e involved, or at least not primarily, but the fact that the w o r l d b e t w e e n t h e m has lost its power to gather them together, t o relate a n d t o separate t h e m . ' Insofar as our public life has w i t h e r e d , o u r sense of c o m m o n involvement diminished, to that extent w e lie v u l n e r a b l e to the mass politics of totalitarian solutions. So r e s p o n d s the p a r t y of the c o m m o n good to the party of rights. If the p a r t y of the c o m m o n good is right, our most pressing m o r a l a n d political project is to revitalize those civic republican possibilities implicit in our tradition but fading in our time.
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The writings collected in this volume present leading statements of rights-based liberalism a n d s o m e examples of the communitarian, or republican alternatives to that position. The principle of selection h a s been t o shift the focus from the familiar debate between utilitarians a n d K a n t i a n liberals - a debate n o w largely decided - in o r d e r t o consider a m o r e powerful challenge to the rights-based ethic, the o n e indebted, broadly speaking, to Aristotle, Hegel, a n d the civic r e p u b l i c a n tradition. In ' T w o C o n c e p t s of Liberty', p e r h a p s the most influential essay of p o s t - w a r political theory, Isaiah Berlin gives vigorous expression to a powerful s t r a n d of m o d e r n liberalism. It is the claim for the ultimate plurality of h u m a n values, a n d the impossibility ever finally of reconciling t h e m . T h e w o r l d t h a t w e e n c o u n t e r in ordinary experience is one in w h i c h w e are faced with choices between ends equally

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Introduction

ultimate, and claims equally absolute, the realization of some of which must inevitably involve the sacrifice of o t h e r s . Indeed, it is because this is their situation that men place such immense value upon the freedom t o choose; for if they h a d assurance that in some perfect state, realizable by men o n earth, no ends pursued by them w o u l d ever be in conflict, the necessity and agony of choice would disappear, and w i t h it the central importance of the freedom to choose. In view of the ultimate plurality of ends, Berlin concludes, freedom of choice is 'a truer and more h u m a n e ideal' than the alternatives. And he quotes with approval the view of J o s e p h Schumpeter that 'to realise the relative validity of one's convictions, and yet stand for them unflinchingly, is w h a t distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.' Although Berlin is not strictly speaking a relativist - he affirms the ideal of freedom of choice his position comes perilously close to foundering on the relativist predicament. If one's convictions are only relatively valid, w h y stand for them unflinchingly? In a tragically-configured m o r a l universe, such as Berlin assumes, is the ideal of freedom any less subject than competing ideals to the ultimate incommensurability of values? If so, in what can its privileged status consist? A n d if freedom has n o morally privileged status, if it is just o n e value among many, then w h a t can be said for l i b e r a l i s m ^ John Rawls' A Theory of Justice, the major text of c o n t e m p o r a r y liberal political philosophy, proposes a w a y of acknowledging a plurality of ends while affirming nonetheless a regulative frame work of liberties and rights. H e w o u l d avoid the self-refuting tendency of liberal theories by deriving principles of justice in a w a y that does not presuppose any particular conception of the g o o d . These principles specify basic rights a n d liberties, but, o w i n g to the design of the 'original position', d o n o t choose in advance a m o n g competing purposes and ends. The excerpts of his w o r k presented here do not concern such widely-discussed topics as the original position and the difference principle, but focus instead on the structure of his theory, and in particular on his claim for the priority of the right over the good, and for the conception of the self that this entails. These are the aspects of his theory most character istic of Kantian liberalism and most sharply o p p o s e d t o the Aristotelian tradition and other teleological conceptions. The selections by Ronald D w o r k i n , Friedrich Hayek, and R o b e r t Nozick illustrate the similarities and differences within rights-based liberalism. Whereas Rawls a n d D w o r k i n advocate certain welfare
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Introduction

rights t h a t H a y e k a n d Nozick oppose, all argue in the name of rights which d o n o t rely on n o t i o n s of moral merit or virtue, or an intrinsic h u m a n g o o d . D w o r k i n , sympathetic to the welfare state, holds that ' g o v e r n m e n t must be neutral' on the question of the good life, t h a t political decisions must be 'independent of any particular conception of the g o o d life, or of w h a t gives value to life' (p. 64). A n d N o z i c k , arguing for a minimal state, holds that government must be 'scrupulously neutral between its citizens' (p. 105). A l t h o u g h H a y e k a n d Nozick oppose the redistributive policies favoured by R a w l s , all reject the idea that income and wealth s h o u l d be distributed according to moral merit or desert. For R a w l s , basing entitlements on merit or desert or virtue would put the g o o d before the right; in order to preserve the priority of right, he bases entitlements on 'legitimate expectations' instead. For Hayek a n d N o z i c k , tying entitlements to merit or desert would undercut people's freedom to barter a n d trade as they choose, and to reap t h e benefits of their exchanges. All p u t primary emphasis on what R a w l s calls ' t h e distinction between persons', and Nozick terms 'the fact of o u r s e p a r a t e existences'. O n e reason liberals are reluctant to tie people's entitlements to their merit o r desert or virtue is that, on the liberal conception of the person, the qualities t h a t distinguish people as meritorious or deserving or v i r t u o u s are n o t essential constituents but only contingent attributes of the self. As Rawls argues, the endowments and o p p o r t u n i t i e s t h a t lead to good character and conscientious effort are ' a r b i t r a r y from a moral point of view' (p. 45). On the liberal view, the self is prior to its ends - this assures its capacity to choose it ends - a n d also prior to its roles and dispositions - this assures its i n d e p e n d e n c e from social conventions, and hence its separateness of p e r s o n , its individuality. T h e writings by Alasdair M a c l n t y r e , Peter Berger, and Michael Sandel challenge t h e liberal view by calling into question the picture of the self t h a t it implies. In contrast to the liberal's unencumbered self, M a c l n t y r e p r o p o s e s a narrative conception of the self, a self constituted in p a r t by a life story with a certain telos, or point. As the telos is n o t fixed o r fully identifiable in advance, the unity of a life is t h e unity of a n a r r a t i v e quest, a quest whose object is a fuller and m o r e a d e q u a t e g r a s p of a g o o d only intimated at the outset. On the narrative view, my identity is not independent of my aims and a t t a c h m e n t s , b u t partly constituted by them; I am situated from the start, e m b e d d e d in a history which locates m e a m o n g others, and implicates m y g o o d in t h e g o o d of the communities whose stories 1 share.

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Berger offers an illuminating contrast between the concepts of honour and dignity, which corresponds to the contrast between situated selves and unencumbered ones. T h e concept of honour implies that identity is essentially linked to social roles, he points out, while the concept of dignity, m o r e familiar in the liberal ethic, implies that identity is essentially indepen dent of such roles. In the passage entitled 'Justice a n d the Good', I try to argue, along similar lines, that the u n e n c u m b e r e d self presupposed by rights-based liberalism c a n n o t adequately account for such notions as character, self-knowledge, and friendship. The writings by Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer, a n d Michael Oakeshott illustrate the consequences for political discourse of assuming situated selves rather than unencumbered selves. In different ways, each sees political discourse as proceeding within the common meanings and traditions of a political c o m m u n i t y , not appealing to a critical standpoint wholly external to those mean ings. Taylor identifies Hegel's critique of Kantian liberalism with Hegel's distinction between 'Sittlichkeif and Moralitat'. Sittlichkeit, or 'ethical life', refers to norms embodied in a c o m m u n i t y , and describes my obligation qua participant to realize moral possibili ties already there, implicit in a way of life. Moralitat, by contrast, refers to abstract principles as yet unrealized in a c o m m u n i t y , available to us qua individuals standing in radical opposition to community. As Taylor explains, Hegel runs counter t o the moral instinct of liberalism by holding that not Moralitat but Sittlichkeit is the highest moral aspiration; h u m a n freedom can only be achieved in a realized Sittlichkeit, an ethical political c o m m u n i t y that expresses the identity of its members. Walzer, a democratic socialist, and O a k e s h o t t , a traditional conservative, both conceive moral reasoning as an appeal to meanings internal to a political c o m m u n i t y , n o t an appeal to abstract principles. For Walzer, unlike Rawls, the case for the welfare state begins with a theory of membership, not rights.
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Welfare rights are fixed only when a community adopts some program of mutual provision. There are strong arguments to be made that, under given historical conditions, suchand-such a program should be adopted. But these are not arguments a b o u t individual rights; they are arguments a b o u t the character of a particular political community (p. 204).

Introduction Similarly for O a k c s h o t t , political traditions. c o m p o s e a p a t t e r n a n d at the same time they intimate a s y m p a t h y for w h a t does not fully appear. Political activity is the e x p l o r a t i o n of t h a t s y m p a t h y ; and consequently, relevant political reasoning will be the convincing exposure of a s y m p a t h y , present b u t not yet followed up, and the convin cing d e m o n s t r a t i o n t h a t n o w is the appropriate moment for recognizing it. . . . In politics, then, every enterprise is a consequential enterprise, the pursuit, not of a dream, or of a general principle, b u t of an intimation (p. 229).

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Finally, H a n n a h A r c n d t considers h o w the framers of the American constitution might have embodied freedom in what she regards as the only institution capable of sustaining it, the ward or council system. She concludes that the Western democracies have managed to represent interests but not to cultivate citizenship; they protect civil liberties b u t have not secured freedom in the republi can sense of a shared public life.

NOTES

1 Mill, On Liberty, ch. J. 2 See Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785); and "On the Common Saying: "This May be True In Theory, But It Does Not Apply in Practice'."' (1793). 3 Rawls, A Theory of justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 3-4. ' 4 Hart, 'Between Utility and Rights', in Alan Ryan (ed.) The Idea of Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 77. 5 Rawls, A Theory of justice, p. 560. 6 Maclntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), p. 205. 7 Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago I ress, 1958), pp. 5 2 - 3 .

PARTI

1 Isaiah Berlin: Two Concepts of Liberty "


51

T o coerce a m a n is to deprive him of freedom - freedom from w h a t ? Almost every moralist in h u m a n history has praised freedom. Like happiness and goodness, like nature and reality, the meaning of this term is so p o r o u s that there is little interpretation that it seems able to resist. I d o not propose to discuss either the history or the m o r e than t w o h u n d r e d senses of this protean w o r d recorded by historians of ideas. I p r o p o s e t o examine n o more t h a n t w o of the senses but those central ones, with a great deal of h u m a n history behind them, a n d , 1 dare say, still to come. The first of these political senses of freedom or liberty (I shall use b o t h w o r d s to mean the same), which (following much precedent) I shall call the 'ne^ative^sense, is involved in the answer to the question ' W h a t is Tflearea within which the subject - a person or group of persons is or should be left t o d o or be w h a t he is able to do or be, w i t h o u t interference by o t h e r p e r s o n s ? ' The second, which I shall call the positive sense, is involved in the answer to the question ' W h a t , or w h o ~ i s the source of control or interference that can determine s o m e o n e to d o , o r be, this rather than t h a t ? ' T h e t w o questions are clearly different, even t h o u g h the answers to them may overlap.

THE

NOTION

OF

"NEGATIVE

FREEDOM

I a m normally said to be free to the degree to which n o m a n or b o d y of m e n interferes w i t h my activity. Political liberty in this sense is * Oxford University Press 1969. Reprinted from Four Essays on Liberty, by Sir Isaiah Berlin (1969), by permission of Oxford University Press.

16

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

simply the area within which a m a n can act unobstructed b y o t h e r s . If I am prevented by others from doing w h a t I could otherwise d o , 1 am to that degree unfree; and if this area is contracted b y other men beyond a certain minimum, 1 can be described as being coerced, or, it may be, enslaved. Coercion is not, however, a term that covers every form of inability. If 1 say that I am unable to jump m o r e t h a n ten feet in the air, or cannot read because I am blind, or c a n n o t understand the darker pages of Hegel, it would be eccentric to say that 1 am to that degree enslaved or coerced. Coercion implies the ' deliberate interference of other h u m a n beings within the area in which I could otherwise act. Y o ^ j a c k political liberty or freedom only if you are prevented from attaining a goal by h u m a n beings. Mere incapacity to attain a goal is not lack of political f r e e d o m . This is brought out by the use of such modern expressions as 'economic freedom' and its counterpart, 'economic slavery'. It is argued, very plausibly, that if a man is too poor to afford something on which there is no legal ban - a loaf of bread, a journey r o u n d the world, recourse to the law courts he is as little free to h a v e it as he would be if it were forbidden him by law. If my poverty were a kind of disease, which prevented me from buying bread, or paying for the journey round the world or getting my case heard, as lameness prevents me from running, this inability would not natutally be described as a lack of freedom, least of all political freedom. It is only because I believe that my inability to get a given thing is d u e t o the fact that other h u m a n beings have made arrangements w h e r e b y I am, whereas others are not, prevented from having enough m o n e y with which to pay for it, that I think myself a victim of coercion or slavery. In other words, this use of the term depends on a particular social and economic theory about the causes of my poverty or weakness. If my lack of material means is due t o my lack of mental or physical capacity, then I begin to speak of being deprived of freedom (and not simply about poverty) only if I accept the t h e o r y . ' If, in addition, I believe that I am being kept in w a n t by a specific arrangement which 1 consider unjust or unfair, I speak of e c o n o m i c slavery or oppression. T h e nature of things does not m a d d e n us, only ill will does', said Rousseau. T h e criterion of oppression is the part t h a t I believe to be played by other h u m a n beings, directly or indirectly, with or without the intention of doing so, in frustrating ! wishes. By_bemgjn;e i n this.sen.se..! mean n o j b e i n g j n t e T f e j r e . d i with by others.TJbe w i d e r the area of non-intcrferenc* "thVwitkr J i i y i freedom. ! This is what the classical English political philosophers m e a n t \ y w o r d . They disagreed a b o u t h o w wide the
2 m v L w h e n t h e u s e d t h i s 4

Isaiah

Berlin

17

area could or s h o u l d be. They supposed t h a t it could not, as things were, be unlimited, because if it were, it would entail a state in which all men could boundlessly interfere with all other men; and this k i n d of ' n a t u r a l ' freedom w o u l d lead to social chaos in which m e n ' s m i n i m u m needs w o u l d n o t be satisfied; or else the liberties of the w e a k w o u l d be suppressed by the strong. Because they perceived that h u m a n p u r p o s e s and activities d o not automatically h a r m o n i z e with o n e a n o t h e r , and because (whatever their official doctrines) they p u t high value on other goals, such as justice, or happiness, or culture, or security, or varying degrees of equality, they w e r e p r e p a r e d to curtail freedom in the interests of other values a n d , indeed, of ffeectom itself. For, without this, it was impossible to create the kind of association that they thought desirable. C o n s e q u e n t l y , it is assumed by these thinkers that the area of m e n ' s free action must be limited by law. But equally it is assumed, especially by such libertarians as Locke and. Mill in England, a n d C o n s t a n t and Tocqueville in France, that there ought to exist a certain m i n i m u m area of personal freedom which must on n o a c c o u n t be violated; for if it is overstepped, the individual will find himself in an area t o o n a r r o w for even that minimum d e v e l o p m e n t of his n a t u r a l faculties which alone makes it possible to p u r s u e , and even to conceive, the various ends which men hold g o o d or right or sacred. It follows t h a t a.frontier must be d r a w n f b e t w e e n the area of private life and that of public authority. Where : it is t o be d r a w n is a matter of argument, indeed of haggling. M e n are largely i n t e r d e p e n d e n t , a n d n o m a n ' s activity is so completely private as never t o o b s t r u c t the lives of others in any way. 'Freedom for the pike is death for the m i n n o w s ' ; the liberty of some must depend on the restraint of others. 'Freedom for an Oxford d o n ' , others have been k n o w n to a d d , 'is a very different thing from freedom for an Egyptian p e a s a n t . ' This p r o p o s i t i o n derives its force from something that is both true a n d i m p o r t a n t , b u t the p h r a s e itself remains a piece of political c l a p t r a p . It is true t h a t to offer political rights, or safeguards against intervention by the state, to men w h o are half-naked, illiterate, underfed, a n d diseased is to mock their condition; they need medical help or e d u c a t i o n before they can u n d e r s t a n d , or make use of, an increase in their freedom. W h a t is freedom to those w h o c a n n o t m a k e use of it? W i t h o u t a d e q u a t e conditions for the use of freedom, w h a t is the value of freedom? First things come first: there are situations, as a nineteenth-century Russian radical writer declared, in w h i c h b o o t s are superior t o the w o r k s of Shakespeare; individual freedom is n o t everyone's primary need. For freedom is

18

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

not the mere absence of frustration of w h a t e v e r kind; this would inflate the meaning of the word until it m e a n t t o o much or too little. The Egyptian peasant needs clothes or medicine before, and more than, personal liberty, but the m i n i m u m freedom t h a t he needs today, and the greater degree of freedom that he may need tomorrow, is not some species of freedom peculiar to him, but identical with that of professors, artists, a n d millionaires. What troubles the consciences of Western liberals is not, 1 think, the belief that the freedom that men seek differs according to their social or economic conditions, but t h a t the minority w h o possess it have gained it by exploiting, or, at least, averting their gaze from, the vast majority w h o do not. They believe, with good reason, that if jndividual liberty is a n ultimate end for h u m a n beings, none sJiQuld be deprived of it by others; least of all that some should enjoy it at the expense of others. Equality of liberty; not to treat others as 1 should not wish them to treat m e ; r e p a y m e n t of my debt to those w h o alone have made possible my liberty or prosperity or enlightenment; justice, in its simplest and most universal sense these are t h e i o u n d a t i o n s of liberal fnorality. Liberty is not the only -SS^l?* - can, like "the Russian critic Belinsky, say that if others are to be deprived of it - if my b r o t h e r s are t o remain in poverty, squalor, and chains - then 1 do not w a n t it for myself, 1 reject it with both hands and infinitely prefer to share their fate. But nothing is gained by a confusion of terms. T o avoid glaring inequality or widespread misery 1 am ready to sacrifice s o m e , or all, of my freedom: 1 may do so willingly and freely: but it is freedom that 1 am giving up for the sake of justice or equality or the love of my fellow men. I should be guilt-stricken, and rightly so, if 1 were not, in some circumstances, ready to m a k e this sacrifice. But a sacrifice is not an increase in what is being sacrificed, namely freedom, however great the moral need or the compensation for it. Everything is w h a t it is: hjjerty is hberty, not equality or fairness o r justice or culture, or i W m ^ L S j ^ I n e s s , OJLa .quiet conscience. If the liberty of myself or ! my class or nation depends on the misery of a n u m b e r of other ; human beings, the system which p r o m o t e s this is unjust and H u m o r a l . But if I curtail or lose my freedom, in o r d e r to lessen the shame of such inequality, and d o n o t thereby materially increase the individual liberty of others, an a b s o l u t e loss of liberty occurs.
m e n 1

ihis may be compensated for by a gain in justice or in happiness or in peace, but the loss remains, a n d it is a confusion of values to say tnat although my 'liberal', individual freedom m a y g o by the board, some other kind of freedom - 'social' or ' e c o n o m i c ' - is increased. l e t it remains true that the freedom of s o m e must at times be

Isaiah

Berlin

19

curtailed t o secure the freedom of others. Upon w h a t principle should this be d o n e ? If freedom is a sacred, untouchable value, there can be n o such principle. O n e or other of these conflicting rules or principles m u s t , at any rate in practice, yield: not always for r e a s o n s which can be clearly stated, let alone generalized into rules or universal m a x i m s . Still, a practical compromise has to be found. Philosophers with an optimistic view of h u m a n nature and a belief in the possibility of h a r m o n i z i n g h u m a n interests, such as Locke o r A d a m Smith and, in some m o o d s , Mill, believed that social h a r m o n y a n d progress were compatible with reserving a large area for private life over which neither the state nor any other authority must be allowed to trespass. H o b b e s , and those w h o agreed with him, especially conservative or reactionary thinkers, argued t h a t if men were to be prevented from destroying one a n o t h e r and m a k i n g social life a jungle or a wilderness, greater safeguards must be instituted to keep t h e m in their places; he wished correspondingly to increase the area of centralized control and decrease that of the individual. But both sides agreed that some p o r t i o n of h u m a n existence must remain independent of the sphere of social control. T o invade t h a t preserve, however small, w o u l d be despotism. T h e most e l o q u e n t of all defenders of freedom and privacy, Benjamin C o n s t a n t , w h o h a d not forgotten the Jacobin d i c t a t o r s h i p , declared that at the very least the liberty of religion, opinion, expression, p r o p e r t y , m u s t be guaranteed against arbitrary invasion. Jefferson, Burke, Paine, Mill, compiled different cata logues of individual liberties, but the argument for keeping a u t h o r i t y at bay is always substantially the same. We must preserve a m i n i m u m area of personal freedom if we are not to 'degrade or deny o u r n a t u r e ' . W e c a n n o t remain absolutely free, and must give u p s o m e of o u r liberty to preserve the rest. But total self-surrender is self-defeating. W h a t then m u s t be the m i n i m u m be? T h a t which a m a n c a n n o t give u p w i t h o u t offending against the essence of his h u m a n n a t u r e . W h a t is this essence? W h a t are the standards which it entails? This has been, a n d p e r h a p s always will be, a matter of infinite d e b a t e . But w h a t e v e r the principle in terms of which the area of non-interference is to be d r a w n , whether it is that of natural law o r n a t u r a l rights, or of utility or the p r o n o u n c e m e n t s of a categorical imperative, or the sanctity of the social contract, or any other concept with which men have sought to clarify and justify their convictions, liberty in this sense m e a n s liberty from; absence of interference beyooc)L.ihe. jhiftiag*. but ajways recognizable frontier. ' T h e only freedom which deserves the n a m e is tnat of
?

20

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

pursuing our o w n good in our o w n w a y ' , said the most celebrated of its champions. If this is so, is compulsion ever justified? Mill had no doubt that it was. Since justice d e m a n d s t h a t all individuals be entitled to a minimum of freedom, all other individuals were of necessity to be restrained, if need be by force, from depriving anyone of it. Indeed, the whole function of law w a s the prevention of just such collisions: the state w a s reduced to what_Lassalle contemptuously described as the functions of a n i g h t w a t c h m a n or traffic policeman. What made thejirotection of individual liberty so sacred to Mill? In his famous essay he declares t h a t , unless men are left to live as they wish 'in the path which merely concerns themselves', civiliza tion cannot advance; the truth will not, for lack of a free m a r k e t in ideas, come to light; there will be n o scope for spontaneity, originality, genius, for mental energy, for m o r a l c o u r a g e . Society will be crushed by the weight of 'collective mediocrity'. Whatever is rich and diversified will be crushed by the weight of custom, by men's constant tendency to conformity, which breeds only 'withered capacities', 'pinched and h i d e b o u n d ' , ' c r a m p e d and warped' h u m a n beings. 'Pagan self-assertion is as w o r t h y as Christian self-denial'. 'All the errors which a man is likely to commit against advice and warning are far o u t w e i g h e d by the evil of allowing others to constrain him to w h a t they deem is g o o d . ' The defence of liberty consists in the 'negative' goal of w a r d i n g off .interference. T o threaten a man with persecution unless he submits to a life in which he exercises n o choices of his goals; t o block before him every d o o r but one, n o m a t t e r h o w noble the prospect upon which it opens, or h o w benevolent the motives of those w h o arrange this, is to sin against the truth t h a t he is a m a n , a being with a life of his o w n to live. This is liberty as it has been conceived by ^liberals in the modern "world from the days of E r a s m u s (some would say of Occam) to o u r o w n . Every plea for civil liberties and individual rights, every protest against exploitation a n d humilia tion, against the encroachment of public a u t h o r i t y , or the mass hypnosis of custom or organized p r o p a g a n d a , springs from this individualistic, and much disputed, conception of m a n . * \/i 1 1 T / position m a y be n o t e d . In the first place i Mill confuses t w o distinct notions. O n e is t h a t all coercion is, in so tar as it frustrates h u m a n desires, b a d as such, a l t h o u g h it m a y have to be applied to prevent other, greater evils; while non-interference, which is the opposite of coercion, is g o o d as such, a l t h o u g h it is not the only good. This is the.jng ^atLv^- coneeption of liberty in its classical form. T h e otKe? is t h a t m e n should seek -toTifcCOvtf
r e e a c t s a b o u t t n i s

Isaiah

Berlin

21

the truth, or to develop a certain type of character of which Mill a p p r o v e d - critical, original, imaginative, independent, non conforming to the p o i n t of eccentricity, and so on - and that truth can be found, a n d such character can be bred, only in conditions of freedom. Both these a r e liberal views, but they are not identical, and the connection between them is, at best, empirical. N o one w o u l d argue t h a t t r u t h or freedom of self-expression could flourish where d o g m a crushes all t h o u g h t . But the evidence of history tends to show (as, indeed, w a s argued by fames Stephen in his formidable attack o n Mill in his Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) that integrity, love of t r u t h , and fiery individualism g r o w at least as often in severely disciplined c o m m u n i t i e s a m o n g , for example, the puritan Calvinists of Scotland or N e w England, or under military disci pline, as in m o r e tolerant or indifferent societies; and if this is so, Mill's a r g u m e n t for liberty as a necessary condition for the growth of h u m a n genius falls to the g r o u n d . If his t w o goals proved incompatible, Mill w o u l d be faced with a cruel dilemma, quite apart from the futher difficulties created by the inconsistency of his doctrines with strict utilitarianism, even in his o w n h u m a n e version of i t . In the second place, the doctrine is comparatively modern. There seems t o be scarcely any discussion of individual liberty as a conscious political ideal (as o p p o s e d to its actual existence) in the ancient w o r l d . C o n d o r c e t h a d already r e m a r k e d that the notion of individual rights was a b s e n t from the legal conceptions of the J S m a n s a n d G r e e k s ; this seems to hold equally of the Jewish, Chinese, a n d all o t h e r ancient civilizations that have since come to light. T h e d o m i n a t i o n of this ideal has been the exception rather than the rule, even in the recent history of the West. N o r has liberty in this sense often formed a rallying cry for the great masses of m a n k i n d . T h e desire n o t to be impinged u p o n , to be left to oneself, has been a m a r k of high civilization both on the part of individuals and c o m m u n i t i e s . T h e sense of privacy itself, of the area of personal relationships as s o m e t h i n g sacred in its o w n right, derives from a conception of freedom which, for all its religious roots, is scarcely older, in its d e v e l o p e d state, t h a n the Renaissance or the Reforma t i o n . Yet its decline w o u l d m a r k the death of a civilization, of an entire m o r a l o u t l o o k . T h e third characteristic of this notion of liberty is of greater i m p o r t a n c e . J L i s . t h a t liberty in this sense is n o t incompatible with some k i n d s of a u t o c r a c y , or at any rate with the absence of selfg o v e r n m e n t . . Liberty In this sense is principally concerned with the a r e T o T c o n t r o l , n o t with its source. Just as a democracy may, in
5 6 7

22

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

fact, deprive the individual citizen of a great m a n y liberties which he might have in some other form of society, so it is perfectly conceivable that a liberal-minded despot w o u l d allow his subjects a large measure of personal freedom. The despot w h o leaves his subjects a wide area of liberty may be unjust, or e n c o u r a g e the wildest inequalities, care little for order, or virtue, or k n o w l e d g e ; but provided he does not curb their liberty, or at least curbs it less than many other regimes, he meets with Mill's specification. Freedom in this sense is not, at any rate logically, connected with democracy or self-government. Self-government m a y , on the whole, provide a better guarantee of the preservation of civil liberties than other regimes, and has been defended as such by libertarians. But there is no necessary connection between individual liberty and democratic rule. The answer to the question ' W h o governs me?' is logically distinct from the question ' H o w far does government interfere with me?' It is in this difference that the great contrast between the two concepts of negative and positive liberty, in the -end, consists. For the 'positive' sense of liberty comes to light if we try to answer the question, not ' W h a t am I free to d o or b e ? ' , but 'By whom am I ruled?' or ' W h o is to say what I a m , and w h a t I am -nat, to be or do?' the connection between d e m o c r a c y and indi vidual liberty is a gobd deal more t e n u o u s t h a n it seemed t o many advocates of both. The desire to be governed by myself, or at any rate to participate in the process by which my life is t o be controlled, may be as deep a wish as t h a t of a free area for action, and perhaps historically older. But it is not a desire for the same thing. So different is it, indeed, as to have led in the end t o the great \ f O o l o g i e s that dominates o u r world. For it is this - the \ /positive' conception of liberty: not freedom from, but freedom to \ t o J e a d j ? n e prescribed form of life - which the a d h e r e n t s of the negative' notion represent as being, at times, n o better than a specious disguise for brutal tyranny.
9 l a s h o f

II

THE N O T I O N

OF

POSITIVE F R E E D O M

d^S4^-^L
c n

b e

h i s

^ l^-tauiep^o _ ^^
m

B 5 : i

^ e r . I wish my life and. x l e r n a l T c T r ^ s of whatever

m a

Isaiah

Berlin

23

J d n d . 1 wish to be the i n s t r u m e n t of my o w n , not of other men's, acts of will. I wish t o be a subject, n o t an object; to be moved by reasons, by conscious p u r p o s e s , which are my o w n , n o t by causes which affect m e , as it w e r e , from outside. 1 wish to be somebody, not n o b o d y ; a d o e r - deciding, n o t being decided for, self-directed and n o t acted u p o n by external nature or by other men as if I were a thing, o r an a n i m a l , or a slave incapable of playing a h u m a n role, that is, of conceiving goals a n d policies of my own and realizing them. This is at least p a r t of w h a t 1 mean when I say that 1 am rational, a n d t h a t it is my reason that distinguishes me as a h u m a n being from the rest of the world. I wish, above all, to be conscious of myself as a thinking, willing, active being, bearing responsibility for m y choices a n d able t o explain t h e m by references to my o w n ideas a n d p u r p o s e s . I feel free to the degree that I believe this to be true, a n d enslaved to the degree t h a t 1 a m m a d e to realize that it is not. The freedom which consists in being one's own master, and the freedom which consists in n o t being prevented from choosing as 1 do by o t h e r m e n , m a y , o n the face of it, seem concepts at no great logical distance from each other - no m o r e than negative and positive w a y s of saying m u c h the same thing. Yet the 'positive' and 'negative' n o t i o n s of freedom historically developed in divergent directions n o t always by logically reputable steps, until, in the end, they c a m e into direct conflict with each other. O n e w a y of m a k i n g this clear is in terms of the independent m o m e n t u m w h i c h t h e , initially p e r h a p s quite harmless, m e t a p h o r of self-mastery a c q u i r e d . 'I a m my o w n master'; T a m slave to no m a n ' ; b u t m a y I n o t (as Platonists or Hegelians tend to say) be a slave to n a t u r e ? O r to my o w n 'unbridled' passions? Are these not so m a n y species of the identical genus 'slave' - some political or legal, o t h e r s m o r a l o r spiritual? H a v e n o t men h a d the experience of liberating themselves from spiritual slavery, or slavery to nature, and d o they n o t in t h e course of it become aware, on the one hand, of a self which d o m i n a t e s , a n d , on the other, of something in them which is b r o u g h t to heel? T h i s d o m i n a n t self is then variously identified with r e a s o n , with m y 'higher n a t u r e ' , with the self which calculates a n d aims at w h a t will satisfy it in the long run, with my 'real', or 'ideal', o r ' a u t o n o m o u s ' self, or with my self ' a t its best'; which is then c o n t r a s t e d with irrational impulse, uncontrolled desires, m y ' l o w e r ' n a t u r e , the pursuit of immediate pleasures, my 'empirical' o r ' h e t e r o n o m o u s ' self, swept by every gust of desire a n d passion, needing t o be rigidly disciplined if it is ever to rise to the full height of its ' r e a l ' n a t u r e . Presently the t w o selves may be

24

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

represented as divided by an even larger g a p : the real self may be conceived as something wider t h a n the individual (as the term is normally u n d e r s t o o d ) , as a social ' w h o l e ' of which the individual is an element o r aspect: a tribe, a race, a c h u r c h , a state, the great society of t h e living a n d t h e d e a d a n d the yet u n b o r n . T h i s entity is then identified as being the ' t r u e ' self w h i c h , by imposing its collective, or ' o r g a n i c ' , single will u p o n its recalcitrant 'members', achieves its o w n , a n d therefore their, ' h i g h e r ' freedom. T h e penis of using organic m e t a p h o r s to justify the coercion of some men by others in o r d e r to raise them to a ' h i g h e r ' level of freedom have often been pointed o u t . But w h a t gives such plausibility as it has to this kind of language is t h a t w e recognize t h a t it is possible, a n d at times justifiable, to coerce men in the n a m e of s o m e goal (let us say, justice or public health) which they w o u l d , if they w e r e more enlightened, themselves p u r s u e , b u t d o n o t , because they are blind or ignorant o r c o r r u p t . T h i s renders it easy for m e to conceive of myself as coercing others for their o w n sake, in their, n o t my, interest. I a m then claiming t h a t I k n o w w h a t they truly need better t h a n they k n o w it themselves. W h a t , at m o s t , this entails is that they w o u l d n o t resist me if they w e r e rational a n d as wise as 1 and u n d e r s t o o d their interests as 1 d o . But I m a y g o o n to claim a good deal more than this. 1 m a y declare t h a t they are actually aiming at w h a t in their benighted state they consciously resist, because there exists within them an occult entity - their latent rational will, or their ' t r u e ' p u r p o s e - a n d that this entity, a l t h o u g h it is belied by all that they overtly feel a n d d o a n d say, is their 'real' self, of which the p o o r empirical self in space a n d time m a y k n o w n o t h i n g o r little; and t h a t this inner spirit is the only self that deserves t o have its wishes taken into a c c o u n t . O n c e 1 take this view, I a m in a position to ignore the actual wishes of m e n o r societies, to bully, oppress, torture them in the n a m e , a n d o n behalf, of their 'real' selves, in the secure k n o w l e d g e t h a t w h a t e v e r is the true goal of man (happiness, performance of d u t y , w i s d o m , a just society, selffulfilment) must be identical w i t h his freedom - t h e free choice of
10

'^ '' s u b m e r g e d a n d inarticulate, self. This p a r a d o x has been often e x p o s e d . It is o n e thing to say that I k n o w w h a t is good for X , while he himself does not; a n d even to ignore his wishes for its - a n d his - s a k e ; a n d a very different one to say that he has eo ipso chosen it, n o t indeed consciously, n o t as he seems in everyday life, but in his role as a rational self w h i c h his empirical self m a y n o t k n o w - t h e 'real' self w h i c h discerns the good, a n d c a n n o t help choosing it once it is revealed. J J i i s raonstrous impersonation, which consists in e q u a t i n g w h a t X "

r u e

a l b e i t

o f t e n

Isaiah Berlin

25

would c h o o s e if he were something he is not, or at least_not_yer, with w h a t X actually seeks a n d chooses, is at the heart of all political theories of self-realization. It is one thing to say t h a t ! may be coerced for my o w n good which 1 am too blind to see: this may, on occasion, be for m y benefit; indeed it may enlarge the scope of ; my liberty. It is a n o t h e r to say that if it is my good, then I am not ' being coerced, for I have willed it, whether I k n o w this or not, and i am free (or 'truly' free) even while my p o o r earthly body and / foolish mind bitterly reject it, a n d struggle against those w h o seek .' however benevolently to impose it, with the greatest desperation. This magical t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , or sleight of hand (for which William J a m e s so justly m o c k e d the Hegelians), can no doubt be perpetrated just as easily with the 'negative' concept of freedom, where the self t h a t s h o u l d n o t be interfered with is no longer the individual with his actual wishes a n d needs as they are normally conceived, b u t the "real' m a n within, identified with the pursuit of some ideal p u r p o s e n o t d r e a m e d of by his empirical self. And, as in the case of the 'positively' free self, this entity may be inflated into some s u p e r - p e r s o n a l entity - a state, a class, a nation, or the march of history itself, regarded as a m o r e 'real' subject of attributes than the empirical self. But the 'positive' conception of freedom as selfmastery, with its suggestion of a m a n divided against himself, has, in fact, a n d as a m a t t e r of history, of doctrine and of practice, lent itself m o r e easily to this splitting or personality into t w o : the t r a n s c e n d e n t , d o m i n a n t controller, a n d the empirical bundle of desires a n d passions to be disciplined a n d brought to heel. It is this historical fact t h a t has been influential. This demonstrates (if d e m o n s t r a t i o n of so o b v i o u s a truth is needed) that conceptions of freedom directly derive from views of w h a t constitutes a self, a person, a m a n . E n o u g h manipulation with the definition of man, and freedom can be m a d e to mean whatever the manipulator wishes. R e c e n t history has m a d e it only t o o clear that the issue is n o t merely a c a d e m i c . T h e consequences of distinguishing between OwiX _s^yjsvy|ll becume even clearer if o n e considers the t w o major forms which the desire to be self-directed - directed by one's 'true' self - has historically taken-' the first, that of self-abnegation in order to attain J O d ^ e n d e n c e j the second, that of self-realization, or total selfidentification with a specific principle or ideal in order to attain the selfsame end.. . .

26

Two Concepts III

of

Liberty

LIBERTY A N D

SOVEREIGNTY

The French Revolution, like all great revolutions, w a s , at least in its Jacobin form, just such an eruption of the desire for 'positive freedom of collective self-direction on the p a r t of a large body of Frenchmen w h o felt liberated as a nation, even though the result was, for a good many of t h e m , a severe restriction of individual freedoms. Rousseau had spoken exultantly of the fact t h a t the laws of liberty might prove to be more austere than the y o k e of tyranny. Tyranny is service to h u m a n masters. T h e law c a n n o t be a tyrant. Rousseau does not mean by liberty the 'negative' freedom of the individual not to be interfered with within a defined a r e a , b u t the possession by all, and not merely by some, of the fully qualified members of a society of a share in the public p o w e r which is entitled to interfere with every aspect of every citizen's life. The liberals of the first half of the nineteenth century correctly foresaw that liberty in this 'positive' sense could easily destroy t o o many of the 'negative' liberties that they held sacred. They p o i n t e d out that the sovereignty of the people could easily destroy t h a t of indi viduals. Mill explained, patiently and u n a n s w e r a b l y , t h a t govern ment by the people was not, in his sense, necessarily freedom at all. For those w h o govern are not necessarily the same ' p e o p l e ' as those w h o are governed, and democratic self-government is n o t the government 'of each by himself but, at best, of 'each by the rest'. Mill and his disciples spoke of the tyranny of the majority and of the tyranny of 'the prevailing feeling and o p i n i o n ' , a n d s a w n o great difference between that and any other kind of t y r a n n y which encroaches u p o n men's activities b e y o n d the sacred frontiers of private life. N o one saw the conflict between the t w o types of liberty better, or expressed it m o r e clearly, t h a n Benjamin C o n s t a n t . H e p o i n t e d out that the transference by a successful j i s i n g of the unlimited authority, commonly called sovereignty, from o n e set of h a n d s to another does not increase liberty, b u t merely shifts the b u r d e n of slavery. H e reasonably asked w h y a m a n should deeply care whether h e is crushed by a p o p u l a r government or by a m o n a r c h , or even by a set of oppressive laws. H e saw t h a t th^majn ^pxDblem for ^ ^ J 5 ! j > ^ i r ^ ' n e . a t i v e : , i n d i v i d u a L i r e e d o m is_nat w h o wields t h i s . a u t h p m j r j i u t how^much a u t h o r i t y ^ M u J x i J ^ r i l a c e i i n M y ^ e t
e 0 g

Isaiah

Berlin

27

of h a n d s . For unlimited authority in a n y b o d y ' s grasp was bound, "hTrjelieved, s o o n e r o r later, to destroy somebody. H e maintained t h a t usually m e n p r o t e s t e d against this or t h a t set of governors as oppressive, w h e n the real cause of oppression lay in the mere fact of the a c c u m u l a t i o n of p o w e r itself, wherever it might h a p p e n to be, since liberty w a s e n d a n g e r e d by the mere existence of absolute a u t h o r i t y as such. 'It is n o t the a r m that is unjust', he wrote, 'but the w e a p o n t h a t is t o o heavy - some weights are t o o heavy for the h u m a n h a n d . ' D e m o c r a c y m a y disarm a given oligarchy, a given privileged individual o r set of individuals, b u t it can still crush individuals as mercilessly as any previous ruler. In an essay c o m p a r i n g the liberty of the m o d e r n s with that of the ancients he said that an equal right t o oppress - or interfere - is n o t equivalent t o liberty. N o r does universal consent to loss of liberty somehow miraculously preserve it merely by being universal, or by being consent. If I consent to be oppressed, o r acquiesce in my condition with d e t a c h m e n t o r irony, a m I the less oppressed? If I sell myself into slavery, a m I t h e less a slave? If I commit suicide, a m I the less dead because I have t a k e n my o w n life freely? 'Popular government is a s p a s m o d i c t y r a n n y , m o n a r c h y a m o r e efficiently centralized despotism.' C o n s t a n t s a w in Rousseau the most dangerous enemy of individual liberty, because he h a d declared t h a t 'by giving myself to all I give myself t o n o n e ' . C o n s t a n t could not see why, even t h o u g h the sovereign is ' e v e r y b o d y ' , it should not oppress one of the ' m e m b e r s ' of its indivisible self, if it so decided. I may, of course, prefer t o be deprived of m y liberties by an assembly, or a family, or a class, in which I a m a minority. It may give m e an opportunity one day of p e r s u a d i n g t h e others to d o for m e that to which I feel I am entitled. But to be deprived of m y liberty at the hands of my family or friends o r fellow citizens is to be deprived of it just as effectively. H o b b e s w a s at a n y rate m o r e candid: he did n o t pretend that a sovereign does n o t enslave: he justified this slavery, b u t at least did not have t h e effrontery t o call it freedom. T h r o u g h o u t the. nineteenth century J i b e j a U b i n k e r s . maintained t h a t if liberty involved a limit u p o n the p o w e r s of any m a n to force me t o , d o w h a t I did n o t , o r might n o t , wish t o d o , then, whatever the ideal in t h e n a m e of which I w a s coerced, I w a s not free; that the doctrine of a b s o l u t e sovereignty w a s a tyrannical doctrine .in itself,. If I wish t o preserve m y liberty, it is n o t e n o u g h t o say that is must n o t be violated unless s o m e o n e o r other - the absolute ruler, or the p o p u l a r assr n b l y , o r t h e King in Parliament, o r the judges, or some c o m b i n a t i o n of a u t h o r i t i e s , o r the laws themselves - for the laws m a y be oppressive - authorizes its violation, I must establish a -

28

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

society in which there m u s t bje_somejxoiitiers of freedom which Tnot3od5~s1S^ld be pelrnirtteTto^cross. Different n a m e s or natures may be given to the rules that determine these frontiers: they may be called natural rights, or the w o r d of G o d , or N a t u r a l L a w , or the d e m a n d s of utility or of the ' p e r m a n e n t interests of m a n ' ; I may believe them to be valid a priori, o r j i s s e r t t h e m to be my o w n ultirnatFenas7ofTteTna"s; of my so'ciety or culture. W h a t these rules or a ^ m T n a m e n T s " w i l l have in c o m m o n is that they are accepted so widely, and are grounded so deeply in the actual n a t u r e of men as they have developed t h r o u g h history, as t o be, by n o w , a n essential j part of what we mean by being a n o r m a l h u m a n being. G e n u i n e / belief in the inviolability of a m i n i m u m extent of individual liberty I entails some such absolute stand. For it is clear t h a t it has little to h o p e for from the rule of majorities; democracy as such is logically uncommitted to it, a n d historically has at times failed to protect it, while remaining faithful to its o w n principles. Few g o v e r n m e n t s , it has been observed, have found much difficulty in causing their subjects t o generate any will that the government w a n t e d . ' T h e triumph of despotism is to force the slaves to declare themselves free. It m a y need n o force; the slaves may proclaim their freedom quite sincerely: but they are none the less slaves. Perhaps the chief value for liberals of political - 'positive' - rights, of participating in the government, is as a means for protecting w h a t they h o l d t o be an ultimate value, namely individual - 'negative' - liberty. But if d e n i o c x a c i e s . . . ^ suppress f r e i d o r r v a L l e a s t a s l i b e n i l s ^ would m a k e a s o d e t y truly free? For C o n s t a n t , N4ill, Tocqueville, and the liberal tradition t o w h i c h they, belongs unless it is governed by at any rate t w o interrelated principles: first, that n o p o w e r , but only rights, can. be regarded as absolute, so that all m e n , whatever p o w e r governs them, h a v e an absolute right t o rejfuse to behave inhurnanly; a n d , . s e c o n d t h a t t h e r e a r e frontiers, not artificially d r a w n , within which m e n should be inviolable, these frontiers being denned in terms. o rules so.lon&and widely accepted that their observance has entered into the very conception of w h a t it is"toi: a n o r m a l h u m a n being, a n d , therefore, also of w h a t it is t o act m h u m a n l y o r insanely;,jroles..oi which it would:beTrterrxd t o say, for example, t h a t they could be abrogated by some formal procedure on'"the"paff of some c o u ^ When I speak of a m a n as being n o r m a l , a p a r t of w h a t I m e a n is t h a t h e could n o t b r e a k these rules easily, w i t h o u t a q u a l m of revulsion, it is such rules as these that are b r o k e n w h e n a m a n is declared guilty without trial, or punished under a retroactive l a w ; w h e n children
r

Isaiah

Berlin

29

are o r d e r e d to d e n o u n c e their parents, friends to betray one a n o t h e r , soldiers t o use m e t h o d s of b a r b a r i s m ; w h e n men are t o r t u r e d or m u r d e r e d , or minorities are massacred because they irritate a majority o r a tyrant. Such acts, even if they are m a d e legal by the sovereign, cause h o r r o r even in these days, a n d this springs from the recognition of the m o r a l validity irrespective of the laws of some absolute barriers t o the imposition of one m a n ' s will o n a n o t h e r . T h e freedom of a society, or a class or a g r o u p , in this sense of freedom, is measured by the strength of these barriers, a n d the n u m b e r a n d i m p o r t a n c e of the p a t h s which they keep open for their m e m b e r s - if not for all, for at any rate a great n u m b e r of them. . T h i s is a l m o s t at the opposite pole from the purposes of those w h o believe in liberty in the 'positive' - self-directive - sense J " h e former w a n t to curb authority as such. T h e latter w a n t it placed in their o w n h a n d s . T h a t is a cardinal issue. These are not t w o different interpretations of a single concept, but t w o profoundly divergent a n d irreconcilable attitudes to the ends of life. It is as well t o recognize this, even if in practice it is often necessary to strike a c o m p r o m i s e b e t w e e n them. For each of them m a k e s absolute claims. These claims c a n n o t both be fully satisfied. But it is a p r o f o u n d lack of social a n d m o r a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g n o t to recognize t h a t the satisfaction that each of t h e m seeks is an ultimate value which, both historically a n d morally, has an equal right to be classed a m o n g the deepest interests of m a n k i n d .
1 1

IV

THE

ONE

AND

THE

MANY

O n e belief, m o r e t h a n any other, is responsible for the slaughter of individuals o n the altars of the great historical ideals justice or progress o r the happiness of future generations, or the sacred mission o r e m a n c i p a t i o n of a nation o r race or class, o r even liberty itself, w h i c h d e m a n d s the sacrifice of individuals for the freedom of society. This is t h e belief t h a t s o m e w h e r e , in the past or in the future, in divine revelation or in the m i n d of an individual thinker, in the p r o n o u n c e m e n t s of history o r science, or in the simple h e a r t of a n u n c o r r u p t e d g o o d m a n , there is a final solution. This ancient faith rests o n t h e conviction t h a t all the positive values in which

30

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

men have believed must, in the end, be compatible, and p e r h a p s even entail one another. ' N a t u r e binds truth, happiness, and virtue together as by an indissoluble chain', said one of the best men w h o ever lived, and spoke in similar terms of diherty, equality, a n d j u s t i c e . But is this true? It is a commonplace that neither political equality n o r efficient organization nor social justice is c o m p a t i b l e with more t h a n a modicum of individual liberty, and certainly n o t with unrestricted laissez-faire; t h a t justice and generosity, public and private loyalties, the demands of genius and the claims of society, can conflict violently with each other. And it is n o great way from that to the generalization that not all good things are compatible, still less all the ideals of m a n k i n d . But somewhere, w e shall be told, a n d in some w a y , it must be possible for all these values to live together, for unless this is so, the universe is not a cosmos, not a h a r m o n y ; unless this is so, conflicts of values m a y be an intrinsic, irremovable element in h u m a n life. T o a d m i t that the fulfilment of some of o u r ideals may in principle m a k e the fulfilment of others impossible is to say t h a t the notion of total h u m a n fulfilment is a formal contradiction, a metaphysical chimera. For every rationalist metaphysician, from Plato to the last disciples of Hegel or M a r x , this a b a n d o n m e n t of the notion of a final harmony in which all riddles are solved, all contradictions reconciled, is a piece of crude empiricism, abdication before brute facts, intolerable bankruptcy of reason before things as they are, failure to explain and t o justify, to reduce everything t o a system, which 'reason' indignantly rejects. But if we are n o t armed with an a priori guarantee of the proposition that a total h a r m o n y of t r u e values is somewhere to be found - perhaps in some ideal realm the characteristics of which we can, in our finite state, not so much as conceive - we must fall back on the ordinary resources of empirical observation and ordinary h u m a n knowledge. And these certainly give us no w a r r a n t for supposing (or even understanding w h a t would be meant by saying) that all good things, or all b a d things for that matter, are reconcilable with each other. T h e world that w e encounter in ordinary experience is one in which we are faced w i t h choices between ends equally ultimate, a n d claims equally a b s o l u t e , the realization of some of which must inevitably involve the sacrifice of others. Indeed, it is because this is their situation t h a t men place such immense value u p o n the freedom to choose; for if they had assurance t h a t in some perfect state, realizable by men o n earth, n o ends pursued by them would ever be in conflict, the necessity and agony of choice would disappear, and with it the central importance of the freedom to choose. Any method of
12

Isaiah

Berlin

31

bringing this final state nearer w o u l d then seem fully justified, n o m a t t e r h o w m u c h freedom were sacrificed to forward its advance. It is, I h a v e n o d o u b t , some such d o g m a t i c certainty t h a t has been responsible for t h e deep, serene, unshakeable conviction in the m i n d s of some of the most merciless tyrants a n d persecutors in history t h a t w h a t they did w a s fully justified by its purpose. 1 d o n o t say t h a t the ideal of self-perfection - w h e t h e r for individuals or n a t i o n s o r churches o r classes - is to be c o n d e m n e d in itself, or that the language which w a s used in its defence w a s in all cases the result of a confused or fraudulent use of w o r d s , o r of moral or intellectual perversity. Indeed, I have tried to s h o w that it is the notion of freedom in its 'positive' sense t h a t is at the heart of the d e m a n d s for national o r social self-direction which a n i m a t e the most powerful and morally just public m o v e m e n t s of o u r time, a n d that not to recognize this is to m i s u n d e r s t a n d the most vital facts and ideas of o u r age. But equally it seems to me that the belief t h a t some single formula can in principle be found whereby all the diverse ends of m e n c a n be h a r m o n i o u s l y realized is demonstrably false. If, as I believe, the ends of men are many, a n d n o t all of them are in principle c o m p a t i b l e with each other, then the possibility of conflict a n d of tragedy can never wholly be eliminated from h u m a n life, either personal o r social. T h e necessity of choosing between absolute claims is then an inescapable characteristic of the h u m a n condition. This gives its value to freedom as Acton h a d conceived of it as an end in itself, a n d n o t as a t e m p o r a r y need, arising o u t of o u r confused n o t i o n s a n d irrational and disordered lives, a p r e d i c a m e n t which a panacea could o n e day p u t right. I d o n o t wish t o say t h a t individual freedom is, even in the most liberal societies, the sole, or even the d o m i n a n t , criterion of social action. W e compel children to be educated, and we forbid public executions. T h e s e are certainly curbs to freedom. W e justify them on t h e g r o u n d s t h a t ignorance, o r a b a r b a r i a n upbringing, or cruel pleasures a n d excitements are worse for us than the a m o u n t of restraint needed t o repress t h e m . This j u d g e m e n t in turn depends o n h o w w e d e t e r m i n e g o o d a n d evil, t h a t is-txx say,, o n o u r . m o r a l , religious, intellectual, economic, and aesthetic values; which are, in their t u r n , b o u n d u p with o u r conception of m a n , and of the basic d e m a n d s of his n a t u r e . In other w o r d s , our solution of such p r o b l e m s is based o n our vision, by which w e are consciously o r unconsciously guided, of w h a t constitutes a fulfilled h u m a n life, as contrasted w i t h Mill's ' c r a m p e d and w a r p e d ' , 'pinched and hide b o u n d ' n a t u r e s . T o protest against the laws governing censorship o r p e r s o n a l m o r a l s as intolerable infringements of personal liberty

32

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

presupposes a belief that the activities which such laws forbid are fundamental needs of men as men, in a good (or, indeed, any) society. T o defend such laws is t o hold t h a t these needs are n o t essential, or that they cannot be satisfied w i t h o u t sacrificing other values which come higher - satisfy deeper needs - than individual freedom, determined by some standard that is n o t merely subjec tive, a standard for which some objective status - empirical or a priori is claimed. The extent of a man's, or a people's, liberty to c h o o s e t o live as they desire must be weighed against the claims of many other values, of which equality, or justice, or happiness, or security, or public order are perhaps the most obvious examples. F o r this reason, it cannot be unlimited. W e are rightly reminded by R. H . Tawney that the liberty of the strong, whether their strength is physical or economic, must be restrained. This m a x i m claims respect, not as a consequence of some a priori rule, whereby the respect for the liberty of one m a n logically entails respect for the liberty of others like him; but simply because respect for the principles of justice, or shame a t gross inequality of t r e a t m e n t , is as basic in men as the desire for liberty. T h a t we c a n n o t have everything is a necessary, not a contingent, truth. Burke's plea for the constant need to compensate, to reconcile, to b a l a n c e ; Mill's plea for novel 'experiments in living' with their p e r m a n e n t possi bility of error, the knowledge that it is not merely in practice b u t in principle impossible t o reach clear-cut and certain a n s w e r s , even in an ideal world of wholly good and rational m e n a n d wholly clear ideas - may madden those w h o seek for final solutions a n d single, all-embracing systems, guaranteed to be eternal. Nevertheless, it is a conclusion that cannot be escaped by those w h o , w i t h K a n t , have learnt the truth that out of the crooked timber of h u m a n i t y n o straight thing was ever made. There is little need to stress the fact that m o n i s m , a n d faith in a single criterion, has always p r o v e d a deep source of satisfaction both t o the intellect and to the emotions. W h e t h e r the s t a n d a r d of judgement derives from the vision of some future perfection, as in the minds of the philosophies in the eighteenth century and their technocratic successors in our o w n day, or is rooted in the p a s t - la terre et les morts - as maintained by G e r m a n historicists or French theocrats, or neo-Conservatives in English-speaking countries, it is b o u n d , provided it is inflexible enough, to encounter s o m e unforeseen and unforeseeable h u m a n development, w h i c h it will not fit; and will then be used to justify the a priori barbarities of Procrustes - the vivisection of actual h u m a n societies i n t o s o m e

Isaiah

Berlin

33

fixed p a t t e r n dictated by o u r fallible understanding of a largely imaginary p a s t o r a wholly imaginary future. T o preserve our absolute categories o r ideals at the expense of h u m a n lives offends equally against the principles of science and of history; it is an attitude found in equal m e a s u r e on the right and left wings in o u r days, a n d is n o t reconcilable with the principles accepted by those w h o respect the facts. Pluralism, w i t h the measure of 'negative' liberty that it entails, seems^to" m e a truer a n d m o r e h u m a n ideal than the goals of those w h o seek in the great, disciplined, a u t h o r i t a r i a n structures the ideal of 'positive' self-mastery by classes, or peoples, or the whole of m a n k i n d . It is truer, because it does, at least, recognize the fact that h u m a n goals are m a n y , n o t all of them commensurable, and in perpetual rivalry with o n e a n o t h e r . T o assume that all values can be graded o n one scale, so t h a t it is a mere m a t t e r of inspection to determine the highest, seems t o me to falsify our knowledge that men are free agents, to represent m o r a l decision as an operation which a slide-rule could, in principle, perform. To say that in some ultimate, all-reconciling, yet realizable synthesis, duty is interest, or individual freedom is p u r e democracy or an authoritarian state, is to t h r o w a metaphysical blanket over either self-deceit or deliberate hypocrisy. It is m o r e h u m a n e because it does not (as the system builders do) deprive m e n , in the n a m e of some remote, or incoherent, ideal, of m u c h t h a t they have found to be indispensable to their life as u n p r e d i c t a b l y self-transforming h u m a n b e i n g s . In the end, men c h o o s e between ultimate values; they choose as they d o , because their life a n d t h o u g h t are determined by fundamental m o r a l categories a n d concepts that are, at any rate over large stretches of time a n d space, a p a r t of their being and thought and sense of their o w n identity; p a r t of w h a t makes them h u m a n . It m a y be t h a t the ideal of freedom t o choose ends without claiming eternal validity for them, a n d the pluralism of values connected with this, is only the late fruit of our declining capitalist civilization: an ideal which r e m o t e ages a n d primitive societies have not recognized, a n d o n e which posterity will regard with curiosity, even s y m p a t h y , b u t little c o m p r e h e n s i o n . This m a y be so; but n o sceptical conclusions seem to me to follow. Principles are not less sacred because their d u r a t i o n c a n n o t be guaranteed. Indeed, the very desire for g u a r a n t e e s t h a t our values are eternal a n d secure in some objective h e a v e n is p e r h a p s only a craving for the certainties of c h i l d h o o d or the absolute values of o u r primitive past. ' T o realise the relative validity of o n e ' s convictions', said an admirable writer of o u r time, ' a n d yet stand for t h e m unflinchingly, is w h a t
13

34

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.' T o d e m a n d m o r e than this is perhaps a deep and incurable metaphysical need; but to allow it to determine one's practice is a symptom of a n equally deep, and more dangerous, moral and political immaturity.

NOTES
1 2

1 do not, of course, mean to imply the truth of the converse. Helvetius made this point very clearly: 'The free man is the man who is not in irons, nor imprisoned in a gaol, nor terrorized like a slave by the fear of punishment... it is not lack of freedom not to fly like an eagle or swim like a whale.' The Marxist conception of social laws is, of course, the best-known version of this theory, but it forms a large element in some Christian and utilitarian, and all socialist, doctrines. 'A free man', said Hobbes, 'is he that . . . is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do.' Law is always a 'fetter', even if it protects you from being bound in chains that are heavier than those of the law, say, some more repressive law or custom, or arbitrary despotism or chaos. Bentham says much the same. This is but another illustration of the natural tendency of all but a very few thinkers to believe that all the things they hold good must be intimately connected, or at least compatible, with one another. The history of thought, like the history of nations, is strewn with examples of inconsistent, or at least disparate, elements artificially yoked together in a despotic system, or held together by the danger of some common enemy. In due course the danger passes, and conflicts between the allies arise, which often disrupt the system, sometimes to the great benefit of mankind. See the valuable discussion of this in Michel Villey, Lecons d'bistoire de la philosophie du droit, who traces the embryo of the notion of subjective rights to Occam. Christian (and Jewish or Moslem) belief in the absolute authority of divine or natural laws, or in the equality of all men in the sight of God, is very different from belief in freedom to live as one prefers. Indeed, it is arguable that in the Prussia of Frederick the Great or in the Austria of Josef 11 men of imagination, originality, and creative genius, and, indeed, minorities of all kinds, were less persecuted and felt the pressure, both of institutions and custom, less heavy upon them than in many an earlier or later democracy. 'Negative liberty' is something the extent of which, in a given case, it is difficult to estimate. It might, prima facie, seem to depend simply on the power to choose between at any rate two alternatives. Nevertheless, not all choices are equally free, or free at all. If in a totalitarian state I betray my friend under threat of torture, perhaps even if I act from

Isaiah

Berlin

35

fear of losing my job, I can reasonably say that I did not act freely. Nevertheless, I did, of course, make a choice, and could, at any rate in theory, have chosen to be killed or tortured or imprisoned. The mere existence of alternatives is not, therefore, enough to make my action free (although it may be voluntary) in the normal sense of the word. The extent of my freedom seems to depend on (a) how many possibilities are open to me (although the method of counting these can never be more than impressionistic. Possibilities of action are not discrete entities like apples, which can be exhaustively enumerated); (b) how easy or difficult each of these possibilities is to actualize; (c) how important in my plan of life, given my character and circumstances, these possibilities are when compared with each other; (d) how far they are closed and opened by deliberate human acts; (e) what value not merely the agent, but the general sentiment of the society in which he lives, puts on the various possibilities. All these magnitudes must be 'integrated', and a conclusion, necessarily never precise, or indisput able, drawn from this process. It may well be that there are many incommensurable kinds and degrees of freedom, and that they cannot be drawn up on any single scale of magnitude. Moreover, in the case of societies, we are faced by such (logically absurd) questions as 'Would arrangement X increase the liberty of Mr A more than it would that of Messrs B, C, and D between them, added together?' The same difficulties arise in applying utilitarian criteria. Nevertheless, provided we do not demand precise measurement, we can give valid reasons for saying that the average subject of the King of Sweden is, on the whole, a good deal freer today than the average citizen of Spain or Albania. Total patterns of life must be compared directly as wholes, although the method by which we make the comparison, and the truth of the conclusions, are difficult or impossible to demonstrate. But the vagueness of the concepts, and the multiplicity of the criteria involved, is an attribute of the subject-matter itself, not of our imperfect methods of measurement, or incapacity for precise thought. 'The ideal of true freedom is the maximum of power for all the members of human society alike to make the best of themselves', said T. H. Green in 1881. Apart from the confusion of freedom with equality, this entails that if a man chose some immediate pleasure - which (in whose view?) would not enable him to make the best of himself (what self?) - what he was exercising was not 'true' freedom: and if deprived of it, would not lose anything that mattered. Green was a genuine liberal: but many a tyrant could use this formula to justify his worst acts of oppression. In Great Britain such legal power is, of course, constitutionally vested in the absolute sovereign - the King in Parliament. What makes this country comparatively free, therefore, is the fact that this theoretically omnipotent entity is restrained by custom or opinion from behaving as such. It is clear that what matters is not the form of these restraints on power - whether they are legal, or moral, or constitutional - but their effectiveness.

36
1 2

Two Concepts

of

Liberty

Condorcet, from whose Esquisse these words are quoted, declares that the task of social science is to show 'by what bonds Nature has united the progress of enlightenment with that of liberty, virtue, and respect for the natural rights of man; how these ideals, which alone are truly good, yet so often separated from each other that they are even believed to be incompatible, should, on the contrary, become inseparable, as soon as enlightenment has reached a certain level simultaneously among a large number of nations'. He goes on to say that: 'Men still preserve the errors of their childhood, of their country, and of their age long after having recognized all the truths needed for destroying them.' Ironically enough, his belief in the need and possibility of uniting all good things may well be precisely the kind of error he himself so well described. On this also Bentham seems to me to have spoken well: 'Individual interests are the only real interests . . . can it be conceived that there are men so absurd as to . . . prefer the man who is not to him who is; to torment the living, under pretence of promoting the happiness of them who are not born, and who may never be born?' This is one of the infrequent occasions when Burke agrees with Bentham; for this passage is at the heart of the empirical, as against the metaphysical, view of politics.

John Rawls: The Right and the Good Contrasted *


5. CLASSICAL UTILITARIANISM

. . The striking feature of the utilitarian view of justice is that it does n o t m a t t e r , e x c e p t indirectly, h o w this sum of satisfactions is distributed a m o n g individuals any m o r e than it matters, except indirectly, h o w o n e m a n distributes his satisfactions over time. The correct d i s t r i b u t i o n in either case is that which yields the maximum fulfillment. Society m u s t allocate its means of satisfaction whatever these a r e , rights a n d duties, opportunities and privileges, and various forms of w e a l t h , so as to achieve this m a x i m u m if it can. But in itself n o d i s t r i b u t i o n of satisfaction is better than another except t h a t the m o r e e q u a l distribution is to be preferred to break ties. It is true t h a t certain c o m m o n sense precepts of justice, particularly those w h i c h concern the protection of liberties and rights, o r w h i c h e x p r e s s the claims of desert, seem to contradict this contention. But from a utilitarian s t a n d p o i n t the explanation of these precepts a n d of their seemingly stringent character is that they are those p r e c e p t s w h i c h experience shows should be strictly respected a n d d e p a r t e d from only under exceptional circumstances if the s u m of a d v a n t a g e s is t o be m a x i m i z e d . Yet, as with all other precepts, t h o s e of justice are derivative from the one end of attaining the greatest b a l a n c e of satisfaction. Thus there is no reason in principle w h y the greater gains of some should not c o m p e n s a t e for the lesser losses of o t h e r s ; or more importantly, why the violation of the liberty of a few might not be made right by the greater g o o d s h a r e d by m a n y . It simply happens that under most c o n d i t i o n s , at least in a reasonably advanced stage of civilization, the greatest s u m of advantages is not attained in this
1 2

'Reprinted by permission of the publishers from A THEORY OF JUSTICE Y John Rawls, Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press rvam University Press, copyright 1971 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Also in Great Britain by permission of Oxford University Press.
b o f

38

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

way. N o doubt the strictness of c o m m o n sense precepts of justice has a certain usefulness in limiting men's propensities t o injustice and to socially injurious actions, b u t the utilitarian believes that to affirm this strictness as a first principle of morals is a m i s t a k e . For just as it is rational for one m a n to maximize the fulfillment of his system of desires, it is right for a society t o m a x i m i z e the net balance of satisfaction taken over all of its m e m b e r s . The most natural way, then, of arriving at utilitarianism (although not, of course, the only way of doing so) is to a d o p t for society as a whole the principle of rational choice for o n e m a n . Once this is recognized, the place of the impartial spectator a n d the emphasis on sympathy in the history of utilitarian t h o u g h t is readily understood. For it is by the conception of the impartial spectator and the use of sympathetic identification in guiding o u r imagination that the principle for one man is applied to society. It is this spectator w h o is conceived as carrying o u t the required organiza tion of the desires of all persons into one coherent system of desire; it is by this construction that many persons are fused i n t o one. Endowed with ideal powers of sympathy and i m a g i n a t i o n , the impartial spectator is the perfectly rational individual w h o identi fies with and experiences the desires of others as if these desires were his o w n . In this way he ascertains the intensity of these desires and assigns t h e m their appropriate weight in the o n e system of desire the satisfaction of which the ideal legislator then tries t o maximize by adjusting the rules of the social system. O n this conception of society separate individuals are t h o u g h t of as so many different lines along which rights a n d duties are to be assigned and scarce means of satisfaction allocated in a c c o r d a n c e with rules so as to give the greatest fulfillment of w a n t s . T h e n a t u r e of the decision made by the ideal legislator is n o t , therefore, materially different from that of a n entrepreneur deciding h o w t o maximize his profit by producing this or that c o m m o d i t y , o r t h a t of a consumer deciding h o w to maximize his satisfaction by the purchase of this or that collection of goods. In each case there is a single person whose system of desires determines the best allocation of limited means. T h e correct decision is essentially a question of efficient administration. This view of social co-operation is the consequence of extending to society the principle of choice for o n e m a n , and then, to m a k e this extension work, conflating all p e r s o n s into one through the imaginative acts of the impartial s y m p a t h e t i c spectator. Utilitarianism does not take seriously the distinction between persons.

John

Raivls

39

6.

SOME

RELATED

CONTRASTS

It has seemed to m a n y p h i l o s o p h e r s , and it appears to be supported by the convictions of c o m m o n sense, that we distinguish as a matter of principle b e t w e e n the claims of liberty and right on the one hand and the desirability of increasing aggregate social welfare on the other; a n d t h a t w e give a certain priority, if not absolute weight, to the former. E a c h m e m b e r of society is thought to have an inviolability f o u n d e d o n justice or, as some say, on natural right, which even the welfare of every one else cannot override. Justice denies t h a t the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good s h a r e d by o t h e r s . T h e reasoning which balances the gains and losses of different p e r s o n s as if they were one person is excluded. Therefore in a just society the basic liberties are taken for granted and the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests. Justice as fairness a t t e m p t s t o account for these common sense convictions c o n c e r n i n g the priority of justice by showing that they are the c o n s e q u e n c e of principles which w o u l d be chosen in the original position. T h e s e judgements reflect the rational preferences and the initial e q u a l i t y of the contracting parties. Although the utilitarian recognizes t h a t , strictly speaking, his doctrine conflicts with these s e n t i m e n t s of justice, he maintains that common sense precepts of justice a n d n o t i o n s of natural right have but a s u b o r d i n a t e validity as s e c o n d a r y rules; they arise from the fact that under the c o n d i t i o n s of civilized society there is great social utility in following t h e m for the m o s t p a r t a n d in permitting violations only u n d e r e x c e p t i o n a l circumstances. Even the excessive zeal with which w e are a p t t o affirm these precepts and to appeal to these rights is itself g r a n t e d a certain usefulness, since it counterbalances a n a t u r a l h u m a n t e n d e n c y t o violate t h e m in ways not sanctioned by utility. O n c e w e u n d e r s t a n d this, the a p p a r e n t disparity between the utilitarian principle a n d the strength of these persuasions or justice is n o longer a philosophical difficulty. Thus while the contract d o c t r i n e accepts o u r convictions about the priority or justice as o n the w h o l e s o u n d , utilitarianism seeks t o account tor them as a socially useful illusion. , A s e c o n d c o n t r a s t is t h a t whereas the utilitarian extends to

40

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

society the principle of choice for o n e m a n , justice as fairness, being a contract view, assumes t h a t the principles of social choice, a n d so the principles of justice, are themselves the object of an original agreement. There is n o reason t o suppose t h a t the principles which should regulate an association of m e n is simply an extension of the principle of choice for one m a n . O n the contrary: if w e assume t h a t the correct regulative principle for anything d e p e n d s on t h e n a t u r e of that thing, and that the plurality of distinct persons w i t h separate systems of ends is an essential feature of h u m a n societies, w e should not expect the principles of social choice to be utilitarian. T o be sure, it has not been shown by anything said so far that the parties in the original position would not choose the principle of utility t o define the terms of social co-operation. This is a difficult question which 1 shall examine later on. It is perfectly possible, from all t h a t one k n o w s at this point, t h a t some form of the principle of utility would be adopted, a n d therefore that contract theory leads eventually to a deeper and more r o u n d a b o u t justification of utilitarianism. In fact a derivation of this k i n d is sometimes suggested by Bentham and Edgeworth, although it is n o t developed by them in any systematic w a y a n d to my knowledge it is n o t found in Sidgwick. For the present I shall simply asssume that the p e r s o n s in the original position would reject the utility principle a n d t h a t they w o u l d a d o p t instead, for the kinds of reasons previously sketched, the t w o principles of justice already m e n t i o n e d . In any case, from the standpoint of contract theory o n e c a n n o t arrive at a principle of social choice merely by extending the principle of rational prudence to the system of desires constructed by the impartial spectator. T o do this is not to take seriously the plurality and distinctness of individuals, nor to recognize as the basis of justice that to which m e n w o u l d consent. H e r e w e m a y n o t e a curious anomaly. It is customary to think of utilitarianism as individualistic, and certainly there are good reasons for t h i s . T h e utilitarians were strong defenders of liberty and freedom of thought, and they held t h a t the good of society is constituted by the advantages enjoyed by individuals. Yet utilitarianism is n o t indi vidualistic, at least w h e n arrived a t by the more n a t u r a l course of reflection, in that, by conflating all systems of desires, it applies t o society the principle of choice for one man. And t h u s w e see t h a t the second contrast is related to the first, since it is this conflation, a n d the principle based u p o n it, which subjects the rights secured by justice to the calculus of social interests.
3

T h e last contrast that I shall mention n o w is t h a t utilitarianism is a ideological theory whereas justice as fairness is not. By definition,

John

Rawls

41

then, the latter is a deontological theory, one that either does not specify the g o o d i n d e p e n d e n t l y from the right, o r does not interpret the right as m a x i m i z i n g the good. (It should be noted that deontological theories are defined as non-teleological ones, not as views t h a t characterize the Tightness of institutions and acts independently from their consequences. All ethical doctrines worth our a t t e n t i o n t a k e consequences into account in judging Tightness. One which did n o t w o u l d simply be irrational, crazy.) Justice as fairness is a d e o n t o l o g i c a l t h e o r y in the second way. For if it is assumed t h a t the p e r s o n s in the original position would choose a principle of equal liberty a n d restrict economic and social inequali ties to those in everyone's interests, there is n o reason to think that just institutions will m a x i m i z e the g o o d . (Here I suppose with utilitarianism t h a t the g o o d is defined as the satisfaction of rational desire.) Of c o u r s e , it is n o t impossible that the most good is produced b u t it w o u l d be a coincidence. T h e question of attaining the greatest net b a l a n c e of satisfaction never arises in justice as fairness; this m a x i m u m principle is not used at all. There is a further p o i n t in this connection. In utilitarianism the satisfaction of any desire h a s s o m e value in itself which must be taken into a c c o u n t in deciding w h a t is right. In calculating the greatest balance of satisfaction it does not matter, except indirectly, what the desires are f o r . W e are to arrange institutions so as to obtain t h e greatest s u m of satisfactions; w e ask n o questions about their source or quality b u t only h o w their satisfaction would affect the total of well-being. Social welfare depends directly and solely upon the levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of individuals. Thus if men t a k e a certain pleasure in discriminating against one another, in subjecting o t h e r s t o a lesser liberty as a means of enhancing their self-respect, t h e n the satisfaction of these desires must be weighed in o u r deliberations a c c o r d i n g t o their intensity, or whatever, along with other desires. If society decides to deny them fulfillment, or to suppress t h e m , it is b e c a u s e they tend to be socially destructive and a greater welfare c a n be achieved in other ways.
4

In justice as fairness, o n the o t h e r h a n d , persons accept in advance a principle of equal liberty and they do this without a knowledge of their m o r e p a r t i c u l a r ends. They implicitly agree, therefore, to c o n f o r m their c o n c e p t i o n s of their good to w h a t the principles of justice r e q u i r e , or at least n o t t o press claims which directly violate t h e m . An individual w h o finds that he enjoys seeing others in positions of lesser liberty u n d e r s t a n d s that he has n o claim whatever to this e n j o y m e n t . T h e pleasure he takes in o t h e r s deprivations is w r o n g in itself: it is a satisfaction which requires the

42

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

violation of a principle to which he w o u l d agree in the original position. The principles of right, and so of justice, p u t limits on which satisfactions have value; they impose restrictions o n w h a t are reasonable conceptions of one's good. In d r a w i n g u p plans a n d in deciding on aspirations men are to take these c o n s t r a i n t s into account. Hence in justice as fairness one does not take men s propensities and inclinations as given, w h a t e v e r they are, a n d then seek the best way to fulfill them. R a t h e r , their desires and aspirations are restricted from the outset by the principles of justice which specify the boundaries that men's systems of ends must respect. We can express this by saying that in justice as fairness the concept of right is prior to that of the g o o d . A just social system defines the scope within which develop their aims, a n d it provides a framework of rights and opportunities and the means of satisfac tion within and by the use of which these e n d s m a y be equitably pursued. The priority of justice is accounted for, in p a r t , by holding that the interests requiring the violation of justice h a v e n o value. Having n o merit in the first place, they c a n n o t override its claims. This priority of the right over the good in justice as fairness turns out to be a central feature of the conception. It imposes certain criteria on the design of the basic structure as a w h o l e ; these arrangements must not tend to generate propensities and attitudes contrary to the t w o principles of justice (that is, to certain principles which are given from the first a definite content) a n d they must ensure that just institutions are stable. T h u s certain initial b o u n d s are placed upon what is good and w h a t forms of character are morally worthy, and so upon w h a t kinds of p e r s o n s m e n should be. N o w any theory of justice will set u p some limits of this kind, namely, those that are required if its first principles are t o be satisfied given the circumstances. Utilitarianism excludes those desires and propensities which if encouraged or p e r m i t t e d w o u l d , in view of the situation, lead to a lesser net balance of satisfaction. But this restriction is largely formal, and in the absence of fairly detailed knowledge of the circumstances it does n o t give m u c h indication of what these desires and propensities are. This is n o t , by itself, an objection to utilitarianism. It is simply a feature of utilitarian doctrine that it relies very heavily u p o n the n a t u r a l facts and contingencies of h u m a n life in determining w h a t forms of moral character are to be encouraged in a just society. T h e m o r a l ideal of justice as fairness is more deeply e m b e d d e d in the first principles of the ethical theory. This is characteristic of natural rights views (the contractarian tradition) in comparison with the theory of utility, in setttng forth these contrasts between justice as fairness and

John Rawls

43

utilitarianism, 1 h a v e h a d in m i n d only the classical doctrine. This is the view of B e n t h a m a n d Sidgwick and of the utilitarian economists E d g e w o r t h a n d Pigou. T h e kind of utilitarianism espoused by H u m e w o u l d n o t serve my purpose; indeed, it is not strictly speaking utilitarian. In his well-known arguments against Locke's contract t h e o r y , for e x a m p l e , H u m e maintains that the principles of fidelity a n d allegiance b o t h have the same foundation in utility, and therefore t h a t n o t h i n g is gained from basing political obligation on an original c o n t r a c t . Locke's doctrine represents, for H u m e , an unnecessary shuffle: o n e might as well appeal directly to utility. But all H u m e seems to m e a n by utility is the general interests and necessities of society. T h e principles of fidelity and allegiance derive from utility in the sense t h a t the maintenance of the social order is impossible unless these principles are generally respected. But then H u m e assumes t h a t each m a n stands to gain, as judged by his longterm a d v a n t a g e , w h e n law and government conform to the precepts founded o n utility. N o m e n t i o n is m a d e of the gains of some o u t w e i g h i n g the disadvantages of others. For H u m e , then, utility seems t o be identical with some form of the c o m m o n good; institutions satisfy its d e m a n d s w h e n they are to everyone's interests, at least in the long r u n . N o w if this interpretation of H u m e is correct, there is offhand n o conflict with the priority of justice a n d n o incompatibility with Locke's contract doctrine. For the role of equal rights in Locke is precisely to ensure that the only permissible d e p a r t u r e s from the state of n a t u r e are those which respect these rights a n d serve the c o m m o n interest. It is clear that all the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s form the state of n a t u r e which Locke approves of satisfy this c o n d i t i o n a n d are such that rational men concerned t o a d v a n c e their ends could consent to them in a state of equality. H u m e n o w h e r e disputes the propriety of these constraints. His critique of Locke's c o n t r a c t doctrine never denies, or even seems to recognize, its f u n d a m e n t a l contention. T h e merit of the classical view as formulated by Bentham, E d g e w o r t h , a n d Sidgwick is t h a t it clearly recognizes w h a t is at stake, n a m e l y , the relative priority of the principles of justice and of the rights derived from these principles. The question is whether the imposition of disadvantages o n a few can be outweighed by a greater s u m of a d v a n t a g e s enjoyed by others; or whether the weight of justice requires a n equal liberty for all a n d permits only those e c o n o m i c a n d social inequalities which are to each person's interests. Implicit in the contrasts between classical utilitarianism a n d justice as fairness is a difference in the underlying conceptions of society. In the o n e w e think of a well-ordered society as a scheme
6

44

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

of co-operation for reciprocal advantage regulated by principles which persons would choose in an initial situation t h a t is fair, in the other as the efficient administration of social resources t o maximize the satisfaction of the system of desire constructed by the impartial spectator from the many individual systems of desires accepted as given. The comparison with classical utilitarianism in its more natural derivation brings out this contrast.

48.

LEGITIMATE MORAL

EXPECTATIONS DESERT

AND

There is a tendency for c o m m o n sense to suppose t h a t i n c o m e a n d wealth, and the good things in life generally, should be distributed according to moral desert. Justice is happiness a c c o r d i n g t o virtue. While it is recognized that this ideal can never be fully carried out, it is the appropriate conception of distributive justice, at least as a prima facie principle, and society should try t o realize it as circumstances permit. N o w justice as fairness rejects this concep tion. Such a principle would not be chosen in the original position. There seems t o be n o way of defining the requisite criterion in t h a t situation. Moreover, the notion of distribution a c c o r d i n g to virtue fails to distinguish between moral desert a n d legitimate expecta tions. Thus it is true that as persons and g r o u p s t a k e p a r t in just arrangements, they acquire claims o n one a n o t h e r defined by the publicly recognized rules. Having done various things e n c o u r a g e d by the existing arrangements, they n o w have certain rights, a n d just distributive shares h o n o u r these claims. A just scheme, then, answers to what men are entitled t o ; it satisfies their legitimate expectations as founded upon social institutions. But w h a t they are entitled to is not proportional to n o r dependent u p o n their intrinsic worth. The principles of justice that regulate the basic structure a n d specify the duties and obligations of individuals do n o t m e n t i o n moral desert, and there is n o tendency for distributive shares to correspond to it.
7

This contention is borne out by the preceding a c c o u n t of common sense precepts and their role in p u r e p r o c e d u r a l justice. For example, in determining wages a competitive e c o n o m y gives weight to the precept of contribution. But as w e h a v e seen, the extent of one's contribution (estimated by one's marginal p r o d u c tivity) depends upon supply and d e m a n d . Surely a p e r s o n ' s m o r a l worth does not vary according t o h o w m a n y offer similar skills, or happen to w a n t w h a t he can p r o d u c e . N o o n e supposes t h a t w h e n

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s o m e o n e ' s abilities are less in d e m a n d or have deteriorated (as in the case of singers) his m o r a l deservingness undergoes a similar shift. All of this is perfectly obvious and has long been agreed t o . It simply reflects the fact n o t e d before that is one of the fixed points of o u r m o r a l judgements that n o one deserves his place in the distribution of n a t u r a l assets a n y m o r e t h a n he deserves his initial starting place in society. M o r e o v e r , n o n e of the precepts of justice aims at rewarding virtue. T h e p r e m i u m s earned by scarce natural talents, for example, are to cover the costs of training a n d to encourage the efforts of learning, as well as to direct ability to w h e r e it best furthers the c o m m o n interest. T h e distributive shares that result d o n o t correlate with m o r a l w o r t h , since the initial e n d o w m e n t of natural assets a n d the contingencies of their g r o w t h a n d n u r t u r e in early life are a r b i t r a r y from a m o r a l point of view. T h e precept which seems intuitively t o come closest to r e w a r d i n g m o r a l desert is that of distibution according to effort, or p e r h a p s better, conscientious effort. O n c e again, however, it seems clear t h a t the effort a person is willing t o m a k e is influenced by his n a t u r a l abilities a n d skills a n d the alternatives o p e n t o him. T h e better e n d o w e d are m o r e likely, o t h e r things equal, t o strive conscientiously, a n d there seems to be n o w a y t o discount for their greater g o o d fortune. T h e idea of r e w a r d i n g desert is impracticable. A n d certainly to the extent that the precept of need is emphasized, moral w o r t h is ignored. N o r does the basic structure tend to balance the precepts of justice so as t o achieve the requisite correspondence behind the scenes. It is regulated by the t w o principles of justice which define other aims entirely. T h e s a m e conclusion may be reached in a n o t h e r way. In the preceding r e m a r k s the notion of m o r a l w o r t h as distinct from a p e r s o n ' s claims based u p o n his legitimate expectations has not been explained. Suppose, then, that w e define this notion and s h o w t h a t it has n o correlation with distributive shares. W e have only t o consider a well-ordered society, t h a t is, a society in which institutions are just a n d this fact is publicly recognized. Its m e m b e r s also h a v e a s t r o n g sense of justice, an effective desire t o comply with the existing rules a n d to give o n e a n o t h e r that t o which they are entitled. In this case we m a y assume t h a t everyone is of equal m o r a l w o r t h . W e h a v e n o w defined this n o t i o n in terms of the sense of justice, the desire t o act in accordance w i t h the principles t h a t w o u l d be chosen in the original position. But it is evident t h a t u n d e r s t o o d in this w a y , the equal moral w o r t h of persons does n o t entail t h a t distributive shares are equal. Each is to receive w h a t the
8 9

46

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

principles of justice say he is entitled to, and these d o n o t require equality. The essential point is that the concept of moral w o r t h does not provide a first principle of distributive justice. This is because it cannot be introduced until after the principles of justice and of natural duty and obligation have been a c k n o w l e d g e d . O n c e these principles are on h a n d , moral w o r t h can be defined as having a sense of justice; and as I shall discuss later, the virtues can be characterized as desires or tendencies to act upon the corresponding principles. T h u s the concept of moral w o r t h is s e c o n d a r y to those of right and justice, and it plays n o role in the substantive definition of distributive shares. T h e case is a n a l o g o u s to the relation between the substantive rules of property and the law of r o b b e r y and theft. These offences and the demerits they entail p r e s u p p o s e the institu tion of property which is established for prior and independent social ends. For a society to organize itself with the aim of rewarding moral desert as a first principle w o u l d be like having the institution of property in order to punish thieves. T h e criterion to each according to his virtue would not, then, be chosen in the original position. Since the parties desire to a d v a n c e their con ceptions of the good, they have n o reason for a r r a n g i n g their institutions so that distributive shares are d e t e r m i n e d by moral desert, even if they could find an antecedent s t a n d a r d for its definition. In a well-ordered society individuals acquire claims t o a share of the social product by doing certain things e n c o u r a g e d by the existing arrangements. T h e legitimate e x p e c t a t i o n s t h a t arise are the other side, so to speak, of the principle of fairness a n d the natural duty of justice. For in the w a y t h a t o n e has a d u t y to uphold just arrangements, and an obligation t o d o o n e ' s p a r t w h e n o n e has accepted a position in them, so a p e r s o n w h o has complied w i t h the scheme and done his share has a right to be t r e a t e d accordingly by others. They are b o u n d to meet his legitimate e x p e c t a t i o n s . T h u s when just economic arrangements exist, the claims of individuals are properly settled by reference t o the rules a n d precepts (with their respective weights) which these practices t a k e as relevant. As we have seen, it is incorrect to say that just distributive shares reward individuals according to their m o r a l w o r t h . But w h a t we can say is that, in the traditional p h r a s e , a just scheme gives each person his due: that is, it allots to each w h a t h e is entitled to as aenned by the scheme itself. The principles of justice for institutions and individuals establish that doing this is fair. w "
s h o u l d b e

noted that even t h o u g h a p e r s o n ' s claims are

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regulated by the existing rules, we can still make a distinction between being entitled to something and deserving it in a familar although n o n - m o r a l s e n s e . T o illustrate, after a game one often says t h a t the losing side deserved to win. H e r e one does not mean t h a t the victors are not entitled to claim the c h a m p i o n s h i p , or whatever spoils go t o the winner. O n e means instead that the losing team displayed to a higher degree the skills and qualities that the g a m e calls forth, a n d the exercise of which gives the sport its appeal. Therefore the losers truly deserved to win but lost out as a result of b a d luck, or from other contingencies that caused the contest to miscarry. Similarly even the best e c o n o m i c arrangements will not always lead to the m o r e preferred outcomes. T h e claims t h a t individuals actually acquire inevitably deviate m o r e or less widely from those t h a t the scheme is designed to allow for. Some persons in favoured positions, for example, may not have to a higher degree t h a n o t h e r s the desired qualities and abilities. All this is evident e n o u g h . Its bearing here is that although w e can indeed distinguish between the claims t h a t existing arrangements require us to h o n o u r , given w h a t individuals have d o n e and h o w things have t u r n e d out, a n d the claims that w o u l d have resulted under m o r e ideal circumstances, none of this implies that distributive shares s h o u l d be in accordance with m o r a l w o r t h . Even when things h a p p e n in the best w a y , there is still no tendency for distribution and virtue to coincide. N o d o u b t some m a y still c o n t e n d that distributive shares should m a t c h m o r a l w o r t h at least to the extent that this is feasible. They m a y believe that unless those w h o are better off have superior m o r a l character, their having greater advantages is an affront t o o u r sense of justice. N o w this opinion may arise from thinking of distributive justice as s o m e h o w the opposite of retributive justice. It is true t h a t in a reasonably well-ordered society those w h o are p u n i s h e d for violating just laws have normally d o n e something w r o n g . This is because the p u r p o s e of the criminal law is t o uphold basic n a t u r a l duties, those which forbid us to injure other persons in their life a n d limb, or to deprive t h e m of their liberty and p r o p e r t y , a n d p u n i s h m e n t s are to serve this end. They are not simply a scheme of taxes and b u r d e n s designed to p u t a price on certain forms of c o n d u c t a n d in this w a y t o guide men's conduct for m u t u a l a d v a n t a g e . It w o u l d be far better if the acts proscribed by penal statutes w e r e never d o n e . T h u s a propensity to commit such acts is a m a r k of bad character, a n d in a just society legal p u n i s h m e n t s will only fall u p o n those w h o display these faults. It is clear t h a t the distribution of e c o n o m i c a n d social advantages
10 1 1

48

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

is entirely different. These arrangements are n o t the converse, so to speak, of the criminal law, so t h a t just as the o n e punishes certain offences, the other rewards moral w o r t h . T h e function of unequal distributive shares is to cover the costs of training a n d e d u c a t i o n , to attract individuals to places and associations w h e r e they are most needed from a social point to view, and so o n . A s s u m i n g that everyone accepts the propriety of self- or group-interested motiva tion duly regulated by a sense of justice, each decides to d o those things that best accord with his aims. Variations in wages and income and the perquisites of position are simply t o influence these choices so that the end result accords with efficiency a n d justice. In a well-ordered society there would be n o need for the penal law except insofar as the assurance p r o b l e m m a d e it necessary. The question of criminal justice belongs for the m o s t p a r t t o partial compliance theory, whereas the account of distributive shares belongs to strict compliance theory a n d so t o the consideration of the ideal scheme. T o think of distributive a n d retributive justice as converses of one another is completely misleading a n d suggests a different justification for distributive shares t h a n the o n e they in fact have.
1 2

68.

SEVERAL CONTRASTS AND THE

BETWEEN GOOD

THE

RIGHT

In order to bring out the structural features of the contract view, 1 shall now mention several contrasts between the concepts of the right and the good. Since these concepts enable us to explain moral worth, they are the two fundamental concepts of the t h e o r y . T h e structure of an ethical doctrine depends u p o n h o w it relates these two notions and defines their differences. T h e distinctive features of justice as fairness can be shown by noting these p o i n t s . One difference is that whereas the principles of justice (and the principles of right generally) are those t h a t w o u l d be chosen in the original position, the principles of rational choice a n d the criteria of deliberative rationality are not chosen at all. T h e first t a s k in the theory of justice is to define the initial situation so that the principles that result express the correct conception of justice from a philosophical point of view. This m e a n s t h a t the typical features of this situation should represent reasonable c o n s t r a i n t s o n argu ments for accepting principles and t h a t t h e principles a g r e e d t o should match our considered convictions of justice in reflective equilibrium. N o w , the analogous p r o b l e m for the theory of the

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good does n o t arise. T h e r e is, to begin with, n o necessity for an agreement u p o n the principles of rational choice. Since each person is free to plan his life as he pleases (so long as is intentions are consistent with the principles of justice), unanimity concerning the s t a n d a r d s of rationality is not required. All the theory of justice assumes is t h a t , in the thin account of the good, the evident criteria of rational choice are sufficient to explain the preference for the p r i m a r y g o o d s , a n d that such variations as exist in conceptions of rationality d o not affect the principles of justice adopted in the original position. Nevertheless, 1 have assumed that h u m a n beings d o recognize certain principles a n d t h a t these standards may be taken by e n u m e r a t i o n to replace the notion of rationality. We can, if we wish, allow certain variations in the list. T h u s there is disagreement as to the best w a y t o deal with u n c e r t a i n t y . " There is n o reason, t h o u g h , w h y individuals in m a k i n g their plans should not be t h o u g h t of as following their inclinations in this case. Therefore any principle of choice u n d e r uncertainty which seems plausible can be a d d e d to the list, so long as decisive arguments against it are not forthcoming. It is only in the thin theory of the good that we have t o w o r r y a b o u t these matters. H e r e the notion of rationality must be interpreted so that the general desire for the primary goods can be established and the choice of the principles of justice demon strated. But even in this case, I have suggested that the conception of justice a d o p t e d is insensitive with respect to conflicting interpre tations of rationality. But in any event, once the principles of justice are chosen, a n d we are w o r k i n g within the full theory, there is n o need t o set u p the a c c o u n t of the good so as to force unanimity on all the s t a n d a r d s of the rational choice. In fact, it would contradict the freedom of choice t h a t justice as fairness assures to individuals a n d g r o u p s within the framework of just institutions. A second contrast between the right and the good is t h a t it is, in general, a g o o d thing t h a t individuals' conceptions of their good should differ in significant w a y s , whereas this is not so for conceptions of right. In a well-ordered society citizens hold the same principles of right a n d they try to reach the same judgement in p a r t i c u l a r cases. These principles are to establish a final ordering a m o n g the conflicting claims t h a t persons m a k e upon one another a n d it is essential t h a t this ordering be identifiable from everyone's point of view, h o w e v e r difficult it m a y be in practice for everyone t o accept it. O n the o t h e r h a n d , individuals find their good in different w a y s , a n d m a n y things m a y be good for o n e person that w o u l d n o t be g o o d for a n o t h e r . M o r e o v e r , there is n o urgency t o reach

50

The Right and the Good

Contrasted

publicly accepted judgement as to w h a t is the g o o d of particular individuals. The reasons that make such an agreement necessary in questions of justice do not obtain for judgements of value. Even when we take up another's point of view and a t t e m p t to estimate what would be to his advantage, we d o so as an adviser, so to speak. We try to put ourselves in the other's place, a n d imagining that we have his aims and wants, we attempt to see things from his standpoint. Cases of paternalism aside, our judgement is offered when it is asked for, but there is no conflict of right if our advice is disputed and our opinion is not acted u p o n . In a well-ordered society, then, the plans of life of individuals are different in the sense that these plans give p r o m i n e n c e to different aims, and persons are left free to determine their g o o d , the views of others being counted as merely advisory. N o w this variety in conceptions of the good is itself a good thing, that is, it is rational for members of a well-ordered society to w a n t their plans to be different. The reasons for this are obvious. H u m a n beings have various talents and abilities the totality of which is unrealizable by any one person or group of persons. T h u s we not only benefit from the complementary nature of our developed inclinations but we take pleasure in one another's activities. It is as if others were bringing forth a part of ourselves that we have not been able to cultivate. We have had to devote ourselves t o other things, to only a small part of what we might have d o n e . But the situation is quite otherwise with justice: here we require n o t only c o m m o n principles but sufficiently similar ways of applying t h e m in particu lar cases so that a final ordering of conflicting claims can be defined. Judgements of justice are advisory only in special circumstances. The third difference is that many applications of the principles of justice are restricted by the veil of ignorance, whereas evaluations of a persons's good may rely upon a full k n o w l e d g e of the facts. Thus, as we have seen, not only must the principles of justice be chosen in the absence of certain kinds of particular information, but when these principles are used in designing constitutions a n d basic social arrangements, and in deciding between laws a n d TK !M ' a r although n o t as strict limitations. 1 he delegates to a constitutional convention, a n d ideal legislators and voters, are also required to take u p a point of view in which they know only the appropriate general facts. An individual's conception of his good, on the other h a n d , is to be adjusted from the start to his particular situation. A rational plan of life takes into account our special abilities, interests, a n d circumstances, a n d therefore it quite properly depends u p o n o u r social position a n d
W C s u b e c t t o s i m i l

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natural assets. T h e r e is n o objection to fitting rational plans to these contingencies, since the principles of justice have already been chosen a n d constrain the content of these plans, the ends that they encourage a n d the m e a n s t h a t they use. But in judgements of justice, it is only at the judicial a n d administrative stage that all restrictions o n i n f o r m a t i o n are d r o p p e d , and particular cases are to be decided in view of all the relevant facts. In the light of these contrasts we may further clarify an i m p o r t a n t difference between the contract doctrine a n d utilitarianism. Since the principle of utility is to maximize the good understood as the satisfaction of rational desire, we are to take as given existing preferences and the possibilities of their continuation into the future, a n d then to strive for the greatest net balance of satisfaction. But as we h a v e seen, the determination of rational plans is indeter minate in i m p o r t a n t w a y s . T h e more evident and easily applied principles of rational choice d o not specify the best plan; a great deal remains to be decided. This indeterminacy is n o difficulty for justice as fairness, since the details of plans d o not affect in any way w h a t is right or just. O u r w a y of life, whatever o u r particular circumstances, must always conform to the principles of justice that are arrived at independently. T h u s the arbitrary features of plans of life d o n o t affect these principles, or h o w the basic structure is to be a r r a n g e d . T h e indeterminacy in the notion of rationality does not translate itself into legitimate claims that men can impose o n one a n o t h e r . T h e priority of the right prevents this. T h e utilitarian, o n the other h a n d , must concede the theoretical possibility t h a t configurations of preferences allowed by this indeterminacy m a y lead t o injustice as ordinarily understood. For e x a m p l e , a s s u m e t h a t the larger p a r t of society has an abhorrence for certain religious o r sexual practices, a n d regards them as an a b o m i n a t i o n . This feeling is so intense that it is not enough that these practices be k e p t from the public view; the very t h o u g h t that these things are going o n is e n o u g h to arouse the majority to anger a n d h a t r e d . Even w h e n these attitudes are u n s u p p o r t a b l e on moral g r o u n d s , there a p p e a r s t o be n o sure w a y t o exclude them as irrational. Seeking the greatest satisfaction of desire m a y , then, justify h a r s h repressive measures against actions that cause n o social injury. T o defend individual liberty in this case the utilitarian has to s h o w t h a t given the circumstances the real balance of advantages in the long r u n still lies o n the side of freedom; and this a r g u m e n t m a y or m a y not be successful. In justice as fairness, however, this problem never arises. T h e intense convictions of the majority, if they are indeed mere

The Right

and the Good

Contrasted

p r e f e r e n c e s w i t h o u t any f o u n d a t i o n in the principles of justice a n t e c e d e n t l y e s t a b l i s h e d , h a v e n o w e i g h t to begin with. The satisfaction of these feelings has n o value t h a t can be put in the scales a g a i n s t the c l a i m s of equal liberty. T o have a complaint a g a i n s t the c o n d u c t a n d belief of o t h e r s we must show that their a c t i o n s injure us, o r t h a t the i n s t i t u t i o n s that authorize what they d o t r e a t us unjustly. A n d this m e a n s t h a t we must appeal to the p r i n c i p l e s t h a t we w o u l d a c k n o w l e d g e in the original position. A g a i n s t t h e s e p r i n c i p l e s n e i t h e r the intensity of feeling nor its being s h a r e d by the m a j o r i t y c o u n t s for a n y t h i n g . O n the contract view, t h e n , the g r o u n d s of liberty are c o m p l e t e l y separate from existing p r e f e r e n c e s . I n d e e d , we m a y t h i n k of the principles of justice as an a g r e e m e n t n o t t o t a k e i n t o a c c o u n t certain feelings when assessing the c o n d u c t of o t h e r s . As I n o t e d before, these points are familiar e l e m e n t s of the classical liberal d o c t r i n e . I have mentioned them a g a i n in o r d e r to s h o w t h a t the i n d e t e r m i n a c y in the full theory of the g o o d is n o c a u s e for o b j e c t i o n . It m a y leave a person unsettled as t o w h a t to d o , since it c a n n o t p r o v i d e him with instructions as to h o w t o d e c i d e . But since t h e aim of justice is n o t to maximize the fulfilment of r a t i o n a l p l a n s , the c o n t e n t of justice is n o t in any way affected. Of c o u r s e , it c a n n o t be denied that prevailing social a t t i t u d e s tie t h e s t a t e s m a n ' s h a n d s . T h e convictions and passions of t h e m a j o r i t y m a y m a k e liberty i m p o s s i b l e to m a i n t a i n . But bowing t o t h e s e p r a c t i c a l necessities is a different thing from accepting the justification t h a t if these feelings a r e s t r o n g e n o u g h and outweigh in intensity a n y feelings t h a t m i g h t replace t h e m , they should carry the d e c i s i o n . By c o n t r a s t , t h e c o n t r a c t view requires that we move t o w a r d s just i n s t i t u t i o n s as speedily as the circumstances permit irrespective of e x i s t i n g s e n t i m e n t s . A definite scheme of ideal i n s t i t u t i o n s is e m b e d d e d in its principles of justice. It is e v i d e n t from these c o n t r a s t s t h a t in justice as fairness the c o n c e p t s of the r i g h t a n d t h e g o o d h a v e m a r k e d l y distinct features. T h e s e differences arise f r o m the s t r u c t u r e of c o n t r a c t theory and the p r i o r i t y of r i g h t a n d justice t h a t results. I d o n o t suggest, however, t h a t t h e t e r m s ' r i g h t ' a n d ' g o o d ' ( a n d their relatives) are normally used in w a y s t h a t reflect t h e s e d i s t i n c t i o n s . A l t h o u g h o u r ordinary s p e e c h m a y t e n d to s u p p o r t the a c c o u n t of these concepts, this c o r r e s p o n d e n c e is n o t n e e d e d for the correctness of the contract d o c t r i n e . R a t h e r , t w o t h i n g s suffice. First, there is a way of mapping o u r c o n s i d e r e d j u d g e m e n t s i n t o t h e t h e o r y of justice such that in reflective e q u i l i b r i u m t h e c o u n t e r p a r t s of these convictions turn out t o be t r u e , t o e x p r e s s j u d g e m e n t s t h a t w e can accept. And second, o n c e w e u n d e r s t a n d t h e t h e o r y , w e can a c k n o w l e d g e these interpre-

John Ratvls

53

tations as suitable renderings of w h a t on reflection we now wish to m a i n t a i n . Even t h o u g h we w o u l d not normally use these replace ments, p e r h a p s because they are too c u m b e r s o m e , or would be m i s u n d e r s t o o d , or w h a t e v e r , we are prepared to grant that they cover in s u b s t a n c e all that w a n t s to be said. Certainly these substitutes m a y n o t m e a n the same as the ordinary judgements with which they are paired. H o w far this is the case is a question that 1 shall n o t e x a m i n e . M o r e o v e r , the replacements may indicate a shift m o r e or less drastic from o u r initial moral judgements as they existed p r i o r to philosophical reflection. Some changes anyway are b o u n d to h a v e taken place as philosophical criticism and construc tion lead us to revise a n d extend o u r views. But what counts is w h e t h e r the c o n c e p t i o n of justice as fairness, better than any other theory presently k n o w n to us, turns out to lead to true inter pretations of o u r considered judgements, and provides a mode of expression for w h a t we w a n t to affirm.

84.

HEDONISM

AS A M E T H O D

OF

CHOICE

Traditionally h e d o n i s m is interpreted in one of t w o ways: either as the c o n t e n t i o n t h a t the sole intrinsic good is pleasurable feeling, or as the psychological thesis that the only thing individuals strive for is pleasure. H o w e v e r 1 shall u n d e r s t a n d hedonism in a third way, namely, as trying to carry t h r o u g h the d o m i n a n t - e n d conception of deliberation. It a t t e m p t s t o s h o w h o w a rational choice is always possible, at least in principle. Although this effort fails, I shall e x a m i n e it briefly for the light it t h r o w s u p o n the contrast between utilitarianism a n d the contract doctrine. I imagine the h e d o n i s t to reason as follows. First he thinks that, if h u m a n life is to be guided by reason, there m u s t exist a d o m i n a n t end. T h e r e is n o rational w a y to balance o u r competing aims against o n e a n o t h e r e x c e p t as m e a n s to some higher end. Second, he interprets pleasure n a r r o w l y as agreeable feeling. Pleasantness as an a t t r i b u t e of feeling a n d sensation is t h o u g h t t o be the only plausible c a n d i d a t e for the role of the d o m i n a n t end, a n d therefore it is the only thing g o o d in itself. T h a t , so conceived, pleasure alone is good is n o t p o s t u l a t e d s t r a i g h t w a y as a first principle and then held to accord w i t h o u r considered judgements of value. Rather pleasure is arrived at as the d o m i n a n t end by a process of elimination. G r a n t i n g t h a t rational choices are possible, such an end must exist. At the s a m e time this e n d c a n n o t be happiness or any objective goal. T o avoid the circularity of the one and the inhumanity and

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fanaticism of the other, the hedonist turns i n w a r d s . H e finds the ultimate end in some definite quality of sensation or feeling identifiable by introspection. We can suppose, if we like, t h a t pleasantness can be ostensively defined as that attribute w h i c h is c o m m o n t o the feelings and experiences t o w a r d s which we h a v e a favourable attitude and wish to prolong, other things equal. T h u s , for purposes of illustration, one might say that pleasantness is t h a t feature which is c o m m o n t o the experience of smelling roses, of tasting chocolate, of requited affection, and so on, and analogously for the opposite attribute of painfulness. The hedonist maintains, then, that a rational agent k n o w s exactly how to proceed in determining his good: he is to ascertain which of the plans open to him promises the greatest net balance of pleasure over pain. This plan defines his rational choice, the best way to order his competing aims. T h e counting principles n o w apply trivially, since all good things are h o m o g e n e o u s and therefore comparable as means to the one end of pleasure. Of course these assessments are plagued by uncertainties and lack of information, and normally only the crudest estimates can be m a d e . Yet for hedonism this is not a real difficulty: w h a t counts is that the maximum of pleasure provides a clear idea of the good. W e are n o w said to k n o w the one thing the pursuit of which gives rational form to our life. Largely for these reasons Sidgwick thinks that pleasure must be the single rational end t h a t is to guide deliberation. It is important to note t w o points. First, w h e n pleasure is regarded as a special attribute of feeling and sensation, it is conceived as a definite measure on which calculations can be based. By reckoning in terms of the intensity and duration of pleasant experiences, the necessary computations can theoretically be m a d e . The method of hedonism provides a first-person p r o c e d u r e of choice as the standard of happiness does not. Second, t a k i n g pleasure as the d o m i n a n t end does not imply that w e h a v e any particular objective goals. W e find pleasure in the m o s t varied activities and in the quest for any number of things. Therefore aiming to maximize pleasurable feeling seems at least t o avoid the appearance of fanaticism a n d inhumanity while still defining a rational method for first-person choice. F u r t h e r m o r e , the t w o traditional interpretations of hedonism are n o w easily accounted for. If pleasure is indeed the only end the pursuit of which enables us to identify rational plans, then surely pleasure w o u l d a p p e a r t o be the sole intrinsic good, a n d so we w o u l d have arrived at the principle of hedonism by an argument from the conditions of rational deliberation. A variant of psychological hedonism also
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follows: for a l t h o u g h it is going t o o far to say that rational conduct would always consciously aim at pleasure, it would in any case be regulated by a schedule of activities designed to maximize the net balance of p l e a s u r a b l e feeling. Since it leads to the more familiar interpretations, the thesis t h a t the pursuit of pleasure provides the only rational m e t h o d of deliberation seems to be the fundamental idea of h e d o n i s m . It seems o b v i o u s t h a t h e d o n i s m fails to define a reasonable d o m i n a n t end. W e need only note that once pleasure is conceived, as it must be, in a sufficiently definite way so that its intensity and duration can enter into the agent's calculations, then it is n o longer plausible t h a t it s h o u l d be taken as the sole rational a i m . Surely the preference for a certain attribute of feeling or sensation above all else is as u n b a l a n c e d a n d i n h u m a n as an overriding desire to maximize o n e ' s p o w e r over others or one's material wealth. N o d o u b t it is for this reason t h a t Sidgwick is reluctant to grant that pleasantness is a p a r t i c u l a r quality of feeling; yet he must concede this if pleasure is to serve, as he w a n t s it to, as the ultimate criterion to weigh ideal values such as knowledge, beauty, and friendship against one a n o t h e r . A n d t h e n t o o there is the fact t h a t there are different sorts of agreeable feelings themselves i n c o m p a r a b l e , as well as the quantita tive d i m e n s i o n s of pleasure, intensity and duration. H o w are we to balance these w h e n they conflict? Are we to choose a brief but intense p l e a s a n t experience of one kind of feeling over a less intense but longer pleasant experience of another? Aristotle says that the g o o d m a n if necessary lays d o w n his life for his friends, since he prefers a s h o r t p e r i o d of intense pleasure to a long one of mild enjoyment, a t w e l v e m o n t h of noble life to m a n y years of h u m d r u m e x i s t e n c e . But h o w does he decide this? Further, as Santayana observes, w e m u s t settle the relative w o r t h of pleasure and pain. W h e n Petrarch says t h a t a t h o u s a n d pleasures are not w o r t h one pain, he a d o p t s a s t a n d a r d for c o m p a r i n g them that is more basic t h a n either. T h e p e r s o n himself m u s t m a k e this decision, taking into a c c o u n t the full range of inclinations a n d desires, present a n d future. Clearly w e have m a d e n o advance beyond deliberate rationality. T h e p r o b l e m of a plurality of ends arises all over again within the class of subjective f e e l i n g s . It m a y be objected t h a t in economics and decision theory these p r o b l e m s are o v e r c o m e . But this contention is based on a misunder s t a n d i n g . In the t h e o r y of d e m a n d , for example, it is assumed that the c o n s u m e r ' s preferences satisfy various postulates: they define a complete o r d e r i n g over the set of alternatives and exhibit the
16 1 7 18 19

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properties of convexity and continuity, a n d the like. Given these assumptions, it can be shown that a utility function exists w h i c h matches these preferences in the sense that one alternative is chosen over another if and only if the value of the function for the selected alternative is greater. This function characterizes the individual's choices, w h a t he in fact prefers, granted t h a t his preferences meet certain stipulations. It asserts nothing at all a b o u t h o w a p e r s o n arranges his decisions in such a coherent order to begin w i t h , n o r clearly can it claim to be a first-person procedure of choice t h a t someone might reasonably follow, since it only records the outcome of his deliberations. At best the principles that economists have supposed the choices of rational individuals to satisfy can be presented as guidelines for us to consider w h e n w e m a k e o u r decisions. But so understood, these criteria are just the principles of rational choice (or their analogues) and we are back once again with deliberative r a t i o n a l i t y . It seems indisputable, then, that there is n o d o m i n a n t end the pursuit of which accords with our considered judgements of value. The inclusive end of realizing a rational plan of life is an entirely different thing. But the failure of hedonism to provide a rational procedure of choice should occasion n o surprise. Wittgenstein showed that it is a mistake to postulate certain special experiences to explain h o w we distinguish memories from imaginings, beliefs from suppositions, and so o n for other mental acts. Similarly, it is antecedently unlikely that certain kinds of agreeable feeling can define a unit of account the use of which explains the possibility of rational deliberation. Neither pleasure n o r any other d e t e r m i n a t e end can play the role that the hedonist would assign i t . N o w philosophers have supposed t h a t characteristic experiences exist and guide o u r mental life for many different reasons. So while it seems a simple matter to show t h a t h e d o n i s m gets us n o w h e r e , the important thing is to see why one might be driven to resort t o such a desperate expedient. I have already noted one possible reason: the desire t o n a r r o w d o w n the scope of purely preferential choice in determining our good. In a teleological t h e o r y a n y vagueness or ambiguity in the conception of the good is transferred to that of the right. Hence if the good of individuals is s o m e t h i n g that, so to speak, is just up to t h e m t o decide as individuals, so likewise within certain limits is that w h i c h is right. But it is n a t u r a l to think that w h a t is right is not a matter of mere preference, a n d therefore one tries t o find a definite conception of the g o o d . There is, however, a n o t h e r reason: a teleological theory needs a way to compare the diverse goods of different individuals so t h a t
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the total g o o d can be m a x i m i z e d . H o w can these assessments be made? Even if certain e n d s serve to organize the plans of individuals taken singly, they d o n o t suffice to define a conception of right. It would a p p e a r , t h e n , t h a t the turn inwards to the standard of agreeable feeling is an a t t e m p t to find a c o m m o n denominator a m o n g the plurality of persons, an interpersonal currency as it were, by m e a n s of which the social ordering can be specified. And this suggestion is all the m o r e compelling if it is already maintained that this s t a n d a r d is the aim of each person to the extent that he is rational. By way of conclusion, 1 should not say that a teleological doctrine is necessarily driven to some form of hedonism in order to define a c o h e r e n t t h e o r y . Yet it does seem that the tendency in this direction has a certain n a t u r a l n e s s . H e d o n i s m is, one might say, the s y m p t o m a t i c drift of teleological theories insofar as they try to formulate a clear a n d applicable m e t h o d of moral reasoning. The weakness of h e d o n i s m reflects the impossibility of defining an a p p r o p r i a t e definite e n d t o be maximized. And this suggests that the structure of teleological doctrines is radically misconceived: from the start they relate the right and the good in the wrong way. We should n o t a t t e m p t to give form to our life by first looking to the good independently defined. It is not our aims that primarily reveal o u r n a t u r e but r a t h e r the principles that we would acknowl edge to govern the b a c k g r o u n d conditions under which these aims are to be formed a n d the m a n n e r in which they are to be pursued. For the self is prior to the ends which are affirmed by it; even a d o m i n a n t end m u s t be chosen from a m o n g n u m e r o u s possibilities. There is n o w a y to get beyond deliberative rationality. We should therefore reverse the relation between the right and the good proposed by teleological doctrines a n d view the right as prior. The moral theory is then developed by w o r k i n g in the opposite direction.
NOTES

On this point see Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, pp. 416 f. ^ See J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism, ch. 5, last two paras. For Bentham see The Principles of International Law, Essay I, in The Works of Jeremy Bentham, ed. John Bowring (Edinburgh, 1838-43), vol. II, p. 537; for Edgeworth see Mathematical Psychics, pp. 52-6, and also the first pages of T h e Pure Theory of Taxation', Economic Journal, vol. 7 (1897), where the same argument is presented more briefly. Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. I, sec. IV.

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9 1 0

11

1 2 1 3

1 4

15

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19

The priority of right is a central feature of Kant's ethics. See, for example, The Critique of Practical Reason, ch. II, bk I of pt I, especially pp. 62-5 of vol. 5 of Kants Gesammelte Schriften, Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin, 1913). A clear statement is to be found in 'Theory and Practice' (to abbreviate the title), Political Writings, pp. 67 f. 'Of the Original Contract', Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. T. H. Green and T. H. Grose, vol. 1 (London, 1875), pp. 454 f. See, for example, W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good (Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1930), pp. 21, 26-8, 35, 57 f. Similarly, Leibniz in 'On the Ultimate Origin of Things' (1697) speaks of the law of justice which 'declares that each one [each individual] participate in the perfection of the universe and in a happiness of his own in proportion to his own virtue and to the good will he entertains toward the common good.' Leibniz, ed. P. P. Wiener (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951), p. 353. See F. H. Knight, The Ethics of Competition (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1935), pp. 54-7. See Knight, ibid., p. 56 n. Here I borrow from Joel Feinberg, Doing and Deserving (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1970), pp. 64 f. See H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1961), p. 39; and Feinberg, Doing and Deserving, ch. 5. On this point, see Feinberg, ibid., pp. 62, 69 n. See the discussion in R. D. Luce and Howard Raiffa, Games and Decisions (New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1957), pp. 278-306. The illustration is from C. D. Broad, Five Types of Ethical Theory (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1930), pp. 186 f. The Methods of Ethics, 7th edn (London, Macmillan, 1907), pp. 405-7,479. As Broad observes in Five Types of Ethical Theory, p. 187. In Methods of Ethics, p. 127, Sidgwick denies that pleasure is a measurable quality of feeling independent of its relation from volition. This is the view of some writers, he says, but one he cannot accept. He defines pleasure 'as a feeling which, when experienced by intelligent beings, is at least apprehended as desirable or - in cases of comparison preferable'. It would seem that the view he here rejects is the one he relies upon later as the final criterion to introduce coherence among ends. See pp. 405-7, 479. Otherwise the hedonist method of choice no longer provides instructions that can be followed. Nicomachean Ethics, 1169al7-26. The Life of Reason in Common Sense (New York, Charles Scribner's, Sons 1905), pp. 237 f. Thus to the objection that price theory must fail because it seeks to predict the unpredictable, the decisions of persons with free will, Walras says: 'Actually, we have never attempted to predict decisions made under conditions of perfect freedom; we have only tried to express the

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effects of such decisions in terms of mathematics. In our theory each trader may be assumed to determine his utility or want curves as he pleases.' Elements of Pure Economics, trans. William Jaffe (Homewood, 111., Richard D. Irwin, 1954), p. 256. See also P. A. Samuelson, Foundations of Economic Analysis (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1947), the remarks pp. 9 0 - 2 , 97 f; and R.D. Luce and Howard Raiffa, Games and Decisions (New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1957), pp. 1 6 , 2 1 - 4 , 3 8 . See the Philosophical Investigations (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1953). The argument against postulating special experiences is made through out for many different cases. For the application to pleasure, see the remarks of G. E. M. Anscombe, Intention (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1957). Anscombe says: 'We might adapt a remark of Wittgenstein's about meaning and say "Pleasure cannot be an impression; for no impression could have the consequences of pleasure." They [the British Empiricists] were saying that something which they thought of as like a particular tickle or itch was quite obviously the point of doing anything whatsoever' (p. 77). See also Gilbert Ryle, 'Pleasure', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supp. vol. 28 (1954), and Dilemmas (Cambridge, The University Press, 1954), ch. 4; Anthony Kenny, Action, Emotion and Will (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), ch. 6; and C. C. W. Taylor, 'Pleasure', Analysis, supp. vol. (1963). These studies present what seems to be the more correct view. In the text I try to explain the motivation from the standpoint of moral philosophy of the so-called British Empiricist conception of pleasure. That it is fallacious I pretty much take for granted, as the writers mentioned have, I believe, shown.

3 Ronald Dworkin: Liberalism '


51

i . . . Is there a thread of principle t h a t runs t h r o u g h the core liberal positions, a n d that distinguishes these from the c o r r e s p o n d i n g conservative positions? There is a familiar answer t o this question that is mistaken, but mistaken in an illuminating w a y . T h e politics of democracies, according to this answer, recognizes several independent constitutive political ideals, the most i m p o r t a n t of which are the ideals of liberty a n d equality. Unfortunately, liberty and equality often conflict: sometimes the only effective m e a n s t o p r o m o t e equality require some limitation of liberty, and sometimes the consequences of p r o m o t i n g liberty are detrimental t o equality. In these cases, good government consists in the best c o m p r o m i s e between the competing ideals, b u t different politicians a n d citizens will make t h a t compromise differently. Liberals tend relatively to favour equality more a n d liberty less t h a n conservatives d o , a n d the core set of liberal positions I described is the result of striking the balance that way. This account offers a theory a b o u t w h a t liberalism is. Liberalism shares the same constitutive principles with many other political theories, including conservatism, but is distinguished from these by attaching different relative importance t o different principles. T h e theory therefore leaves r o o m , o n the spectrum it describes, for the radical w h o cares even more for equality and less for liberty than the liberal, and therefore stands even further away from the e x t r e m e conservative. T h e liberal becomes the m a n in the middle, w h i c h explains w h y liberalism is so often n o w considered wish-washy, an untenable compromise between t w o more forthright positions. N o d o u b t this description of American politics could b e m a d e * Reprinted from Liberalism by Ronald Dworkin, in Public and Private Morality by Stuart Hampshire (ed.), 1978, by permission of Cambridge University Press.

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m o r e sophisticated. It might m a k e r o o m for other independent constitutive ideals shared by liberalism and its o p p o n e n t s , like stability or security, so that the compromises involved in particular decisions are m a d e o u t to be m o r e complex. But if the nerve of the theory r e m a i n s the competition between liberty and equality as constitutive ideals, then the theory c a n n o t succeed. . . . It seems t o apply, at best, to only a limited n u m b e r of the political controversies it tries to explain. It is designed for economic controversies, b u t is either irrelevant or misleading in the case of censorship a n d p o r n o g r a p h y , a n d indeed, in the criminal law generally. But there is a m u c h more i m p o r t a n t defect in this explanation. It assumes t h a t liberty is m e a s u r a b l e so that, if t w o political decisions each invades the liberty of a citizen, we can sensibly say that o n e decision takes m o r e liberty a w a y from him than the other. T h a t a s s u m p t i o n is necessary, because otherwise the postulate, t h a t liberty is a constitutive ideal of both the liberal and conservative political structures, c a n n o t be maintained. Even firm conservatives are c o n t e n t t h a t their liberty to drive as they wish (for example t o drive u p t o w n on Lexington Avenue) m a y be invaded for the sake, not of s o m e i m p o r t a n t c o m p e t i n g political ideal, but only for m a r g i n a l gains in convenience or orderly traffic p a t t e r n s . But since traffic regulation plainly involves some loss of liberty, the conserva tive c a n n o t be said t o value liberty as such unless he is able to s h o w t h a t , for some reason, less liberty is lost by traffic regulation than by restrictions on, for e x a m p l e , free speech, or the liberty to sell for prices others are willing to pay, or w h a t e v e r other liberty he takes to be f u n d a m e n t a l . But t h a t is precisely w h a t he c a n n o t s h o w , because we d o n o t have a concept of liberty t h a t is quantifiable in the way t h a t d e m o n s t r a t i o n w o u l d require. H e c a n n o t say, for example, t h a t traffic regulations interfere less with w h a t most men and w o m e n w a n t t o d o t h a n w o u l d a law forbidding them t o speak o u t in favour of C o m m u n i s m , or a law requiring them n o t t o fix their prices as they think best. M o s t people care m o r e a b o u t driving t h a n s p e a k i n g for C o m m u n i s m , a n d have n o occasion to fix prices even if they w a n t t o . I d o n o t m e a n t h a t we can m a k e n o sense of the idea of f u n d a m e n t a l liberties, like freedom of speech. But we c a n n o t argue in their favour by s h o w i n g t h a t they protect m o r e liberty, t a k e n t o be an even roughly measurable c o m m o d i t y , t h a n does the right t o drive as w e wish; the fundamental liberties are i m p o r t a n t because w e value s o m e t h i n g else t h a t they protect. But if t h a t is so, t h e n w e c a n n o t explain the difference between liberal a n d conserva-

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tive political positions by supposing that the latter protect the commodity of liberty, valued for its o w n sake, m o r e effectively t h a n the former. It might n o w be said, however, that the other half of the liberty-equality explanation may be salvaged. Even if w e c a n n o t say that conservatives value liberty, as such, m o r e than liberals, we can still say that they value equality less, a n d that the different political positions may be explained in t h a t w a y . Conservatives tend to discount the importance of equality w h e n set beside other goals, like general prosperity or even security; while liberals, in contrast, value equality relatively more, a n d radicals m o r e still. Once again, it is a p p a r e n t that this explanation is tailored to the economic controversies, and fits poorly with the n o n - e c o n o m i c controversies. Once again, however, its defects are m o r e general and more i m p o r t a n t . We must identify m o r e clearly the sense in which equality could be a constitutive ideal for either liberals or conservatives. Once we d o so we shall see that it is misleading t o say that the conservative values equality, in that sense, less t h a n the liberal. W e shall w a n t to say, instead, that he has a different conception of w h a t equality requires. We must distinguish between t w o different principles t h a t t a k e equality to be a political i d e a l . T h e first requires t h a t the government treat all those in its charge as equals, that is, as entitled to its equal concern a n d respect. T h a t is n o t an empty r e q u i r e m e n t : most of us do not suppose that we must, as individuals, t r e a t o u r neighbour's children with the same concern as o u r o w n , or treat everyone we meet with the same respect. It is nevertheless plausible to think that any government should treat all its citizens as equals in that way. The second principle requires that the g o v e r n m e n t treat all those in its charge equally in the distribution of some resource of opportunity, or at least w o r k to secure the state of affairs in w h i c h they all are equal or m o r e nearly equal in t h a t respect. It is, of course, conceded by everyone t h a t the government c a n n o t m a k e everyone equal in every respect, b u t people d o disagree a b o u t h o w far government should try t o secure equality in some particular resource; for example, in monetary w e a l t h . If we look only at the economic-political controversies, then w e might well be justified in saying that liberals w a n t m o r e equality in the sense of the second principle t h a n conservatives d o . But it w o u l d be a mistake t o conclude t h a t they value equality in the sense of the first and more fundamental principle any m o r e highly. I say t h a t the first principle is more fundamental because I assume that, for both liberals a n d conservatives, the first is constitutive a n d the
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second derivative. Sometimes treating people equally is the only way to treat them as equals; but sometimes not. Suppose a limited a m o u n t of emergency relief is available for t w o equally populous areas injured by floods; treating the citizens of both areas as equals requires giving m o r e aid to the more seriously devastated area rather t h a n splitting the available funds equally. The conservative believes t h a t in m a n y other, less a p p a r e n t , cases treating citizens equally a m o u n t s to n o t treating them as equals. He might concede, for e x a m p l e , t h a t positive discrimination in university admissions will w o r k to m a k e the t w o races more nearly equal in wealth, but nevertheless m a i n t a i n that such p r o g r a m m e s do not treat black and white university applicants as equals. If he is a utilitarian he will have a similar, t h o u g h m u c h more general, argument against any redistribution of wealth t h a t reduces economic efficiency. H e will say t h a t the only way t o treat people as equals is to maximize the average welfare of all m e m b e r s of c o m m u n i t y , counting gains and losses to all in the same scales, a n d that a free m a r k e t is the only, or best, i n s t r u m e n t for achieving that goal. This is not (I think) a g o o d a r g u m e n t , but if the conservative w h o makes it is sincere he c a n n o t be said to have discounted the importance of treating all citizens as equals. So w e must reject the simple idea t h a t liberalism consists in a distinctive weighting between constitutive principles of equality a n d liberty. But o u r discussion of the idea of equality suggests a m o r e fruitful line. I assume (as I said) t h a t there is broad agreement within m o d e r n politics that the g o v e r n m e n t must treat all its citizens with equal concern and respect. 1 d o not mean to deny the great p o w e r of prejudice in, for example, American politics. But few citizens, a n d even fewer politicians, would n o w admit to political convictions t h a t contradict the abstract principle of equal concern a n d respect. Different people hold, however, as o u r discussion m a d e plain, very different conceptions of w h a t that abstract principle requires in particular cases.

II W h a t does it m e a n for the g o v e r n m e n t t o treat its citizens as_e_quals? T h a t is, I think, the same question as the question of w h a t it means for the g o v e r n m e n t to treat all its citizens as free, or as independent, o r w i t h equal dignity. In any case, it is a question t h a t has been central to political theory at least since Kant. It m a y be a n s w e r e d in t w o fundamentally different ways. T h e

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first supposes that government m u s t be neutral on w h a t might be called the question of the good life. T h e second supposes t h a t government cannot be neutral on t h a t question, because it c a n n o t <* treat its citizens as equal h u m a n beings w i t h o u t a theory of w h a t h u m a n beings ought to be. I must explain that distinction further. Each person follows a more-or-less articulate conception of w h a t gives value to life. The scholar w h o values a life of c o n t e m p l a t i o n has such a conception; so does the television-watching, beerdrinking citizen w h o is fond of saying 'This is the life', t h o u g h of course he has thought less a b o u t the issue and is less able t o describe or defend his conception. , T h e first theory of equality supposes that political decisions must j s be,"so far as is possible, independent of any particular conception of the good life, or of w h a t gives value t o life. Since the citizens of a i society differ in their conceptions, the government does n o t treat them as equals if it prefers one conception t o a n o t h e r , either because the officials believe t h a t one is intrinsically superior, or because one is held by the more n u m e r o u s or m o r e powerful g r o u p . T h e second theory argues, on the contrary, t h a t the content of equal treatment cannot be independent of some theory a b o u t the g o o d for m a n or the good of life, because treating a person as an equal means treating him the way the^good or truly wise person w o u l d wish to be treated. G o o d government consists in fostering or at least recognizing good lives; treatment as an equal consists in treating each person as if he were desirous of leading the life t h a t is in fact good, at least so far as this is possible. This distinction is very abstract, b u t it is also very i m p o r t a n t . I shall n o w argue t h a t liberalism takes, as its constitutive political morality, the first conception of equality. I shall try to s u p p o r t that claim in this way. In the next section of this essay I shall s h o w h o w it is plausible, a n d even likely, t h a t a thoughtful person w h o accepted the first conception of equality w o u l d , given the e c o n o m i c and political circumstances of America in the last several decades, reach the positions I identified as the familiar core of liberal positions. If so, then the hypothesis satisfies the second of the conditions I described for a successful theory. In the following section I shall try to satisfy the third condition by s h o w i n g h o w it is plausible and even likely that s o m e o n e w h o held a particular version of the second theory of equality w o u l d reach w h a t are normally regarded as the core of American conservative positions. I say *a particular version o f because American conservatism does not follow automatically from rejecting the liberal t h e o r y of equality. T h e second (or non-liberal) theory of equality h o l d s

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merely t h a t the t r e a t m e n t government owes citizens is at least partly determined by s o m e conception of the g o o d life. M a n y political theories s h a r e t h a t thesis, including theories as far apart as, for e x a m p l e , A m e r i c a n conservatism and various forms of socialism or M a r x i s m , t h o u g h these will of course differ in the conception of the good life they a d o p t , and hence in the political institutions and decisions they e n d o r s e . In this respect, liberalism is decidedly not some c o m p r o m i s e or half-way house between more forceful positions, but stands on o n e side of an i m p o r t a n t line that distinguishes it from all competitors taken as a group. I shall n o t provide a r g u m e n t s in this essay that my theory of liberalism meets the first condition 1 described - that the theory must provide a political morality t h a t it makes sense to suppose people in o u r culture h o l d - t h o u g h I think it plain that the theory does meet this condition. T h e fourth condition requires that a theory be as a b s t r a c t a n d general as the first three conditions allow. I d o u b t there will be objections to my theory on that account.

HI I n o w define a liberal as s o m e o n e w h o holds the first, or liberal, theory of w h a t equality requires. Suppose that a liberal is asked to found a n e w state. H e is required to dictate its constitution and fundamental institutions. H e must p r o p o s e a general theory of political distribution, t h a t is, a theory of h o w whatever the c o m m u n i t y has to assign, by w a y of goods or resources o r o p p o r t u n i t i e s , s h o u l d be assigned. H e will arrive initially at s o m e t h i n g like this principle of rough equality: resources and o p p o r t u n i t i e s s h o u l d be distributed, so far as possible, equally, so that roughly the same share of whatever is available is devoted to satisfying the ambitions of each. Any other general aim of distribution will a s s u m e either that the fate of some people should be of greater concern t h a n t h a t of others, or that the ambitions or talents of s o m e are m o r e w o r t h y , and should be supported m o r e generously o n t h a t a c c o u n t . S o m e o n e m a y object that this principle of rough equality is unfair because it ignores the fact that people have different tastes, and t h a t some of these are m o r e expensive to satisfy t h a n others, so that, for e x a m p l e , the m a n w h o prefers c h a m p a g n e will need m o r e funds if he is n o t to be frustrated t h a n the m a n satisfied with beer. But the liberal m a y reply t h a t tastes as to which people differ are, by a n d large, n o t afflictions, like diseases, but are rather cultivated, in

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accordance with each person's theory of w h a t his life should be like. The most effective neutrality, therefore, requires that the same share be devoted to each, so that the choice between expensive and less expensive tastes can be m a d e by each person for himself, with no sense that his overall share will be enlarged by choosing a more expensive life, or that, whatever he chooses, his choice will subsidize those w h o have chosen more expensively. But w h a t does the principle of rough equality of distribution require in practice? If all resources were distributed directly by the government through grants of food, housing, and so forth; if every opportunity citizens have were provided directly by the g o v e r n m e n t through the provisions of civil and criminal law; if every citizen h a d exactly the same talents; if every citizen started his life with no more than what any other citizen had at the start; a n d if every citizen had exactly the same theory of the good life a n d hence exactly the same scheme of preferences as every other citizen, including preferences between productive activity of different forms and leisure, then the principle of rough equality of t r e a t m e n t could be satisfied simply by equal distributions of everything t o be distributed and by civil and criminal laws of universal application. Government would arrange for production t h a t maximized the mix of goods, including jobs and leisure, that everyone favoured, distributing the product equally. Of course, n o n e of these conditions of similarity h o l d s . But the moral relevance of different sorts of diversity are very different, as may be shown by the following exercise. Suppose all the conditions of similarity I mentioned did hold except the last: citizens have different theories of the g o o d a n d hence different preferences. T h e y therefore disagree a b o u t w h a t p r o d u c t the raw materials and labour and savings of the c o m m u n i t y should be used to p r o d u c e , a n d about which activities should b e prohibited or regulated so as t o make others possible or easier. T h e Hberal, as lawgiver, n o w needs mechanisms to satisfy the principles of equal t r e a t m e n t in spite of these disagreements. H e will decide t h a t there are n o better mechanisms available, as general political institutions, t h a n t h e t w o main institutions of o u r o w n political e c o n o m y : the e c o n o m i c market, for decisions a b o u t w h a t goods shall be p r o d u c e d a n d h o w they shall be distributed, and representative democracy, for collec tive decisions a b o u t w h a t conduct shall be prohibited or regulated so that other conduct might be m a d e possible or convenient. Each of these familiar institutions m a y be expected t o provide a" m o r e egalitarian division t h a n any other general a r r a n g e m e n t . T h e market, if it can be m a d e to function efficiently, will determine for

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each p r o d u c t a price t h a t reflects the cost in resources of material, labour a n d capital t h a t might have been applied to produce something different t h a t s o m e o n e else w a n t s . T h a t cost determines, for a n y o n e w h o c o n s u m e s t h a t p r o d u c t , h o w much his account should be charged in c o m p u t i n g the egalitarian division of social resources. It provides a measure of h o w much more his account should be charged for a house t h a n a b o o k , a n d for one book rather than a n o t h e r . T h e m a r k e t will also provide, for the labourer, a measure of h o w m u c h should be credited to his account for his choice of p r o d u c t i v e activity over leisure, and for one activity rather than a n o t h e r . It will tell us, t h r o u g h the price it puts on his labour, h o w m u c h he w o u l d gain or lose by his decision to pursue one career r a t h e r than a n o t h e r . These measurements m a k e a citizen's o w n distribution a function of the personal preferences of others as well as of his o w n , a n d it is the sum of these personal preferences that fixes the true cost to the c o m m u n i t y of meeting his own preferences for g o o d s a n d activities. T h e egalitarian distribution, which requires t h a t the cost of satisfying one person's preferences should as far as is possible be equal to the cost of satisfying a n o t h e r ' s , c a n n o t be enforced unless those measurements are made. W e are familiar w i t h the anti-egalitarian consequences of free enterprise in practice; it may therefore seem paradoxical that the liberal as lawgiver should choose a m a r k e t economy for reasons of equality r a t h e r t h a n efficiency. But, under the special condition that people differ only in preferences for goods and activities, the m a r k e t is m o r e egalitarian t h a n any alternative of comparable generality. T h e m o s t plausible alternative would be t o allow decisions of p r o d u c t i o n , investment, price a n d wage to be made by elected officials in a socialist economy. But w h a t principles should officials use in m a k i n g those decisions? The liberal might tell them to mimic the decisions t h a t a m a r k e t w o u l d make if it was working efficiently u n d e r p r o p e r competition a n d full knowledge. This mimicry w o u l d be, in practice, much less efficient than an actual m a r k e t w o u l d be. In any case, unless the liberal had reason to think it w o u l d be m u c h m o r e efficient, he w o u l d have good reason to reject it. Any minimally efficient mimicking of a hypothetical m a r k e t w o u l d require invasions of privacy to determine w h a t decisions individuals w o u l d m a k e if forced actually to pay for their investment, c o n s u m p t i o n a n d e m p l o y m e n t decisions at market rates, a n d this i n f o r m a t i o n gathering w o u l d be, in many other ways, m u c h m o r e expensive t h a n an actual market. Inevitably, m o r e o v e r , the a s s u m p t i o n s officials m a k e a b o u t h o w people would behave in a hypothetical m a r k e t reflect the officials' o w n beliefs

Liberalism

a b o u t h o w p e o p l e s h o u l d b e h a v e . So there w o u l d be, for the liberal, little t o g a m a n d m u c h t o lose in a socialist economy in which officials w e r e a s k e d t o m i m i c a h y p o t h e t i c a l market. But a n y o t h e r i n s t r u c t i o n s w o u l d be a direct violation of the liberal t h e o r y of w h a t e q u a l i t y requires, because if a decision is m a d e t o p r o d u c e a n d sell g o o d s at a price below the price a market w o u l d fix, t h e n t h o s e w h o prefer those goods are, pro tanto, receiving m o r e t h a n an e q u a l s h a r e of the resources of the c o m m u n i t y at t h e e x p e n s e of t h o s e w h o w o u l d prefer some other use of the r e s o u r c e s . S u p p o s e the limited d e m a n d for books, m a t c h e d a g a i n s t the d e m a n d for c o m p e t i n g uses for wood-pulp, w o u l d fix t h e p r i c e of b o o k s a t a p o i n t higher than the socialist m a n a g e r s of the e c o n o m y will c h a r g e ; those w h o want books are h a v i n g less c h a r g e d t o t h e i r a c c o u n t t h a n the egalitarian principle w o u l d r e q u i r e . It m i g h t be said t h a t in a socialist economy books a r e s i m p l y v a l u e d m o r e , b e c a u s e they are inherently more worthy uses of social r e s o u r c e s , q u i t e a p a r t from the p o p u l a r demand for b o o k s . But t h e liberal t h e o r y of e q u a l i t y rules o u t that appeal to the i n h e r e n t v a l u e of o n e t h e o r y of w h a t is g o o d in life. In a society in w h i c h p e o p l e differed only in preferences, then, a m a r k e t w o u l d be f a v o u r e d for its egalitarian consequences. I n e q u a l i t y of m o n e t a r y w e a l t h w o u l d be the consequence only of t h e fact t h a t s o m e preferences are m o r e expensive than others, i n c l u d i n g t h e p r e f e r e n c e for leisure t i m e r a t h e r than the most l u c r a t i v e p r o d u c t i v e activity. B u t w e m u s t n o w return to the real w o r l d . In t h e a c t u a l society for which the liberal must construct political i n s t i t u t i o n s , t h e r e a r e all the o t h e r differences. Talents are n o t d i s t r i b u t e d e q u a l l y , s o t h e decision of o n e person to work in a factory r a t h e r t h a n a l a w firm, o r n o t t o w o r k at all, will be g o v e r n e d in l a r g e p a r t by his abilities r a t h e r t h a n his preferences for w o r k o r b e t w e e n w o r k a n d leisure. T h e institutions of wealth, w h i c h a l l o w p e o p l e t o d i s p o s e of w h a t they receive by gift, m e a n t h a t c h i l d r e n of the successful will s t a r t with more wealth t h a n t h e c h i l d r e n of t h e unsuccessful. S o m e people have special n e e d s , b e c a u s e t h e y a r e h a n d i c a p p e d ; their h a n d i c a p will not only d i s a b l e t h e m f r o m t h e m o s t p r o d u c t i v e a n d lucrative employment, b u t will i n c a p a c i t a t e t h e m from u s i n g t h e proceeds of whatever e m p l o y m e n t t h e y find as efficiently, s o t h a t they will need more t h a n t h o s e w h o a r e n o t h a n d i c a p p e d t o satisfy identical ambitions. T h e s e i n e q u a l i t i e s will h a v e g r e a t , often catastrophic, effects on t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n t h a t a m a r k e t e c o n o m y will provide. But, unlike differences in p r e f e r e n c e s , t h e differences these inequalities make a r e indefensible a c c o r d i n g t o t h e liberal c o n c e p t i o n of equality. It is

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obviously o b n o x i o u s t o the liberal conception, for example, that s o m e o n e s h o u l d h a v e m o r e of w h a t the c o m m u n i t y as a whole has to distribute because he or his father h a d superior skill or luck. T h e liberal lawgiver therefore faces a difficult task. His conception of equality requires an e c o n o m i c system that produces certain ine qualities (those t h a t reflect t h e true differential costs of goods and opportunities) b u t n o t others (those that follow from differences in ability, inheritance, etc.). T h e m a r k e t produces both the required and t h e forbidden inequalities, a n d there is no alternative system that can be relied u p o n t o p r o d u c e the former without the latter. T h e liberal m u s t be tempted, therefore, t o a reform of the market t h r o u g h a scheme of redistribution that leaves its pricing system relatively intact b u t sharply limits, at least, the inequalities in welfare t h a t his initial principle prohibits. N o solution will seem perfect. T h e liberal m a y find the best answer in a scheme of welfare rights financed t h r o u g h redistributive income and inheritance taxes of the conventional sort, which redistributes just to the Rawlsian point, that is, t o the point at which the worst-off g r o u p would be h a r m e d r a t h e r than benefited by further transfers. In that case, he will r e m a i n a reluctant capitalist, believing t h a t a market economy so reformed is superior, from t h e s t a n d p o i n t of his conception of equality, t o any practical socialist alternative. O r he may believe that t h e redistribution that is possible in a capitalist economy will be so i n a d e q u a t e , o r will be purchased at the cost of such inefficiency, t h a t it is better t o proceed in a more radical way, by substituting socialist for m a r k e t decisions over a large part of the e c o n o m y , a n d then relying on t h e political process to insute that prices a r e set in a m a n n e r a t least roughly consistent with his conception of equality. In t h a t case he will be a reluctant socialist, w h o a c k n o w l e d g e s t h e egalitarian defects of socialism but counts them as less severe t h a n the practical alternatives. In either case, he chooses a mixed e c o n o m i c system - either redistributive capitalism or limited socialism - n o t in order t o compromise antagonistic ideals of efficiency a n d equality, b u t t o achieve the best practical realization of the d e m a n d s of equality itself. Let us assume t h a t in this m a n n e r t h e liberal either refines or partially retracts his original selection of a market economy. H e must n o w consider t h e second of the t w o familiar institutions he first selected, w h i c h is representative democracy. Democracy is justified because it enforces the right of each person t o respect a n d concern as an individual; b u t in practice the decisions of a d e m o c r a t i c m a j o r i t y may often violate that right, according to the liberal t h e o r y of what the right requires. Suppose a legislature

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elected by a majority decides t o m a k e criminal s o m e act (like speaking in favour of an u n p o p u l a r political p o s i t i o n , o r participat ing in eccentric sexual practices) n o t because the act deprives others of opportunities they w a n t , b u t because the majority disapproves of those views o r that sexual morality. T h e political decision, in other w o r d s , reflects n o t simply s o m e a c c o m m o d a t i o n of t h e personal preferences of everyone, in such a w a y as t o m a k e the opportunities of all as nearly equal as may b e , b u t the d o m i n a t i o n of one set of external preferences, that is, preferences people h a v e a b o u t what others shall d o or h a v e . T h e decision invades rather than enforces the right of citizens t o be treated as equals. H o w can the liberal protect citizens against that sort of violation of their fundamental right? It will n o t d o for the liberal simply t o instruct legislators, in some constitutional e x h o r t a t i o n , t o disregard the external preferences of their constituents. Citizens will vote these preferences in electing their representatives, a n d a legislator w h o chooses to ignore them will n o t survive. In any case, it is sometimes impossible t o distinguish, even by introspection, the external a n d personal c o m p o n e n t s of a political p o s i t i o n : this is the case, for example, with associational preferences, w h i c h are the preferences some people have for opportunities, like the o p p o r t u n ity to attend public schools, b u t only with others of the same 'background'.
5

T h e liberal, therefore, needs a scheme of civil rights, whose effect will be t o determine those political decisions IK'aFaTe antecedently likely to reflect strong external preferences, a n d t o r e m o v e those decisions from majoritarian political institutions altogether. Of course, the scheme of rights necessary t o d o this will d e p e n d on general facts a b o u t the prejudices a n d other external preferences of the majority at any given time, a n d different liberals will disagree about w h a t is needed at any particular t i m e . But t h e rights encoded in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, as interpreted (on the whole) by the Supreme C o u r t , are those t h a t a substantial n u m b e r of liberals w o u l d think reasonably well suited t o w h a t the United States n o w requires (though most w o u l d think t h a t the protection of the individual in certain i m p o r t a n t areas, including sexual publication a n d practice, are m u c h t o o w e a k ) .
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The main parts of the criminal law,. however, present a special problem n o t easily met by a scheme of civil rights t h a t disable the legislature from taking certain political decisions. T h e liberal knows that many of the most important decisions required by an

effective criminal law are not made by legislators at all, but by prosecutors deciding whom to prosecute for what crime, and by

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juries a n d judges deciding w h o m to convict a n d w h a t sentences to impose. H e also k n o w s that these decisions are antecedently very likely t o be c o r r u p t e d by the external preferences of those w h o m a k e these decisions because those they judge, typically, have attitudes a n d ways of life very different from their own. The liberal does n o t h a v e available, as p r o t e c t i o n against these decisions, any strategy c o m p a r a b l e to the strategy of civil rights that simply remove a decision from an institution. Decisions to prosecute, convict a n d sentence m u s t be m a d e by someone. But he has available, in the n o t i o n of p r o c e d u r a l rights, a different device to protect equality in a different way. He will insist that criminal p r o c e d u r e be s t r u c t u r e d to achieve a margin of safety in decisions, so t h a t t h e process is biased strongly against the conviction of the innocent. It w o u l d be a mistake to suppose that the liberal thinks that these p r o c e d u r a l rights will improve the accuracy of the criminal process, t h a t is, the probability t h a t any particular decision a b o u t guilt or innocence will be the right one. Procedural rights intervene in the process, even at the cost of inaccuracy, to c o m p e n s a t e in a rough w a y for the antecedent risk that a criminal process, especially if it is largely administered by one class against a n o t h e r , will be c o r r u p t e d by the impact of external preferences t h a t c a n n o t be eliminated directly. This is, of course, only the briefest sketch of h o w various substantive and procedural civil rights follow from t h e liberal's initial conception of equality; it is m e a n t t o suggest, r a t h e r t h a n d e m o n s t r a t e , the more precise a r g u m e n t t h a t w o u l d be available for more particular rights. So the liberal, d r a w n t o the economic market and to political d e m o c r a c y for distinctly egalitarian reasons, finds that these institutions will p r o d u c e inegalitarian results unless he adds to his scheme different sorts of individual rights. These rights will function as t r u m p c a r d s held by individuals; they will enable individuals to resist particular decisions in spite of the fact that these decisions a r e o r w o u l d be reached through the normal w o r k i n g s of general institutions that are n o t themselves challenged. T h e u l t i m a t e justification for these rights is t h a t they are necessary to p r o t e c t e q u a l c o n c e r n a n d respect; but they are not to be u n d e r s t o o d as representing equality in contrast to some other goal or principle served by d e m o c r a c y or the economic market. T h e familiar idea, for e x a m p l e , t h a t rights of redistribution are justified by a n ideal of equality t h a t overrides the efficiency ideals of the m a r k e t in certain cases, h a s n o place in liberal theory. For the liberal, rights are justified, n o t by s o m e principle in competition with a n i n d e p e n d e n t justification of the political a n d economic

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institutions they qualify, but in order t o m a k e m o r e perfect t h e only justification o n which these o t h e r institutions m a y themselves rely. If the liberal arguments for a particular right are s o u n d , then the right is an unqualified improvement in political morality, n o t a necessary b u t regrettable compromise of some other i n d e p e n d e n t goal, like economic efficiency.

IV I said that the conservative holds one a m o n g a n u m b e r of possible alternatives to^the "liberal" conception of equality. Each of these alternatives shares the opinion t h a t treating a person with respect requires treating him as the good m a n w o u l d wish t o be treated. The conservative supposes that the good m a n w o u l d wish to be treated in accordance with the principles of a special sort of society, which I shall call the virtuous society. A virtuous society has these general features. Its members share a s o u n d conception of virtue, that is, of the qualities and dispositions people should strive to have and exhibit. They share this conception in virtue n o t only privately, as individuals, but publicly: they believe their c o m m u n i t y , in its social and political activity, exhibits virtues, a n d t h a t they have a responsibility, as citizens, to p r o m o t e these virtues. In t h a t sense they treat the lives of other members of their c o m m u n i t y as part of their o w n lives. The conservative position is n o t the only position that relies on this ideal of the virtuous society (some forms of socialism rely on it as well). But the conservative is distinct in believing that his o w n society, with its present institutions, is a virtuous society for the special reason t h a t its history a n d c o m m o n experience ate better guides to s o u n d virtue t h a n any non-historical a n d therefore abstract deduction of virtue from first principles could provide. Suppose a conservative is asked t o draft a constitution for a society generally like ours, which he believes to be virtuous. Like the liberal, he will see great merit in the familiar institutions of political democracy and an economic market. T h e appeal of these institutions will be very different for the conservative, h o w e v e r . T h e economic market, in practice, assigns greater r e w a r d s t o those w h o , because they have the virtues of talent a n d industry, supply m o r e of w h a t is w a n t e d by the other m e m b e r s of the v i r t u o u s society; and t h a t is, for the conservative, the p a r a d i g m of fairness in distri bution. Political democracy distributes opportunities, t h r o u g h the provisions of civil a n d criminal law, as the citizens of a v i r t u o u s

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society wish it t o be distributed, and that process will provide more scope for virtuous activity a n d less for vice than any less democratic technique. D e m o c r a c y has a further advantage, moreover, that no other t e c h n i q u e could have. It allows the community to use the processes of legislation to reaffirm, as a community, its public conception of virtue. The a p p e a l of the familiar institutions to the conservative is, therefore, very different from their appeal to the liberal. Since the conservative a n d t h e liberal b o t h find the familiar institutions useful, t h o u g h for different reasons, the existence of these institu tions, as institutions, will n o t necessarily be a point of controversy between t h e m . But they will disagree sharply over which corrective devices, in the form of individual rights, are necessary in order to maintain justice, a n d the disagreement will not be a matter of degree. T h e liberal, as 1 said, finds the m a r k e t defective principally because it allows m o r a l l y irrelevant differences, like differences in talent, to affect d i s t r i b u t i o n , a n d he therefore considers that those w h o h a v e less talent, as the m a r k e t judges talent, have a right to some form of redistribution in the n a m e of justice. But the conservative prizes just the feature of the market that puts a p r e m i u m o n talents prized in the c o m m u n i t y , because these are, in a virtuous c o m m u n i t y , virtues. So he will find n o genuine merit, but only expediency, in the idea of redistribution. H e will allow room, of course, for the virtue of charity, for it is a virtue that is part of the public c a t a l o g u e ; b u t he will prefer private charity to public, because it is a p u r e r expression of t h a t virtue. H e may accept public charity as well, particularly w h e n it seems necessary to retain the political allegiance of those w h o w o u l d otherwise suffer t o o much to tolerate a capitalist society at all. But public charity, justified either o n g r o u n d s of virtue or expediency, will seem to the conservative a c o m p r o m i s e with a primary justification of the m a r k e t , r a t h e r t h a n , as redistribution seems to the liberal, an i m p r o v e m e n t in t h a t p r i m a r y justification. N o r will the conservative find the same defects in representative democracy t h a t the liberal finds there. T h e conservative will not aim t o exclude moralistic or other external preferences from the democratic process by any scheme of civil rights; on the contrary, it is the p r i d e of d e m o c r a c y , for him, that external preferences are legislated i n t o a p u b l i c morality. But the conservative will find different defects in d e m o c r a c y , a n d he will contemplate a different scheme of rights t o diminish t h e injustice they w o r k . T h e e c o n o m i c m a r k e t distributes rewards for talents valued in the v i r t u o u s society, b u t since these talents are unequally distn-

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buted, wealth will be concentrated, a n d the wealthy will be at the mercy of an envious political majority a n x i o u s t o t a k e by l a w w h a t it cannot take by talent. Justice requires some p r o t e c t i o n for the successful. T h e conservative will be (as historically he h a s been) anxious to hold some line against extensions of t h e vote t o those groups most likely t o be envious, b u t there is an a p p a r e n t conflict between the ideals of abstract equality, even in t h e conservative conception, and disenfranchisement of large parts of t h e p o p u l a tion. In any case, if conservatism is to be politically powerful, it must not threaten to exclude from political p o w e r those w h o w o u l d be asked t o consent, formally or tacitly, t o their o w n exclusion. T h e conservative will find m o r e appeal in the different, a n d politically much more feasible, idea of rights t o p r o p e r t y . These rights have the same force, t h o u g h of course radically different content, as the liberal's civil rights. T h e liberal will, for his own purposes, accept some right t o p r o p e r t y , because he will count some sovereignty over a range of personal possessions essential t o dignity. But the conservative will strive for rights to p r o p e r t y of a very different order; he will w a n t rights t h a t protect, n o t some minimum dominion over a range of possessions independently shown t o be desirable, but an unlimited d o m i n i o n over w h a t e v e r has been acquired t h r o u g h an institution t h a t defines a n d r e w a r d s talent. The conservative will n o t , of course, follow t h e liberal in the latter's concern for procedural rights in t h e criminal process. H e will accept the basic institutions of criminal legislation a n d trial as proper; but he will see, in the possible acquittal of t h e guilty, not simply an inefficiency in the strategy of deterrence, b u t a n affront t o the basic principle t h a t the censure of vice is indispensable t o the h o n o u r of virtue. H e will believe, therefore, that just criminal procedures are those that improve t h e antecedent probability t h a t particular decisions of guilt or innocence will b e accurate. H e will support rights against interrogation or self-incrimination, for example, w h e n such rights seem necessary to protect against t o r t u r e or other means likely t o elicit a confession from the innocent; b u t he will lose his concern for such rights w h e n non-coercion c a n be guaranteed in other ways. T h e fair-minded conservative will be concerned a b o u t racial discrimination, b u t his concern will differ from t h e concern of the liberal, and the remedies he will countenance will also be different. The distinction between equality of o p p o r t u n i t y a n d equality of result is crucial to the conservative: the institutions of the e c o n o m i c

market and representative democracy cannot achieve what he

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supposes they d o unless each citizen has a n equal o p p o r t u n i t y to capitalize o n his g e n u i n e talents a n d o t h e r virtues in the contest these institutions p r o v i d e . But since the conservative k n o w s that these virtues are u n e q u a l l y d i s t r i b u t e d , he also k n o w s that equality of opportunity m u s t h a v e been denied if the o u t c o m e of the contest is equality of result. The fair conservative m u s t , therefore, a t t e n d t o the charge that prejudice denies e q u a l i t y of o p p o r t u n i t y between m e m b e r s of different races, a n d he m u s t accept the justice of remedies designed to reinstate t h a t equality, so far as this m a y be possible. But he will steadily o p p o s e any form of 'affirmative a c t i o n ' that offers special opportunities, like places in medical school or jobs, on criteria other t h a n some p r o p e r c o n c e p t i o n of the virtue a p p r o p r i a t e to the reward. The issue of gun c o n t r o l , w h i c h I have t h u s far not mentioned, is an excellent illustration of the p o w e r of the conservative's constitu tive political morality. H e favours strict control of sexual publica tion and practice, b u t h e o p p o s e s parallel control of the ownership or use of g u n s , t h o u g h of course guns are m o r e dangerous than sex. President F o r d , in the s e c o n d C a r t e r - F o r d d e b a t e , p u t the conserva tive position of gun c o n t r o l especially clearly. Sensible conserva tives d o n o t dispute t h a t private a n d uncontrolled ownership of guns leads t o violence, because it p u t s guns in circulation that bad men m a y use b a d l y . B u t (President Ford said) if we meet that problem by n o t a l l o w i n g g o o d m e n t o have guns, we are punishing the w r o n g p e o p l e . It is, of c o u r s e , distinctive to the conservative's position to regard r e g u l a t i o n as c o n d e m n a t i o n a n d hence as punishment. But he m u s t r e g a r d regulation t h a t way, because he believes t h a t o p p o r t u n i t i e s s h o u l d be distributed, in a virtuous society, so as t o p r o m o t e v i r t u o u s acts at the expense of vicious ones.

V In place of a c o n c l u s i o n , I shall say s o m e t h i n g , t h o u g h n o t much, about t w o of the m a n y i m p o r t a n t questions raised by w h a t I have said. The first is the q u e s t i o n p o s e d in the first section of the essay Does t h e t h e o r y of liberalism I described answer the sceptical t K s i s r D o e s i t explain o u r p r e s e n t uncertainty a b o u t w h a t liberal ism n o w requires, a n d w h e t h e r it is a genuine a n d tenable political theory? A great p a r t of t h a t uncertainty can b e traced, as I said, to doubts a b o u t the c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n liberalism and the suddenly

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unfashionable idea of economic g r o w t h . T h e o p i n i o n is p o p u l a r t h a t some form of utilitarianism, which does take g r o w t h to be a v a f u T i n . l t ^ i l L ^ x o n s t i t u t i v e of liberalism; b u t my a r g u m e n t s , if Successful, s h o w that this opinion is a mistake. E c o n o m i c g r o w t h , 1Ts~c6nvefttibnally measured, was a derivative element in N e w Deal liberalism. It seemed t o play a useful role in achieving the complex egalitarian distribution of resources t h a t liberalism requires. If it n o w appears that economic g r o w t h injures m o r e t h a n it aids the liberal conception of equality, then the liberal is free to reject or curtail growth as a strategy. If the effect of g r o w t h is d e b a t a b l e , as I believe it is, then liberals will be uncertain, a n d a p p e a r t o straddle the issue. But the matter is m o r e complicated t h a n t h a t analysis makes it seem, because economic g r o w t h m a y be deplored for m a n y different reasons, some of which are plainly n o t available t o the liberal. There is a powerful sentiment that a simpler w a y of life is better, in itself, t h a n the life of c o n s u m p t i o n m o s t Americans have recently preferred; this simpler life requires living in h a r m o n y with n a t u r e , and is therefore disturbed w h e n , for e x a m p l e , a beautiful mountainside is spoiled by strip mining for the coal t h a t lies within it. Should the mountainside be saved, in order to protect a w a y of life that depends upon it, either by regulation that prohibits mining, or by acquisition with taxpayers' money of a national park? M a y a liberal support such policies, consistently w i t h his constitutive political morality? If he believes that government intervention is necessary to achieve a fair distribution of resources, on the g r o u n d t h a t the m a r k e t does n o t fairly reflect the preferences of those w h o w a n t a park against those w h o w a n t w h a t the coal will p r o d u c e , then he has a s t a n d a r d , egalitarian reason for s u p p o r t i n g interven tion. But suppose h e does not believe that, but rather believes that those w h o w a n t the park have a superior conception of w h a t a truly worthwhile life is. A non-liberal m a y s u p p o r t conservation o n that theory; but a liberal may n o t . Suppose, however, that the liberal holds a different, m o r e complex, belief a b o u t the i m p o r t a n c e of preserving n a t u r a l re sources. He believes t h a t the conquest of unspoilt terrain by the consumer economy is self-fuelling a n d irreversible, a n d t h a t this process will make a w a y of life that has been desired a n d found satisfying in the past unavailable to future generations, and indeed t o the future of those w h o n o w seem u n a w a r e of its appeal. H e fears that this w a y of life will become u n k n o w n , so t h a t the process is not neutral a m o n g s t competing ideas of the g o o d life, b u t in fact

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destructive of the very possibility of some of these. In t h a t case the liberal has reasons for a p r o g r a m m e of conservation that are not only consistent with his constitutive morality, but in fact sponsored by it. I raise these possible lines of argument, n o t t o provide the liberal with a n easier p a t h to a p o p u l a r political position, but to illustrate the complexity of the issues that the new politics has provided. Liberalism seems precise and powerful w h e n it is relatively clear w h a t practical political positions are derivative from its funda mental constitutive morality; o n these occasions politics allows w h a t I called a liberal settlement of political positions. But such a settlement is fragile, a n d when it dissolves liberals must regroup, first t h r o u g h study a n d analysis, which will encourage a fresh and deeper u n d e r s t a n d i n g of w h a t liberalism is, a n d then t h r o u g h the f o r m a t i o n of a n e w a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y p r o g r a m m e for liberals. The study a n d theory are n o t yet in progress, a n d the new p r o g r a m m e is n o t yet in sight. T h e second question I wish t o mention, finally, is a question I have n o t t o u c h e d at all. W h a t is to be said in favour of liberalism? I d o n o t s u p p o s e t h a t I have m a d e liberalism m o r e attractive By arguing t h a t its constitutive morality is a theory of equality that requires official neutrality a m o n g s t theories of w h a t is valuable in life. T h e a r g u m e n t will p r o v o k e a variety of objections. It might be said t h a t liberalism so conceived rests on scepticism a b o u t theories of the g o o d , o r t h a t it is based on a mean view of h u m a n n a t u r e that assumes t h a t h u m a n beings are a t o m s w h o can exist and find self-fulfillment a p a r t from political c o m m u n i t y , or that it is selfc o n t r a d i c t o r y because liberalism m u s t itself be a theory of the good, or t h a t it denies to political society its highest function a n d ultimate justification, which is t h a t society must help its members to achieve w h a t is in fact g o o d . T h e first three of these objections need not concern us for long, because they are based on philosophical mistakes which I can quickly n a m e if n o t refute. Liberalism c a n n o t be based o n scepticism. Its constitutive morality provides t h a t h u m a n beings m u s t be treated as equals by their government, not because there is n o right and w r o n g in political morality, but because t h a t is w h a t is right. Liberalism does n o t rest on any special theory of personality, n o r does it deny that m o s t h u m a n beings will think t h a t w h a t is g o o d for t h e m is that they be active in society. Liberalism is n o t self-contradictory: the liberal conception of equality is a principle of political organization that is required by justice, n o t a w a y of life for individuals, a n d liberals, as such, are

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indifferent as t o whether people choose to speak o u t on political matters, or to lead eccentric lives, or otherwise to behave as liberals are supposed t o prefer. But the fourth objection c a n n o t so easily be set aside. T h e r e is no easy way to demonstrate the p r o p e r role in institutions t h a t have a m o n o p o l y of p o w e r over the lives of o t h e r s ; reasonable a n d moral m e n will disagree. T h e issue is at b o t t o m the issue I identified: w h a t is the content of the respect t h a t is necessary t o dignity and independence? T h a t raises problems in moral philosophy and in the philosophy of mind that are fundamental for political theory t h o u g h not discussed here; but this essay does bear on o n e issue sometimes thought to be relevant. It is sometimes said t h a t liberalism m u s t be w r o n g because it assumes that the o p i n i o n s people have a b o u t the sort of lives they w a n t are self-generated, w h e r e a s these opinions are in fact the products of the economic system or other aspects of the society in which they live. T h a t would be an objection to liberalism if liberalism were based on some form of preferenceutilitarianism which argued that justice in distribution consists in maximizing the extent t o which people have w h a t they h a p p e n to w a n t . It is useful t o point out, against t h a t preference-utilitarian ism, that since the preferences people have are formed by the system of distribution already in place, these preferences will tend to support that system, which is b o t h circular a n d unfair. But liberalism, as I have described it, does n o t m a k e the c o n t e n t of preferences the test of fairness in distribution. O n the c o n t r a r y , it is anxious t o protect individuals whose needs are special or whose ambitions are eccentric from the fact that more p o p u l a r preferences are institutionally a n d socially reinforced, for t h a t is the effect and justification of the liberal's scheme of economic a n d political rights. Liberalism responds t o the claim, t h a t preferences are caused by systems of distribution, w i t h the sensible answer t h a t in t h a t case it is all the more i m p o r t a n t that distribution be fair in itself, n o t as tested by the preferences it produces.

NOTES
1 2 3

See Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, ch. 12. See Taking Rights Seriously, p. 227. See Scanlon,'Preference and Urgency',/. Phil., Lxxu ,p. 655. A very different objection calls attention to the fact that some people are afflicted with incapacities like blindness or mental disease, so that they require more resources to satisfy the same scheme of preferences. That

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is a more appealing objection to my principle of rough equality of treatment, but it calls, not for choosing a different basic principle of distribution, but for corrections in the application of the principle like those 1 considered later. ^ Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, pp. 234 ff, 275. See Dworkin, 'Social Sciences and Constitutional Rights', The Edu cational Forum, XLI (March, 1977), p. 271.
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/ have no respect for the passion for equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy. Oliver Wendell H o l m e s , Jr.

(1) The great aim of the struggle for liberty has been equality before the law. This equality u n d e r the rules which the state enforces may be supplemented by a similar equality of the rules that m e n voluntarily obey in their relations with o n e a n o t h e r . This extension of the principle of equality to the rules of m o r a l and social conduct is the chief expression of w h a t is c o m m o n l y called the democratic spirit - and probably that aspect of it that does most to make inoffensive the inequalities t h a t liberty necessarily produces. Equality of the general rules of law a n d c o n d u c t , h o w e v e r , is the only kind of equality conductive t o liberty and the only equality which we can secure w i t h o u t destroying liberty. N o t only has liberty nothing to d o with any other sort of equality, b u t it is even b o u n d to produce inequality in m a n y respects. T h i s is the necessary result a n d p a r t of the justification of individual liberty: if the result of individual liberty did not d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t some m a n n e r s of living are more successful than others, m u c h of the case for it w o u l d vanish. It is neither because it assumes that people are in fact equal nor because it attempts t o m a k e them equal t h a t the a r g u m e n t for liberty d e m a n d s that government treat t h e m equally. This a r g u m e n t * Reprinted from Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty by per mission of Chicago University Press. 1960 by The University of Chicago. In Great Britain, published by permission of Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.

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not only recognizes t h a t individuals are very different but in a great measure rests on t h a t a s s u m p t i o n . It insists t h a t these individual differences provide n o justification for government to treat them differently. A n d it objects to the differences in treatment by the state t h a t w o u l d be necessary if persons w h o are in fact very different w e r e to be assured equal positions in life. M o d e r n a d v o c a t e s of a m o r e far-reaching material equality usually deny t h a t their d e m a n d s are based on any assumption of the factual equality of all m e n . It is nevertheless still widely believed that this is the m a i n justification for such demands. Nothing, however, is m o r e d a m a g i n g to the d e m a n d for equal treatment than to base it o n s o obviously u n t r u e an assumption as that of the factual equality of all m e n . T o rest the case for equal treatment of national o r racial minorities o n the assertion t h a t they d o not differ from o t h e r m e n is implicitly to a d m i t that factual inequality would justify unequal t r e a t m e n t ; a n d the proof that some differences do, in fact, exist w o u l d n o t be long in forthcoming. It is of the essence of the d e m a n d for equality before the law that people should be treated alike in spite of the fact t h a t they are different.
1

(2) T h e b o u n d l e s s variety of h u m a n nature - the wide range of differences in individual capacities and potentialities - is one of the most distinctive facts a b o u t the h u m a n species. Its evolution has m a d e it p r o b a b l y the m o s t variable a m o n g all kinds of creatures. It has been well said t h a t biology, with variability as its cornerstone, confers on every h u m a n individual a unique set of attributes which give him a dignity h e could n o t o t h e r w i s e possess. Every newborn baby is an u n k n o w n q u a n t i t y so far as potentialities are concerned because there are m a n y t h o u s a n d s of u n k n o w n interrelated genes a n d gene-patterns which contribute to his m a k e - u p . As a result of n a t u r e a n d n u r t u r e the n e w b o r n infant may b e c o m e o n e of the greatest of men or w o m e n ever to have lived. In every case he or she has the m a k i n g of a distinctive individual. . . . If the differences are n o t very important, then freedom is not very i m p o r t a n t and the idea of individual w o r t h is n o t very i m p o r t a n t .
2

T h e writer justly a d d s t h a t the widely held uniformity theory of h u m a n n a t u r e , ' w h i c h o n the surface appears to accord with d e m o c r a c y . . . w o u l d in time u n d e r m i n e the very basic ideals of freedom a n d individual w o r t h a n d render life as w e k n o w it meaningless.'
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It has been the fashion in m o d e r n times t o minimize the importance of congenital differences between m e n a n d t o ascribe all the important differences to the influence of e n v i r o n m e n t . H o w ever important the latter may be, we m u s t n o t o v e r l o o k the fact that individuals are very different from t h e outset. T h e i m p o r t a n c e of individual differences would hardly be less if all people were brought up in very similar environments. As a statement of fact, it just is not true that 'all m e n are b o r n e q u a l ' . W e may continue t o use this hallowed phrase t o express t h e ideal that legally a n d morally all m e n ought to be treated alike. But if w e w a n t t o understand w h a t this ideal of equality can o r should m e a n , t h e first requirement is that w e free ourselves from t h e belief in factual equality. From the fact that people are very different it follows t h a t , if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way t o place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before t h e law a n d material equality are therefore n o t only different b u t a r e in conflict with each other; and w e can achieve either t h e o n e o r the o t h e r , b u t not both at the same time. T h e equality before the law which freedom requires leads t o material inequality. O u r a r g u m e n t will be that, though where the state must use coercion for other reasons, it should treat all people alike, the desire of m a k i n g people m o r e alike in their condition c a n n o t be accepted in a free society as a justification for further a n d discriminatory coercion.
5

W e d o not object to equality as such. It merely h a p p e n s to be the case that a d e m a n d for equality is t h e professed motive of m o s t of those w h o desire to impose upon society a preconceived p a t t e r n of distribution. O u r objection is against all attempts t o impress u p o n society a deliberately chosen pattern of distribution, w h e t h e r it b e an order of equality or of inequality. W e shall indeed see t h a t m a n y of those w h o d e m a n d an extension of equality d o n o t really d e m a n d equality b u t a distribution t h a t conforms m o r e closely t o h u m a n conceptions of individual merit a n d that their desires are as irreconcilable with freedom as t h e m o r e strictly egalitarian demands. If one objects to the use of coercion in order to bring a b o u t a more even or a m o r e just distribution, this does n o t mean t h a t o n e does not regard these as desirable. But if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for t h e use of coercion. One may well feel attracted to a c o m m u n i t y in w h i c h

there are no extreme contrasts between rich a n d poor and may

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welcome the fact t h a t the general increase in wealth seems gradually to reduce those differences. I fully share these feelings and certainly regard the degree of social equality that the United States has achieved as w h o l l y a d m i r a b l e . There also seems n o reason w h y these widely felt preferences should n o t guide policy in some respects. Wherever there is a legitimate need for g o v e r n m e n t action a n d we have to choose between different m e t h o d s of satisfying such a need, those that incidentally also reduce inequality may well be preferable. If, for example, in the law of intestate succession one kind of provision will be m o r e c o n d u c i v e t o equality than a n o t h e r , this may be a strong a r g u m e n t in its favour. It is a different matter, however, if it is d e m a n d e d t h a t , in o r d e r to p r o d u c e substantive equality, we should a b a n d o n the basic postulate of a free society, namely, the limitation of all coercion by equal law. Against this we shall hold that e c o n o m i c inequality is n o t o n e of the evils which justify our resorting t o d i s c r i m i n a t o r y coercion or privilege as a remedy. (3) O u r c o n t e n t i o n rests o n t w o basic propositions which probably need only be stated t o w i n fairly general assent. The first of them is an expression of t h e belief in a certain similarity of all h u m a n beings: it is the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t n o m a n or group of men possesses the capacity t o d e t e r m i n e conclusively the potentialities of other h u m a n beings a n d t h a t we should certainly never trust anyone invariably to exercise such a capacity. H o w e v e r great the differ ences between m e n m a y be, w e h a v e n o g r o u n d for believing that they will ever be so great as to enable one man's mind in a particular instance t o c o m p r e h e n d fully all t h a t another responsible m a n ' s m i n d is capable of. T h e second basic p r o p o s i t i o n is that the acquisition by any m e m b e r of the c o m m u n i t y of additional capacities t o d o things which m a y be valuable m u s t always be regarded as a gain for that c o m m u n i t y . It is t r u e t h a t particular people may be worse off because of the s u p e r i o r ability of some new competitor in their field; but any such a d d i t i o n a l ability in the community is likely t o benefit the majority. This implies t h a t the desirability of increasing the abilities a n d o p p o r t u n i t i e s of any individual does not depend on whether the s a m e can also be d o n e for the others - provided, of course, t h a t others are n o t thereby deprived of the opportunity of acquiring the s a m e o r other abilities which might have been accessible t o t h e m h a d they n o t been secured by that individual. Egalitarians generally regard differently those differences in individual capacities w h i c h are i n b o r n a n d those which are due t o

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the influences of environment, or those which are the result of ' n a t u r e ' and those which are the result of ' n u r t u r e ' . N e i t h e r , be it said at once, has anything to do with moral m e r i t . T h o u g h either may greatly affect the value which an individual has for his fellows, n o more credit belongs to h i m for having been b o r n w i t h desirable qualities than for having grown u p u n d e r favourable circumstances. T h e distinction between the two is i m p o r t a n t only because the former advantages are due to circumstances clearly beyond h u m a n control, while the latter are due t o factors which w e might be able t o alter. T h e important question is w h e t h e r there is a case for so changing our institutions as t o eliminate as m u c h as possible those advantages due t o environment. Are w e to agree t h a t 'all inequali ties that rest o n birth and inherited property o u g h t t o be abolished and none remain unless it is an effect of superior talent and industry'? T h e fact that certain advantages rest o n h u m a n a r r a n g e m e n t s does not necessarily mean that we could p r o v i d e the same advantages for all or that, if they are given to some, s o m e b o d y else is thereby deprived of them. The most i m p o r t a n t factors t o be considered in this connection are the family, inheritance, and education, and it is against the inequality which they p r o d u c e that criticism is mainly directed. T h e y a r e , h o w e v e r , n o t the only i m p o r t a n t factors of environment. Geographic conditions such as climate a n d landscape, n o t t o speak of local and sectional differences in cultural and moral traditions, are scarcely less important. W e can, however, consider h e r e only the three factors whose effects are most c o m m o n l y impugned. So far as the family is concerned, there exists a curious contrast between the esteem most people profess for the institution a n d their dislike of the fact that being born into a particular family should confer on a person special advantages. It seems t o be widely believed that, while useful qualities w h i c h a person acquires because of his native gifts under conditions which are the s a m e for all are socially beneficial, the same qualities become s o m e h o w undesirable if they are the result of environmental a d v a n t a g e s not available to others. Yet it is difficult to see w h y the same useful quality which is welcomed when it is the result of a person's n a t u r a l e n d o w m e n t should be less valuable w h e n it is the p r o d u c t of such circumstances as intelligent parents or a g o o d h o m e . T h e value which m o s t people attach to the institution of the family rests o n the belief t h a t , as a rule, p a r e n t s can d o m o r e to p r e p a r e their children for a satisfactory life t h a n a n y o n e else. T h i s means not only t h a t the benefits which particular people derive
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from their family e n v i r o n m e n t will be different but also that these benefits m a y o p e r a t e cumulatively t h r o u g h several generations. What reason can t h e r e be for believing that a desirable quality in a person is less valuable t o society if it has been the result of family b a c k g r o u n d t h a n if it has not? There is, indeed, good reason to think t h a t there are s o m e socially valuable qualities which will be rarely acquired in a single generation but which will generally be formed only by the c o n t i n u o u s efforts of t w o or three. This means simply t h a t there are p a r t s of the cultural heritage of a society that are m o r e effectively t r a n s m i t t e d t h r o u g h the family. Granted this, it would be u n r e a s o n a b l e t o deny t h a t a society is likely to get a better elite if ascent is n o t limited to one generation, if individuals are not deliberately m a d e to s t a r t from the same level, and if children are not deprived of the c h a n c e to benefit from the better education and materia] e n v i r o n m e n t w h i c h their parents may be able to provide. T o a d m i t this is merely t o recognize that belonging t o a particular family is p a r t of the individual personality, that society is made up as much of families as of individuals, and that the transmission of the heritage of civilization within the family is as important a tool in m a n ' s striving t o w a r d s better things as is the heredity of beneficial physical a t t r i b u t e s . (4) M a n y people w h o agree t h a t the family is desirable as an instrument for the t r a n s m i s s i o n of morals, tastes, and knowledge, still question the desirability of the transmission of material property. Yet there can be little d o u b t that, in order that the former may be possible, s o m e continuity of s t a n d a r d s , of the external forms of life, is essential, a n d t h a t this will be achieved only if it is possible t o t r a n s m i t n o t only immaterial but also material advan tages. T h e r e is, of c o u r s e , neither greater merit nor any greater injustice involved in s o m e people being born to wealthy parents t h a n there is in o t h e r s being b o r n to k i n d o r intelligent parents. The fact is t h a t it is n o less of a n a d v a n t a g e to the community if at least some children can s t a r t w i t h the advantages which at any given time only w e a l t h y h o m e s can offer than if some children inherit great intelligence o r are t a u g h t better morals at home. We are n o t c o n c e r n e d here w i t h the chief argument for private inheritance, namely, t h a t it seems essential as a means to preserve the dispersal in the c o n t r o l of capital and as an inducement for its a c c u m u l a t i o n . R a t h e r , o u r concern here is w h e t h e r the fact that it confers u n m e r i t e d benefits o n s o m e is a valid argument against the institution. It is u n q u e s t i o n a b l y o n e of the institutional causes of inequality. In the p r e s e n t c o n t e x t we need not enquire whether

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liberty demands unlimited freedom of bequest. O u r p r o b l e m here is merely whether people ought t o be free t o pass on t o children or others such material possessions as will cause substantial inequality. Once we agree that it is desirable t o harness the n a t u r a l instincts of parents t o equip the new generation as well as they can, there seems no sensible ground for limiting this t o n o n - m a t e r i a l benefits. T h e family's function of passing on s t a n d a r d s a n d traditions is closely tied u p with the possibility of transmitting material goods. And it is difficult to see h o w it w o u l d serve the true interest of society t o limit the gain in material conditions t o o n e generation. There is also another consideration which, t h o u g h it m a y a p p e a r s o m e w h a t cynical, strongly suggests t h a t if w e wish to m a k e the best use of the natural partiality of parents for their children, w e ought not t o preclude the transmission of property. It seems certain t h a t a m o n g the m a n y ways in which those w h o h a v e gained p o w e r a n d influence might provide for their children, the bequest of a fortune is socially by far the cheapest. W i t h o u t this outlet, these men would look for other ways of providing for their children, such as placing them in positions which might bring them the income a n d the prestige that a fortune w o u l d have d o n e ; a n d this w o u l d cause a waste of resources and an injustice much greater than is caused by the inheritance of property. Such is the case w i t h all societies in which inheritance of p r o p e r t y does n o t exist, including the communist. T h o s e w h o dislike the inequalities caused by inheritance should therefore recognize that, m e n being w h a t they are, it is the least of evils, even from their p o i n t of view. (5) T h o u g h inheritance used t o be the most widely criticized source of inequality, it is today probably n o longer s o . Egalitarian agitation n o w tends t o concentrate o n the u n e q u a l a d v a n t a g e s due to differences in education. There is a g r o w i n g tendency t o express the desire t o secure equality of conditions in t h e claim t h a t t h e best education we have learned t o provide for some should be m a d e gratuitously available for all a n d t h a t , if this is not possible, o n e should n o t be allowed to get a better education than t h e rest merely because one 's parents are able t o pay for it, b u t only those a n d all those who can pass a uniform test of ability should be a d m i t t e d t o the benefits of the limited resources of higher education.

The problem of educational policy raises too many issues t o


allow of their being discussed incidentally u n d e r t h e general

heading of equality. For the present we shall only point o u t that enforced equality in this field can hardly avoid preventing some

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from getting the e d u c a t i o n they otherwise might. Whatever we might d o , there is n o w a y of preventing those advantages which only some can h a v e , a n d which it is desirable that some should have, from going t o p e o p l e w h o neither individually merit them nor will m a k e as g o o d a use of t h e m as some other person might have done. Such a p r o b l e m c a n n o t be satisfactorily solved by the exclusive a n d coercive p o w e r s of the state. It is instructive at this point to glance briefly at the change that the ideal of equality h a s u n d e r g o n e in this field in modern times. A hundred years ago, at the height of the classical liberal movement, the d e m a n d w a s generally expressed by the phrase la carriere ouverte aux talents. It w a s a d e m a n d that all m a n - m a d e obstacles to the rise of s o m e s h o u l d be removed, that all privileges of individuals should be abolished, and that w h a t the state contributed to the chance of i m p r o v i n g o n e ' s conditions should be the same for all. T h a t so long as p e o p l e were different and grew up in different families this could n o t assure an equal start was fairly generally accepted. It w a s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t the duty of government was not to ensure t h a t e v e r y b o d y h a d the same prospect of reaching a given position but merely t o m a k e available to all on equal terms those facilities w h i c h in their n a t u r e depended on government action. T h a t the results w e r e b o u n d to be different, n o t only because the individuals w e r e different, but also because only a small part of the relevant c i r c u m s t a n c e s d e p e n d e d o n government action, was taken for granted. This c o n c e p t i o n t h a t all should be allowed to try has been largely replaced by the altogether different conception that all must be assured an equal start a n d the same prospects. This means little less than t h a t the g o v e r n m e n t , instead of providing the same circum stances for all, s h o u l d a i m at controlling all conditions relevant to a particular individual's prospects a n d so adjust them to his capaci ties as to assure h i m of the same prospects as everybody else. Such deliberate a d a p t a t i o n of opportunities to individual aims and capacities w o u l d , of c o u r s e , be the opposite of freedom. N o r could it be justified as a m e a n s of m a k i n g the best use of all available k n o w l e d g e e x c e p t o n t h e a s s u m p t i o n that government k n o w s best h o w individual capacities can be used. W h e n w e e n q u i r e i n t o the justification of these demands, we find that they rest o n the discontent that the success of some people often p r o d u c e s in t h o s e t h a t are less successful, or, to put it bluntly, on envy. T h e m o d e r n tendency t o gratify this passion and to disguise :t in the respectable g a r m e n t of social justice is developing into a serious t h r e a t t o freedom. Recently an attempt was made to

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base these d e m a n d s o n the a r g u m e n t t h a t it o u g h t t o be t h e aim of politics to remove all sources of d i s c o n t e n t . This w o u l d , of course, necessarily mean that it is the responsibility of g o v e r n m e n t t o see t h a t n o b o d y is healthier or possesses a h a p p i e r t e m p e r a m e n t , a better-suited spouse or more prospering children, t h a n a n y b o d y else. If really all unfulfilled desires h a v e a claim o n the c o m m u n i t y , individual responsibility is a t a n e n d . H o w e v e r h u m a n , envy is certainly not one of the sources of discontent t h a t a free society can eliminate. It is probably o n e of the essential conditions for the preservation of such a society t h a t w e d o n o t c o u n t e n a n c e envy, not sanction its d e m a n d s by camouflaging it as social justice, b u t treat it, in the w o r d s of John Stuart Mill, as 'the m o s t anti-social a n d evil of all p a s s i o n s ' .
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(6) While most of the strictly egalitarian d e m a n d s are based on nothing better t h a n envy, w e must recognize t h a t m u c h t h a t o n the surface appears as a d e m a n d for greater equality is in fact a d e m a n d for a juster distribution of the good things of this w o r l d a n d springs therefore from much m o r e creditable motives. M o s t p e o p l e will object not to the bare fact of inequality b u t to the fact t h a t the differences in reward do not c o r r e s p o n d to any recognizable differences in the merits of those w h o receive t h e m . T h e answer commonly given to this is t h a t a free society o n the w h o l e achieves this kind of j u s t i c e . This, however, is an indefensible c o n t e n t i o n if by justice is meant proportionality of r e w a r d to m o r a l merit. Any attempt to found the case for freedom o n this a r g u m e n t is very damaging t o it, since it concedes that material r e w a r d s o u g h t to be made to correspond to recognizable merit a n d then o p p o s e s the conclusion that most people will d r a w from this by an assertion which is untrue. T h e p r o p e r answer is that in a free system it is neither desirable nor practicable that material r e w a r d s s h o u l d be . made generally t o correspond to w h a t men recognize as merit and that it is an essential characteristic of a free society t h a t an individual's position should not necessarily d e p e n d o n the views t h a t his fellows hold a b o u t the merit he has acquired. This contention may a p p e a r at first so strange a n d even shocking that I will ask the reader to suspend judgement until I have further explained the distinction between value a n d m e r i t . T h e difficulty in making the point clear is due t o the fact t h a t the t e r m 'merit', which is the only one available t o describe w h a t I m e a n , is also used in a wider a n d vaguer sense. It will be used here exclusively to describe the attributes of conduct t h a t m a k e it deserving of praise,
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that is, the m o r a l c h a r a c t e r of the action and not the value of the achievement. As we have seen t h r o u g h o u t o u r discussion, the value that the performance or capacity of a person has to his fellows has no neccessary c o n n e c t i o n w i t h its ascertainable merit in this sense. The inborn as well as the acquired gifts of a person clearly have a value to his fellows which d o e s not d e p e n d on any credit due to him for possessing t h e m . T h e r e is little a m a n can do to alter the fact that his special talents are very c o m m o n or exceedingly rare. A good mind or a fine voice, a beautiful face or a skilful hand, and a ready wit or an attractive personality are in a large measure as indepen dent of a p e r s o n ' s efforts as the opportunities or the experiences he has had. In all these instances the value which a person's capacities or services h a v e for us a n d for which he is recompensed has little relation t o a n y t h i n g that we can call moral merit or deserts. O u r p r o b l e m is w h e t h e r it is desirable that people should enjoy advantages in p r o p o r t i o n t o the benefits which their fellows derive from their activities or w h e t h e r the distribution of these advantages should be based o n o t h e r m e n ' s views of their merits. R e w a r d a c c o r d i n g t o merit must in practice mean reward according t o assessable merit, merit that other people can recognize and agree u p o n a n d n o t merit merely in the sight of some higher power. Assessable m e r i t in this sense presupposes that we can ascertain t h a t a m a n h a s d o n e w h a t some accepted rule of conduct d e m a n d e d of h i m a n d t h a t this has cost him some pain and effort. Whether this has been the case c a n n o t be judged by the result: merit is not a m a t t e r of the objective o u t c o m e but of subjective effort. The attempt t o achieve a valuable result m a y be highly meritorious but a complete failure, a n d full success may be entirely the result of accident a n d t h u s w i t h o u t merit. If we k n o w that a man has done his best w e will often wish to see him rewarded irrespective of the result; a n d if w e k n o w t h a t a m o s t valuable achievement is almost entirely d u e t o luck or favourable circumstances, we will give little credit to the a u t h o r . W e m a y wish t h a t w e w e r e able to d r a w this distinction in every instance. In fact, w e can d o so only rarely with any degree of assurance. It is possible only w h e r e we possess ail the knowledge which w a s at the disposal of the acting person, including a knowledge of his skill a n d confidence, his state of mind and his feelings, his capacity for attention, his energy a n d persistence, etc. T h e possibility of a t r u e j u d g e m e n t of merit thus depends on the presence of precisely t h o s e conditions w h o s e general absence is the

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main argument for liberty. It is because w e w a n t p e o p l e to use knowledge which we d o not possess t h a t w e let t h e m decide for themselves. But insofar as we w a n t them to be free t o use capacities and knowledge of facts which w e d o n o t h a v e , we are n o t in a position to judge the merit of their achievements. T o decide on merit presupposes that we can judge w h e t h e r people h a v e made such use of their opportunities as they o u g h t to h a v e m a d e a n d how much effort of will or self-denial this has cost t h e m ; it presupposes also that we can distinguish between t h a t p a r t of their achievement which is due to circumstances within their c o n t r o l a n d t h a t part which is not. (7) T h e incompatibility of r e w a r d according t o merit with freedom t o choose one's pursuit is most evident in those areas w h e r e the uncertainty of the o u t c o m e is particularly great a n d o u r individual estimates of the changes of various kinds of effort very different. In those speculative efforts which w e call 'research' or 'explora tion', or in economic activities which we c o m m o n l y describe as 'speculation', we c a n n o t expect to attract those best qualified for t h e m unless we give the successful ones all the credit or gain, though many others may have striven as meritoriously. For the same reason that n o b o d y can k n o w beforehand w h o will be the successful ones, nobody can say w h o has e a r n e d greater merit. It would clearly not serve our p u r p o s e if we let all w h o h a v e honestly striven share in the prize. M o r e o v e r , t o d o s o w o u l d m a k e it necessary that s o m e b o d y h a v e the right t o decide w h o is t o be allowed to strive for it. If in their pursuit of uncertain goals people are t o use their o w n knowledge and capacities, they m u s t b e guided, not by w h a t other people think they ought to d o , b u t by the value others attach to the result at which they aim. W h a t is so- obviously true a b o u t those u n d e r t a k i n g s w h i c h we commonly regard as risky is scarcely less true of a n y chosen object we decide to pursue. Any such decision is beset with uncertainty, and if the choice is t o be as wise as it is h u m a n l y possible t o m a k e it, the alternative results anticipated must be labelled a c c o r d i n g to their value. If the remuneration did n o t c o r r e s p o n d t o the value that the product of a m a n ' s efforts has for his fellows, he w o u l d h a v e no basis for deciding whether the pursuit of a given object is w o r t h the effort a n d risk. He w o u l d necessarily have t o be told w h a t t o d o , and some other person's estimate of w h a t w a s the best use of his capacities would have to determine b o t h his duties a n d his remuneration.
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The fact is, of course, t h a t w e d o n o t wish people t o earn a

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maximum of merit b u t t o achieve a m a x i m u m of usefulness a t a minimum of pain a n d sacrifice a n d therefore a m i n i m u m of merit. Not only w o u l d it be impossible for us to r e w a r d all merit justly, but it would n o t even be desirable t h a t p e o p l e s h o u l d aim chiefly at earning a m a x i m u m of m e r i t . Any a t t e m p t to i n d u c e t h e m t o d o this would necessarily result in p e o p l e b e i n g r e w a r d e d differently for the same service. A n d it is only the value of the result t h a t we can judge with any degree of confidence, n o t the different degrees of effort and care t h a t it h a s cost different p e o p l e t o achieve it. The prizes that a free society offers for t h e result serve t o tell those w h o strive for t h e m h o w m u c h effort they are w o r t h . However, the same prizes will g o t o all t h o s e w h o p r o d u c e the s a m e result, regardless of effort. W h a t is t r u e here of the r e m u n e r a t i o n for the same services r e n d e r e d by different people is even m o r e true of the relative r e m u n e r a t i o n for different services r e q u i r i n g differ ent gifts and capacities: they will h a v e little r e l a t i o n to merit. T h e matket will generally offer for services of any k i n d the value they will have for those w h o benefit f r o m t h e m ; b u t it will rarely be known whether it w a s necessary t o offer so m u c h in o r d e r t o o b t a i n these services, a n d often, n o d o u b t , the c o m m u n i t y could have h a d them for much less. T h e pianist w h o w a s r e p o r t e d n o t long a g o t o have said that he w o u l d p e r f o r m even if h e h a d t o p a y for the privilege p r o b a b l y described the p o s i t i o n of m a n y w h o e a r n large incomes from activities w h i c h are a l s o t h e i r chief p l e a s u r e . (8) Though most p e o p l e regard as very n a t u r a l the claim t h a t nobody should be r e w a r d e d m o r e t h a n he deserves for his pain and effort, it is nevertheless based o n a colossal p r e s u m p t i o n . It presumes t h a t w e are able t o judge in every individual instance h o w well people use the different o p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d t a l e n t s given t o t h e m and how meritorious their a c h i e v e m e n t s are in t h e light of all the circumstances which h a v e t h e m possible. It p r e s u m e s t h a t s o m e human beings are in a p o s i t i o n t o d e t e r m i n e conclusively w h a t a Person is w o r t h a n d are entitled t o d e t e r m i n e w h a t h e m a y achieve. It presumes, t h e n , w h a t t h e a r g u m e n t for liberty specifically rejects: that we can a n d d o k n o w all t h a t guides a p e r s o n ' s action. A society in which t h e p o s i t i o n of the individuals w a s m a d e to correspond t o h u m a n ideas of m o r a l merit w o u l d therefore be the exact opposite of a free society. It w o u l d be a society in w h i c h People were r e w a r d e d for d u t y p e r f o r m e d instead of for success, in which every m o v e of every individual w a s g u i d e d by w h a t other People t h o u g h t h e o u g h t t o d o , a n d in w h i c h t h e individual w a s relieved of the responsibility a n d the risk of decision. But if
t h u s

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n o b o d y ' s knowledge is sufficient t o guide all h u m a n action, there is also n o h u m a n being w h o is competent t o r e w a r d all efforts according t o merit. In our individual conduct we generally act on the a s s u m p t i o n that it is the value of a person's performance a n d not his merit t h a t determines our obligation to him. Whatever may be true in m o r e intimate relations, in the ordinary business of life we d o n o t feel that, because a m a n has rendered us a service at a great sacrifice, our debt to h i m is determined by this, so long as w e could h a v e h a d the same service provided w i t h ease by s o m e b o d y else. In o u r dealings with other men we feel tht w e are doing justice if we recompense value rendered w i t h equal value, w i t h o u t enquiring what it might have cost the particular individual t o supply us w i t h these services. W h a t determines o u r responsibility is the a d v a n t a g e we derive from w h a t others offer us, n o t their merit in providing it. W e also expect in our dealings with others to be r e m u n e r a t e d n o t according t o our subjective merit but according to w h a t o u r services are w o r t h to them. Indeed, so long as we t h i n k in t e r m s of our relations to particular people, we are generally quite a w a r e t h a t the m a r k of the free m a n is to be dependent for his livelihood n o t on other people's views of his merit but solely o n w h a t he has to offer them. It is only when we think of o u r position o r o u r income as determined by 'society' as a whole that we d e m a n d r e w a r d according to merit. T h o u g h m o r a l value or merit is a species of value, n o t all value is moral value, and most of o u r judgements of value are n o t m o r a l judgements. T h a t this must be so in a free society is a p o i n t of cardinal importance; and the failure to distinguish between value and merit has been the source of serious confusion. W e d o n o t necessarily admire all activities whose p r o d u c t w e value; a n d in most instances where we value w h a t we get, w e are in n o p o s i t i o n to assess the merit of those w h o have provided it for us. If a m a n ' s ability in a given field is more valuable after thirty years' w o r k t h a n it was earlier, this is independent of whether these thirty years w e r e most profitable and enjoyable or w h e t h e r they w e r e a time of unceasing sacrifice and w o r r y . If the pursuit of a h o b b y p r o d u c e s a special skill or an accidental invention t u r n s o u t t o be extremely useful to o t h e r s , the fact that there is little merit in it does m a k e it any less valuable t h a n if the result h a d been p r o d u c e d by painful effort. This difference between value and merit is not peculiar t o any one type of society - it would exist anywhere. W e might, of course,

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attempt to m a k e r e w a r d s correspond to merit instead of value, but we are n o t likely t o succeed in this. In attempting it, we would destroy the incentives which enable people to decide for themselves w h a t they should d o . M o r e o v e r , it is m o r e than doubtful whether even a fairly successful a t t e m p t to m a k e rewards correspond to merit w o u l d p r o d u c e a m o r e attractive or even a tolerable social order. A society in w h i c h it w a s generally presumed that a high income w a s proof of merit a n d a low income of the lack of it, in which it w a s universally believed t h a t position and remuneration c o r r e s p o n d e d t o merit, in which there was n o other r o a d to success than the a p p r o v a l of o n e ' s c o n d u c t by the majority of one's fellows, w o u l d p r o b a b l y be m u c h m o r e u n b e a r a b l e to the unsuccessful ones than o n e in which it w a s frankly recognized that there was no necessary c o n n e c t i o n between merit and s u c c e s s . It w o u l d p r o b a b l y c o n t r i b u t e more t o h u m a n happiness if, instead of trying t o m a k e r e m u n e r a t i o n correspond to merit, we m a d e clearer h o w uncertain is the connection between value and merit. W e are p r o b a b l y all m u c h t o o ready to ascribe personal merit w h e r e there is, in fact, only superior value. The possession by an individual or a g r o u p of a superior civilization or education certainly represents an i m p o r t a n t value a n d constitutes as asset for the c o m m u n i t y t o w h i c h they belong; b u t it usually constitutes little merit. P o p u l a r i t y a n d esteem d o n o t depend more on merit than does financial success. It is, in fact, largely because we are so used to assuming an often non-existent merit wherever we find value that we balk w h e n , in particular instances, the discrepancy is too large to be ignored. T h e r e is every r e a s o n w h y w e o u g h t to endeavour to h o n o u r special merit w h e r e it has gone w i t h o u t adequate reward. But the p r o b l e m of r e w a r d i n g action of o u t s t a n d i n g merit which we wish to be widely k n o w n as a n e x a m p l e is different from t h a t of the incentives o n w h i c h the o r d i n a r y functioning of society rests. A free society p r o d u c e s institutions in which, for those w h o prefer it, a m a n ' s a d v a n c e m e n t d e p e n d s o n the judgement of some superior or of the majority of his fellows. Indeed, as organizations grow larger a n d m o r e c o m p l e x , the task of ascertaining the individual's c o n t r i b u t i o n will b e c o m e m o r e difficult; a n d it will become increasingly necessary t h a t , for m a n y , merit in the eyes of the m a n a g e r s r a t h e r t h a n the ascertainable value of the contribution should d e t e r m i n e the r e w a r d s . So long as this does n o t produce a situation in which a single comprehensive scale of merit is imposed u p o n the w h o l e society, so long as a multiplicity of organizations
15

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compete with one another in offering different prospects, this is not merely compatible with freedom but extends the range of choice open to the individual. (9) Justice, like liberty and coercion, is a concept w h i c h , for the sake of clarity, ought t o be confined to the deliberate t r e a t m e n t of men by other men. It is an aspect of the intentional d e t e r m i n a t i o n of those conditions of people's lives that are subject t o such control. Insofar as we w a n t the efforts of individuals to be guided by their o w n views a b o u t prospects a n d chances, the results of the individual's efforts are necessarily unpredictable, a n d the question as to whether the resulting distribution of incomes is just has n o m e a n i n g . Justice does require that those conditions of people's lives that are determined by government be provided equally for all. But equality of those conditions must lead to inequality of results. Neither the equal provision of particular public facilities nor the equal treatment of different partners in o u r voluntary dealings with one a n o t h e r will secure r e w a r d that is p r o p o r t i o n a l t o merit. Reward for merit is reward for obeying the wishes of o t h e r s in w h a t we d o , not compensation for the benefits w e have conferred u p o n them by doing w h a t we t h o u g h t best.
16

It is, in fact, one of the objections against attempts by govern ment to fix income scales that the state must a t t e m p t t o be just in all it does. O n c e the principle of r e w a r d according t o merit is accepted as the just foundation for the distribution of incomes, justice w o u l d require that all w h o desire it s h o u l d be r e w a r d e d a c c o r d i n g t o t h a t principle. Soon it w o u l d also be d e m a n d e d t h a t the s a m e principle be applied t o all and t h a t incomes not in p r o p o r t i o n to recognizable merit n o t be tolerated. Even a n a t t e m p t merely t o distinguish between those incomes or gains which are ' e a r n e d ' a n d those which are not will set u p a principle which the state will have t o try to apply but c a n n o t in fact apply g e n e r a l l y . A n d every such a t t e m p t at deliberate control of some r e m u n e r a t i o n s is b o u n d t o create further d e m a n d s for new controls. T h e principle of distributive justice, once introduced, w o u l d n o t be fulfilled until the w h o l e of society was organized in accordance with it. This w o u l d p r o d u c e a kind of society which in all essential respects w o u l d be the opposite of a free society - a society in which authority decided w h a t the individual w a s t o d o and h o w h e w a s t o d o it.
17

(10) In conclusion w e must briefly look at a n o t h e r a r g u m e n t o n which the d e m a n d s for a m o r e equal distribution are frequently based, t h o u g h it is rarely explicitly stated. This is t h e contention

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that m e m b e r s h i p in a p a r t i c u l a r c o m m u n i t y or nation entitles the individual t o a p a r t i c u l a r material standard that is determined by the general wealth of the g r o u p to which he belongs. This demand is in curious conflict with the desire to base distribution on personal merit. T h e r e is clearly n o merit in being born into a particular c o m m u n i t y , a n d n o a r g u m e n t of justice can be based on the accident of a p a r t i c u l a r individual's being b o r n in one place rather than a n o t h e r . A relatively wealthy community in fact regularly confers a d v a n t a g e s o n its poorest members u n k n o w n to those born in p o o r c o m m u n i t i e s . In a wealthy c o m m u n i t y the only justification its m e m b e r s can have for insisting on further advantages is that there is m u c h private wealth that the government can confiscate and redistribute a n d t h a t men w h o constantly see such wealth being enjoyed by others will have a stronger desire for it than those w h o k n o w of it only abstractly, if at all. There is n o o b v i o u s reason w h y the joint efforts of the members of any g r o u p to ensure the m a i n t e n a n c e of law and order and to organize the provision of certain services should give the members a claim t o a p a r t i c u l a r share in the wealth of this group. Such claims would be especially difficult to defend where those w h o advanced t h e m w e r e unwilling t o concede the same rights to those w h o did not belong to the s a m e nation or community. The recognition of such claims on a n a t i o n a l scale would in fact only create a new kind of collective (but n o t less exclusive) property right in the resources of the nation t h a t could n o t be justified o n the same grounds as individual p r o p e r t y . Few people w o u l d be prepared to recognize the justice of these d e m a n d s on a world scale. And the bare fact that within a given n a t i o n the majority h a d the actual p o w e r to enforce such d e m a n d s , while in the world as a whole it did not yet have it, w o u l d hardly m a k e t h e m m o r e just. T h e r e are g o o d reasons w h y we should endeavour to use w h a t e v e r political o r g a n i z a t i o n we have at our disposal to make provision for the w e a k or infirm or for the victims of unforeseeable disaster. It m a y well be true that the most effective method of providing against certain risks c o m m o n to all citizens of a state is to give every citizen p r o t e c t i o n against those risks. The level on which such provisions against c o m m o n risks can be m a d e will necessarily depend o n the general wealth of the c o m m u n i t y . It is a n entirely different m a t t e r , however, to suggest that those w h o are p o o r , merely in the sense that there are those in the same c o m m u n i t y w h o are richer, are entitled t o a share in the wealth of the latter o r t h a t being b o r n into a group that has reached a particular level of civilization a n d comfort confers a title to a share

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in all its benefits. T h e fact t h a t all citizens have an interest in the c o m m o n provision of some services is n o justification for anyone's claiming as a right a share in all the benefits. It may set a s t a n d a r d for w h a t some ought t o be willing to give, but n o t for w h a t a n y o n e can demand. National groups will become m o r e and more exclusive as the acceptance of this view that we have been c o n t e n d i n g against spreads. Rather t h a n admit people t o the advantages that living in their country offers, a nation will prefer to keep t h e m o u t altogether; for, once admitted, they will soon claim as a right a particular share in its wealth. T h e conception that citizenship or even residence in a country confers a claim t o a particular s t a n d a r d of living is becoming a serious source of international friction. And since the only justification for applying the principle w i t h i n a given country is t h a t its government has the p o w e r to enforce it, we m u s t not be surprised if we find the same principle being applied by force on an international scale. O n c e the right of the majority to the benefits that minorities enjoy is recognized o n a national scale, there is n o reason w h y this should stop at the b o u n d a r i e s of the existing states.

NOTES

The quotation at the head of the chapter is taken from The Holmes-Laski Letters: The Correspondence of Mr Justice Holmes and Harold ]. Laski, 1916-35 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953), n, p. 942. A German translation of an earlier version of this chapter has appeared in Ordo, vol. x (1958).
1 2

See, e.g., R. H. Tawney, Equality (London, 1931), p. 47. Roger J. Williams, Free and Unequal: The Biological Basis of Indi vidual Liberty (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1953), pp. 23 and 70; cf. also J. B. S. Haldane, The Inequality of Man (London, 1932), and P. B. Medawar, The Uniqueness of the Individual (London, 1957). Williams, Free and Unequal, p. 152. See the description of this fashionable view in H. M. Kallen's article 'Behaviorism', 55, n, p. 498: 'At birth human infants, regardless of their heredity, are as equal as Fords.' Cf. Plato Laws vi. 757A: 'To unequals equals become unequal.' Cf. F. H. Knight, Freedom and Reform (New York, 1947), p. 151: 'There is no visible reason why anyone is more or less entitled to the earnings of inherited personal capacities than to those of inherited property in any other form'; and the discussion in W. Roepke, Mass und Mitte (Erlenbach and Zurich, 1950), pp. 6 5 - 7 5 .

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This is the position of R. H. Tawney as summarized by J. P. Plamenatz, 'Equality of Opportunity', in Aspects of Human Equality, ed. L. Bryson and others (New York, 1956), p. 100. C. A. R. Crosland, The Future of Socialism (London, 1956), p. 205. J. S. Mill, On Liberty, ed. R. B. McCallum (Oxford, 1946), p. 70. Cf. W. B. Gallie, 'Liberal Morality and Socialist Morality', in Philoso phy, Politics, and Society, ed. P. Lasletr (Oxford, 1956), pp. 123-5. The author represents it as the essence of 'liberal morality' that it claims that rewards are equal to merit in a free society. This was the position of some nineteenth-century liberals which often weakened their argument. A characteristic example is W. G. Sumner, who argued (What Social Classes Owe to Each Other, reprinted in Freeman, vi (Los Angeles, n.d.), 141) that if all 'have equal chances so far as chances are provided or limited by society', this will 'produce unequal results - that is results which shall be proportioned to the merits of individuals.' This is true only if 'merit' is used in the sense in which we have used 'value', without any moral connotations, but certainly not if it is meant to suggest proportionality to any endeavour to do the good or right thing, or to any subjective effort to conform to an ideal standard. But, as we shall presently see, Mr Gallie is right that, in the Aristotelian terms he uses, liberalism aims at commutative justice and socialism at distributive justice. But, like most socialists, he does not see that distributive justice is irreconcilable with freedom in the choice of one's activities: it is the justice of a hierarchic organization, not of a free society. Although I believe that this distinction between merit and value is the same as that which Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas had in mind when they distinguished 'distributive justice' from 'commutative justice', 1 prefer not to tie up the discussion with all the difficulties and confusions which in the course of time have become associated with these traditional concepts. That what we call here 'reward according to merit' corresponds to the Aristotelian distributive justice seems clear. The difficult concept is that of 'commutative justice', and to speak of justice in this sense seems always to cause a little confusion. Cf. M. Solomon, Der Begriffder Gerechtigkeit bei Aristoteles (Leiden, 1937); and for a survey of the extensive literature G. del Vecchio, Die Gerechtigkeit (2nd ed.: Basel, 1950). The terminological difficulties arise from the fact that we use the word merit also in an objective sense and will speak of the 'merit' of an idea, a book, or a picture, irrespective of the merit acquired by the person who has created them. Sometimes the word is also used to describe what we regard as the 'true' value of some achievement as distinguished from its market value. Yet even a human achievement which has the greatest value or merit in this sense is not necessarily proof of moral merit on the part of him to whom it is due. It seems that our use has the sanction of philosophical tradition. Cf., for instance, D. Hume, Treatise, n, p. 252: 'The external performance has no merit. We must look within to find

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1 3

1 4

15

1 6

the moral quality. . . . The ultimate object of our praise and approba tion is the motive, that produc'd them.' Cf. the important essay by A. A. Alchian, 'Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory', JPE, LVUI (1950), especially pp. 213-14, Sec, n, headed 'Success Is Based on Results, Not Motivation'. It probably is also no accident that the American economist who has done most to advance our understanding of a free society, F. H. Knight, began his professional career with a study of Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. Cf. also B. de Jouvenel, Power (London, 1948), p. 298. It is often maintained that justice requires that remuneration be proportional to the unpleasantness of the job and that for this reason the street cleaner or the sewage worker ought to be paid more than the doctor or office worker. This, indeed, would seem to be the consequence of the principle of remuneration according to merit (or 'distributive justice'). In a market such a result would come about only if all people were equally skilful in all jobs so that those who could earn as much as others in the more pleasant occupations would have to be paid more to undertake the distasteful ones. In the actual world those unpleasant jobs provide those whose usefulness in the more attractive jobs is small an opportunity to earn more than they could elsewhere. That persons who have little to offer their fellows should be able to earn an income similar to that of the rest only at a much greater sacrifice is inevitable in any arrangement under which the individual is allowed to choose his own sphere of usefulness. Cf. Crosland, The Future of Socialism, p. 235: 'Even if all the failures could be convinced that they had an equal chance, their discontent would still not be assuaged; indeed it might actually be intensified. When opportunities are known to be unequal, and the selection clearly biased towards wealth or lineage, people can comfort themselves for failure by saying that they never had a proper chance - the system was unfair, the scales too heavily weighted against them. But if the selection is obviously by merit, this source of comfort disappears, and failure induces a total sense of inferiority, with no excuse or consolation; and this, by a natural quirk of human nature, actually increases the envy and resentment at the success of others.' Cf. also ch. 24, at n. 8.1 have not yet seen Michael Young, The Rise of the Meritocracy (London, 1958), which, judging from reviews, appears to bring out these problems very clearly. See the interesting discussion in R. G. Collingwood, 'Economics as a Philosophical Science', Ethics, vol. xxxvi (1926), who concludes (p. 174): 'A just price, a just wage, a just rate of interest, is a contradiction in terms. The question what a person ought to get in return for his goods and labor is a question absolutely devoid of meaning. The only valid questions are what he can get in return for his goods or labor, and whether he ought to sell them at all.' It is, of course, possible to give the distinction between 'earned' and 'unearned' incomes, gains, or increments a fairly precise legal meaning,

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but it then rapidly ceases to correspond to the moral distinction which provides its justification. Any serious attempt to apply the moral distinction in practice soon meets the same insuperable difficulties as any attempt to assess subjective merit. How little these difficulties are generally understood by philosophers (except in rare instances, as that quoted in the preceding note) is well illustrated by a discussion in L. S. Stebbing, Thinking to Some Purpose (Pelican Books-. London, 1939), p. 184, in which, as an illustration of a distinction which is clear but not sharp, she chooses that between 'legitimate' and 'excess' profits and asserts: 'The distinction is clear between "excess profits" (or "profiteer ing") and "legitimate profits", although it is not a sharp distinction.'

5 Robert Nozick: Moral Constraints and Distributive Justice*

i
THE M I N I M A L STATE A N D STATE THE

ULTRAMINIMAL

T h e night-watchman state of classical liberal theory, limited to the functions of protecting all its citizens against violence, theft, a n d fraud, and to the enforcement of contracts, a n d so o n , a p p e a r s to be redistributive. We can imagine at least one social a r r a n g e m e n t intermediate between the scheme of private protective associa tions and the night-watchman state. Since the n i g h t - w a t c h m a n state is often called a minimal state, w e shall call this o t h e r a r r a n g e ment the ultraminimal state. An ultraminimal state m a i n t a i n s a monopoly over all use of force except that necessary in i m m e d i a t e self-defence, a n d so excludes private (or agency) retaliation for w r o n g a n d exaction of compensation; b u t it provides protection and enforcement services only t o those w h o purchase its protec tion and enforcement policies. People w h o d o n ' t buy a protection contract from the m o n o p o l y d o n ' t get p r o t e c t e d . T h e m i n i m a l (night-watchman) state is equivalent t o the u l t r a m i n i m a l state conjoined with a (clearly redistributive) F r i e d m a n e s q u e v o u c h e r plan, financed from tax r e v e n u e s . Under this p l a n all people, or some (for example, those in need), are given tax-funded vouchers t h a t can be used only for their purchase of a p r o t e c t i o n policy from the ultraminimal state.
1 2

Since the night-watchman state a p p e a r s redistributive t o the extent that it compels some people t o pay for the p r o t e c t i o n of others, its p r o p o n e n t s must explain w h y this redistributive function * From Anarchy, State and Utopia, by Robert Nozick 1974 by Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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of the state is u n i q u e . If s o m e r e d i s t r i b u t i o n is legitimate in o r d e r to protect everyone, w h y is r e d i s t r i b u t i o n n o t legitimate for other attractive a n d desirable p u r p o s e s as well? W h a t r a t i o n a l e speci fically selects protective services as the sole subject of legitimate redistributive activities? A r a t i o n a l e , o n c e f o u n d , m a y s h o w t h a t this provision of p r o t e c t i v e service is not redistributive. M o r e precisely, the t e r m ' r e d i s t r i b u t i v e ' applies to types of reasons for an arrangement, r a t h e r t h a n t o an a r r a n g e m e n t itself. W e might elliptically call a n a r r a n g e m e n t ' r e d i s t r i b u t i v e ' if its m a j o r (only possible) s u p p o r t i n g r e a s o n s are themselves redistributive. ('Pater nalistic' functions similarly.) F i n d i n g c o m p e l l i n g non-redistributive reasons w o u l d cause us t o d r o p this label. W h e t h e r w e say a n institution that takes m o n e y from s o m e a n d gives it to others is redistributive will d e p e n d u p o n why w e t h i n k it does so. R e t u r n i n g stolen money or c o m p e n s a t i n g for v i o l a t i o n s of rights are not redistributive r e a s o n s . I have s p o k e n until n o w of the nightwatchman state's appearing t o be redistributive, to leave o p e n the possibility that n o n - r e d i s t r i b u t i v e types of r e a s o n s m i g h t be found to justify the provision of p r o t e c t i v e services for some by o t h e r s . A p r o p o n e n t of the u l t r a m i n i m a l state m a y seem t o occupy a n inconsistent position, even t h o u g h h e avoids the question of w h a t makes protection u n i q u e l y suitable for redistributive provision. Greatly concerned t o p r o t e c t rights against violation, he m a k e s this the sole function of t h e s t a t e ; a n d he p r o t e s t s t h a t all other functions are illegitimate because they themselves involve the violation of rights. Since h e a c c o r d s p a r a m o u n t place t o the protection and n o n - v i o l a t i o n of rights, h o w c a n he s u p p o r t the ultraminimal state, w h i c h w o u l d seem t o leave s o m e p e r s o n ' s rights unprotected or ill-protected? H o w can he s u p p o r t this in the name of the non-violation of rights?

MORAL

CONSTRAINTS

AND

MORAL

GOALS

This question assumes t h a t a m o r a l c o n c e r n can function only as a moral goal, as an e n d state for s o m e activities t o achieve as t h e n result. It m a y , indeed, seem t o b e a necessary t r u t h t h a t ' r i g h t , 'ought', 'should', a n d s o o n , a r e t o b e e x p l a i n e d in t e r m s of w h a t is, or is intended t o be, p r o d u c t i v e of t h e greatest g o o d , w i t h all goals huilt into the g o o d / T h u s it is often t h o u g h t t h a t w h a t is w r o n g with utilitarianism (which is of this form) is its t o o n a r r o w conception of g o o d . U t i l i t a r i a n i s m d o e s n ' t , it is said, p r o p e r l y take ngnts and their n o n - v i o l a t i o n i n t o a c c o u n t ; it i n s t e a d leaves t h e m a

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derivative status. M a n y of the c o u n t e r - e x a m p l e cases t o utilitarian ism fit under this objection, for e x a m p l e , p u n i s h i n g an innocent man to save a n e i g h b o u r h o o d from a vengeful r a m p a g e . But a theory m a y include in a primary w a y the non-violation of rights, yet include it in the w r o n g place a n d t h e w r o n g m a n n e r . F o r suppose some condition a b o u t minimizing the total (weighted) a m o u n t of violations of rights is built into the desirable e n d state t o be achieved. W e then w o u l d have something like a 'utilitarianism of rights'; violations of rights (to be minimized) merely w o u l d replace the total happiness as the relevant e n d state in t h e utilitarian structure. (Note t h a t w e d o n o t hold t h e non-violation of o u r rights as our sole greatest good or even r a n k it first lexicographically to exclude trade-offs, if there is some desirable society w e would choose t o inhabit even t h o u g h in it some rights of o u r s sometimes are violated, rather than move to a desert island w h e r e we could survive alone.) This still w o u l d require us t o violate someone's rights w h e n doing so minimizes the total (weighted) a m o u n t of violation of rights in the society. For e x a m p l e , violating someone's rights might deflect others from their intended action of gravely violating rights, or might remove their motive for d o i n g s o , or might divert their attention, a n d so o n . A m o b r a m p a g i n g t h r o u g h a part of t o w n killing a n d burning will violate the rights of those living there. Therefore, someone might try t o justify his p u n i s h i n g another he k n o w s to be innocent of a crime that enraged a m o b , on the grounds that punishing this innocent person w o u l d help t o avoid even greater violations of rights by others, a n d s o w o u l d lead to a minimum weighted score of rights violations in the society. In contrast to incorporating rights into t h e e n d state t o be achieved, one might place them as side constraints u p o n t h e actions to be d o n e : d o n ' t violate constraints C. T h e rights of others determine the constraints u p o n your actions. (A goal-directed view with constraints added w o u l d be: a m o n g those acts available t o you that d o n ' t violate constraints C, act so as to maximize goal G. Here, the rights of others w o u l d constrain your goal-directed behaviour. 1 d o n o t mean t o imply that the correct moral view includes

mandatory goals that must be pursued, even within the con


straints.) This view differs from o n e t h a t tries t o build t h e side constraints C into the goal G. The side -constraint view forbids you

to violate these moral constraints in the pursuit of your goals; whereas the view whose objective is too minimize the violation of these rights allows you to violate the rights (the constraints) in order to lessen their total violation in the society. The claim that the proponent of the ultraminimal state is
4

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inconsistent, we n o w can see, a s s u m e s t h a t h e is a ' u t i l i t a r i a n of rights'. It assumes t h a t his goal is, for e x a m p l e , t o m i n i m i z e the weighted a m o u n t of t h e violation of rights in t h e society, a n d t h a t he should p u r s u e this g o a l even t h r o u g h m e a n s t h a t themselves violate people's rights. I n s t e a d , h e m a y p l a c e t h e n o n - v i o l a t i o n of rights as a constraint u p o n a c t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n (or in a d d i t i o n to) building it into the end state t o be realized. T h e p o s i t i o n held by this proponent of the u l t r a m i n i m a l state will b e a c o n s i s t e n t o n e if his conception of rights h o l d s t h a t y o u r being forced t o c o n t r i b u t e to another's welfare violates y o u r rights, w h e r e a s s o m e o n e else's not providing you w i t h things y o u n e e d g r e a t l y , i n c l u d i n g things essential to the p r o t e c t i o n of y o u r rights, d o e s n o t itself viol ate y o u r rights, even t h o u g h it a v o i d s m a k i n g it m o r e difficult for s o m e o n e else to violate t h e m . (That c o n c e p t i o n will be consistent p r o v i d e d it does not construe the m o n o p o l y e l e m e n t of t h e u l t r a m i n i m a l state as itself a violation of rights.) T h a t it is a c o n s i s t e n t p o s i t i o n d o e s not, of course, show t h a t it is an a c c e p t a b l e o n e .

WHY SIDE CONSTRAINTS.'

Isn't it irrational t o accept a side c o n s t r a i n t C , r a t h e r t h a n a view that directs minimizing t h e v i o l a t i o n s of C? (The latter view treats C as a condition r a t h e r t h a n a c o n s t r a i n t . ) If n o n - v i o l a t i o n of C is so important, s h o u l d n ' t t h a t be the goal? H o w can a c o n c e r n for the non-violation of C lead t o the refusal t o v i o l a t e C even w h e n this would prevent other m o r e extensive v i o l a t i o n s of C? W h a t is t h e rationale for placing the n o n - v i o l a t i o n of rights as a side c o n s t r a i n t upon action instead of including it solely as a g o a l of o n e ' s actions? Side constraints u p o n action reflect the u n d e r l y i n g K a n t i a n principle that individuals are e n d s a n d n o t merely m e a n s ; they m a y not be sacrificed or u s e d for the achieving of o t h e r e n d s w i t h o u t their consent. Individuals are inviolable. M o r e s h o u l d be said t o illuminate this talk of e n d s a n d m e a n s . C o n s i d e r a p r i m e e x a m p l e of a means, a tool. T h e r e is n o side c o n s t r a i n t o n h o w w e m a y use a tool, other t h a n the m o r a l c o n s t r a i n t s o n h o w w e m a y use it u p o n others. There are p r o c e d u r e s t o b e followed t o preserve it for future use ('don't leave it o u t in the r a i n ' ) , a n d t h e r e are m o r e a n d less efficient ways of using it. B u t t h e r e is n o limit o n w h a t w e m a y d o to it to best achieve o u r g o a l s . N o w i m a g i n e t h a t t h e r e w a s a n overrideable c o n s t r a i n t C o n s o m e t o o l ' s use. F o r e x a m p l e , t h e tool might have been lent t o y o u o n l y o n the c o n d i t i o n t h a t C n o t b e violated unless the gain from d o i n g so w a s a b o v e a certain specified

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a m o u n t , or unless it w a s necessary t o achieve a certain specified goal. H e r e t h e object is n o t completely y o u r t o o l , for use according t o your wish or w h i m . But it is a tool nevertheless, even w i t h regard t o the overrideable constraint. If we a d d c o n s t r a i n t s o n its use that m a y n o t be overridden, t h e n the object m a y n o t be used as a tool in those ways. In those respects, it is n o t a tool at all. C a n o n e add enough constraints so that an object c a n n o t be used as a tool at all, in any respect? Can behaviour t o w a r d s a person be c o n s t r a i n e d so t h a t he is not to be used for any e n d except as he chooses? T h i s is a n impossibly stringent condition if it requires everyone w h o provides us with a good t o a p p r o v e positively of every use t o w h i c h w e wish t o put it. Even the requirement that he merely s h o u l d n o t object t o any use we plan w o u l d seriously curtail bilateral e x c h a n g e , n o t t o mention sequences of such exchanges. It is sufficient t h a t t h e o t h e r party stands t o gain enough from the e x c h a n g e so that he is willing to go t h r o u g h with it, even t h o u g h he objects t o o n e o r m o r e of t h e uses to which y o u shall p u t the good. U n d e r such c o n d i t i o n s , the other party is n o t being used solely as a m e a n s , in t h a t respect. Another party, however, w h o w o u l d not choose t o interact with y o u if he k n e w of t h e uses t o w h i c h you intend t o p u t his a c t i o n s o r g o o d , is being used as a m e a n s , even if he receives e n o u g h t o choose (in his ignorance) t o interact w i t h you. ('All along, y o u w e r e just using m e ' can be said by s o m e o n e w h o chose t o interact only because he was ignorant of a n o t h e r ' s goals and of t h e uses t o w h i c h he himself w o u l d be put.) Is it morally i n c u m b e n t u p o n s o m e o n e t o reveal his intended uses of an interaction if he h a s g o o d reason t o believe the other w o u l d refuse t o interact if he k n e w ? Is h e using t h e other person, if he does n o t reveal this? A n d w h a t of t h e cases w h e r e the other does not choose to be of use a t all? In getting pleasure from seeing a n attractive person g o by, does o n e use t h e o t h e r solely a s a m e a n s ? D o e s s o m e o n e so use a n object of sexual fantasies? These a n d related questions raise very interesting issues for moral philosophy; b u t n o t , I think, for political philosophy. Political philosophy is concerned only with certain w a y s t h a t persons may not use others; primarily, physically aggressing against them. A specific side constraint u p o n action t o w a r d s others expresses the fact that others may n o t be used in the specific w a y s the side constraint excludes. Side constraints express t h e inviolabil
5

ity of others, in the ways they specify. These modes of inviolability are expressed by the following injunction: 'Don't use people in specified ways.' An end-state view, on the other hand, would express the vtew that people are ends and not merely means (if it

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chooses to express this view at all), by a different injunction: 'Minimize the use in specified w a y s of p e r s o n s as m e a n s . ' Following this precept itself m a y involve using s o m e o n e as a m e a n s in one of the ways specified. H a d K a n t held this view, h e w o u l d h a v e given the second formula of t h e categorical i m p e r a t i v e a s , 'So act as to minimize the use of h u m a n i t y simply as a m e a n s ' , r a t h e r t h a n the one he actually used: ' A c t in such a w a y t h a t y o u always treat humanity, w h e t h e r in y o u r o w n p e r s o n or in t h e person of any other, never simply as a m e a n s , b u t a l w a y s at t h e same t i m e as an end.' Side constraints express the inviolability of o t h e r p e r s o n s . But why may not one violate p e r s o n s for the g r e a t e r social good? Individually, we each s o m e t i m e s c h o o s e t o u n d e r g o s o m e pain or sacrifice for a greater benefit or t o avoid a greater h a r m : we go to the dentist to avoid w o r s e suffering later; w e d o some u n p l e a s a n t work for its results; s o m e p e r s o n s diet t o i m p r o v e their health or looks; some save m o n e y t o s u p p o r t themselves w h e n they are older. In each case, s o m e cost is b o r n e for the sake of the greater overall good. W h y n o t , similarly, hold that some persons have to bear some costs t h a t benefit o t h e r p e r s o n s m o r e , for the sake of the overall social good? B u t t h e r e is n o social entity with a g o o d that undergoes some sacrifice for its o w n g o o d . T h e r e a r e only individual people, different individual p e o p l e , with their o w n individual lives. Using o n e of these p e o p l e for t h e benefit of o t h e r s , uses him and benefits t h e o t h e r s . N o t h i n g m o r e . W h a t h a p p e n s is that something is d o n e t o h i m for t h e sake of o t h e r s . T a l k of an overall social g o o d covers this u p . (Intentionally?) T o use a person in this way does n o t sufficiently respect a n d t a k e a c c o u n t of the fact that he is a separate p e r s o n , t h a t his is the only life he h a s . He does not get some o v e r b a l a n c i n g g o o d from his sacrifice, a n d n o o n e is entitled to force this u p o n h i m - least of all a state or g o v e r n m e n t that claims his allegiance (as o t h e r individuals d o not) a n d t h a t therefore scrupulously m u s t be neutral b e t w e e n its citizens.
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LIBERTARIAN CONSTRAINTS

The moral side c o n s t r a i n t s u p o n w h a t w e m a y d o , 1 claim, reflect the fact of o u r s e p a r a t e existences. T h e y reflect the fact t h a t n o moral balancing act c a n t a k e place a m o n g u s ; t h e r e is n o m o r a l outweighing of o n e of o u r lives b y o t h e r s so as t o lead t o a greater overall social g o o d . T h e r e is n o justified sacrifice of s o m e of u s tor others. This r o o t idea, n a m e l y , t h a t t h e r e a r e different individuals

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with separate lives a n d so n o o n e m a y b e sacrificed for others, underlies the existence of m o r a l side c o n s t r a i n t s , but it also, 1 believe, leads to a libertarian side c o n s t r a i n t t h a t prohibits aggres sion against a n o t h e r . . . .

II
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE

T h e minimal state is the most extensive state t h a t c a n be justified. Any state m o r e extensive violates p e o p l e ' s rights. Yet m a n y persons have p u t forth reasons p u r p o r t i n g t o justify a m o r e extensive state. It is impossible within the c o m p a s s of this b o o k t o e x a m i n e all the reasons that have been p u t forth. Therefore, I shall focus upon those generally acknowledged t o be most weighty a n d influential, t o see precisely wherein they fail. H e r e we consider t h e claim that a more extensive state is justified, because necessary (or the best instrument) to achieve distributive justice; then we shall take up diverse other claims. The term 'distributive justice' is n o t a neutral o n e . Hearing the term 'distribution', most people p r e s u m e that some thing or mechanism uses some principle o r criterion t o give o u t a supply of things. Into this process of distributing shares some e r r o r m a y have crept. So it is an open question, a t least, w h e t h e r redistribution should take place; whether w e s h o u l d d o again w h a t h a s already been d o n e once, t h o u g h poorly. H o w e v e r , w e a r e n o t in the position of children w h o have been given p o r t i o n s of pie by someone w h o n o w makes last m i n u t e adjustments t o rectify careless cutting. There is n o central distribution, n o person or group entitled t o control all t h e resources, jointly deciding h o w they are to be doled o u t . What each person gets, he gets from o t h e r s w h o give t o him in exchange for something, o r as a gift. In a free society, diverse persons control different resources, a n d n e w h o l d i n g s arise out of the voluntary exchanges and actions of p e r s o n s . T h e r e is no more a distributing or distribution of shares t h a n there is a distributing of mates in a society in which persons c h o o s e w h o m

they shall marry. The total result is the product of m a n y individual decisions which the different individuals involved a r e entitled t o make. Some uses of the term 'distribution', it is true, do n o t imply a previous distributing appropriately judged by some criterion (for example, 'probability distribution'); nevertheless, despite the title of this chapter, it would be best to use a terminology that clearly is

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neutral. We shall speak of p e o p l e ' s h o l d i n g s ; a principle of justice in holdings describes (part of) w h a t justice tells us (requires) a b o u t holdings. 1 shall state first w h a t 1 t a k e t o be t h e c o r r e c t view a b o u t justice in holdings, a n d t h e n t u r n t o t h e d i s c u s s i o n ot a l t e r n a t e views.
8

THE

ENTITLEMENT

THEORY

The subject of justice in h o l d i n g s consists of t h r e e m a j o r topics. T h e first is the original acquisition of holdings, t h e a p p r o p r i a t i o n of unheld things. This includes t h e issues of h o w u n h e l d t h i n g s m a y come to be held, the p r o c e s s , o r p r o c e s s e s , by w h i c h u n h e l d t h i n g s may come to be held, t h e things t h a t m a y c o m e t o be held by these processes, the extent of w h a t c o m e s t o be h e l d by a p a r t i c u l a r process, and so o n . W e shall refer t o t h e c o m p l i c a t e d t r u t h a b o u t this topic, which w e shall n o t f o r m u l a t e h e r e , as t h e p r i n c i p l e of justice in acquisition. T h e s e c o n d t o p i c c o n c e r n s t h e transfer of holdings from one person t o a n o t h e r . By w h a t p r o c e s s e s m a y a person transfer holdings t o a n o t h e r ? H o w m a y a p e r s o n a c q u i r e a holding from another w h o h o l d s it? U n d e r this t o p i c c o m e general descriptions of v o l u n t a r y e x c h a n g e , a n d gift a n d (on t h e o t h e r hand) fraud, as well as reference t o p a r t i c u l a r c o n v e n t i o n a l details fixed upon in a given society. T h e c o m p l i c a t e d t r u t h a b o u t this subject (with placeholders for c o n v e n t i o n a l details) w e shall call the principle of justice in transfer. ( A n d w e shall s u p p o s e it also includes principles g o v e r n i n g h o w a p e r s o n m a y divest himself of a holding, passing it into a n u n h e l d state.) If the world were wholly just, t h e f o l l o w i n g i n d u c t i v e definition would exhaustively cover the subject of justice in h o l d i n g s . (1) A person w h o a c q u i r e s a h o l d i n g in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e principle of justice in a c q u i s i t i o n is entitled t o t h a t h o l d i n g . U) A person w h o a c q u i r e s a h o l d i n g in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e principle of justice in transfer,|from s o m e o n e else e n t i t l e d t o the holding, is entitled t o t h e h o l d i n g . (3) No one is entitled t o a h o l d i n g e x c e p t by (repeated) applications of 1 a n d 2 . a Principle of distributive justice w o u l d say s i m p l y t h a t istnbution is just if e v e r y o n e is e n t i t l e d t o t h e h o l d i n g s they Possess under t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n . distribution is just if it arises f r o m a n o t h e r just d i s t r i b u t i o n distrih '- The legitimate m e a n s of m o v i n g f r o m o n e button to a n o t h e r are specified by the p r i n c i p l e of justice in
j C o m p l e t e

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transfer. T h e legitimate first ' m o v e s ' are specified by the principle of justice in acquisition. W h a t e v e r arises from a just situation by just steps is itself just. T h e means of change specified by the principle of justice in transfer preserve justice. As correct rules of inference are truth-preserving, and any conclusion deduced via repeated applica tion of such rules from only true premisses is itself t r u e , so the means of transition from one situation to a n o t h e r specified by the principle of justice in transfer are justice-preserving, a n d any situation actually arising from repeated transitions in a c c o r d a n c e with the principle from a just situation is itself just. T h e parallel between justice-preserving transformations a n d truth-preserving transformations illuminates where it fails as well as w h e r e it h o l d s . T h a t a conclusion could have been deduced by truth-preserving means from premisses t h a t are true suffices to s h o w its t r u t h . T h a t from a just situation a situation could have arisen via justicepreserving means does not suffice t o s h o w its justice. T h e fact t h a t a thief's victims voluntarily could have presented him w i t h gifts does not entitle the thief to his ill-gotten gains. Justice in holdings is historical; it depends u p o n w h a t actually has h a p p e n e d . W e shall return to this point later. N o t all actual situations are generated in accordance with the two principles of justice in holdings: the principle of justice in acquisition and the principle of justice in transfer. Some p e o p l e steal from others, or defraud them, or enslave t h e m , seizing their product and preventing them from living as they choose, or forcibly exclude others from competing in exchanges. N o n e of these are permissible modes of transition from o n e situation t o a n o t h e r . A n d some persons acquire holdings by m e a n s not sanctioned by the principle of justice in acquisition. T h e existence of past injustice (previous violations of the first t w o principles of justice in holdings) raises the third major topic under justice in holdings: the rectifica tion of injustice in holdings. If past injustice h a s shaped present holdings in various ways, some identifiable and some not, w h a t n o w , if anything, o u g h t to be done to rectify these injustices? W h a t obligations d o the performers of injustice have t o w a r d s those whose position is worse t h a n it w o u l d have been h a d the injustice not been done? O r , t h a n it w o u l d h a v e been h a d c o m p e n s a t i o n been paid promptly? H o w , if a t all, d o things change if the beneficiaries a n d those m a d e worse off are n o t the direct parties in the act of injustice, b u t , for e x a m p l e , their descendants? Is an injustice d o n e to someone whose holding w a s itself based u p o n an unrectified injustice? H o w far back must one go in wiping clean the historical slate of injustices? W h a t m a y victims of injustice permiss-

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ibly do in o r d e r to rectify the injustices being done to them, including the m a n y injustices d o n e by persons acting through their g o v e r n m e n t ? 1 d o n o t k n o w of a t h o r o u g h or theoretically sophisticated t r e a t m e n t of such i s s u e s . idealizing greatly, let us suppose theoretical investigation will p r o d u c e a principle of rectification. This principle uses historical information about previous situations a n d injustices d o n e in them (as defined by the first t w o principles of justice a n d rights against interference), and information a b o u t the actual course of events that flowed from these injustices, until the present, and it yields a description (or descriptions) of holdings in the society. The principle of rectifica tion p r e s u m a b l y will m a k e use of its best estimate of subjunctive information a b o u t w h a t w o u l d have occurred (or a probability distribution over w h a t might have occurred, using the expected value) if the injustice h a d n o t t a k e n place. If the actual description of holdings t u r n s o u t n o t to be o n e of the descriptions yielded by the principle, then o n e of the descriptions yielded must be realized. T h e general outlines of the theory of justice in holdings are that the holdings of a p e r s o n are just if he is entitled to them by the principles of justice in acquisition and transfer, or by the principle of rectification of injustice (as specified by the first two principles). If each p e r s o n ' s holdings are just, then the total set (distribution) of holdings is just. T o turn these general outlines into a specific theory we w o u l d h a v e to specify the details of each of the three principles of justice in h o l d i n g s : the principle of acquisition of holdings, the principle of transfer of holdings, and the principle of rectification of violations of the first t w o principles. I shall not attempt that task here.
10 11

HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES AND END-RESULT PRINCIPLES T h e general outlines of t h e entitlement theory illuminate the nature a n d defects of o t h e r conceptions of distributive justice. The entitlement t h e o r y of justice in distribution is historical; whether a distribution is just d e p e n d s u p o n h o w it came a b o u t . In contrast, current time-slice principles of justice hold that the justice of a distribution is d e t e r m i n e d by h o w things are distributed (who has w h a t ) as j u d g e d by s o m e structural principle(s) of just distribution. A utilitarian w h o judges between any t w o distributions by seeing which h a s the greater s u m of utility a n d , if the sums tie, applies some fixed equality criterion to choose the m o r e equal distribution,

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w o u l d hold a current time-slice principle of justice. As w o u l d someone w h o had a fixed schedule of trade-offs between the sum of happiness and equality. According to a current time-slice principle, all that needs t o be looked at, in judging the justice of a distribution, is w h o ends up with w h a t ; in c o m p a r i n g any t w o distributions one need look only a t the m a t r i x presenting the distributions. N o further information need be fed into a principle of justice. It is a consequence of such principles of justice t h a t any t w o structurally identical distributions are equally just. ( T w o distri butions are structurally identical if they present the same profile, but perhaps have different persons occupying the particular slots. M y having ten a n d your having five, a n d my having five a n d your having ten are structurally identical distributions.) "Welfare econ omics is the theory of current time-slice principles of justice. T h e subject is conceived as operating o n matrices representing only current information a b o u t distribution. This, as well as s o m e of the usual conditions (for example, the choice of distribution is invariant under relabelling of columns), g u a r a n t e e s t h a t welfare economics will be a current time-slice theory, with all of its inadequacies. M o s t persons do not accept c u r r e n t time-slice principles as constituting the whole story about distributive shares. T h e y t h i n k it relevant in assessing the justice of a situation to consider n o t only the distribution it embodies, but also h o w t h a t distribution came a b o u t . If some persons are in prison for m u r d e r or war crimes, w e d o not say that t o assess the justice of the distribution in the society we must look only at w h a t this person has, a n d t h a t person h a s , a n d that person has . . . at the current t i m e . W e t h i n k it relevant t o ask whether someone did something so t h a t h e deserved t o be punished, deserved t o have a lower share. M o s t will agree to the relevance of further information with regard t o p u n i s h m e n t s and penalties. Consider also desired things. O n e traditional socialist view is t h a t workers are entitled to the p r o d u c t and full fruits of their l a b o u r ; they have earned it; a distribution is unjust if it does not give the workers w h a t they are entitled to. Such entitlements are based u p o n some past history. N o socialist h o l d i n g this view w o u l d find it comforting to b e told that because the actual distribution A happens to coincide structurally w i t h the o n e h e desires D , A. therefore is n o less just t h a n D ; it differs only in t h a t the 'parasitic' o w n e r s of capital receive under A w h a t the w o r k e r s are entitled to u n d e r D , and the workers receive u n d e r A w h a t the o w n e r s are entitled t o under D , namely very little. This socialist rightly, in my view, holds on t o the n o t i o n s of earning, p r o d u c i n g , entitlement,

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desert, and so forth, a n d he rejects current time-slice principles that look only to the structure of the resulting set of holdings. (The set of holdings resulting from w h a t ? Isn't it implausible that how holdings are p r o d u c e d a n d come to exist has no effect at all on who should hold w h a t ? ) His mistake lies in his view of w h a t entitlements arise out of w h a t sorts of productive processes. We construe the position we discuss t o o narrowly by speaking of current time-slice principles. N o t h i n g is changed if structural prin ciples o p e r a t e u p o n a t i m e sequence of current time-slice profiles and, for e x a m p l e , give s o m e o n e m o r e n o w to counterbalance the less he has h a d earlier. A utilitarian or an egalitarian or any mixture of the t w o over time will inherit the difficulties of his more myopic comrades. H e is not helped by the fact t h a t some of the information others consider relevant in assessing a distribution is reflected, unrecoverably, in past matrices. Henceforth, we shall refer to such unhistorical principles of distributive justice, including the current time-slice principles, as end-result principles or end-state principles. In contrast t o end-result principles of justice, historical principles of justice h o l d t h a t past circumstances or actions of people can create differential entitlements or differential deserts to things. An injustice can be w o r k e d by m o v i n g from one distribution to another structurally identical o n e , for the second, in profile the same, may violate people's entitlements o r deserts; it may not fit the actual history.
PATTERNING

T h e entitlement principles of justice in holdings that w e have sketched are historical principles of justice. T o better understand their precise c h a r a c t e r , w e shall distinguish them from another subclass of the historical principles. Consider, as an example, the principle of distribution according to moral merit. This principle requires t h a t total distributive shares vary directly with moral merit; n o p e r s o n should have a greater share than anyone whose moral merit is greater. (If m o r a l merit could be not merely ordered but measured o n an interval or ratio scale, stronger principles could be formulated.) O r consider the principle that results by substitut ing 'usefulness to society' for 'moral merit' in the previous principle. O r instead of 'distribute according t o moral merit', or ^distribute a c c o r d i n g t o usefulness to society', we might consider 'distribute a c c o r d i n g t o t h e weighted sum of m o r a l merit, useful ness t o society, a n d n e e d ' , with the weights of the different dimensions equal. Let us call a principle of distribution patterned if

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it specifies that a distribution is t o vary along with some natural dimension, weighted s u m of natural dimensions, or lexicographic ordering of natural dimensions. And let us say a distribution is patterned if it accords w i t h some p a t t e r n e d principle. (I speak of natural dimensions, admittedly w i t h o u t a general criterion for them, because for any set of holdings some artificial dimensions can b e gimmicked u p t o vary along w i t h t h e distribution of the set.) T h e principle of distribution in accordance with moral merit is a patterned historical principle, which specifies a p a t t e r n e d distri bution. 'Distribute according t o I Q ' is a p a t t e r n e d principle that looks t o information not contained in distributional matrices. It is not historical, however, in that it d o e s n o t look to any past actions creating differential entitlements t o evaluate a distribution; it requires only distributional matrices w h o s e c o l u m n s are labeled by IQ scores. The distribution in a society, however, may be composed of such simple patterned distributions, w i t h o u t itself being simply patterned. Different sectors m a y o p e r a t e different patterns, or some combination of p a t t e r n s may o p e r a t e in different proportions across a society. A distribution c o m p o s e d in this manner, from a small n u m b e r of p a t t e r n e d distributions, w e also shall term 'patterned'. And we e x t e n d the use of ' p a t t e r n ' to include the overall designs put forth by c o m b i n a t i o n s of end-state principles. Almost every suggested principle of distributive justice is pat terned: to each according to his m o r a l merit, or needs, or marginal p r o d u c t , o r h o w h a r d h e tries, o r the weighted s u m of the foregoing, a n d so on. The principle of entitlement w e have sketched is not p a t t e r n e d . There is n o o n e n a t u r a l dimension o r weighted sum or combination of a small n u m b e r of n a t u r a l d i m e n s i o n s t h a t yields the distributions generated in accordance with the principle of entitlement. T h e set of holdings that results w h e n some persons receive their marginal p r o d u c t s , others win at g a m b l i n g , others receive a share of their mate's income, others receive gifts from foundations, others receive interest o n loans, o t h e r s receive gifts from admirers, others receive returns o n investment, others m a k e for themselves m u c h of w h a t they have, others find t h i n g s , a n d so on, will not be patterned. Heavy strands of p a t t e r n s will run through it; significant portions of the variance in holdings will be accounted for by pattern-variables. If most people m o s t of the time choose t o transfer some of their entitlements to others only in exchange for something from them, then a large p a r t of w h a t m a n y people hold will vary with w h a t they h e l d t h a t others w a n t e d . M o r e details are provided by the theory of marginal productivity. But
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gifts to relatives, charitable d o n a t i o n s , bequests to children, and the like, are not best conceived, in the first instance, in this m a n n e r . Ignoring the s t r a n d s of p a t t e r n , let us suppose for the m o m e n t that a distribution actually arrived at by the o p e r a t i o n of the principle of entitlement is r a n d o m w i t h respect to any p a t t e r n . T h o u g h the resulting set of holdings will be u n p a t t e r n e d , it will not be incomprehensible, for it c a n be seen as arising from the operation of a small n u m b e r of principles. T h e s e principles specify h o w an initial distribution m a y arise (the principle of acquisition of holdings) and how distributions m a y b e t r a n s f o r m e d into others (the principle of transfer of holdings). T h e process w h e r e b y the set of holdings is generated will be intelligible, t h o u g h the set of holdings itself that results from this process will be u n p a t t e r n e d . The writings of F. A. H a y e k focus less t h a n is usually d o n e upon what patterning distributive justice requires. H a y e k argues that we cannot k n o w e n o u g h a b o u t each p e r s o n ' s situation to distribute to each according to his m o r a l merit (but w o u l d justice d e m a n d we do so if we did have this k n o w l e d g e ? ) ; a n d he goes on to say, 'our objection is against all a t t e m p t s to impress upon society a deliberately chosen p a t t e r n of distribution, w h e t h e r it be an order of equality or of i n e q u a l i t y . ' ' H o w e v e r , H a y e k concludes that in a free society there will be distribution in accordance with value rather than m o r a l merit; t h a t is, in a c c o r d a n c e with the perceived value of a p e r s o n ' s a c t i o n s a n d services to others. Despite his rejection of a p a t t e r n e d c o n c e p t i o n of distributive justice, Hayek himself suggests a p a t t e r n he thinks justifiable: distribution in accordance with the perceived benefits given to others, leaving room for the c o m p l a i n t t h a t a free society does n o t realize exactly this pattern. Stating this p a t t e r n s t r a n d of a free capitalist society more precisely, we get ' T o each according to h o w much he benefits others w h o h a v e the resources for benefiting those w h o benefit them.' This will seem a r b i t r a r y unless some acceptable initial set of holdings is specified, o r unless it is held t h a t the operation of the system over time w a s h e s o u t any significant effects from the initial set of holdings. As an e x a m p l e of the latter, if almost anyone w o u l d have b o u g h t a car from H e n r y F o r d , the supposition that it w a s an arbitrary m a t t e r w h o held the m o n e y (and so bought) w o u l d not Place Henry F o r d ' s earnings u n d e r a cloud. In any event, his coming to hold it is n o t a r b i t r a r y . Distribution according to benefits to others is a m a j o r p a t t e r n e d s t r a n d in a free capitalist society, as Hayek correctly points o u t , b u t it is only a strand and does not constitute the w h o l e p a t t e r n of a system of entitlements (namely, 'nheritance, gifts for a r b i t r a r y reasons, charity, a n d so on) or a
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standard that one should insist a society fit. Will people tolerate for long a system yielding distributions that they believe are unpatterned? N o d o u b t people will not l o n g accept a distribution they believe is unjust. People w a n t their society t o be a n d t o look just. But must the look of justice reside in a resulting p a t t e r n rather than in the underlying generating principles? W e are in n o position to conclude t h a t the inhabitants of a society e m b o d y i n g an entitlement conception of justice in holdings will find it u n a c c e p t a b l e . Still, it must be granted that were people's reasons for transferring some of their holdings t o others always irrational o r a r b i t r a r y , w e would find this disturbing. (Suppose people always determined what holdings they w o u l d transfer, a n d t o w h o m , by using a r a n d o m device.) W e feel m o r e comfortable u p h o l d i n g t h e justice of an entitlement system if most of the transfers u n d e r it are d o n e for reasons. This does not mean necessarily t h a t all deserve what holdings they receive. It means only t h a t there is a p u r p o s e or point to someone's transferring a holding to o n e person r a t h e r t h a n to another; that usually w e c a n see w h a t t h e transferrer thinks he's gaining, w h a t cause he thinks he's serving, w h a t goals he thinks he's helping t o achieve, a n d so forth. Since in a capitalist society people often transfer holdings to others in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h h o w m u c h they perceive these others benefiting t h e m , the fabric constituted by the individual transactions and transfers is largely reasonable a n d intelligible. (Gifts t o loved ones, bequests t o children, charity t o the needy also are non-arbitrary c o m p o n e n t s of the fabric.) In stressing the large strand of distribution in a c c o r d a n c e with benefit to others, Hayek shows the point of m a n y transfers, a n d s o shows that the system of transfer of entitlements is n o t just spinning its gears aimlessly. T h e system of entitlements is defensible when constituted by t h e individual aims of individual t r a n s a c t i o n s . N o overarching aim is needed, n o distributional p a t t e r n is required. T o think that the task of a theory of distributive justice is t o fill in the blank in ' t o each according t o his ' is t o be predisposed t o search for a pattern; a n d the separate t r e a t m e n t of 'from each according to his ' treats p r o d u c t i o n a n d distribution as t w o separate and independent issues. O n an entitlement view these a r e not two separate questions. Whoever makes s o m e t h i n g , having bought or contracted for all other held resources used in t h e process (transferring some of his holdings for these co-operating factors), is k t i o n is not one of something's getting m a d e , and there being an open question of who is to get it. Things come into the world already attached to people having entitlements over them. From the point of view of the historical entitlement
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conception of justice in h o l d i n g s , t h o s e w h o s t a r t afresh t o complete 'to each a c c o r d i n g t o his ' t r e a t objects as if they appeared from n o w h e r e , o u t of n o t h i n g . A c o m p l e t e t h e o r y of justice might cover this limit case as w e l l ; p e r h a p s h e r e is a use for the usual conceptions of d i s t r i b u t i v e j u s t i c e . So entrenched are m a x i m s of t h e usual form t h a t p e r h a p s w e should present the e n t i t l e m e n t c o n c e p t i o n as a c o m p e t i t o r . I g n o r i n g acquisition and rectification, w e m i g h t say:
16

From each a c c o r d i n g t o w h a t h e c h o o s e s t o d o , t o each according to w h a t he m a k e s for himself ( p e r h a p s w i t h the contracted aid of others) a n d w h a t o t h e r s c h o o s e t o d o for him and choose t o give h i m of w h a t t h e y ' v e been given previously (under this m a x i m ) a n d h a v e n ' t yet e x p e n d e d o r transferred. This, the discerning r e a d e r will h a v e n o t i c e d , h a s its defects as a slogan. So as a s u m m a r y a n d g r e a t simplification (and n o t as a maxim with a n y i n d e p e n d e n t m e a n i n g ) w e h a v e : From each as they choose, to each as they are chosen.

HOW

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PATTERNS

It is not clear h o w t h o s e h o l d i n g alternative c o n c e p t i o n s of distributive justice can reject the e n t i t l e m e n t c o n c e p t i o n of justice in holdings. For s u p p o s e a d i s t r i b u t i o n f a v o u r e d by o n e of these n o n entitlement c o n c e p t i o n s is realized. Let us s u p p o s e it is y o u r favourite o n e a n d let us call this d i s t r i b u t i o n D l ; p e r h a p s everyone has an equal share, p e r h a p s shares vary in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h s o m e dimension you t r e a s u r e . N o w s u p p o s e t h a t W i l t C h a m b e r l a i n is greatly in d e m a n d by b a s k e t b a l l t e a m s , being a great gate attrac tion. (Also suppose c o n t r a c t s r u n o n l y for a y e a r , w i t h players being free agents.) H e signs t h e following s o r t of c o n t r a c t w i t h a t e a m : In each home g a m e , twenty-five cents from the price of each ticket of admission goes t o h i m . ( W e i g n o r e the q u e s t i o n of w h e t h e r h e is 'gouging' the o w n e r s , letting t h e m l o o k o u t for themselves.) T h e season starts, a n d p e o p l e cheerfully a t t e n d his t e a m ' s g a m e s ; they huy their tickets, each t i m e d r o p p i n g a s e p a r a t e twenty-five cents of their admission price i n t o a special b o x w i t h C h a m b e r l a i n ' s n a m e on it. They are excited a b o u t seeing h i m play; it is w o r t h t h e total admission price t o t h e m . Let us s u p p o s e t h a t in o n e s e a s o n o n e

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million persons attend his h o m e g a m e s , a n d Wilt C h a m b e r l a i n winds up with $ 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 , a much larger sum t h a n the average income and larger even t h a n a n y o n e else h a s . Is he entitled to this income? Is this n e w distribution D 2 , unjust? If so, w h y ? There is no question about whether each of the people w a s entitled to the control over the resources they held in D l ; because t h a t was the distribution (your favourite) that (for the purposes of a r g u m e n t ) we assumed w a s acceptable. Each of these p e r s o n s chose t o give twenty-five cents of their m o n e y t o C h a m b e r l a i n . T h e y could have spent it on going t o the movies, o r o n candy b a r s , o r on copies of Dissent magazine, or of Monthly Review. But they all, at least one million of them, converged on giving it to Wilt C h a m b e r l a i n in exchange for watching him play basketball. If D l was a just distribution, and people voluntarily m o v e d from it t o D 2 , transfer ring parts of their shares they were given u n d e r D l (what w a s it for if not to d o something with?), isn't D 2 also just? If the people w e r e entitled to dispose of the resources to which they w e r e entitled (under D l ) , d i d n ' t this include their being entitled t o give it to, or exchange it with, Wilt Chamberlain? C a n a n y o n e else c o m p l a i n o n grounds of justice? Each other person already h a s legitimate share under D l . Under D l , there is n o t h i n g t h a t a n y o n e has t h a t a n y o n e else has a claim of justice against. After s o m e o n e transfers something to Wilt C h a m b e r l a i n , third parties still have their legitimate shares; their shares are n o t changed. By w h a t process could such a transfer a m o n g t w o persons give rise t o a legitimate claim of distributive justice of w h a t w a s transferred, by a third party w h o had n o claim of justice on any h o l d i n g of the others before the t r a n s f e r ? T o cut off objections irrelevant here, we might imagine the exchanges occurring in a socialist society, after hours. After playing whatever basketball h e does in his daily w o r k , or doing whatever other daily w o r k he does, Wilt C h a m b e r l a i n decides to put in overtime to earn additional m o n e y . (First his w o r k quota is set; he w o r k s time over that.) O r imagine it is a skilled juggler people like t o see, w h o puts on shows after h o u r s .
17

Why might someone w o r k overtime in a society in which it is assumed their needs are satisfied? Perhaps because they care a b o u t things other t h a n needs. I like t o write in b o o k s t h a t I read, a n d t o have easy access to books for browsing at o d d h o u r s . It w o u l d be very pleasant and convenient to have the resources of W i d e n e r Library in my back yard. N o society, I assume, will provide such resources close t o each person w h o w o u l d like t h e m as part of his regular allotment (under D l ) . T h u s , p e r s o n s either m u s t d o w i t h o u t some extra things t h a t they w a n t , or be allowed t o d o s o m e t h i n g

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extra to get some of these things. O n w h a t basis could the inequalities t h a t w o u l d e v e n t u a t e be f o r b i d d e n ? N o t i c e also t h a t small factories w o u l d s p r i n g u p in a socialist society, unless forbidden. I melt d o w n s o m e of m y p e r s o n a l possessions (under D l ) and build a m a c h i n e o u t of the m a t e r i a l . I offer y o u , a n d others, a philosophy lecture o n c e a w e e k in e x c h a n g e for y o u r cranking the h a n d l e o n my m a c h i n e , w h o s e p r o d u c t s I e x c h a n g e for yet other things, a n d so o n . (The r a w m a t e r i a l s used by the m a c h i n e are given t o m e by o t h e r s w h o possess t h e m u n d e r D l , in e x c h a n g e for hearing lectures.) E a c h p e r s o n m i g h t p a r t i c i p a t e to gain things over and above their a l l o t m e n t u n d e r D l . S o m e p e r s o n s even m i g h t want to leave their job in socialist i n d u s t r y a n d w o r k full t i m e in this private sector. I shall say s o m e t h i n g m o r e a b o u t these issues elsewhere. H e r e I wish merely t o n o t e h o w private p r o p e r t y even in means of p r o d u c t i o n w o u l d o c c u r in a socialist society t h a t did not forbid people t o use as they w i s h e d s o m e of the resources they are given u n d e r t h e socialist d i s t r i b u t i o n D l . T h e socialist society w o u l d have t o forbid capitalist acts b e t w e e n c o n s e n t i n g adults. The general p o i n t illustrated by the Wilt C h a m b e r l a i n e x a m p l e and the example of the e n t r e p r e n e u r in a socialist society is t h a t n o end-state principle or d i s t r i b u t i o n a l p a t t e r n e d principle of justice can be continuously realized w i t h o u t c o n t i n u o u s interference with people's lives. Any favoured p a t t e r n w o u l d be t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o o n e unfavoured by the principle, by p e o p l e c h o o s i n g t o act in v a r i o u s ways; for e x a m p l e , by p e o p l e e x c h a n g i n g g o o d s a n d services with other people, or giving t h i n g s t o o t h e r p e o p l e , things the transfer rers are entitled to u n d e r the f a v o u r e d d i s t r i b u t i o n a l p a t t e r n . T o maintain a p a t t e r n o n e m u s t either c o n t i n u a l l y interfere to stop people from transferring resources as they w i s h t o , or continually (or periodically) interfere t o t a k e from s o m e p e r s o n s resources t h a t others for some reason c h o s e t o transfer t o t h e m . (But if s o m e time limit is to be set o n h o w l o n g p e o p l e m a y k e e p resources others voluntarily transfer to t h e m , w h y let t h e m k e e p these resources for ay period of time? W h y n o t h a v e i m m e d i a t e confiscation?) It might be objected t h a t all p e r s o n s v o l u n t a r i l y will c h o o s e to refrain from actions w h i c h w o u l d upset the p a t t e r n . T h i s p r e s u p p o s e s unrealistically (1) t h a t all will m o s t w a n t t o m a i n t a i n t h e p a t t e r n (are those w h o d o n ' t , t o b e ' r e - e d u c a t e d ' or forced t o u n d e r g o 'selfcnticism'?), (2) t h a t each can g a t h e r e n o u g h i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t his own actions a n d the o n g o i n g activities of o t h e r s t o discover w h i c h of his actions will u p s e t t h e p a t t e r n , a n d (3) t h a t diverse a n d far-flung persons can c o - o r d i n a t e their a c t i o n s t o dovetail i n t o the
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pattern. C o m p a r e the m a n n e r in which the m a r k e t is neutral a m o n g persons' desires, as it reflects a n d t r a n s m i t s widely scattered information via prices, and co-ordinates p e r s o n s ' activities. It puts things perhaps a bit t o o strongly to say that every patterned (or end-state) principle is liable t o be t h w a r t e d by the voluntary actions of the individual parties transferring some of their shares they receive under the principle. For p e r h a p s some very weak patterns are not so t h w a r t e d . Any distributional pattern with any egalitarian c o m p o n e n t is o v e r t u r n a b l e by the voluntary actions of individual persons over time; as is every p a t t e r n e d condition with sufficient content so as actually to have been proposed as presenting the central core of distributive justice. Still, given the possibility that some w e a k c o n d i t i o n s or p a t t e r n s may not be unstable in this way, it w o u l d be better to formulate an explicit description of the kind of interesting a n d contentful p a t t e r n s under discussion, and to prove a theorem a b o u t their instability. Since the weaker the patterning, the more likely it is t h a t the entitlement system itself satisfies it, a plausible conjecture is t h a t any patterning either is unstable or is satisfied by the entitlement system.
19

NOTES
1

Here and in the next section 1 draw upon and amplify my discussion of these issues in footnote 4 of 'On the Randian Argument', The Personalist, Spring, 1971. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), ch. 6. Friedman's school vouchers, of course, allow a choice about who is to supply the product, and so differ from the protection vouchers imagined here. For a clear statement that this view is mistaken, see John Rawls, A Theory of justice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), pp. 3 0 , 5 6 5 - 6 . Unfortunately, too few models of the structure of moral views have been specified heretofore, though there are surely other interesting structures. Hence an argument for a side-constraint structure that consists largely in arguing against an end-state maximization structure is i iconclusive, for these alternatives are not exhaustive. An array of structures must be precisely formulated and investigated; perhaps some novel structure then will seem most appropriate. The issue of whether a side-constraint view can be put in the form of the goal-without-side-constraint view is a tricky one. One might think, for example, that each person could distinguish in his goal between his violating rights and someone else's doing it. Give the former infinite (negative) weight in his goal, and no amount of stopping others from

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violating rights can outweigh his violating someone's rights. In addition to a component of a goal receiving infinite weight, indexical expressions also appear, for example, 'my doing something'. A careful statement delimiting 'constraint views' would exclude these gimmicky ways of transforming side constraints into the form of an end-state view as sufficient to constitute a view as end state. Mathematical methods of transforming a constrained minimization problem into a sequence of unconstrained minimizations of an auxiliary function are presented in Anthony Fiacco and Garth McCormick, Nonlinear Programming: Sequential Unconstrained Minimization Techniques (New York: Wiley, 1968). The book is interesting both for its methods and for their limitations in illuminating our area of concern; note the way in which the penalty functions include the constraints, the variation in weights of penalty functions (sec. 7.1), and so on. The question of whether these side constraints are absolute, or whether they may be violated in order to avoid catastrophic moral horror, and if the latter, what the resulting structure might look like, is one I hope largely to avoid. Which does which? Often a useful question to ask, as in the following: 'What is the difference between a Zen master and an analytic philosopher?' 'One talks riddles and the other riddles talks.' Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Translated by H. J. Paton, ^ The Moral Law (London: Hutchinson, 1956), p. 96. See John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, sects 5, 6, 30. The reader who has looked ahead and seen that the second part of this chapter discusses Rawls' theory mistakenly may think that every remark or argument in the first part against alternative theories of justice is meant to apply to, or anticipate, a criticism of Rawls' theory. This is not so; there are other theories also worth criticizing. Applications of the principle of justice in acquisition may also occur as part of the move from one distribution to another. You may find an unheld thing now and appropriate it. Acquisitions also are to be understood as included when, to simplify, I speak only of transitions by transfers. See, however, the useful book by Boris Bittker, The Case for Black ^rations (New York: Random House, 1973). \A ' P ' f rectification of violations of the first two principles yields more than one description of holdings, then some choice must be made as to which of these is to be realized. Perhaps the sort of considerations about distributive justice and equality that 1 argue against play a legitimate role in this subsidiary choice. Similarly, there may be room for such considerations in deciding which otherwise arbitrary features a statute will embody, when such features are unavoidable because other considerations do not specify a precise line; n Q must be drawn. ne might try to squeeze a patterned conception of distributive justice
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into the framework of the entitlement conception, by formulating a gimmicky obligatory 'principle of transfer' that would lead to the pattern. For example, the principle that if one has more than the mean income one must transfer everything one holds above the mean to persons below the mean so as to bring them up to (but not over) the mean. We can formulate a criterion for a 'principle of transfer' to rule out such obligatory transfers, or we can say that no correct principle of transfer, no principle of transfer in a free society will be like this. The former is probably the better course, though the latter also is true. Alternatively, one might think to make the entitlement conception instantiate a pattern, by using matrix entries that express the relative strength of a person's entitlements as measured by some real-valued function. But even if the limitation to natural dimensions failed to exclude this function, the resulting edifice would not capture our system of entitlements to particular things. " F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 87. This question does not imply that they will tolerate any and every patterned distribution. In discussing Hayek's views, Irving Kristol has recently speculated that people will not long tolerate a system that yields distributions patterned in accordance with value rather than merit. ('"When Virtue Loses All Her Loveliness" - Some Reflections on Capitalism and "The Free Society'" The Public Interest, Fall, 1970, pp. 3-15.) Kristol, following some remarks of Hayek's, equates the merit system with justice. Since some case can be made for the external standard of distribution in accordance with benefit to others, we ask about a weaker (and therefore more plausible) hypothesis. We certainly benefit because great economic incentives operate to get others to spend much time and energy to figure out how to serve us by providing things we will want to pay for. It is not mere paradox mongenng to wonder whether capitalism should be criticized for most rewarding and hence encouraging, not individualists like Thoreau who go about their own lives, but people who are occupied with serving others and winning them as customers. But to defend capitalism one need not think businessmen are the finest human types. (I do not mean to join here the general maligning of businessmen, either.) Those who think the finest should acquire the most can try to convince their fellows resources in accordance with that principle.
14 t o t r a n s t e r l 6

Varying situations continuously from that limit situation to our own would force us to make explicit the underlying rationale of entitlements and to consider whether entitlement considerations lexicographically precede the considerations of the usual theories of distributive justice, so that the slightest strand of entitlement outweighs the considerations of ^ the usual theories of distributive justice. Might not a transfer have instrumental effects on a third party, changing his feasible options? (But what if the two parties to the transfer independently had used their holdings in this fashion?) 1 discuss

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this question below, but note here that this question concedes the point for distributions of ultimate intrinsic non -instrumental goods (pure utility experiences, so to speak) that are transferable. It also might be objected that the transfer might make a third party more envious because it worsens his position relative to someone else. 1 nnd it incomprehensible how this can be thought to involve a claim of justice. Here and elsewhere in this chapter, a theory which incorporates elements of pure procedural justice might find what 1 say acceptable, if kept in its proper place; that is, if background institutions exist t o ensure the satisfaction of certain conditions o n distributive shares. But it these institutions are not themselves the sum or invisible-hand result of people's voluntary (non -aggressive) actions, the constraints they impose require justification. At n o point does our argument assume any background institutions more extensive than those of the minimal night-watchman state, a state limited to protecting persons against murder, assault, theft, fraud, and so forth. See the selection from John Henry MacKay's novel, The Anarchists, reprinted in Leonard Krimmerman and Lewis Perry, eds, Patterns of Anarchy (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1966), in which an individualist anarchist presses upon a communist anarchist the follow ing question: 'Would you, in the system of society which you call "free Communism" prevent individuals from exchanging their labour among themselves by means of their own medium of exchange? And further: Would you prevent them from occupying land for the purpose of personal use?' The novel continues: '[the] question was not to be escaped. If he answered "Yes!" he admitted that society had the right of control over the individual and threw overboard the autonomy of the individual which he had always zealously defended; if on the other hand, he answered " N o ! " he admitted the right of private property which he had just denied so emphatically. . . . Then he answered "In Anarchy any number of men must have the right of forming a voluntary association, and so realizing their ideas in practice. Nor can 1 understand how any one could justly be driven from the land and house which he uses and occupies . . . every serious man must declare himself: tor Socialism, and thereby for force and against liberty or for Anarchism, and thereby for liberty and against force." ' In contrast, we nd Noam Chomsky writing, 'Any consistent anarchist must oppose private ownership of the means of production', 'the consistent anarchist wen . j j ij f p u l a r sort.' Introduction to paniel Guerin, Anarchism: From Theory to Practice (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970), pp. xiii, x v . ^ e patterned principle stable that requires merely that a distribution th " P ' l - ' One person might give another a gift or bequest that the * ^ n g e with a third to their mutual benefit. Before , ^ nd makes this exchange, there is not Pareto-optimality. Is a ODti ^ .P d by a principle choosing that among the ParetoP mal positions that satisfies some further condition C? It may seem
w n D e a s o c a s t D a a r n C a r e t o 0 t m a 1 S e C O n c c o u e x c n a e ec 6 a t t e r n r e s e n t e

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that there cannot be a counter-example, for won't any voluntary exchange made away from a situation show that the first situation wasn't Pareto-optimal? (Ignore the implausibility of this last claim for the case of bequests.) But principles are to be satisfied over time, during which new possibilities arise. A distribution that at one time satisfies the criterion of Pareto-optimality might not do so when some new possibili ties arise (Wilt Chamberlain grows up and starts playing basketball); and though people's activities will tend to move then to a new Paretooptimal position, this new one need not satisfy the contentful condition C. Continual interference will be needed to ensure the continual satisfaction of C. (The theoretical possibility of a pattern's being maintained by some invisible-hand process that brings it back to an equilibrium that fits the pattern when deviations occur should be investigated.)

PART II

Alasdair Maclntyre: The Virtues, the Unity of a Human Life and the Concept of a Tradition *

Any c o n t e m p o r a r y a t t e m p t to envisage each h u m a n life as a whole, as a unity, w h o s e c h a r a c t e r provides the virtues with an adequate telos e n c o u n t e r s t w o different kinds of obstacle, one social and one philosophical. T h e social obstacles derive from the way in which m o d e r n i t y p a r t i t i o n s each h u m a n life into a variety of segments, each with its o w n n o r m s a n d modes of behaviour. So work is divided from leisure, private life from public, the corporate from the p e r s o n a l . So b o t h childhood and old age have been wrenched a w a y from the rest of h u m a n life and m a d e over into distinct realms. A n d all these separations have been achieved so that it is the distinctiveness of each and n o t the unity of the life of the individual w h o passes t h r o u g h those parts in terms of which we are taught to think a n d to feel. T h e philosophical obstacles derive from t w o distinct tendencies, one chiefly, t h o u g h n o t only, domesticated in analytical philosophy a n d one at h o m e in b o t h sociological theory a n d in existentialism. T h e former is the tendency to think atomistically about h u m a n action a n d t o analyse complex actions and transactions in terms of simple c o m p o n e n t s . H e n c e the recurrence in more than one context of the notion of 'a basic action'. T h a t particular actions derive their character as parts of larger wholes is a point of view alien to our d o m i n a n t ways of t h i n k i n g a n d yet one which it is necessary at least t o consider if w e are to begin to understand h o w a life m a y be more t h a n a sequence of individual actions and episodes. Equally the unity of a h u m a n life becomes invisible to us when a sharp s e p a r a t i o n is m a d e either between the individual and the roles *Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556. Copyright, 1981.

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t h a t he or she plays - a separation characteristic n o t only of Sartre's existentialism, but also of the sociological theory of Ralf D a h r e n dorf - or between the different role- a n d quasi-role-enactments of an individual life so t h a t life comes to a p p e a r as n o t h i n g b u t a series of unconnected episodes - a liquidation of the self characteristic, as I noticed earlier, of Goffman's sociological theory. I already also suggested that b o t h the Sartrian and the Goffmanesque conceptions of selfhood are highly characteristic of the m o d e s of t h o u g h t a n d practice of modernity. It is perhaps therefore unsurprising to realize that the self as thus conceived cannot be envisaged as a bearer of the Aristotelian virtues. For a self separated from its roles in the Sartrian m o d e loses t h a t arena of social relationships in which the Aristotelian virtues function if they function at all. T h e patterns of a virtuous life w o u l d fall under those c o n d e m n a t i o n s of conventionality which Sartre p u t into a m o u t h of Antoine Roquentin in La Nausee and which he uttered in his o w n person in L'Etre et le neant. Indeed the self's refusal of the inauthenticity of conventionalized social relationships becomes w h a t integrity is diminished into in Sartre's account. At the same time the liquidation of the self into a set of demarcated areas of role-playing allows no scope for the exercise of dispositions which could genuinely be accounted virtues in any sense remotely Aristotelian. For a virtue is not a disposition t h a t makes for success only in some one particular type of situation. W h a t are spoken of as the virtues of a good committee m a n or of a good administrator or of a gambler or a pool hustler are profes sional skills professionally deployed in those situations w h e r e they can be effective, not virtues. Someone w h o genuinely possesses a virtue can be expected to manifest it in very different types of situation, m a n y of t h e m situations where the practice of a virtue c a n n o t be expected to be effective in the way that w e expect a professional skill t o be. H e c t o r exhibited one a n d the same courage in his parting from A n d r o m a c h e a n d on the battlefield with Achilles; Eleanor M a r x exhibited one and the same c o m p a s s i o n in her relationship with her father, in her w o r k with t r a d e unionists a n d in her entanglement with Aveling. And the unity of a virtue in someone's life is intelligible only as a characteristic of a unitary life, a life t h a t can be conceived and evaluated as a w h o l e . H e n c e just as in the discussion of the changes in and fragmentation of morality which accompanied the rise of modernity in the earlier parts of this b o o k , each stage in the emergence of the characteristically m o d e r n views of the m o r a l judgement w a s a c c o m p a n i e d by a c o r r e s p o n d i n g stage in the emergence of the characteristically m o d e r n conceptions

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of selfhood; so n o w , in defining the particular pre-modern concept of the virtues with which I have been preoccupied, it has become necessary to say s o m e t h i n g of the concomitant concept of selfhood, a concept of a self w h o s e unity resides in the unity of a narrative which links birth t o life to death as narrative beginning to middle to end. Such a conception of the self is perhaps less unfamiliar than it may a p p e a r at first sight. Just because it has played a key part in the cultures which are historically the predecessors of our o w n , it w o u l d n o t be surprising if it turned out to be still an unacknow ledged presence in m a n y of our ways of thinking and acting. Hence it is not i n a p p r o p r i a t e to begin by scrutinizing some of o u r most taken-for-granted, but clearly correct conceptual insights about h u m a n actions a n d selfhood in order to show h o w natural it is to think of the self in a narrative m o d e . It is a conceptual c o m m o n p l a c e , both for philosophers and for o r d i n a r y agents, t h a t one and the same segment of h u m a n behaviour m a y be correctly characterized in a number of different ways. T o the question ' W h a t is he doing?' the answers may with equal t r u t h a n d a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s be 'Digging', ' G a r d e n i n g ' , 'Taking exercise', ' P r e p a r i n g for winter' or 'Pleasing his wife'. Some of these answers will characterize the agent's intentions, others unintended consequences of his actions, and of these unintended consequences s o m e m a y be such t h a t the agent is aware of them and others not. W h a t is i m p o r t a n t t o notice immediately is t h a t any answer to the questions of h o w we are to understand or to explain a given segment of b e h a v i o u r will presuppose some prior answer to the question of h o w these different correct answers to the question ' W h a t is he d o i n g ? ' are related to each other. For if someone's primary intention is to p u t the garden in order before the winter a n d it is only incidentally the case that in so doing he is taking exercise a n d pleasing his wife, we have one type of behaviour to be explained; b u t if the agent's primary intention is to please his wife by t a k i n g exercise, we have quite another type of behaviour to be explained a n d we will have t o look in a different direction for understanding and explanation. In the first place the episode has been situated in an annual cycle of d o m e s t i c activity, a n d the behaviour embodies an intention which p r e s u p p o s e s a particular type of household-cum-garden setting with the peculiar narrative history of that setting in which this segment of b e h a v i o u r n o w becomes an episode. In the second instance the episode has been situated in the narrative history of a m a r r i a g e , a very different, even if related, social setting. W e cannot,

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that is to say, characterize behaviour independently of intentions, and we c a n n o t characterize intentions independently of the settings which make those intentions intelligible b o t h to agents themselves and to others. I use the w o r d 'setting' here as a relatively inclusive term. A social setting may be an institution, it m a y be w h a t I have called a practice, or it may be a milieu of some other h u m a n kind. But it is central to the notion of a setting as I a m going to u n d e r s t a n d it t h a t a setting has a history, a history within which the histories of individual agents not only are, but have to be, situated, just because without the setting and its changes t h r o u g h time the history of the individual agent and his changes t h r o u g h time will be unintelligible. Of course one a n d the same piece of behaviour may belong t o more than one setting. There are at least t w o different ways in which this may be so. In my earlier example the agent's activity may be p a r t of the history b o t h of the cycle of household activity and of his m a r r i a g e , t w o histories which have h a p p e n e d to intersect. T h e h o u s e h o l d m a y have its o w n history stretching back t h r o u g h h u n d r e d s of years, as do the histories of some E u r o p e a n farms, where the farm has h a d a life of its o w n , even t h o u g h different famdies have in different periods inhabited it; and the marriage will certainly have its o w n history, a history which itself presupposes t h a t a particular point has been reached in the history of the institution of marriage. If w e are to relate s o m e particular segment of b e h a v i o u r in any precise w a y t o an agent's intentions and thus to the settings w h i c h t h a t agent inhabits, w e shall have to u n d e r s t a n d in a precise w a y h o w the variety of correct characterizations of the agent's behaviour relate to each o t h e r first by identifying which characteristics refer us to an intention a n d which d o not and then by classifying further the items in b o t h categories. Where intentions are concerned, we need to k n o w w h i c h intention or intentions were primary, that is to say, of w h i c h it is the case t h a t , h a d the agent intended otherwise, he w o u l d n o t have performed t h a t action. T h u s if we k n o w t h a t a m a n is gardening with the self-avowed purposes of healthful exercise and of pleasing his wife, we d o not yet k n o w h o w to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t he is d o i n g until we k n o w the answer to such questions as w h e t h e r he w o u l d continue gardening if he continued to believe that gardening was healthful exercise, but discovered that his gardening n o longer pleased his wife, and whether he w o u l d continue gardening, if he ceased t o believe that gardening w a s healthful exercise, b u t continued to believe t h a t it pleased his wife, and w h e t h e r he w o u l d

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continue g a r d e n i n g if he changed his beliefs on both points. That is to say, we need to k n o w b o t h what certain of his beliefs are and which of t h e m are causally effective; and, that is to say, we need to k n o w w h e t h e r certain contrary-to-fact hypothetical statements are true or false. And until we k n o w this, we shall not k n o w how to characterize correctly w h a t the agent is doing. Consider a n o t h e r equally trivial example of a set of compatibly correct answers t o the question ' W h a t is he doing?' 'Writing a sentence'; 'Finishing his b o o k ' ; ' C o n t r i b u t i n g to the debate on the theory of a c t i o n ' ; ' T r y i n g to get t e n u r e ' . Here the intentions can be ordered in t e r m s of the stretch of time to which reference is made. Each of the s h o r t e r - t e r m intentions is, and can only be made, intelligible by reference t o some longer-term intentions; and the characterization of the behaviour in terms of the longer-term intentions can only be correct if some of the characterizations in terms of s h o r t e r - t e r m intentions are also correct. Hence the behaviour is only characterized adequately when we know what the longer a n d longest-term intentions invoked are and h o w the shorter-term intentions are related to the longer. Once again we are involved in writing a narrative history. Intentions t h u s need t o be ordered both causally and temporally and both orderings will m a k e references to settings, references already m a d e obliquely by such elementary terms as 'gardening', 'wife', ' b o o k ' a n d ' t e n u r e ' . M o r e o v e r the correct identification of the agent's beliefs will be an essential constituent of this task; failure at this p o i n t w o u l d mean failure in the whole enterprise. (The conclusion m a y seem o b v i o u s ; but it already entails one i m p o r t a n t consequence. T h e r e is n o such thing as 'behaviour', to be identified prior to a n d independently of intentions, beliefs and settings. H e n c e the project of a science of behaviour takes on a mysterious a n d s o m e w h a t o u t r e character. It is not that such a science is impossible; but there is nothing for it to be but a science of u n i n t e r p r e t e d physical m o v e m e n t such as B. E. Skinner aspires t o . It is n o p a r t of m y task here t o examine Skinner's problems; but it is w o r t h noticing t h a t it is not at all clear what a scientific experiment could be, if o n e were a Skinnerian; since the conception of an e x p e r i m e n t is certainly one of intention- and belief-informed behaviour. A n d w h a t w o u l d be utterly d o o m e d to failure would be the project of a science of, say, political behaviour, detached from a study of intentions, beliefs and settings. It is perhaps worth noting that w h e n the expression 'the behavioural sciences' was given its first influential use in a Ford F o u n d a t i o n R e p o r t of 1 9 5 3 , t b e t e r m ' b e h a v i o u r ' w a s defined so as t o include w h a t were called 'such

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subjective behaviour as attitudes, beliefs, expectations, motivations and aspirations' as well as 'overt acts'. But w h a t the Report's w o r d i n g seems t o imply is that it is cataloguing t w o distinct sets of items, available for independent study. If the a r g u m e n t so far is correct, then there is only one set of items.) Consider w h a t the argument so far implies a b o u t the inter relationships of the intentional, the social a n d the historical. We identify a particular action only by invoking t w o k i n d s of context, implicitly if not explicitly. W e place the agent's intentions, I have suggested, in causal a n d t e m p o r a l o r d e r with reference t o theit role in his or her history; and we also place them with reference t o their role in the history of the setting or settings to which they belong. In doing this, in determining w h a t causal efficacy the agent's inten tions had in one or more directions, and h o w his short-term intentions succeeded or failed t o be constitutive of long-term intentions, we ourselves write a further p a r t of these histories. Narrative history of a certain k i n d turns o u t t o be the basic and essential genre for the characterization of h u m a n actions. It is i m p o r t a n t t o be clear h o w different the s t a n d p o i n t pre supposed by the argument so far is from that of those analytical philosophers w h o have constructed accounts of h u m a n actions which m a k e central the notion of ' a ' h u m a n action. A course of h u m a n events is then seen as a complex sequence of individual actions, a n d a natural question is: H o w d o we individuate h u m a n actions? N o w there are contexts in w h i c h such n o t i o n s are a t h o m e . In the recipes of a cookery b o o k for instance actions are individu ated in just the way that some analytical philosophers have supposed t o b e possible of all actions. ' T a k e six eggs. T h e n b r e a k then into a bowl. Add flour, salt, sugar, e t c ' But the point a b o u t such sequences is that each element in t h e m is intelligible as an action only as a-possible-element-in-a-sequence. M o r e o v e r even such a sequence requires a context t o b e intelligible. If in t h e middle of my lecture o n Kant's ethics I suddenly b r o k e six eggs i n t o a b o w l a n d added flour and sugar, proceeding all the while w i t h my Kantian exegesis, I have not, simply in virtue of the fact t h a t I was following a sequence prescribed by F a n n y F a r m e r , performed an intelligible action. T o this it might be related that I certainly performed an action or a set of actions, if not a n intelligible action. But t o this I w a n t to reply t h a t the concept of a n intelligible action is a m o r e funda mental concept than t h a t of a n action as such. Unintelligible actions are failed candidates for the status of intelligible action; and t o lump unintelligible actions a n d intelligible actions together in a single

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class of actions a n d then t o characterize action in terms of what items of both sets h a v e in c o m m o n is t o m a k e the mistake of ignoring this. It is also t o neglect the central importance of the concept of intelligibility. The i m p o r t a n c e of the concept of intelligibility is closely related to the fact t h a t the m o s t basic distinction of all embedded in our discourse and o u r practice in this area is t h a t between h u m a n beings a n d o t h e r beings. H u m a n beings can be held to account for that of which they are the a u t h o r s ; o t h e r beings cannot. T o identify an occurrence as an action is in the paradigmatic instances to identify it u n d e r a type of description which enables us to see that occurrence as flowing intelligibly from a h u m a n agent's intentions, motives, passions a n d p u r p o s e s . It is therefore to understand an action as s o m e t h i n g for which s o m e o n e is accountable, about which it is always a p p r o p r i a t e t o ask the agent for an intelligible account. W h e n an o c c u r r e n c e is apparently the intended action of a human agent, b u t nonetheless w e c a n n o t so identify it, we are both intellectually a n d practically baffled. W e d o n o t k n o w h o w to respond; w e d o n o t k n o w h o w t o explain; we d o not even know h o w to characterize minimally as an intelligible action; our distinction between t h e h u m a n l y a c c o u n t a b l e and the merely natural seems to h a v e b r o k e n d o w n . And this kind of bafflement does indeed occur in a n u m b e r of different kinds of situation; when we enter alien cultures o r even alien social structures within our own culture, in o u r e n c o u n t e r s with certain types of neurotic or psychotic p a t i e n t (it is indeed the unintelligibility of such patient's actions t h a t leads t o their being treated as patients; actions unintelligible to the agent as well as to everyone else are understood - rightly - as a kind of suffering), but also in everyday situations. Consider an e x a m p l e . I am s t a n d i n g w a i t i n g for a bus a n d the y o u n g m a n standing next to me suddenly says: ' T h e n a m e of the c o m m o n wild duck is Histrionicus histrionicus histrionicus.'' There is n o problem as to the m e a n i n g of t h e sentence he u t t e r e d : the problem is, h o w to answer the question, w h a t w a s he doing in uttering it? Suppose he just uttered such sentences at r a n d o m intervals; this w o u l d be one possible form of m a d n e s s . W e w o u l d render his act of utterance intelligible if o n e of the following turned o u t t o be true. H e has mistaken me for s o m e o n e w h o yesterday h a d a p p r o a c h e d him in the library a n d a s k e d : ' D o y o u by any chance k n o w the Latin name of the c o m m o n w i l d d u c k ? ' O r he h a s just come from a session with his psychotherapist w h o has urged him t o break d o w n his shyness by talking t o strangers. 'But w h a t shall 1 say?' ' O h , anything at all.

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Or he is a Soviet spy waiting at a p r e a r r a n g e d rendezvous and uttering the ill-chosen code sentence which will identify h i m t o his contact. In each case the act of u t t e r a n c e becomes intelligible by finding its place in a narrative. T o this it m a y be replied t h a t the supplying of a n a r r a t i v e is not necessary to m a k e such an act intelligible. All t h a t is required is that we can identify the relevant type of speech-act (e.g. ' H e was answering a question') or some p u r p o s e served by his utterance (e.g. ' H e was trying to attract y o u r a t t e n t i o n ' ) . But speech-acts and purposes too can be intelligible o r unintelligible. S u p p o s e that the m a n at the bus stop explains his act of utterance by saying T w a s answering a question.' I reply: 'But I never asked y o u any question to which t h a t could have been the a n s w e r . ' H e says, ' O h , I k n o w that.'' Once again his action becomes unintelligible. A n d a parallel example could easily be constructed t o s h o w t h a t the mere fact that an action serves some p u r p o s e of a recognized type is n o t sufficient to render an action intelligible. Both purposes a n d speech-acts require contexts. T h e most familiar type of context in and by reference to which speech-acts and purposes are rendered intelligible is the conversa tion. Conversation is so all-pervasive a feature of t h e h u m a n w o r l d that it tends t o escape philosophical a t t e n t i o n . Yet r e m o v e con versation from h u m a n life and w h a t w o u l d be left? C o n s i d e r then w h a t is involved in following a conversation a n d finding it intelligible or unintelligible. (To find a conversation intelligible is not the same as to u n d e r s t a n d it; for a conversation w h i c h I overhear may be intelligible, but I may fail to u n d e r s t a n d it.) If I listen to a conversation between t w o o t h e r people m y ability to grasp the thread of the conversation will involve an ability to bring it under some o n e out of a set of descriptions in which the degree a n d kind of coherence in the conversation is b r o u g h t out: 'a d r u n k e n , rambling q u a r r e l ' , 'a serious intellectual disagreement', 'a tragic misunderstanding of each o t h e r ' , 'a comic, even farcical misconstrual of each other's motives', 'a penetrating interchange of views', ' a struggle t o d o m i n a t e each o t h e r ' , ' a trivial e x c h a n g e of gossip'. T h e use of w o r d s such as 'tragic', ' c o m i c ' , and 'farcical' is n o t marginal to such evaluations. We allocate conversations t o genres, just as we d o literary narratives. Indeed a conversation is a d r a m a t i c w o r k , even if a very short one, in which the participants are n o t only the actors, but also the joint a u t h o r s , w o r k i n g o u t in agreement o r disagreement the m o d e of their p r o d u c t i o n . F o r it is not just t h a t conversations belong t o genres in just the w a y t h a t

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plays and novels d o ; b u t they have beginnings, m i d d l e s a n d endings just as do literary w o r k s . T h e y e m b o d y reversals a n d recognitions; they move t o w a r d s a n d a w a y from climaxes. T h e r e m a y within a longer conversation be digressions a n d s u b p l o t s , indeed digressions within digressions a n d s u b p l o t s w i t h i n s u b p l o t s . But if this is true of c o n v e r s a t i o n s , it is t r u e also mutatis mutandis of battles, chess g a m e s , c o u r t s h i p s , p h i l o s o p h y seminars, families at the dinner table, b u s i n e s s m e n n e g o t i a t i n g contracts - t h a t is, of human transactions in general. F o r c o n v e r s a t i o n , u n d e r s t o o d widely e n o u g h , is the form of h u m a n t r a n s a c t i o n s in general. Conversational b e h a v i o u r is n o t a special sort or aspect of h u m a n behaviour, even t h o u g h the forms of language-using a n d of h u m a n life are such t h a t the deeds of o t h e r s speak for t h e m as m u c h as d o their words. For t h a t is possible o n l y because they are the deeds of those w h o have w o r d s . I am presenting b o t h c o n s e r v a t i o n s in p a r t i c u l a r then a n d h u m a n actions in general as e n a c t e d n a r r a t i v e s . N a r r a t i v e is not the w o r k of poets, d r a m a t i s t s a n d novelists reflecting u p o n events w h i c h h a d no narrative o r d e r before o n e w a s i m p o s e d by the singer or the writer; narrative form is neither disguise n o r d e c o r a t i o n . B a r b a r a Hardy has written t h a t ' w e d r e a m in n a r r a t i v e , d a y - d r e a m in narrative, r e m e m b e r , a n t i c i p a t e , h o p e , despair, believe, d o u b t , plan, revise, criticise, c o n s t r u c t , gossip, learn, h a t e a n d love by narrative' in a r g u i n g the s a m e p o i n t ( H a r d y , 1 9 6 8 , p . 5). At the beginning of this c h a p t e r 1 argued t h a t in successfully identifying a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g w h a t s o m e o n e else is d o i n g we always move t o w a r d s p l a c i n g a p a r t i c u l a r episode in the c o n t e x t of a set of narrative histories, histories b o t h of the individuals concerned a n d of the settings in w h i c h they act a n d suffer. It is n o w becoming clear t h a t w e r e n d e r the actions of o t h e r s intelligible in this way because action itself has a basically historical character. It is because we all live o u t n a r r a t i v e s in o u r lives a n d because we understand o u r o w n lives in t e r m s of the narratives t h a t w e live o u t that the form of n a r r a t i v e is a p p r o p r i a t e for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the actions of o t h e r s . Stories are lived before they are told - except in the case of fiction. This has of course b e e n denied in recent d e b a t e s . Louis O . M i n k , quarrelling w i t h B a r b a r a H a r d y ' s view, h a s asserted: 'Stories are not lived b u t told. Life h a s n o beginnings, middles, o r e n d s ; there are meetings, b u t the s t a r t of an affair belongs t o the story w e tell ourselves later, a n d t h e r e are p a r t i n g s , b u t final partings only in the story. T h e r e are h o p e s , p l a n s , battles a n d ideas, b u t only in retrospective stories a r e h o p e s unfulfilled, p l a n s miscarried, battles

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decisive, and ideas seminal. Only in the story is it America which C o l u m b u s discovers a n d only in the story is the k i n g d o m lost for w a n t of a nail' (Mink, 1 9 7 0 , p p . 5 5 7 - 8 ) . W h a t are we to say to this? Certainly w e must agree t h a t it is only retrospectively that hopes can be characterized as unfulfilled or battles as decisive and so on. But we so characterize t h e m in life as much as in art. And to someone w h o says that in life there are no endings, or that final partings take place only in stories, o n e is tempted to reply, 'But have you never heard of d e a t h ? ' H o m e r did n o t have to tell the tale of H e c t o r before A n d r o m a c h e could lament unfulfilled h o p e a n d final parting. T h e r e are countless H e c t o r s a n d countless A n d r o m a c h e s whose lives embodied the form of their Homeric namesakes, but w h o never came to the attention of any poet. W h a t is true is that in taking a n event as a beginning or an ending we bestow a significance u p o n it which m a y be d e b a t a b l e . Did the R o m a n republic end with the death of Julius Caesar, or at Philippi, or with the founding of the principate? T h e answer is surely that, like Charles II, it w a s a long time a-dying; b u t this answer implies the reality of its ending as m u c h as d o any of the former. There is a crucial sense in which the principate of Augustus, or the taking of the oath in the tennis court, or the decision to construct an atomic b o m b at Los Alamos constitute beginnings; the peace of 4 0 4 B.C., the abolition of the Scottish Parliament a n d the battle of W a t e r l o o equally constitute endings; while there are m a n y events which are b o t h endings and beginnings. As with beginnings, middles a n d endings, so also with genres a n d with the p h e n o m e n o n of embedding. Consider the question of to w h a t genre the life of T h o m a s Becket belongs, a question which has t o be asked and answered before we can decide h o w it is to be written. (On M i n k ' s paradoxical view this question could n o t be asked until after the life h a d been written.) In some of the medieval versions, T h o m a s ' s career is presented in terms of the c a n o n s of medieval hagiography. In the Icelandic Thomas Saga he is presented as a saga h e r o . In D o m David K n o w l e s ' s m o d e r n biography the story is a tragedy, the tragic relationship of T h o m a s and Henry II, each of w h o m satisfies Aristotle's d e m a n d t h a t the h e r o be a great m a n with a fatal flaw. N o w it clearly makes sense to ask w h o is right, if a n y o n e : the m o n k William of C a n t e r b u r y , the a u t h o r of the saga, or the C a m b r i d g e Regius Professor Emeritus? T h e answer a p p e a r s to be clearly the last. T h e true genre of the life is neither hagiography n o r saga, but tragedy. So of such m o d e r n narrative subjects as the life of T r o t s k y or t h a t of Lenin, of the history of the Soviet C o m m u n i s t Party or the American presidency,

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we may also ask: T o w h a t genre does their history belong? A n d this is the same question a s : W h a t type of a c c o u n t of their history will be both true a n d intelligible? Or consider again h o w o n e n a r r a t i v e m a y b e e m b e d d e d in another. In b o t h plays a n d novels t h e r e are w e l l - k n o w n e x a m p l e s : the play within the play in Hamlet, W a n d e r i n g Willie's T a l e in Redgauntlet, A e n e a s ' n a r r a t i v e t o D i d o in b o o k 2 of t h e Aeneid, and so on. But there are equally w e l l - k n o w n e x a m p l e s in real life. Consider again the w a y in w h i c h the career of Becket as a r c h b i s h o p and chancellor is e m b e d d e d within the reign of H e n r y II, or the w a y in which the tragic life of M a r y S t u a r t is e m b e d d e d in t h a t of Elizabeth I, or the history of the C o n f e d e r a c y w i t h i n the h i s t o r y of the United States. S o m e o n e m a y discover (or n o t discover) t h a t he or she is a character in a n u m b e r of n a r r a t i v e s at the s a m e time, some of them e m b e d d e d in o t h e r s . O r again, w h a t seemed t o be an intelligible narrative in w h i c h o n e w a s p l a y i n g a p a r t m a y be transformed wholly or p a r t l y into a story of unintelligible episodes. This last is w h a t h a p p e n e d to Kafka's c h a r a c t e r K. in b o t h The Trial and The Castle. (It is n o accident t h a t Kafka could n o t end his novels, for the n o t i o n of an e n d i n g like t h a t of a beginning has its sense only in t e r m s of intelligible narrative.) I spoke earlier of the a g e n t as n o t only an a c t o r , b u t an a u t h o r . N o w I must emphasize t h a t w h a t the agent is able to d o a n d say intelligibly as an actor is deeply affected by the fact t h a t w e are never more (and s o m e t i m e s less) t h a n the c o - a u t h o r s of o u r o w n narratives. O n l y in fantasy d o w e live w h a t story w e please. In life, as both Aristotle a n d Engels n o t e d , w e are a l w a y s u n d e r certain constraints. W e enter u p o n a stage w h i c h w e did n o t design a n d we find ourselves p a r t of a n a c t i o n t h a t w a s not of o u r m a k i n g . Each of us being a main c h a r a c t e r in his o w n d r a m a plays s u b o r d i n a t e p a r t s in the d r a m a s of o t h e r s , a n d each d r a m a c o n s t r a i n s the o t h e r s . In my drama, p e r h a p s , 1 a m H a m l e t or Iago or at least the s w i n e h e r d who may yet b e c o m e a p r i n c e , b u t t o y o u I a m only A G e n t l e m a n or at best Second M u r d e r e r , while y o u are m y Polonius o r my Gravedigger, b u t y o u r o w n h e r o . Each of o u r d r a m a s exerts constraints o n each o t h e r ' s , m a k i n g the w h o l e different from the Parts, but still d r a m a t i c . It is considerations as c o m p l e x as these w h i c h are involved in making the n o t i o n of intelligibility the c o n c e p t u a l c o n n e c t i n g link between the n o t i o n of a c t i o n a n d t h a t of n a r r a t i v e . O n c e w e have understood its i m p o r t a n c e the claim t h a t t h e c o n c e p t of a n action is secondary t o t h a t of a n intelligible action will p e r h a p s a p p e a r less bizarre and so t o o will t h e claim t h a t the n o t i o n of ' a n ' action,

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while of the highest practical i m p o r t a n c e , is always a potentially misleading abstraction. An action is a m o m e n t in a possible or actual history or in a n u m b e r of such histories. T h e n o t i o n of a history is as fundamental a notion as the notion of an action. Each requires the other. But I cannot say this w i t h o u t noticing t h a t it is precisely this that Sartre denies as indeed his w h o l e theory of the self, which captures so well the spirit of m o d e r n i t y , requires t h a t he should. In La Nausee, Sartre makes Antoine R o q u e n t i n argue not just w h a t M i n k argues, t h a t narrative is very different from life, but that to present h u m a n life in the form of a n a r r a t i v e is always to falsify it. There are not and there c a n n o t be any t r u e stories. H u m a n life is composed of discrete actions which lead n o w h e r e , w h i c h have n o order; the story-teller imposes o n h u m a n events retrospectively an order which they did not have while they were lived. Clearly if Sartre/Roquentin is right - I speak of Sartre/Roquentin t o distin guish him from such other well-known characters as Sartre/Heideg ger and Sartre/Marx - my central contention m u s t be mistaken. There is nonetheless an important point of agreement between my thesis and t h a t of Sartre/Roquentin. W e agree in identifying the intelligibility of an action with its place in a narrative sequence. Only Sartre/Roquentin takes it that h u m a n actions are as such unintelligible occurrences: it is to a realization of the metaphysical implications of this that Roquentin is b r o u g h t in the course of the novel and the practical effect upon h t m is to bring t o an end his o w n project of writing an historical biography. This project n o longer makes sense. Either he will write w h a t is t r u e o r he will write an intelligible history, but the one possibility excludes the o t h e r . Is Sartre/Roquentin right? We can discover w h a t is w r o n g with Sartre's thesis in either of t w o ways. O n e is to ask: w h a t w o u l d h u m a n actions deprived of any falsifying narrative order be like? Sartre himself never answers this question; it is striking that in o r d e r to s h o w t h a t there are n o true narratives, he himself writes a narrative albeit a fictional one. But the only picture that I find myself able to form of h u m a n n a t u r e an-sich, prior to the alleged misinterpretation by narrative is the kind of dislocated sequence which D r J o h n s o n offers us in his notes of his travels in France: 'There we waited o n the ladies - Morville's. - Spain. C o u n t r y t o w n s all beggars. At Dijon he could not find the way to Orleans. - Cross r o a d s of France very b a d . - Five soldiers. W o m e n . - Soldiers escaped. - T h e Colonel w o u l d not lose five men for the sake of o n e w o m a n . - T h e magistrate c a n n o t seize a soldier but by the Colonel's permission, etc., e t c ' (quoted in H o b s b a u m , 1 9 7 3 , p . 3 2 ) . W h a t this suggests is w h a t I take t o be true, namely

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that the characterization of a c t i o n s allegedly p r i o r t o a n y n a r r a t i v e form being imposed u p o n t h e m will a l w a y s t u r n o u t t o be the presentation of w h a t are plainly the disjointed p a r t s of s o m e possible narrative. , We can also a p p r o a c h the q u e s t i o n in a n o t h e r w a y . W h a t 1 h a v e called a history is an e n a c t e d d r a m a t i c n a r r a t i v e in w h i c h the characters are also the a u t h o r s . T h e c h a r a c t e r s of c o u r s e n e v e r s t a r t literally ab initio; they p l u n g e in medias res, the b e g i n n i n g s of their story already made for t h e m by w h a t a n d w h o h a s g o n e before. But when Julian Grenfell or E d w a r d T h o m a s w e n t off t o F r a n c e in the 1914-18 war they n o less e n a c t e d a n a r r a t i v e t h a n did M e n e l a u s o r Odysseus when they w e n t off. T h e difference b e t w e e n i m a g i n a r y characters and real ones is n o t in the n a r r a t i v e form of w h a t they do; it is in the degree of their a u t h o r s h i p of t h a t form a n d of their own deeds. Of course just as they d o n o t begin w h e r e they please, they cannot go o n exactly as they please e i t h e r ; e a c h c h a r a c t e r is constrained by the actions of o t h e r s a n d by t h e social settings presupposed in his a n d t h e i r a c t i o n s , a p o i n t forcibly m a d e by M a r x in the classical, if not entirely satisfactory a c c o u n t of h u m a n life as enacted d r a m a t i c n a r r a t i v e , The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. I call M a r x ' s account less t h a n satisfactory p a r t l y b e c a u s e he wishes to present the n a r r a t i v e of h u m a n social life in a w a y t h a t will be compatible with a view of t h a t life as l a w - g o v e r n e d a n d predictable in a particular w a y . But it is crucial t h a t at a n y given point in an enacted d r a m a t i c n a r r a t i v e w e d o n o t k n o w w h a t will happen next. T h e kind of u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y for w h i c h i a r g u e d [in chapter 8, After Virtue] is required by the n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e of human life, and the empirical g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s a n d e x p l o r a t i o n s which social scientists discover p r o v i d e a k i n d of u n d e r s t a n d i n g of human life which is perfectly c o m p a t i b l e w i t h t h a t s t r u c t u r e . This unpredictability coexists w i t h a s e c o n d crucial c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of all lived narratives, a certain teleological c h a r a c t e r . W e live o u t our lives, both individually a n d in o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h each other, in the light of certain c o n c e p t i o n s of a p o s s i b l e s h a r e d f u t u r e , t u r e in which certain possibilities b e c k o n us f o r w a r d a n d o t h e r s P e l us, some seem already foreclosed a n d o t h e r s p e r h a p s inevite. There is n o present w h i c h is n o t i n f o r m e d by s o m e i m a g e of some future a n d an image of the future w h i c h a l w a y s p r e s e n t s itself the form of a telos - o r of a variety of e n d s or goals - t o w a r d s men e are either m o v i n g o r failing t o m o v e in t h e p r e s e n t , ^ p r e d i c t a b i l i t y a n d teleology t h e r e f o r e coexist as p a r t of o u r lives; e characters in a fictional n a r r a t i v e w e d o n o t k n o w w h a t will
a ru re a W

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h a p p e n next, but n o n e the less o u r lives h a v e a certain form which projects itself t o w a r d s o u r future. T h u s the narratives which we live out have both an unpredictable a n d a partially teleological charac ter. If the narrative of o u r individual a n d social lives is t o continue intelligibly - and either type of narrative m a y lapse into unintelligibility - it is always b o t h the case t h a t there are constraints on h o w the story can continue and t h a t within those constraints there are indefinitely m a n y w a y s t h a t it can continue. A central thesis then begins to emerge: m a n is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal. H e is n o t essentially, b u t becomes t h r o u g h his history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the key question for men is not about their o w n a u t h o r s h i p ; 1 can only answer the question ' W h a t am I to d o ? ' if I can answer the prior question 'Of w h a t story or stories d o I find myself a p a r t ? ' W e enter h u m a n society, t h a t is, with one or m o r e imputed characters - roles into w h i c h w e have been drafted - and we have to learn w h a t they are in o r d e r t o be able to u n d e r s t a n d h o w others respond to us a n d h o w our responses t o them are apt to be construed. It is t h r o u g h hearing stories a b o u t wicked stepmothers, lost children, g o o d b u t mis guided kings, wolves that suckle twin boys, youngest sons w h o receive n o inheritance but must m a k e their o w n w a y in the w o r l d and eldest sons w h o waste their inheritance o n r i o t o u s living a n d go into exile to live with the swine, that children learn or mislearn b o t h w h a t a child and w h a t a p a r e n t is, w h a t the cast of characters m a y be in the d r a m a into which they have been b o r n a n d w h a t the w a y s of the w o r l d are. Deprive children of stories a n d you leave t h e m unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions as in their w o r d s . Hence there is n o way to give us an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of any society, including o u r o w n , except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial d r a m a t i c resources. M y t h o l o g y , in its original sense, is at the h e a r t of things. Vico w a s right a n d so w a s Joyce. And so t o o of course is that moral tradition from heroic society t o its medieval heirs according to which the telling of stories h a s a key part in educating us into the virtues. 1 suggested earlier t h a t ' a n ' action is always an episode in a possible history: I w o u l d n o w like to m a k e a related suggestion a b o u t a n o t h e r concept, that of personal identity. D e r e k Parfit a n d others have recently d r a w n o u r attention to the c o n t r a s t between the criteria of strict identity, which is an all-or-nothing m a t t e r [either the T i c h b o r n e claimant is the last T i c h b o r n e heir; either all the properties of the last heir belong t o the claimant or the claimant is not the heir - Leibniz's Law applies) a n d the psychological

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continuities of personality w h i c h are a m a t t e r of m o r e or less. (Am I the same m a n as fifty I w a s at forty in respect of m e m o r y , intellectual p o w e r s , critical responses? M o r e or less.) But w h a t is crucial to h u m a n beings as c h a r a c t e r s in enacted narratives is t h a t , possessing only the resources of psychological c o n t i n u i t y , w e have to be able t o respond t o the i m p u t a t i o n of strict identity. I a m forever whatever I h a v e b e e n at any time for o t h e r s - a n d I m a y at any time be called u p o n t o a n s w e r for it - n o m a t t e r h o w c h a n g e d I may be now. T h e r e is n o w a y of founding my identity - or lack of it - on the psychological c o n t i n u i t y or discontinuity of the self. T h e self inhabits a character w h o s e unity is given as the unity of a character. Once again there is a crucial d i s a g r e e m e n t with empiri cist or analytical p h i l o s o p h e r s o n the o n e h a n d a n d w i t h existential ists on the other. Empiricists, such as L o c k e or H u m e , tried t o give an a c c o u n t of personal identity solely in t e r m s of psychological states or events. Analytical philosophers, in so m a n y w a y s their heirs as well as their critics, have wrestled w i t h t h e c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n those states a n d events and strict identity u n d e r s t o o d in t e r m s of Leibniz's L a w . Both have failed t o see t h a t a b a c k g r o u n d has been o m i t t e d , the lack of which m a k e s the p r o b l e m s insoluble. T h a t b a c k g r o u n d is provided by the concept of a story a n d of t h a t kind of unity of character which a story r e q u i r e s . J u s t as a history is n o t a sequence of actions, b u t the c o n c e p t of an action is t h a t of a m o m e n t in an actual or possible history a b s t r a c t e d for s o m e p u r p o s e from t h a t history, so the c h a r a c t e r s in a h i s t o r y are n o t a collection of persons, but the c o n c e p t of a p e r s o n is t h a t of a c h a r a c t e r abstracted from a history. What the narrative c o n c e p t of selfhood requires is thus twofold. On the one h a n d , I a m w h a t I m a y justifiably be t a k e n by o t h e r s to be in the course of living o u t a story t h a t r u n s from my birth to my death; I am the subject of a history t h a t is m y o w n a n d n o o n e else's, that has its o w n peculiar m e a n i n g . W h e n s o m e o n e c o m p l a i n s - as do some of those w h o a t t e m p t o r c o m m i t suicide - t h a t his c r her life is meaningless, h e o r she is often a n d p e r h a p s characteristi cally complaining t h a t the n a r r a t i v e of their life has b e c o m e unintelligible t o t h e m , t h a t it lacks any p o i n t , any m o v e m e n t towards a climax or a telos. H e n c e the p o i n t of d o i n g any o n e thing rather than a n o t h e r at crucial j u n c t u r e s in their lives seems t o such a Person to h a v e been lost. To be the subject of a n a r r a t i v e t h a t r u n s from o n e ' s birth t o ne s death is, I r e m a r k e d earlier, t o be a c c o u n t a b l e for the actions and experiences w h i c h c o m p o s e a n a r r a t a b l e life. It is, t h a t is, t o be

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o p e n t o being asked to give a certain kind of a c c o u n t of w h a t one did or w h a t h a p p e n e d t o one or w h a t one witnessed a t any earlier point in one's life the time at which the question is posed. Of course someone may have forgotten or suffered brain d a m a g e or simply n o t attended sufficiently at the relevant times t o be able t o give the relevant account. But to say of s o m e o n e u n d e r some o n e descrip tion ('The prisoner of the Chateau d ' l f ) t h a t he is the same person as s o m e o n e characterized quite differently ('The C o u n t of M o n t e Cristo') is precisely to say t h a t it m a k e s sense t o ask him to give an intelligible narrative account enabling us to u n d e r s t a n d h o w he could at different times a n d different places be o n e a n d the same person and yet be so differently characterized. T h u s personal identity is just that identity presupposed by the unity of the character which the unity of a narrative requires. W i t h o u t such unity there w o u l d n o t be subjects of w h o m stories could be told. The other aspect of narrative selfhood is correlative: I a m not only accountable, I am one w h o can always ask others for an account, w h o can put others to the question. I a m p a r t of their story, as they are p a r t of mine. The narrative of any one life is p a r t of an interlocking set of narratives. M o r e o v e r this asking for and giving of accounts itself plays a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t in constituting narratives. Asking you w h a t you did a n d w h y , saying w h a t I did a n d w h y , p o n d e r i n g the differences between your account of w h a t I did a n d my a c c o u n t of w h a t I did, and vice versa, these are essential constituents of all b u t the very simplest a n d barest of narratives. T h u s w i t h o u t the accountability of the self those trains of events that constitute all b u t the simplest a n d barest of narratives could not occur; a n d w i t h o u t t h a t same accountability narratives w o u l d lack that continuity required t o m a k e both t h e m a n d the actions that constitute t h e m intelligible. It is i m p o r t a n t t o notice that I a m not arguing that the con cepts of narrative o r of intelligibility or of accountability are more fundamental than that of personal identity. T h e concepts of narrative, intelligibility a n d accountability presuppose the applic ability of the concept of personal identity, just as it p r e s u p poses their applicability a n d just as indeed each of these three presupposes the applicability of the t w o others. T h e relationship is one of m u t u a l presupposition. It does follow of course t h a t all attempts t o elucidate the n o t i o n of personal identity independently of a n d in isolation from the notions of narrative, intelligibility a n d accountability are b o u n d t o fail. As all such attempts have. It is n o w possible t o return t o the question from which this enquiry into the n a t u r e of h u m a n action and identity started: In

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what does the unity of an individual life consist? T h e answer is that its unity is the unity of a n a r r a t i v e embodied in a single life. T o ask ' W h a t is the g o o d for m e ? ' is to ask h o w best I might live out that unity and bring it to c o m p l e t i o n . T o ask ' W h a t is the good for m a n ? ' is t o ask w h a t all answers to the former question must have in c o m m o n . But n o w it is i m p o r t a n t to emphasize that it is the systematic asking of these t w o questions and the a t t e m p t t o answer them in deed as well as in w o r d which provide the moral life with its unity. T h e unity of a h u m a n life is the unity of a narrative quest. Quests sometimes fail, are frustrated, a b a n d o n e d or dissipated into distractions; a n d h u m a n lives may in all these ways also fail. But the only criteria for success or failure in a h u m a n life as a whole are the criteria of success or failure in a n a r r a t e d or to-be-narrated quest. A quest for w h a t ? T w o key features of t h e medieval conception of a quest need to be recalled. T h e first is t h a t w i t h o u t some at least partly determin ate conception of the final telos there could n o t be any beginning to a quest. Some c o n c e p t i o n of the good for m a n is required. Whence is such a conception t o be d r a w n ? Precisely from those questions which led us t o a t t e m p t t o t r a n s c e n d that limited conception of the virtues which is available in a n d t h r o u g h practices. It is in looking for a conception of the g o o d which will enable us to order other goods, for a c o n c e p t i o n of the g o o d which will enable us to extend our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the p u r p o s e and content of the virtues, for a conception of the g o o d w h i c h will enable us to understand the place of integrity a n d c o n s t a n c y in life, t h a t we initially define the kind of life which is a quest for the g o o d . But secondly it is clear the medieval conception of a quest is n o t at all that of a search for something already a d e q u a t e l y characterized, as miners search for gold or geologists for oil. It is in the course of the quest and only through e n c o u n t e r i n g a n d coping with the various particular h a r m s , d a n g e r s , t e m p t a t i o n s a n d distractions which provide any quest with its episodes a n d incidents that the goal of the quest is finally to be u n d e r s t o o d . A quest is always an education both as to the character of t h a t w h i c h is sought and in self-knowledge. The virtues therefore are to be u n d e r s t o o d as those dispositions which will n o t only sustain practices and enable us to achieve the g o o d s internal t o practices, b u t which will also sustain us in the relevant k i n d of quest for the g o o d , by enabling us to overcome the h a r m s , d a n g e r s , t e m p t a t i o n s a n d distractions which we encounter, and which will furnish us with increasing self-knowledge and increasing k n o w l e d g e of t h e good. T h e catalogue of the virtues will therefore include the virtues required to sustain the kind of

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households a n d the kind of political c o m m u n i t i e s in which m e n and w o m e n can seek for the good together and the virtues necessary for philosophical enquiry a b o u t the character of the g o o d . We have then arrived at a provisional conclusion a b o u t the good life for m a n : the good life for m a n is the life spent in seeking for the good life for m a n , a n d the virtues necessary for the seeking are those which will enable us to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t more a n d w h a t else the good life for m a n is. W e have also completed the second stage in o u r account of the virtues, by situating t h e m in relation t o the good life for m a n and n o t only in relation to practices. But o u r enquiry requires a third stage. For I a m never able t o seek for the g o o d or exercise t h e virtues only qua individual. This is partly because w h a t it is to live the good life concretely varies from circumstance to circumstances even w h e n it is one a n d the same conception of the g o o d life and o n e and the same set of virtues which are being e m b o d i e d in a h u m a n life. W h a t the good life is for a fifth-century Athenian general will not be the same as w h a t it was for a medieval n u n o r a seventeenth-century farmer. But it is n o t just t h a t different individuals live in different social circumstances; it is also that w e all a p p r o a c h o u r o w n circumstances as bearers of a particular social identity. I am someone's son or daughter, someone else's cousin or uncle; 1 a m a citizen of this or that city, a m e m b e r of this or t h a t guild or profession; I belong t o this clan, t h a t tribe, this n a t i o n . Hence w h a t is good for me has to be the good for o n e w h o inhabits these roles. As such, I inherit from the p a s t of my family, my city, my tribe, my n a t i o n , a variety of debts, inheritances, rightful expectations and obligations. These constitute the given of my life, my m o r a l starting point. This is in p a r t w h a t gives my life its o w n m o r a l particularity. This t h o u g h t is likely to appear alien and even surprising from the standpoint of modern individualism. F r o m the s t a n d p o i n t of individualism I a m w h a t I myself c h o o s e t o be. I can a l w a y s , if I wish to, p u t in question w h a t are t a k e n t o be the merely contingent social features of my existence. I m a y biologically be my father's son; but I c a n n o t be held responsible for w h a t he did unless 1 choose implicitly o r explicitly to assume such responsibility. I may legally be a citizen of a certain c o u n t r y ; but I c a n n o t be held responsible for w h a t my country does or has d o n e unless I choose implicitly or explicitly t o assume such responsibility. Such indi vidualism is expressed by those m o d e r n Americans w h o deny any responsibility for the effects of slavery u p o n black Americans, saying 'I never o w n e d any slaves'. It is m o r e subtly the s t a n d p o i n t of those other m o d e r n Americans w h o accept a nicely calculated

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responsibility for such effects measured precisely by the benefits they themselves as individuals have indirectly received from slavery. In both cases 'being an A m e r i c a n ' is n o t in itself taken to be part of the moral identity of the individual. And of course there is nothing peculiar to m o d e r n Americans in this attitude: the Englishman w h o says. '7 never did any w r o n g to Ireland; w h y bring up that old history as t h o u g h it h a d s o m e t h i n g to d o with meV or the young German w h o believes t h a t being born after 1945 means that what Nazis did t o J e w s has n o m o r a l relevance to his relationship to his Jewish c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , exhibit the same attitude, that according to which the self is d e t a c h a b l e from its social a n d historical roles and statuses. A n d the self so detached is of course a self very much at home in either Sartre's or Goffman's perspective, a self that can have n o history. T h e c o n t r a s t with the narrative view of the self is clear. For the story of my life is always embedded in the story of those c o m m u n i t i e s from which I derive my identity. I am born with a past; a n d t o try t o cut myself off from that past, in the individualist m o d e , is t o deform my present relationships. The possession of an historical identity a n d the possession of a social identity coincide. N o t i c e t h a t rebellion against my identity is always one possible m o d e of expressing it. Notice also t h a t the fact t h a t the self has to find its moral identity in a n d t h r o u g h its m e m b e r s h i p in communities such as those of the family, the n e i g h b o u r h o o d , the city and the tribe does not entail that the self has to accept the m o r a l limitations of the particularity of those forms of c o m m u n i t y . W i t h o u t those moral particularities to begin from there w o u l d never be anywhere to begin; but it is in moving f o r w a r d from such particularity that the search for the good, for the universal, consists. Yet particularity can never be simply left b e h i n d or obliterated. T h e notion of escaping from it into a realm of entirely universal m a x i m s which belong to man as such, w h e t h e r in its eighteenth-century Kantian form or in the presentation of some m o d e r n analytical moral philosophies, is an illusion a n d an illusion with painful consequences. When men and w o m e n identify w h a t are in fact their partial a n d particular causes too easily a n d t o o completely with the cause of some universal principle, they usually behave worse t h a n they w o u l d otherwise do. W h a t I a m , therefore, is in key p a r t w h a t I inherit, a specific past that is p r e s e n t t o s o m e degree in my present. I find myself part of a history a n d t h a t is generally to say, whether I like it or not, whether I recognize it or n o t , o n e of the bearers of a tradition. It was i m p o r t a n t w h e n I characterized the concept of a practice to notice that practices always h a v e histories a n d that at any given m o m e n t

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w h a t a practice is depends o n a m o d e of u n d e r s t a n d i n g it w h i c h has been transmitted often t h r o u g h m a n y generations. And thus, insofar as the virtues sustain the relationships required for prac tices, they have t o sustain relationships t o the p a s t - a n d to the future - as well as in the present. But the traditions t h r o u g h which particular practices are transmitted a n d reshaped never exist in isolation for larger social traditions. W h a t constitutes such tradi tions? W e are apt t o be misled here by the ideological uses to which the concept of a tradition has been put by conservative political theorists. Characteristically such theorists h a v e followed Burke in contrasting tradition with reason a n d the stability of tradition w i t h conflict. Both contrasts obfuscate. For all reasoning takes place within the context of s o m e traditional m o d e of t h o u g h t , transcend ing through criticism and invention the limitations of w h a t h a d hitherto been reasoned in that tradition; this is as t r u e of m o d e r n physics as of medieval logic. M o r e o v e r w h e n a tradition is in g o o d order it is always partially constituted by an a r g u m e n t a b o u t the goods the pursuit of which gives t o t h a t tradition its p a r t i c u l a r point a n d purpose. So w h e n an institution a university, say, or a farm, or a hospital - is the bearer of a tradition of practice or practices, its c o m m o n life will be partly, but in a centrally i m p o r t a n t w a y , constituted by a c o n t i n u o u s argument as t o w h a t a university is and o u g h t t o b e or w h a t good farming is or w h a t good medicine is. T r a d i t i o n s , w h e n vital, e m b o d y continuities of conflict. Indeed w h e n a tradition becomes Burkean, it is always dying o r dead. T h e individualism of modernity could of course find n o use for the notion of tradition within its o w n conceptual scheme except as an adversary n o t i o n ; it therefore all t o o willingly a b a n d o n e d it t o the Burkeans, w h o , faithful t o Burke's o w n allegiance, tried t o combine adherence in politics to a conception of tradition w h i c h w o u l d vindicate the oligarchical revolution of p r o p e r t y of 1 6 8 8 a n d adherence in economics t o the doctrine and institutions of the free m a r k e t . T h e theoretical incoherence of this mismatch did n o t deprive it of ideological usefulness. But the o u t c o m e has been t h a t m o d e r n conservatives are for the most p a r t engaged in conserving only older rather than later versions of liberal individualism. Their o w n core doctrine is as liberal and as individualist as t h a t of selfavowed liberals. A living tradition then is an historically extended, socially embodied a r g u m e n t , a n d an argument precisely in p a r t a b o u t the goods which constitute t h a t t r a d i t i o n . W i t h i n a tradition the

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pursuit of g o o d s e x t e n d s t h r o u g h generations, sometimes t h r o u g h many generations. H e n c e the individual's search for his or her good is generally a n d characteristically c o n d u c t e d within a context defined by those t r a d i t i o n s of w h i c h the individual's life is a p a r t , and this is true b o t h of t h o s e g o o d s w h i c h are internal t o practices and of the g o o d s of a single life. O n c e again the narrative phenomenon of e m b e d d i n g is crucial: the history of a practice in our time is generally a n d characteristically e m b e d d e d in a n d m a d e intelligible in t e r m s of the larger a n d longer history of the tradition through which the practice in its present form w a s conveyed to us; the history of each of o u r o w n lives is generally a n d characteristi cally embedded in a n d m a d e intelligible in terms of the larger and longer histories of a n u m b e r of t r a d i t i o n s . I have to say 'generally and characteristically' r a t h e r t h a n ' a l w a y s ' , for traditions decay, disintegrate a n d d i s a p p e a r . W h a t t h e n sustains a n d strengthens traditions? W h a t w e a k e n s a n d destroys them? The answer in key p a r t is: the exercise or the lack of exercise of the relevant virtues. T h e virtues find their point a n d p u r p o s e not only in sustaining those relationships necessary if the variety of goods internal to practices are t o be achieved a n d n o t only in sustaining the form of an individual life in which that individual may seek o u t his or her g o o d as the g o o d of his or her whole life, but also in sustaining t h o s e t r a d i t i o n s which p r o v i d e both practices and individual lives with their necessary historical context. Lack of justice, lack of truthfulness, lack of c o u r a g e , lack of the relevant intellectual virtues - these c o r r u p t traditions, just as they d o those institutions a n d practices w h i c h derive their life from the traditions of which they are the c o n t e m p o r a r y e m b o d i m e n t s . T o recognize this is of course also t o recognize the existence of an additional virtue, one w h o s e i m p o r t a n c e is p e r h a p s m o s t obvious w h e n it is least present, the virtue of h a v i n g an a d e q u a t e sense of the traditions to which o n e b e l o n g s or w h i c h confront one. This virtue is not to be confused w i t h a n y form of conservative a n t i q u a n a n i s m ; I am not praising those w h o c h o o s e the conventional conservative role of laudator temporis acti. It is r a t h e r the case that an a d e q u a t e sense of tradition manifests itself in a g r a s p of those future possibilities w h i c h the p a s t has m a d e available to the present. Living t r a d i t i o n s , just because they c o n t i n u e a not-yet-completed narrative, confront a future w h o s e d e t e r m i n a t e a n d determinable character, so far as it possesses any, derives from the past. In practical r e a s o n i n g the possession of this virtue is not manifested so m u c h in the k n o w l e d g e of a set of generalizations or maxims which m a y p r o v i d e o u r practical inferences with major

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premises; its presence or absence rather a p p e a r s o n the kind of capacity for judgement which the agent possesses in k n o w i n g h o w to select a m o n g the relevant stack of m a x i m s a n d h o w to apply them in particular situations. Cardinal Pole possessed it, M a r y T u d o r did not; M o n t r o s e possessed it, Charles I did not. W h a t Cardinal Pole and the M a r q u i s of M o n t r o s e possessed were in fact those virtues which enable their possessors to p u r s u e b o t h their o w n good and the good of the tradition of which they are the bearers even in situations denned by the necessity of tragic, dilemmatic choice. It has often been suggested - by J. L. Austin, for e x a m p l e - t h a t cither we can admit the existence of rival a n d contingently incompatible goods which m a k e incompatible claims t o our practical allegiance or we can believe in some d e t e r m i n a t e concep tion of the good life for m a n , but that these are mutually exclusive alternatives. N o one can consistently hold b o t h these views. W h a t this contention is blind to is t h a t there m a y be better or w o r s e ways for individuals t o live t h r o u g h the tragic confrontation of good with good. And that to k n o w w h a t the good life for m a n is m a y require k n o w i n g w h a t are the better and w h a t are the w o r s e ways of living in and through such situations. N o t h i n g a priori rules o u t this possibility; and this suggests that within a view such as Austin's there is concealed a n unacknowledged empirical premise a b o u t the character of tragic situations. O n e way in which the choice between rival g o o d s in a tragic situation differs from the m o d e r n choice between i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e moral premises is that both of the alternative courses of action which confront the individual have t o be recognized as leading t o some authentic a n d substantial good. By choosing o n e I d o n o t h i n g to diminish or derogate from the claims u p o n me of the other; a n d therefore, whatever I d o , I shall have left u n d o n e w h a t I o u g h t t o have d o n e . T h e tragic protagonist, unlike the m o r a l agent as depicted by Sartre or H a r e , is n o t choosing between allegiance to one moral principle rather t h a n a n o t h e r , n o r is he or she deciding upon some principle of priority between moral principles. H e n c e the ' o u g h t ' involved has a different m e a n i n g a n d force from t h a t of the ' o u g h t ' in moral principles u n d e r s t o o d in a m o d e r n w a y . For the tragic protagonist c a n n o t d o everything t h a t he or she o u g h t t o d o . This ' o u g h t ' , unlike Kant's, does n o t imply ' c a n ' . M o r e o v e r any attempt to m a p the logic of such ' o u g h t ' assertions o n t o some m o d a l calculus so as t o p r o d u c e a version of deontic logic has to fail. (See, from a very different point of view, Bas C. Van Fraasen, 1973.)

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Yet it is clear t h a t the m o r a l t a s k of t h e t r a g i c p r o t a g o n i s t m a y b e performed better or worse, i n d e p e n d e n t l y of the c h o i c e b e t w e e n alternatives that he or she m a k e s - ex hypothesise or she h a s n o right choice to make. T h e tragic p r o t a g o n i s t m a y b e h a v e heroically or unheroically, generously o r u n g e n e r o u s l y , gracefully or g r a c e lessly, prudently or i m p r u d e n t l y . T o p e r f o r m his or h e r t a s k better rather than w o r s e will be t o d o b o t h w h a t is b e t t e r for h t m o r ha qua individual or qua p a r e n t or child or qua citizen o r m e m b e r of a profession, or perhaps qua s o m e o r all of t h e s e . T h e e x i s t e n c e of tragic dilemmas casts n o d o u b t u p o n a n d p r o v i d e s n o c o u n t e r examples to the thesis that assertions of the form ' T o d o this in this way would be better for X a n d / o r for his o r h e r family, city o r profession' are susceptible of objective t r u t h a n d falsity, a n y m o r e than the existence of alternative a n d c o n t i n g e n t l y i n c o m p a t i b l e forms of medical t r e a t m e n t casts d o u b t o n the thesis t h a t a s s e r t i o n s of the form ' T o u n d e r g o this medical t r e a t m e n t in this w a y would be better for X a n d / o r his or h e r family' are s u s c e p t i b l e of objective truth and falsity. (See, from a different p o i n t of v i e w , t h e illuminating discussion in Samuel Guttenplan, 1979-80, PP. 61-80.) The presupposition of this objectivity is of c o u r s e t h a t w e can understand the notion of ' g o o d for X ' a n d c o g n a t e n o t i o n s in t e r m s of some conception of the unity of X ' s life. W h a t is b e t t e r or w o r s e for X depends u p o n the c h a r a c t e r of t h a t intelligible n a r r a t i v e which provides X ' s life w i t h its unity. U n s u r p r i s i n g l y it is t h e lack of any such unifying c o n c e p t i o n of a h u m a n life w h i c h u n d e r l i e s modern denials of the factual c h a r a c t e r of m o r a l j u d g e m e n t s a n d more especially of those j u d g e m e n t s w h i c h ascribe virtues o r vices to individuals. I argued earlier that every m o r a l p h i l o s o p h y h a s s o m e p a r t i c u l a r sociology as its c o u n t e r p a r t . W h a t 1 h a v e tried t o spell o u t h e r e s the kind of u n d e r s t a n d i n g of social life w h i c h the t r a d i t i o n of t h e virtues requires, a kind of u n d e r s t a n d i n g very different from t h o s e ominant in the culture of b u r e a u c r a t i c i n d i v i d u a l i s m . W i t h i n at culture conceptions of the virtues b e c o m e m a r g i n a l a n d t h e tion * virtues r e m a i n s central o n l y in t h e lives of social ^ , P whose existence is o n the m a r g i n s of t h e central c u l t u r e , new culture of liberal o r b u r e a u c r a t i c i n d i v i d u a l i s m i c ^ " ^ P t i o n s of the virtues e m e r g e a n d t h e c o n c e p t of a v i r t u e "self transformed.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Samuel Guttenplan, 'Moral Realism and Moral Dilemmas', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1979-80: pp. 61-80. Barbara Hardy, 'Towards a Poetics of Fiction: An Approach Through Narrative', Novel, 2, 1968: pp. 5-14. Philip Hobsbaum, A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens, 1973. Louis O. Mink, 'History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension', New Literary History, 1, 1970: pp. 541-58. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971. Bas C. Van Frassen, 'Values and the Heart's Command', Journal of Philosophy, 70, 1973: pp. 5-19.

Peter Berger: On the Obsolescence of the Concept of Honour

Honour occupies about the same place in c o n t e m p o r a r y us ^ . chastity. An individual asserting it h a r d l y invites a d m i r a t i o n .u one who claims to have lost it is an object of a m u s e m e n t r a t h e r n a n sympathy. Both concepts have an u n a m b i g u o u s l y o u t d a t e d s t a i n s in the Weltanschauung of m o d e r n i t y . Especially i n t e l l e c t u a l m definition in the vanguard of m o d e r n i t y , arc a b o u t as likely t o admit to honour as to be found out as c h a s t e . At b e s t , h o n o u r anil chastity are seen as ideological leftovers in the c o n s c i o u s n e s s u | obsolete classes,such as military officers or ethnic g r a n d m o t h e r s . The obsolescence of the concept of h o n o u r is revealed very sharply in the inability of most c o n t e m p o r a r i e s t o u n d e r s t a n d insult, which in essence is an assault o n h o n o u r . In t h i s , at least in America, there is a close parallel b e t w e e n m o d e m c o n s c i o u s n e s s and modern law. Motives of h o n o u r h a v e n o s t a n d i n g in A m e r i c a n law and legal codes that still admit t h e m , as in s o m e c o u n t r i e s of Southern Europe, are perceived as archaic. In m o d e r n c o n s c i o u s ness, as in American law (shaped m o r e t h a n any o t h e r by that p r u n e force of modernization which is capitalism), insult in itself is n o t actionable, is not recognized as a real injury. T h e insulted p a r t y must be able to prove material d a m a g e . T h e r e arc cases, n u k e d , where psychic harm may be the basis for a legal c l a i m , b u t t h a t t o o * ^ " offence against h o n o u r . T h e Weltanschauung of everyday life closely c o n f o r m s in this t o the legal definitions of reality. If a n individual is insulted a n d , as a sult, is harmed in his career or his capacity t o e a r n a n i n c o m e , h e may not only have recourse t o the c o u r t s b u t m a y c o u n t o n t h e sympathy of his friends. His friends, a n d in s o m e cases the c o u r t s
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will come to his support if, say, the insult so unsettles him that he loses his self-esteem o r has a nervous b r e a k d o w n . If, however, neither kind of injury pertains, he will a l m o s t certainly be advised by lawyers a n d friends alike t o just forget t h e w h o l e thing. In other words, the reality of t h e offence will be denied. If the individual persists in maintaining it, he will be negatively categorized, most probably in psychiatric terms (as ' n e u r o t i c ' , 'overly sensitive', or the like), or if applicable in terms that refer to cultural lag (as 'hopelessly E u r o p e a n ' , p e r h a p s , or as t h e victim of a 'provincial mentality'). T h e c o n t e m p o r a r y denial of the reality of h o n o u r a n d of offences against h o n o u r is so much p a r t of a taken-for-granted w o r l d that a deliberate effort is required t o even see it a s a p r o b l e m . T h e effort is w o r t h w h i l e , for it can result in s o m e , p e r h a p s u n e x p e c t e d , newinsights into the structure of modern consciousness. T h e problem of the obsolescence of the concept of h o n o u r can be b r o u g h t into better focus by c o m p a r i n g it w i t h a m o s t timely concept - that of dignity. T a k e n by itself, t h e demise of h o n o u r might be interpreted as part of a process of m o r a l coarsening, of a lessening of respect for persons, even of d e h u m a n i z a t i o n . Indeed, this is exactly h o w it looked t o a conservative m i n d at t h e beginning of the modern era - for e x a m p l e , t o the fifteenth-century French poet Eustache D e s c h a m p s : ' A g e of decline nigh t o t h e end, / T i m e of h o r r o r which does all things falsely, / Lying age, full of pride a n d of envy, / Time without honour and without true judgement. Yet it seems quite clear in retrospect t h a t this pessimistic estimate w a s , vo say the least, very one-sided. T h e age that s a w t h e decline of h o n o u r also saw the rise of n e w moralities a n d of a n e w h u m a n i s m , and most specifically of a historically u n p r e c e d e n t e d concern for the dignity a n d the rights of the individual. T h e same m o d e r n m e n w h o fail to u n d e r s t a n d an issue of h o n o u r a r e immediately disposed to concede the d e m a n d s for dignity a n d for equal rights by almost every new group that m a k e s them - racial or religious minorities, exploited classes, the p o o r , the deviant, a n d so o n . N o r w o u l d it be just t o question the genuineness of this disposition. A little t h o u g h t , then, should make clear that t h e p r o b l e m is n o t clarified by ethical pessimism. It is necessary to ask m o r e fundamentally: W h a t is h o n o u r ? W h a t is dignity? W h a t can be learned a b o u t m o d e r n consciousness by the obsolescence of t h e one a n d the u n i q u e sway of the other? Honour is c o m m o n l y u n d e r s t o o d as an aristocratic concept, or at least associated with a hierarchical order of society. It is certainly true that Western notions of honour have been strongly influenced
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by the medieval codes of chivalry a n d t h a t these w e r e rootec1 in t h e social structures of feudalism. It is also t r u e t h a t c o n c e p t s of h o n o u r have survived into the m o d e r n era best in g r o u p s ^ ^ hierarchical view of society, s u c h as t h e n o b i l i t y , t h e m i l i t a r y , a n d traditional professions like l a w a n d m e d i c i n e In such g r o u p s honour is a direct express.on of s t a t u s , a s o u r c e of s o l i d a r i t y a m o n g social equals and a d e m a r c a t i o n line a g a i n s t social i n t e r i o r s . Honour, indeed, also dictates certain s t a n d a r d s of b e h a v i o u r in dealing with inferiors, b u t t h e full c o d e of h o n o u r only a p p l i e s among those w h o share the s a m e s t a t u s in t h e h i e r a r c h y . In a hierarchically ordered society t h e e t i q u e t t e of e v e r y d a y life c o n s i s t s of ongoing transactions of h o n o u r , a n d different g r o u p s relate differently to this process a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p r i n c i p l e of ' T o e a c h his due'. It would be a mistake, h o w e v e r , t o u n d e r s t a n d h o n o u r only in terms of hierarchy and its d e l i n e a t i o n s . T o t a k e t h e m o s t o b v i o u s example, the h o n o u r of w o m e n in m a n y t r a d i t i o n a l societies, w h i l e usually differentiated a l o n g class lines, m a y p e r t a i n in p r i n c i p l e t o women of all classes. J. K. Campbell, in his s t u d y of c o n t e m p o r a r y r u r a l c u l t u r e in Greece, makes this very clear. W h i l e t h e o b l i g a t i o n s of h o n o u r [timi) differ as between different c a t e g o r i e s of i n d i v i d u a l s , n o t a b l y between men and w o m e n , e v e r y o n e w i t h i n t h e c o m m u n i t y exists within the same all-embracing system of h o n o u r . T h o s e w h o h a v e high status in the c o m m u n i t y h a v e p a r t i c u l a r o b l i g a t i o n s of h o n o u r , but even the lowly are differentiated in t e r m s of h o n o u r a n d dishonour. Men should e x h i b i t m a n l i n e s s a n d w o m e n s h a m e , b u t the failure of either implies d i s h o n o u r for t h e i n d i v i d u a l , t h e family and, in some cases, the entire c o m m u n i t y . F o r all, t h e q u a l i t i e s enjoined by h o n o u r provide t h e link, n o t only b e t w e e n self a n d community, but between self a n d t h e idealized n o r m s of t h e community: ' H o n o u r c o n s i d e r e d as t h e p o s s e s s i o n by m e n a n d women of these qualities is t h e a t t e m p t t o relate e x i s t e n c e t o c e r t a i n archetypal patterns of b e h a v i o u r . ' C o n v e r s e l y , d i s h o n o u r is a fall torn grace in the most c o m p r e h e n s i v e sense - loss of face in t h e community, but also loss of self a n d s e p a r a t i o n f r o m t h e b a s i c norms that govern h u m a n life. t is valid to view such a c u l t u r e as essentially p r e - m o d e r n , just as mod ^ to predict its d i s i n t e g r a t i o n u n d e r t h e i m p a c t of DrrK- Ti! * H y > t h e r e a r e several s t a g e s in t h e l a t t e r a w f ' l? medieval c o d e s of h o n o u r d i d n o t l e a d mea ^ \ m p o r a r y s i t u a t i o n in w h i c h h o n o u r is a n all b u t of h ^ P - T h e r e t o o k p l a c e first t h e embourgeoisement onour, which has been defined by N o r b e r t Elias as t h e p r o c e s s
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of 'civilization', b o t h a b r o a d e n i n g a n d a m e l l o w i n g p r o c e s s . T h e contents had changed, but there w a s still a c o n c e p t i o n of h o n o u r in the age of the t r i u m p h a n t bourgeoisie. Yet it w a s with the rise of the bourgeoisie, particularly in the consciousness of its critical intellec tuals, that not only the h o n o u r of the ancien regime and its hierarchical prototypes w a s d e b u n k e d , b u t t h a t an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of m a n a n d society emerged that w o u l d eventually liquidate any conception of h o n o u r . T h u s Cervantes' Quixote is the tragi-comedy of a particular obsolescence, t h a t of the knight-errant in an age in which chivalry h a s become an empty rhetoric. T h e greatness of the Quixote, however, transcends this particular t i m e - b o u n d d e b u n k i n g job. It unmasks not only the ' m a d n e s s ' of chivalry b u t , by extension, the folly of any identification of self w i t h ' a r c h e t y p a l p a t t e r n s of behaviour'. Put differently, Don Q u i x o t e ' s ' e n c h a n t e r s ' (whose task, paradoxically, is precisely w h a t M a x W e b e r h a d in m i n d as 'd/senchantment') c a n n o t be s t o p p e d so easily once they have started their terrible task. As D o n Q u i x o t e tells S a n c h o in o n e of his innumerable homilies: Is it possible that in the time y o u h a v e been with me y o u have not yet found out that all the adventures of a knight-errant appear t o be illusion, follies, a n d d r e a m s , a n d t u r n o u t to be the reverse? N o t because things are really so, b u t because in o u r midst there is a h o s t of e n c h a n t e r s , forever changing, disguising and transforming o u r affairs as they please, accord ing to w h e t h e r they wish t o favor o r destroy us. So, w h a t y o u call a b a r b e r ' s basin is t o me M a m b r i n o ' s helmet, a n d to another person it will appear to be something else.
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These 'enchanters', alas, have n o t stopped with chivalry. Every h u m a n adventure, in which the self a n d its actions h a v e been identified and e n d o w e d with the h o n o u r of collective p r o t o t y p e s has, finally, been d e b u n k e d as 'illusion, follies, a n d d r e a m s ' . M o d e r n man is D o n Q u i x o t e o n his d e a t h b e d , d e n u d e d of the multicoloured b a n n e r s that previously enveloped the self a n d revealed to be nothing but a man: T w a s m a d , b u t I a m n o w in my senses; I was once D o n Q u i x o t e of La M a n c h a , b u t I a m n o w , as I said before, Alonso Q u t x a n o the G o o d . ' T h e s a m e self, deprived or, if one prefers, freed from the mystifications of h o n o u r is hailed in Falstaff's 'catechism': ' H o n o u r is a mere s c u t c h e o n . ' It is modern consciousness t h a t u n m a s k s it as such, t h a t , ' e n c h a n t s ' o r 'disenchants' it (depending o n one's p o i n t of view) until it is s h o w n
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as nothing but a painted artifact. B e h i n d the ' m e r e s c u t c h e o n ' is the face of modern m a n - m a n bereft of the c o n s o l a t i o n of p r o t o t y p e s , man alone. It is important to u n d e r s t a n d t h a t it is precisely this solitary self that modern consciousness h a s perceived as the b e a r e r of h u m a n dignity and of inalienable h u m a n rights. T h e m o d e r n discovery of dignity took place precisely a m i d t h e w r e c k a g e of d e b u n k e d conceptions of h o n o u r . N o w , it w o u l d be a m i s t a k e t o ascribe to modern consciousness a l o n e the discovery of a f u n d a m e n t a l dignity underlying all possible social disguises. T h e s a m e discovery can be found in the H e b r e w Bible, as in the c o n f r o n t a t i o n b e t w e e n Nathan a n d David ( T h o u a r t t h e m a n ' ) ; in S o p h o c l e s , in the confrontation b e t w e e n A n t i g o n e a n d C r e o n ; a n d , in a different form, in Mencius' p a r a b l e of a criminal s t o p p i n g a child from falling into a well. T h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a t t h e r e is a h u m a n i t y behind or beneath the roles a n d the n o r m s i m p o s e d by society, a n d that this h u m a n i t y h a s p r o f o u n d dignity, is n o t a m o d e r n p r e r o g a tive. What is peculiarly m o d e r n is the m a n n e r in w h i c h the reality of this intrinsic h u m a n i t y is related t o t h e realities of society. Dignity, as against h o n o u r , a l w a y s relates t o t h e intrinsic humanity divested of all socially i m p o s e d roles o r n o r m s . It p e r t a i n s to the self as such, t o t h e individual regardless of his p o s i t i o n in society. This becomes very clear in the classic f o r m u l a t i o n s of human rights, from the P r e a m b l e t o the D e c l a r a t i o n of I n d e p e n d ence to the Universal D e c l a r a t i o n of H u m a n Rights of the United Nations. These rights a l w a y s p e r t a i n t o the individual 'irrespective of race, colour or creed' - o r , i n d e e d , of sex, age, physical c o n d i t i o n or any conceivable social s t a t u s . T h e r e is a n implicit sociology and an implicit a n t h r o p o l o g y h e r e . T h e implicit sociology views all biological and historical differentiations a m o n g m e n as either downright unreal or essentially irrelevant. T h e implicit a n t h r o p o l ogy locates the real self over a n d b e y o n d all these differentiations. It should n o w be possible t o see these t w o c o n c e p t s s o m e w h a t m o r e clearly. Both h o n o u r a n d dignity are c o n c e p t s t h a t b r i d g e self a n d society. While either p e r t a i n s t o t h e individual in a very i n t i m a t e y , it is in relations w i t h o t h e r s t h a t b o t h h o n o u r a n d dignity are attained, e x c h a n g e d , p r e s e r v e d or t h r e a t e n e d . B o t h r e q u i r e a deliberate effort of the will for their m a i n t e n a n c e - o n e m u s t strive |or them, often against t h e m a l e v o l e n t o p p o s i t i o n of o t h e r s - t h u s nnnnii^ i j!_ - i , , . : TU:_ Uoc honour and dignity b e c o m e goals of m o r a l enterprise. T h e i r loss, always a possibility, h a s far-reaching c o n s e q u e n c e s for t h e self, finally, both h o n o u r a n d dignity h a v e a n infectious quality t h a t
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extends b e y o n d t h e m o r a l p e r s o n of t h e individual possessing them. T h e infection involves his b o d y ('a dignified gait'), his material ambience (from clothing t o the furnishings of his house) and other individuals closely associated w i t h h i m ('He b r o u g h t h o n o u r on his w h o l e family'). W h a t , t h e n , is t h e difference between these two concepts of t h e social self? O r , - s u b s t i t u t i n g a m o r e current term to avoid t h e metaphysical associations of 'self, h o w d o these two conceptions of identity differ? The concept of honour implies that identity is essentially, or at least importantly, linked to institutional roles. The modern concept of dignity, by contrast, implies that identity is essentially indepen dent of institutional roles. T o r e t u r n t o Falstaff's image, in a world of h o n o u r t h e individual is t h e social s y m b o l s e m b l a z o n e d o n his escutcheon. T h e true self of the k n i g h t is revealed as he rides out to d o battle in t h e full regalia of his role; by c o m p a r i s o n , the naked m a n in bed with a w o m a n represents a lesser reality of the self. In a world of dignity, in t h e m o d e r n sense, t h e social symbolism governing t h e interaction of men is a disguise. T h e escutcheons hide the true self. It is precisely t h e n a k e d m a n , a n d even more specifically the n a k e d m a n expressing his sexuality, w h o represents himself m o r e truthfully. C o n s e q u e n t l y , t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of selfdiscovery a n d self-mystification is reversed as between these t w o worlds. In a w o r l d of h o n o u r , t h e individual discovers his true identity in his roles, a n d t o t u r n a w a y from the roles is t o turn away from himself - in 'false consciousness', o n e is t e m p t e d t o a d d . In a w o r l d of dignity, t h e individual c a n only discover his true identity by e m a n c i p a t i n g himself from his socially i m p o s e d roles - the latter are only m a s k s , entangling h i m in illusion, 'alienation' a n d 'bad faith'. It follows t h a t t h e t w o w o r l d s h a v e a different relation to history. It is t h r o u g h t h e p e r f o r m a n c e of institutional roles that the individual participates in history, n o t only t h e history of a particular institution b u t t h a t of his society as a w h o l e . It is precisely for this r e a s o n t h a t m o d e r n consciousness, in its concep tion of t h e self, tends t o w a r d s a curious ahistoricity. In a world of honour, identity is firmly linked t o t h e past t h r o u g h the reiterated performance of prototypical acts. In a w o r l d of dignity, history is the succession of mystifications from w h i c h t h e individual must free himself to attain 'authenticity'.

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through which his v a r i o u s identities are f o r m e d , m a i n t a i n e d and changed. All the s a m e , w i t h i n the p a r a m e t e r s set by his fun damental constitution, m a n h a s c o n s i d e r a b l e leeway in construc ting, dismantling a n d r e a s s e m b l i n g the w o r l d s in w h i c h he lives. Inasmuch as identity is a l w a y s p a r t of a c o m p r e h e n s i v e w o r l d , and a humanly constructed w o r l d at t h a t , there are far-reaching differences in the w a y s in w h i c h identity is conceived and, consequently, experienced. Definitions of identity vary with overall definitions of reality. E a c h such definition, h o w e v e r , has realitygenerating p o w e r : M e n n o t only define themselves, b u t they actualize these definitions in real experience - they live them. N o monocausal theory is likely t o d o justice t o the transform ation that has t a k e n place. Very p r o b a b l y m o s t of the factors commonly cited h a v e in fact p l a y e d a p a r t in the process technology a n d industrialization, b u r e a u c r a c y , u r b a n i z a t i o n and population g r o w t h , the vast increase in c o m m u n i c a t i o n between every conceivable h u m a n g r o u p , social mobility, the pluralization of social w o r l d s a n d t h e p r o f o u n d m e t a m o r p h o s i s in the social contexts in w h i c h children are r e a r e d . Be this as it m a y , the resultant situation has been aptly characterized by Arnold Gehlen with the t e r m s ' d e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n ' a n d 'subjectivization'. T h e former term refers t o a global w e a k e n i n g in the holding p o w e r of institutions over the individual. T h e institutional fabric, whose basic function h a s a l w a y s been t o p r o v i d e m e a n i n g and stability for the individual, has b e c o m e incohesive, fragmented and thus p r o gressively deprived of plausibility. T h e institutions then confront the individual as fluid a n d u n r e l i a b l e , in the e x t r e m e case as unreal. Inevitably, the individual is t h r o w n b a c k u p o n himself, o n his o w n subjectivity, from w h i c h h e m u s t d r e d g e u p the m e a n i n g a n d the stability t h a t he requires t o exist. Precisely because of m a n ' s intrinsic sociality, this is a very unsatisfactory condition. Stable identities (and this also m e a n s identities t h a t will be subjectively plausible) can only e m e r g e in reciprocity with stable social contexts (and this m e a n s c o n t e x t s t h a t are s t r u c t u r e d by stable institutions). Therefore, there is a d e e p u n c e r t a i n t y a b o u t c o n t e m p o r a r y identity. Put differently, there is a built-in identity crisis in the c o n t e m p o r a r y situation. It is in this c o n n e c t i o n t h a t o n e begins t o u n d e r s t a n d the implicit sociology a n d the implicit a n t h r o p o l o g y m e n t i o n e d above. Both are rooted in actual experience of the m o d e r n w o r l d . T h e literary, Philosophical a n d even social-scientific f o r m u l a t i o n s are ex post facto a t t e m p t s t o c o m e to t e r m s w i t h this experience. Gehlen has shown this convincingly for the rise of the m o d e r n novel as the

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literary form most fully reflecting the new subjectivism. But the conceptualizations of m a n a n d society of, for instance, M a r x i s m and existentialism are equally rooted in this experience. So is the perspective of m o d e r n social science, especially of sociology. M a r x ' s 'alienation' and 'false consciousness', Heidegger's ' a u t h enticity' a n d Sartre's 'bad faith', a n d such current sociological notions as David Reisman's 'other-direction' o r Erving Goffman's 'impression m a n a g e m e n t ' could only arise and claim credibility in a situation in which the identity-defining p o w e r of institutions has been greatly w e a k e n e d . T h e obsolescence of the concept of h o n o u r may n o w be seen in a much m o r e comprehensive perspective. The social location of h o n o u r lies in a w o r l d of relatively intact, stable institutions, a world in which individuals can with subjective certainty attach their identities t o the institutional roles t h a t society assigns t o them. T h e disintegration of this world as a result of the forces of modernity has not only m a d e h o n o u r an increasingly meaningless notion, b u t has served as the occasion for a redefinition of identity and its intrinsic dignity apart from a n d often against the institu tional roles t h r o u g h which the individual expresses himself in society. T h e reciprocity between individual and society, between subjective identity a n d objective identification t h r o u g h roles, n o w comes t o be experienced as a sort of struggle. Institutions cease t o be the ' h o m e ' of the self; instead they become oppressive realities that distort and estrange the self. Roles n o longer actualize the self, but serve as a 'veil of mayd hiding the self n o t only from others but from the individual's o w n consciousness. O n l y in the interstitial areas left vacant, as it were, by the institutions (such as the so-called private sphere of social life) can the individual h o p e to discover or define himself. Identity ceases t o be an objectively and subjectively given fact, a n d instead becomes the goal of an often devious a n d difficult quest. M o d e r n m a n , almost inevitably it seems, is ever in search of himself. If this is u n d e r s t o o d , it will also be clear w h y b o t h the sense of 'alienation' and the c o n c o m i t a n t identity crisis are m o s t vehement a m o n g the y o u n g today. Indeed, ' y o u t h ' itself, which is a m a t t e r of social definition rather than biological fact, will be seen as an interstitial area vacated or 'left over' by the large institutional structures of m o d e r n society. For this reason it is, simultaneously, the locale of the m o s t acute experiences of self-estrangement a n d of the most intensive quest for reliable identities. A lot will d e p e n d , naturally, o n o n e ' s basic assumptions a b o u t m a n w h e t h e r o n e will b e m o a n or welcome these t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s . W h a t to one will a p p e a r as a profound loss will be seen by a n o t h e r

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as the p r e l u d e to liberation. A m o n g intellectuals today, of course, it is the latter viewpoint that prevails and that forms the implicit anthropological f o u n d a t i o n for the generally 'left' m o o d of the time. The t h r e a t of c h a o s , both social and psychic, whichever lurks behind the disintegration of institutions, will then be seen as a necessary stage t h a t m u s t precede the great 'leap into freedom' that is to c o m e . It is also possible, in a conservative perspective, to view the same process as precisely the r o o t pathology of the modern era, as a disastrous loss of the very structures t h a t enable men to be free a n d to be themselves. Such pessimism is expressed forcefully, if s o m e w h a t petulantly, in Gehlen's latest b o o k , a conservative manifesto in which modernity appears as an all-engulfing pesti lence.
8

We w o u l d c o n t e n d here that both perspectives - the liberation myth of the 'left' a n d the nostalgia of the 'right' for an intact world - fail to d o justice t o the anthropological and indeed the ethical dimensions of the p r o b l e m . It seems clear to us that the unre strained e n t h u s i a s m for total liberation of the self from the 'repression' of institutions fails to take account of certain funda mental r e q u i r e m e n t s of m a n , notably those of order that institutional o r d e r of society w i t h o u t which both collectivities and individuals m u s t descend into dehumanizing chaos. In other words, the demise of h o n o u r has been a very costly price to pay for whatever liberations m o d e r n m a n may have achieved. O n the other h a n d , the unqualified denunciation of the c o n t e m p o r a r y constella tion of institutions a n d identities fails to perceive the vast moral achievements m a d e possible by just this constellation - the dis covery of the a u t o n o m o u s individual, with a dignity deriving from his very being, over and above all and any social identifications. A n y o n e d e n o u n c i n g the m o d e r n world tout court should pause and question w h e t h e r h e wishes to include in t h a t denunciation the specifically m o d e r n discoveries of h u m a n dignity and h u m a n rights. T h e conviction t h a t even the weakest members of society have an inherent right to protection and dignity; the proscription of slavery in all its forms, of racial and ethnic oppression; the staggering discovery of the dignity a n d rights of the child; the new sensitivity to cruelty, from the a b h o r r e n c e of torture to the codification of the crime of genocide - a sensitivity that has become politically significant in the o u t r a g e against the cruelties of the w a r in V i e t n a m ; the n e w recognition of individual responsibility for all actions, even those assigned to the individual with specific institu tional roles, a recognition t h a t attained the force of law at N u r e m b e r g - all these, a n d others, are m o r a l achievements that

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w o u l d be u n t h i n k a b l e w i t h o u t the peculiar constellations of the m o d e r n w o r l d . T o reject t h e m is u n t h i n k a b l e ethically. By the same token, it is n o t possible to simply trace t h e m to a false anthropology. T h e task before us, rather, is to u n d e r s t a n d the empirical processes t h a t have made modern m a n lose sight of h o n o u r at the expense of dignity a n d then to think t h r o u g h b o t h the a n t h r o pological a n d the ethical implications of this. Obviously these remarks can do n o more than point u p some dimensions of the problem. It m a y be allowed, t h o u g h , t o speculate t h a t a rediscovery of h o n o u r in the future development of m o d e r n society is b o t h empirically plausible and morally desirable. Needless t o say, this will hardly take the form of a regressive restoration of traditional codes. But the c o n t e m p o r a r y m o o d of anti-institutionalism is unlikely to last, as Anton Zijderveld implies. M a n ' s fundamental constitution is such that, just a b o u t inevitably, he will once m o r e construct institutions t o provide a n ordered reality for himself. A return t o institutions will ipso facto be a return to h o n o u r . It will then be possible again for individuals t o identify themselves with the escutcheons of their institutional roles, experienced n o w n o t as self-estranging tyrannies b u t as freely chosen vehicles of selfrealization. T h e ethical question, of course, is w h a t these institu tions will be like. Specifically, the ethical test of a n y future institutions, a n d of the codes of h o n o u r they will entail, will be whether they succeed in e m b o d y i n g a n d in stabilizing the dis coveries of h u m a n dignity that are the principle achievements of modern man.
9

NOTES
1

2 3 4 5

6 7

8 9

Cited in J. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 1954), p. 33 (my italics). J. K. Campbell, Honour, Family and Patronage (Oxford, 1964). Ibid., pp. 271. Norbert Elias, DerProzess der Zivilisation (Bern: Francke, 1969). Cervantes, Don Quixote, trans. Walter Starkie (New York: New American Library, 1964), 1:25, p. 243. Ibid., n:74. W. Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, v:i. Arnold Gehlen, Moral and Hypermoral (Frankfurt: Athenaum, 1969). Anton Zijderveld, Abstract Society (New York: Doubleday, 1970).

Michael J. Sandel: Justice and the Good*

i
THE STATUS O F THE GOOD

The difficulty with R a w l s ' theory of the good is epistemological as well as m o r a l , a n d in this it recalls a problem that arose in connection with the concept of right - that of distinguishing a s t a n d a r d of assessment from the thing being assessed. If my fundamental values a n d final ends are to enable me, as surely they must, to evaluate a n d regulate my immediate wants and desires, these values a n d ends m u s t have a sanction independent of the mere fact that I h a p p e n to h o l d them with a certain intensity. But if my conception of the g o o d is simply the p r o d u c t of my immediate w a n t s a n d desires, there is n o reason to suppose that the critical s t a n d p o i n t it provides is any more w o r t h y or valid than the desires it seeks t o assess; as the p r o d u c t of those desires, it would be governed by the same contingencies. Rawls responds t o this difficulty in the case of the right by seeking in justice as fairness an Archimedean point that 'is not at the mercy, so to speak, of existing wants and interests' ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 2 6 1 ) . But as we have seen, R a w l s ' concept of right does not extend t o private morality, n o r does any other instrument of d e t a c h m e n t save the g o o d from thoroughgoing implication in the agent's existing w a n t s and desires. 'Purely preferential choice' is t h o r o u g h l y h e t e r o n o m o u s choice, and n o person's values or conception of the g o o d can possibly reach beyond it. As Rawls strikingly concedes, ' T h a t we have one conception of the good rather t h a n a n o t h e r is n o t relevant from a moral standpoint. In * 1982 Cambridge University Press. Reprinted from Liberalism and the Limits of Justice by Michael Sandel, by permission of the publishers.

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acquiring it we are influenced by the same sort of contingencies that lead us to rule o u t a knowledge of o u r sex and class' ( 1 9 7 5 , p. 537). T h e limited scope for reflection o n Rawls' account, a n d the problematic, even impoverished theory of the g o o d t h a t results reveal the extent t o which deontological liberalism accepts an essentially utilitarian account of the good, h o w e v e r its theory of right may differ. This utilitarian b a c k g r o u n d first a p p e a r e d in o u r 'discussion of D w o r k i n ' s defence of affirmative a c t i o n ; once n o individual rights were seen to be at stake, utilitarian considerations automatically prevailed. Although D w o r k i n defends w h a t he calls an 'anti-utilitarian concept of right', the scope of this right is strictly (if elusively) circumscribed, such that ' t h e vast bulk of the l a w s that diminish my liberty are justified on utilitarian g r o u n d s as being in the general interest or for the general welfare' ( 1 9 7 7 , p . 2 6 9 ) . T h e utilitarian b a c k g r o u n d to R a w l s ' conception most clearly appears in his references to individual moral life. W h e r e justice as fairness rejects utilitarianism as the basis of social, or public morality, it has no a p p a r e n t argument with utilitarianism as the basis of individual, or private morality, the Kantian notion of 'duty to o n e s e l f to the contrary. Rawls describes the utilitarian a c c o u n t of private morality, w i t h o u t discernible objection, as follows:
1

A person quite properly acts, at least w h e n others are n o t affected, t o achieve his o w n greatest good, to advance his rational ends as far as possible. . . . [T]he principle for an individual is t o advance as far as possible his o w n welfare, his o w n system of desires' ( 1 9 7 1 , p. 2 3 ) . T o be sure there is one formal principle t h a t seems to provide a general answer [to an individual's choice of life p l a n ] . This is the principle t o a d o p t that plan which maximizes the expected net balance of satisfaction ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 4 1 6 ) . For Rawls, utilitarianism goes w r o n g not in conceiving the g o o d as the satisfaction of arbitrarily-given desires undifferentiated as t o w o r t h - for justice as fairness shares in this - b u t only in being indifferent to the w a y these c o n s u m m a t i o n s are spread across individuals. Its mistake as he sees it is to a d o p t 'for society as a w h o l e the principle of rational choice for one m a n ' , to c o m b i n e 'the desires of all persons into one coherent system of desire', a n d to seek its overall satisfaction ( 1 9 7 1 , p p . 2 6 - 7 ) . In so doing, it 'fuses' or 'conflates' all persons into one, it reduces social choice to 'essentially a question of efficient a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' (as, p r e s u m a b l y ,

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individual choice can properly be reduced), a n d so fails to take seriously the distinction between persons ( 1 9 7 1 , p p . 27, 33). Justice as fairness seeks to remedy these shortcomings by emphasizing the distinction between persons and by insisting on the separateness of those diverse 'systems of desires' that utilitarianism conflates. But the g r o u n d s for R a w l s ' departure from utilitarianism in this respect are n o t immediately apparent. Although he seems firm in his view t h a t to each individual h u m a n being there corresponds exactly o n e 'system of desires', he never says why this must be so, or w h a t exactly a 'system of desires' consists in, or why it is w r o n g to conflate t h e m . Is a 'system of desires' a set of desires ordered in a certain w a y , arranged in a hierarchy of relative worth or essential connection with the identity of the agent, or is it simply a c o n c a t e n a t i o n of desires arbitrarily arrayed, distinguishable only by their relative intensity and accidental location? If it is the second, if a system of desires means nothing m o r e than an arbitrary collection of desires accidentally embodied in some particular h u m a n being, then it is unclear w h y the integrity of such a 'system' should be taken so morally and metaphysically seriously. If desires can properly be conflated within persons, w h y not between persons as well? If, on the other h a n d , w h a t makes a system of desires is a hierarchical o r d e r i n g of qualitatively distinguishable desires, then it w o u l d be n o m o r e justifiable to 'conflate' desires within a person than between p e r s o n s , a n d w h a t is w r o n g with utilitarianism would also be w r o n g , in this respect at least, with justice as fairness. The tendency to conflate desires, whether within persons or between them, w o u l d reflect the failure to order them, or to acknowledge the qualitative distinctions between them. But this failure cuts across the distinction between individual a n d social choice, for there is no reason to s u p p o s e t h a t a 'system of desires' in this sense corres p o n d s in all cases t o the empirically-individuated person. Com munities of various sorts could count as distinct 'systems of desires' in this sense, so long as they were identifiable in part by an order or structure of shared values partly constitutive of a c o m m o n identity or form of life. F r o m this point of view, the utilitarian failure to take seriously the distinction between persons would appear a mere s y m p t o m of its larger failure t o take seriously the qualitative distinctions of w o r t h between different orders of desires, a failure rooted in a n impoverished account of the good which justice as fairness h a s been seen t o share. For a deontological doctrine such as R a w l s ' it might be thought that viewing the g o o d as wholly mired in contingency, despite its

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implausibility generally, w o u l d have at least the redeeming advantage of m a k i n g the primacy of right all the m o r e compelling. If the good is n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n the indiscriminate satisfaction of arbitrarily-given preferences, regardless of w o r t h , it is n o t difficult to imagine t h a t the right (and for t h a t m a t t e r a g o o d m a n y other sorts of claims) must outweigh it. But in fact the morally diminished status of the g o o d must inevitably call into question the status of justice as well. For once it is conceded t h a t o u r conceptions of the good are morally arbitrary, it becomes difficult to see w h y the highest of all (social) virtues should be the one t h a t enables us to pursue these arbitrary conceptions 'as fully as circumstances permit'.

THE MORAL EPISTEMOLOGY OF JUSTICE O u r discussion of the g o o d thus brings us back to the question of justice and the claim for its priority, a n d with this w e return t o the circumstances of justice in the original position. H e r e , the distinct ness or separateness of persons on which R a w l s insists as a corrective to utilitarianism is installed as the key a s s u m p t i o n of mutual disinterest, the n o t i o n that individuals t a k e no interest in one another's interests ( 1 9 7 1 , p. 2 1 8 ) . W h e n first w e surveyed the conditions in the original position, this assumption in particular a n d the empiricist rendering of the circumstances of justice in general seemed t o u n d e r m i n e the primacy of justice in various ways. Where justice depended for its virtue o n the existence of certain empirical pre-conditions, the virtue of justice was n o longer absolute, as truth t o theories, but only conditional, as physical courage to a w a r zone; it presupposed a rival virtue or set of virtues of at least correlative status; it assumed in certain circumstances a remedial d i m e n s i o n ; " finally, where inappropriately displayed, justice appeared as a vice rather than a virtue. In s u m , a H u m e a n account of the circumstances of justice such as R a w l s explicitly a d o p t s - seemed incompatible with the privileged status of justice required by R a w l s and defended by K a n t only by recourse to a moral metaphysic Rawls found unacceptable. H u m e ' s o w n view of justice confirms its partiality, at least in so far as it is derived from premises which H u m e a n d Rawls seem to share. For H u m e , the circumstances of justice describe certain unfortunate if u n a v o i d a b l e material a n d motivational conditions of actual h u m a n societies, m o s t n o t a b l y m o d e r a t e scarcity and 'limited generosity'. Together, these circumstances d e m o n s t r a t e the

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sense in which the arrival of justice signifies the absence ol certain nobler but rarer virtues. 'If every m a n h a d a t e n d e r regard for another, or if nature supplied a b u n d a n t l y all o u r w a n t s a n d desires . . . the jealousy of interest, which justice supposes, could n o longer have place'; nor, says H u m e , w o u l d t h e r e be a n y occasion for distinctions of property a n d possession. 'Encrease to a sufficient degree the benevolence of m e n , or the b o u n t y of n a t u r e , a n d you render justice useless, by supplying its place with m u c h nobler virtues, a n d more valuable blessings.' If m a t e r i a l scarcity were replaced with abund ance, 'or if everyone h a d the s a m e affection and tender regard for everyone as for himself; justice a n d injustice would be equally u n k n o w n a m o n g m a n k i n d . ' A n d so, H u m e concludes, ' 'tis only from the scanty provision n a t u r e has m a d e for his wants, that justice derives its origin' ( 1 7 3 9 , p p . 4 9 4 - 5 ) . For H u m e , justice c a n n o t be the first virtue of social institutions (at least n o t in any categorical sense), and in some cases is doubt fully a virtue at all. In t h e institution of the family, for example, affections m a y be enlarged to such an extent that justice is scarcely engaged, m u c h less as ' t h e first virtue'. And even in the wider society, w h e r e generosity is m o r e limited and justice more exten sively engaged, its virtue can only be accounted for against a background of higher o r nobler virtues whose absence calls justice into being. In so far as m u t u a l benevolence a n d enlarged affections could be cultivated m o r e widely, the need for 'the cautious, jealous virtue of justice' w o u l d diminish in p r o p o r t i o n , and mankind would be the better for it. Were scarcity o r selfishness overcome altogether, then 'justice, being totally useless . . . could never possibly have place in the catalogue of virtue' (1777, p. 16), much less the first place t o w h i c h Rawls w o u l d assign it. But despite t h e parallel Rawls himself invites between H u m e ' s account a n d his o w n , t h e a s s u m p t i o n of m u t u a l disinterest has a different m e a n i n g for R a w l s . It does n o t imply that h u m a n beings are typically governed by 'selfishness a n d confined generosity'; indeed it is n o t m e a n t as a claim a b o u t h u m a n motivations at all. It is r a t h e r a claim a b o u t the subject of motivations. It assumes interests of a self, n o t necessarily in a self, a subject of possession individuated in a d v a n c e a n d given prior to its ends. From this there follow i m p o r t a n t consequences for the status of justice. N o longer is benevolence prior to justice and in some cases able to s u p p l a n t it. Since for Rawls, the virtue of justice does not presuppose egoistic m o t i v a t i o n s to begin with, it need not await the fading of benevolence t o find its occasion, a n d even the full

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flowering of 'enlarged affections' c a n n o t displace it. Justice ceases t o be merely remedial w i t h respect t o the ' n o b l e r virtues', for its virtue n o longer d e p e n d s o n their absence. T o the c o n t r a r y , where persons are individuated in R a w l s ' sense, justice n o t only wins its independence from prevailing sentiments a n d m o t i v a t i o n s , but comes to s t a n d a b o v e t h e m as p r i m a r y . For given the n a t u r e of the subject as Rawls conceives it, justice is n o t merely a sentiment or a feeling like o t h e r , lesser virtues, b u t a b o v e all a f r a m e w o r k that constrains these virtues a n d is 'regulative' with respect to them. Therefore in o r d e r t o realize o u r n a t u r e w e h a v e n o alterna tive b u t to plan t o preserve o u r sense of justice as governing o u r other aims. This sentiment c a n n o t be fulfilled if it is c o m p r o m i s e d a n d balanced against other ends as b u t o n e desire a m o n g the rest. . . . T o the c o n t r a r y , h o w far w e succeed in expressing o u r n a t u r e depends o n h o w consistently we act from o u r sense of justice as finally regulative. W h a t we c a n n o t d o is express o u r n a t u r e by following a plan that views the sense of justice as b u t o n e desire t o be weighed against others. For this sentiment reveals w h a t the person is, and to c o m p r o m i s e it is n o t to achieve for the self free reign b u t to give w a y t o t h e contingencies a n d accidents of the w o r l d (1971, pp. 574-5). W e have seen h o w the priority of justice, like the priority of the self, derives in large p a r t from its freedom from the contingencies a n d accidents of the w o r l d . This m u c h emerged in o u r discussion of ! right a n d t h e b o u n d s of t h e self. In the light of o u r discussion of the good w e c a n n o w also see w h y o n R a w l s ' theory of t h e subject, such virtues as benevolence a n d even love are n o t self-sufficient m o r a l ideals b u t m u s t await justice for their completion. Given the limited role for reflection o n R a w l s ' a c c o u n t , the virtues of benevolence a n d love, as features of the g o o d , a r e forms of sentiment rather t h a n insight, w a y s of feeling r a t h e r t h a n k n o w i n g . Unlike personal or first-order sentiments a n d feelings, w h o s e objects are given m o r e o r less directly t o my a w a r e n e s s , benevolence a n d love are desires w h o s e object is t h e g o o d of a n o t h e r . But given the separateness of persons a n d the intractability of the b o u n d s between them, the content of this g o o d (that is, the g o o d I wish another) m u s t be largely o p a q u e t o m e . O n R a w l s ' view, love is blind, n o t for its intensity b u t rather for the opacity of the good t h a t is the object of its concern. ' T h e r e a s o n w h y the

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situation r e m a i n s o b s c u r e is t h a t love and benevolence are secondorder n o t i o n s : they seek to further the good of beloved individuals that is already given' ( 1 9 7 1 , p. 191). If arriving at one's o w n g o o d is primarily a matter of surveying existing preferences a n d assessing their relative intensities, it is not the sort of e n q u i r y in which another, even an intimate other, can readily participate. O n l y the person himself can ' k n o w ' w h a t he really w a n t s o r ' d e c i d e ' w h a t he m o s t prefers. 'Even when we take up a n o t h e r ' s p o i n t of view a n d a t t e m p t to estimate what would be to his a d v a n t a g e , we d o so as an adviser, so to speak' (1971, p. 448), a n d given the limited cognitive access Rawls' conception allows, a r a t h e r unprivileged adviser at that. Although we m a y at times overcome the difficulty of knowing the good of a beloved individual w h o s e interests we would advance, the problem becomes hopelessly c o m p o u n d e d when we would extend our love or benevolence to a plurality of persons whose interests may conflict. For we could not h o p e to k n o w their respective goods well e n o u g h t o sort t h e m o u t and assess their relative claims. Even if benevolence could be as widely cultivated as H u m e in his hypoth etical vision suggests, its virtue w o u l d still not be self-sufficient, for it would r e m a i n unclear, w i t h o u t m o r e , w h a t the love of mankind w o u l d enjoin, i t is quite pointless to say that one is to judge the situation as benevolence dictates. This assumes that we are wrongly swayed by self-concern. O u r p r o b l e m lies elsewhere. Benevolence is at sea as long as its m a n y loves are in opposition in the persons of its m a n y objects' ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 190). N o t surprisingly, the anchor this benevolence requires is supplied by the virtue of justice; benevo lence, even at its m o s t expansive, depends on justice for its completion. 'A love of m a n k i n d t h a t wishes to preserve the distinction of p e r s o n s , to recognize the separateness of life and experience, will use the t w o principles of justice to determine its aims w h e n the m a n y g o o d s it cherishes are in opposition' ( j' P- 191). Even in the face of so noble a virtue as the love of mankind, the primacy of justice prevails, although the love that remains is of an oddly judicial spirit.
l 9 7

This love is guided by w h a t individuals themselves would consent t o in a fair initial situation which gives them equal representation as m o r a l persons ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 191). T h u s w e see t h a t the a s s u m p t i o n of the mutual disinterested ness of the parties does n o t prevent a reasonable interpreta-

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tion of benevolence a n d of the love of m a n k i n d within the framework of justice as fairness [emphasis added] ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 192). For Rawls, the consequences of t a k i n g seriously the distinction between persons are n o t directly m o r a l b u t m o r e decisively epistemological. W h a t the b o u n d s between persons confine is less the reach of our sentiments - this they d o n o t prejudge - t h a n the reach of o u r understanding, of our cognitive access to others. And it is this epistemic deficit (which derives from the n a t u r e of the subject) m o r e than any shortage of benevolence (which is in any case variable a n d contingent) that requires justice for its remedy a n d so accounts for its pre-eminence. W h e r e for H u m e , w e need justice because we d o not love each other well e n o u g h , for Rawls we need justice because we c a n n o t know each other well e n o u g h for even love to serve alone. But as our discussion of agency a n d reflection suggests, we are neither as t r a n s p a r e n t to ourselves n o r as o p a q u e to others as R a w l s ' m o r a l epistemology requires. If o u r agency is to consist in something more than the exercise in 'efficient a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' which R a w l s ' account implies, w e ^ m u s t be capable of a deeper introspection t h a n a 'direct self-knowledge' of o u r i m m e d i a t e wants a n d desires allows. But to be capable of a m o r e t h o r o u g h g o i n g reflection, w e c a n n o t be wholly u n e n c u m b e r e d subjects of posses sion, individuated in advance a n d given prior t o o u r ends, b u t must be subjects constituted in part by o u r central aspirations and a t t a c h m e n t s , always o p e n , indeed vulnerable, t o g r o w t h and transformation in the light of revised self-understandings. And in so ' far as o u r constitutive self-understandings c o m p r e h e n d a wider subject t h a n the individual alone, w h e t h e r a family or tribe or city o r class o r nation or people, t o this extent they define a c o m m u n i t y in the constitutive sense. And w h a t m a r k s such a c o m m u n i t y is not merely a spirit of benevolence, or the prevalence of c o m m u n i t a r i a n values, or even certain 'shared final e n d s ' alone, b u t a c o m m o n vocabulary of discourse a n d a b a c k g r o u n d of implicit practices and understandings within which the opacity of the participants is reduced if never finally dissolved. In so far as justice depends for its pre-eminence o n the separateness or boundedness of p e r s o n s in the cognitive sense, its priority w o u l d diminish as t h a t opacity faded a n d this c o m m u n i t y deepened.

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JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY Of any society it can a l w a y s be asked to w h a t extent it is just, or 'well-ordered' in R a w l s ' sense, a n d to w h a t extent it is a com munity, a n d the a n s w e r can in neither case fully be given by reference t o the sentiments a n d desires of the participants alone. As Rawls observes, t o ask w h e t h e r a particular society is just is not simply to ask w h e t h e r a large n u m b e r of its members happen to have a m o n g their v a r i o u s desires the desire to act justly - although this may be o n e feature of a just society - but whether the society is itself a society of a certain kind, ordered in a certain way, such that justice describes its 'basic s t r u c t u r e ' a n d not merely the dispositions of persons w i t h i n the s t r u c t u r e . T h u s Rawls writes that although we call the attitudes a n d dispositions of persons just and unjust, for justice as fairness the ' p r i m a r y subject of justice is the basic structure of society' ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 7). For a society to be just in this strong sense, justice m u s t be constitutive of its framework and not simply an a t t r i b u t e of certain of the participants' plans of life. Similarly, to ask w h e t h e r a particular society is a community is not simply t o ask w h e t h e r a large n u m b e r of its members happen to have a m o n g their various desires the desire to associate with others or to p r o m o t e c o m m u n i t a r i a n aims - although this may be one feature of a c o m m u n i t y - b u t w h e t h e r the society is itself a society of a certain k i n d , o r d e r e d in a certain way, such that community describes its basic s t r u c t u r e and not merely the dispositions of persons w i t h i n the s t r u c t u r e . For a society to be a community in this strong sense, c o m m u n i t y m u s t be constitutive of the shared selfunderstandings of the p a r t i c i p a n t s a n d embodied in their institu tional a r r a n g e m e n t s , n o t simply an attribute of certain of the participants' p l a n s of life. Rawls m i g h t object t h a t a constitutive conception of community such as this s h o u l d be rejected 'for reasons of clarity among others', or on the g r o u n d s t h a t it supposes society to be 'an organic whole with a life of its o w n distinct from and superior t o that of all its members in their relations with o n e another' ( 1 9 7 1 , p . 264). But a constitutive c o n c e p t i o n of c o m m u n i t y is n o m o r e metaphysically Problematic t h a n a constitutive conception of justice such as Rawls defends. F o r if this n o t i o n of c o m m u n i t y describes a framework ot self-understandings t h a t is distinguishable from and in some sense Prior to the sentiments a n d dispositions of individuals within the framework, it is only in the same sense that justice as fairness describes a 'basic s t r u c t u r e ' or framework that is likewise distm-

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guishable from a n d prior to the sentiments a n d dispositions of individuals within it. If utilitarianism fails t o t a k e seriously o u r distinctness, justice as fairness fails to take seriously our c o m m o n a l i t y . In regarding the b o u n d s of the self as prior, fixed o n c e a n d for all, it relegates our c o m m o n a l i t y t o a n aspect of the g o o d , a n d relegates the g o o d to a mere contingency, a p r o d u c t of indiscriminate w a n t s a n d desires ' n o t relevant from a m o r a l s t a n d p o i n t ' . Given a conception of the good t h a t is diminished in this way, the priority of right w o u l d seem an unexceptionable claim indeed. But utilitarianism gave the good a bad n a m e , and in a d o p t i n g it uncritically, justice as fairness wins for deontology a false victory.

II For justice to be the first virtue, certain things m u s t be true of us. W e must be creatures of a certain kind, related t o h u m a n circumstance in a certain way. W e m u s t stand at a certain distance from o u r circumstance, w h e t h e r as t r a n s c e n d e n t a l subject in the case of Kant, or as essentially u n e n c u m b e r e d subject of possession in the case of R a w l s . Either w a y , w e must regard ourselves as independent: independent from the interests a n d a t t a c h m e n t s we m a y have at any m o m e n t , never identified by o u r aims b u t always capable of standing back to survey a n d asssess a n d possibly to revise them (Rawls, 1 9 7 9 , p . 7 ; 1 9 8 0 , p p . 5 4 4 - 5 ) .

DEONTOLOGY'S LIBERATING PROJECT Bound up with the notion of an independent self is a vision of the moral universe this self must inhabit. Unlike classical Greek and medieval Christian conceptions, the universe of the deontological ethic is a place devoid of inherent meaning, a w o r l d 'disenchanted' in M a x W e b e r ' s phrase, a world w i t h o u t an objective m o r a l order. Only in a universe empty of telos, such as seventeenth-century science and philosophy affirmed, is it possible to conceive a subject a p a r t from a n d prior t o its purposes a n d ends. O n l y a w o r l d ungoverned by a purposive order leaves principles of justice o p e n to h u m a n construction a n d conceptions of the g o o d t o individual choice. In this the depth of opposition between deontological liberalism and teleological world views most fully a p p e a r s . W h e r e neither n a t u r e n o r cosmos supplies a meaningful o r d e r to
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be grasped or a p p r e h e n d e d , it falls to h u m a n subjects to constitute meaning o n their o w n . T h i s w o u l d explain the prominence of contract theory from H o b b e s o n w a r d , and the corresponding emphasis o n voluntarist as against cognitive ethics culminating in Kant. W h a t can n o longer be found remains s o m e h o w to be created. R a w l s describes his o w n view in this connection as a version of K a n t i a n 'constructivism'.
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The parties t o the original position d o not agree on w h a t the moral facts a r e , as if t h e r e w e r e already such facts. It is not that, being situated impartially, they have a clear and undistorted view of a prior a n d independent moral order. Rather (for constructivism), there is no such order, a n d therefore n o such facts a p a r t from the procedure as a whole [emphasis a d d e d ] ( 1 9 8 0 , p . 5 6 8 ) . Similarly for K a n t , t h e m o r a l law is not a discovery of theoretical reason but a deliverance of practical reason, the product of pure will. 'The elementary practical concepts have as their foundation the form of a p u r e will given in r e a s o n ' , and w h a t makes this will authoritative is t h a t it legislates in a w o r l d w h e r e meaning has yet to arrive. Practical reason finds its advantage over theoretical reason precisely in this voluntarist faculty, in its capacity to generate practical precepts directly, w i t h o u t recourse to cognition. 'Since in all precepts of the p u r e will it is only a question of the determination of will', there is n o need for these precepts 'to wait upon intuitions in o r d e r t o acquire a meaning. This occurs for the noteworthy reason t h a t they themselves produce the reality of that to which they refer' [emphasis added] ( 1 7 8 8 , p p . 6 7 - 8 ) . It is i m p o r t a n t t o recall t h a t , on the deontological view, the notion of a self b a r r e n of essential aims and attachments does not imply that w e are beings wholly w i t h o u t p u r p o s e or incapable of moral ties, b u t r a t h e r t h a t the values a n d relations we have are the products of choice, the possessions of a self given prior to its ends. It is similar with d e o n t o l o g y ' s universe. T h o u g h it rejects the possibility of a n objective m o r a l o r d e r , this liberalism does not hold that just a n y t h i n g goes. It affirms justice, not nihilism. The notion of a universe e m p t y of intrinsic meaning does not, on the deontological view, imply a w o r l d wholly ungoverned by regulative Principles, b u t r a t h e r a m o r a l universe inhabited by subjects capable of c o n s t i t u t i n g m e a n i n g o n their o w n - as agents of construction in case of the right, as agents of choice in the case of the good. Qua n o u m e n a l selves, or parties t o the original position,

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we arrive at principles of justice; qua actual, individual selves, we arrive at conceptions of the good. A n d the principles w e construct as n o u m e n a l selves constrain (but d o n o t determine) the purposes we choose as individual selves. This reflects the priority of the right over the good. T h e deontological universe and the independent self t h a t moves within it, taken together, hold o u t a liberating vision. Freed from the dictates of nature a n d the sanction of social roles, the deontological subject is installed as sovereign, cast as the a u t h o r of the only moral meanings there are. As i n h a b i t a n t s of a w o r l d w i t h o u t telos, w e are free t o construct principles of justice unconstrained by an order of value antecedently given. Although the principles of justice are n o t strictly speaking a m a t t e r of choice, the society they define ' c o m e s as close as a society can to being a voluntary scheme' (1976, p. 13), for they arise from a pure will or act of construction n o t answerable t o a prior m o r a l order. A n d as independent selves, we are free to choose o u r p u r p o s e s a n d ends unconstrained by such an order, o r by custom o r tradition or inherited status. So long as they are n o t unjust, o u r conceptions of the good carry weight, whatever they a r e , simply in virtue of o u r having chosen t h e m . W e are 'self-originating sources of valid claims' (Rawls, 1 9 8 0 , p. 5 4 3 ) . N o w justice is the virtue t h a t e m b o d i e s d e o n t o l o g y ' s liberating vision and allows it t o unfold. It embodies this vision by describing those principles the sovereign subject is said t o construct while situated prior to the constitution of all value. It allows the vision to unfold in t h a t , e q u i p p e d with these principles, the just society regulates each person's choice of e n d s in a w a y c o m p a t i b l e w i t h a similar liberty for all. Citizens governed by justice are thus enabled to realize deontology's liberating project - to exercise their capacity as 'self-originating sources of valid claims' - as fully as circum stances permit. So t h e primacy of justice at once expresses a n d advances the liberating aspirations of t h e deontological w o r l d view a n d conception of the self. But the deontological vision is flawed, both within its o w n terms and m o r e generally as an account of o u r moral experience. W i t h i n its own terms, the deontological self, stripped of all possible constitutive a t t a c h m e n t s , is less liberated than d i s e m p o w e r e d . As we have seen, neither the right n o r the good admits of the voluntarist derivation deontology requires. As agents of c o n s t r u c tion we d o not really construct (Sandel, 1 9 8 2 , chapter 3) a n d as agents of choice w e d o n o t really choose (Sandel, 1 9 8 2 , chapter 4 ) . W h a t goes on behind the veil of ignorance is n o t a c o n t r a c t or

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an agreement b u t if a n y t h i n g a kind of discovery; a n d w h a t goes on in 'purely preferential c h o i c e is less a c h o o s i n g of ends t h a n a matching of pre-existing desires, undifferentiated as to w o r t h , with the best available m e a n s of satisfying t h e m . For the parties to the original position, as for the parties to o r d i n a r y deliberative rationality, the liberating m o m e n t fades before it arrives; the sovereign subject is left at sea in the circumstances it w a s t h o u g h t t o command. The moral frailty of t h e d e o n t o l o g i c a l self also a p p e a r s at the level of first-order principles. H e r e w e found t h a t the indepen dent self, being essentially dispossessed, w a s t o o thin to be capable of desert in the o r d i n a r y sense (Sandel, 1 9 8 2 , chapter 2). For claims of desert p r e s u p p o s e thickly-constituted selves, beings capable of possession in the constitutive sense, b u t the d e o n t o logical self is wholly w i t h o u t possessions of this kind. Acknowledg ing this lack, R a w l s w o u l d f o u n d entitlements on legitimate expectations instead. If w e are i n c a p a b l e of desert, at least we are entitled t h a t institutions h o n o u r the e x p e c t a t i o n s to which they give rise. But the difference principle requires m o r e . It begins with the thought, congenial t o t h e d e o n t o l o g i c a l view, t h a t the assets I have are only accidentally m i n e . But it e n d s by a s s u m i n g that these assets are therefore c o m m o n assets and t h a t society h a s a prior claim on the fruits of their exercise. This either d i s e m p o w e r s the deontologW cal self or denies its i n d e p e n d e n c e . Either my prospects are left at the mercy of institutions established for ' p r i o r a n d independent social ends' {Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, p. 313), ends which may or m a y n o t coincide w i t h my o w n , or I m u s t count myself a m e m b e r of a c o m m u n i t y defined in p a r t by those ends, in which case I cease t o be u n e n c u m b e r e d by constitutive attachments. Either way, the difference principle c o n t r a d i c t s the liberating aspiration of the d e o n t o l o g i c a l project. W e c a n n o t be. p e r s o n s for whom justice is p r i m a r y a n d also be p e r s o n s for w h o m the difference principle is a principle of justice. CHARACTER, SELF-KNOWLEDGE, AND FRIENDSHIP If the deontological ethic fails t o r e d e e m its o w n liberating promise, " also fails plausibly t o a c c o u n t for certain indispensable aspects of u r moral experience. F o r d e o n t o l o g y KSststEat w e view ourselves as independent selves, i n d e p e n d e n t in the sense t h a t o u r identity is never tied t o o u r aims a n d a t t a c h m e n t s . Given o u r 'moral p o w e r to lorm, to revise, a n d rationally t o p u r s u e a conception of the good

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(Rawls, 1 9 8 0 , p . 5 4 4 ) , the continuity of o u r identity is u n p r o b l e m a tically assured. N o transformation of m y aims a n d a t t a c h m e n t s could call into question the person I a m , for n o such allegiances, h o w e v e r deeply held, could possibly engage my identity to begin with. But w e c a n n o t regard ourselves as i n d e p e n d e n t in this way w i t h o u t great cost to those loyalties a n d convictions w h o s e moral force consists partly in the fact that living by t h e m is inseparable from u n d e r s t a n d i n g ourselves as the particular persons w e are as m e m b e r s of this family o r c o m m u n i t y o r nation or people, as bearers of this history, as sons a n d daughters of that revolution, as citizens of this republic. Allegiances such as these are more than values I h a p p e n t o have or aims I 'espouse at any given time'. They go beyond the obligations 1 voluntarily incur a n d the 'natural duties' I o w e t o h u m a n beings as such. They allow t h a t t o s o m e I o w e m o r e t h a n justice requires or even permits, n o t by reason of agreements I have m a d e b u t instead in virtue of those m o r e o r less e n d u r i n g a t t a c h m e n t s a n d c o m m i t m e n t s which taken together partly define the person I am. T o imagine a person incapable of constitutive a t t a c h m e n t s such as these is n o t t o conceive an ideally free and rational agent, b u t to imagine ajperson wholly w i t h o u t character, w i t h o u t m o r a l depth. For to have characterTs to k n o w t h a t I move in a history I neither s u m m o n n o r c o m m a n d , which carries consequences n o n e the less for m y choices a n d conduct. It d r a w s m e closer to some and m o r e distant from others; it m a k e s some aims m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e , others less so. As a self-interpreting.being, I a m able to reflect o n my history and in this sense to distance myself from it, b u t the distance is always precarious a n d provisional, the p o i n t of reflection never finally secured outside the history itself. A person with character thus k n o w s t h a t h e is implicated in v a r i o u s ways even as he reflects, a n d feels the m o r a l weight of w h a t h e k n o w s . This makes a difference for agency and self-knowledge. For, as w e have seen, the deontological self, being wholly w i t h o u t charac ter, is incapable of self-knowledge in any morally serious sense. W h e r e the self is u n e n c u m b e r e d a n d essentially dispossessed, n o person is left for sef/'-reflection t o reflect u p o n . This is w h y , o n the deontological view, deliberation a b o u t ends can only be an exercise in arbitrariness. In the absence of constitutive a t t a c h m e n t s , deliberation issues in 'purely preferential choice', which m e a n s the ends w e seek, being mired in contingency, ' a r e n o t relevant from a m o r a l s t a n d p o i n t ' (Rawls, 1 9 7 5 , p . 5 3 7 ) . W h e n I act o u t of m o r e o r less e n d u r i n g qualities of character, by

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contrast, my choice of ends is n o t arbitrary in the same way. In consulting my preferences, I have n o t only to weigh their intensity but also to assess their suitability t o the person I (already) am. I ask, as I deliberate, n o t only w h a t I really w a n t b u t w h o I really am,jind this last question takes m e beyond an attention to my desires alone to reflect o n m y identity itself. While the contours of my identity will in s o m e ways be o p e n a n d subject to revision, they are not wholly w i t h o u t shape. A n d the fact that they are not enables me to discriminate a m o n g m y m o r e immediate wants and desires; some n o w a p p e a r essential, others merely incidental to my defining projects a n d c o m m i t m e n t s . Although there may be a certain ultimate contingency in my having w o u n d u p the person I am only theology can say for sure it makes a moral difference none the less t h a t , being the person I a m , I affirm these ends rather than those, t u r n this w a y r a t h e r than that. While the notion of constitutive a t t a c h m e n t s m a y at first seem an obstacle to agency the self, n o w e n c u m b e r e d , is n o longer strictly prior some relative fixity of c h a r a c t e r a p p e a r s essential to prevent the lapse into arbitrariness w h i c h the deontological self is unable to avoid. T h e possibility of character in the constitutive sense is also indispensable to a certain kind of friendship, a friendship marked by m u t u a l insight as well as sentiment. By any account, friendship is b o u n d u p with certain feelings. We like o u r friends; w e have affection for t h e m , a n d wish them well. W e h o p e that their desires find satisfaction, t h a t their plans meet with success, and we commit ourselves in various w a y s to advancing their ends. But for p e r s o n s p r e s u m e d incapable of constitutive attachments, acts of friendship such as these face a powerful constraint. However much I m i g h t h o p e for the g o o d of a friend a n d stand ready to advance it, only the friend himself can k n o w w h a t that good is^ This restricted access to t h e g o o d ofJ>thers follows from i f i e j i m i t e d scope for self-reflection, which betrays in turn the thinness of the deontological self to begin with. W h e r e deliberating about my good m e a n s n o m o r e t h a n attending to w a n t s and desires given directly t o my a w a r e n e s s , I m u s t d o it o n my o w n ; it neither requires nor admits t h e participation of others. Every act of friendship thus becomes parasitic o n a g o o d identifiable in advance. 'Benevolence a n d love are second-order n o t i o n s : they seek to further the good of beloved individuals t h a t is already given' (Rawls, 1 9 7 1 , p . 191). Even the friendliest sentiments must await a m o m e n t of introspec tion itself inaccessible t o friendship. T o expect more of any friend, o r t o offer m o r e , can only be a p r e s u m p t i o n against the ultimate privacy of self-knowledge.
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For_persons e n c u m b e r e d in p a r t by a history they share with o t h e r s , by contrast, k n o w i n g oneself is a m o r e complicated thing. It is also a less strictly private thing. W h e r e seeking my g o o d is b o u n d up~with expUifirig my identity and I n t e r p r e t i n g my life history, the knowledge I seek is less t r a n s p a r e n t t o me a n d less o p a q u e to others. Friendship becomes a w a y of k n o w i n g as well as liking. Uncertain which p a t h t o t a k e , I consult a friend w h o k n o w s me well, a n d together w e deliberate, offering and assessing by turns competing descriptions of the person I a m , a n d of the alternatives I face as they bear o n my identity. T o take seriously such deliberation is to allow t h a t my friend m a y grasp s o m e t h i n g I have missed, m a y offer a m o r e a d e q u a t e a c c o u n t of the w a y my identity is engaged in the alternatives before me. T o a d o p t this n e w description is t o see myself "In a n e w way; my old self-image n o w seems partial or occluded, and I may say in retrospect t h a t my friend k n e w me better t h a n I k n e w myself. T o deliberate w i t h friends is t o a d m i t this possibility, which presupposes in t u r n a m o r e richly-constituted self t h a n deontology allows. While there will of course r e m a i n times w h e n friendship requires deference t o the self-image of a friend, however flawed, this t o o requires insight; here the need t o defer implies the ability to k n o w . So to see ourselves as deontology w o u l d see us is t o deprive us of those qualities of character, reflectiveness, a n d friendship t h a t depend on the possibility of constitutive projects a n d a t t a c h m e n t s . A n d t o see ourselves as given to c o m m i t m e n t s such as these is to a d m i t a deeper c o m m o n a l i t y than benevolence describes, a com monality of shared self-understanding as well as 'enlarged affec tions'. As t h e i n d e p e n d e n t self finds its limits in those aims a n d a t t a c h m e n t s from which it cannot stand apart, so justice finds its limits In those Forms of c o m m u n i t y that engajge the identity as well as the interests of the p a r t i c m a l i t s ^ T o all of this, deontology might finally reply with a concession a n d a distinction: it is one thing to allow t h a t 'citizens in their personal affairs . . . have a t t a c h m e n t s a n d loves t h a t they believe they w o u l d n o t , o r could not, stand a p a r t from', t h a t they 'regard it as u n t h i n k a b l e . . . to view themselves w i t h o u t certain religious a n d philosophical convictions a n d c o m m i t m e n t s ' (Rawls, 1 9 8 0 , p . 5 4 5 ) . But with p u b l i c . life it is different. Therej^ n o loyalty or allegiance could b e similarly essential to o u r sense of w h o we are. Unlike our ties t o family a n d friends, n o devotion to city or n a t i o n , t o p a r t y o r cause, could possibly r u n deep enough to b e defining. By contrast with o u r private identity, our 'public identity' as m o r a l persons 'is n o t affected by changes over t i m e in o u r conceptions of
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the good (Rawls, 1 9 8 0 , p p . 5 4 4 - 5 ) . While we may be thicklyconstituted selves in private, we must be wholly unencumbered selves in public, a n d it is there that the primacy of justice prevails. But once we recall the special status of the deontological claim, it is unclear w h a t the g r o u n d s for this distinction could be. It might seem at first glance a psychological distinction; detachment conies more easily in public life, where the ties we have are typically less compelling; I can m o r e easily step back from, say, my partisan allegiances t h a n certain personal loyalties and affections. But as we have seen from the start, deontology's claim for the independence of the self must be m o r e than a claim of psychology or sociology. Otherwise, the primacy of justice w o u l d hang on the degree of benevolence a n d fellow-feeling any particular society managed to inspire. T h e independence of the self does not mean that I can, as a psychological matter, s u m m o n in this or that circumstance the d e t a c h m e n t required to stand outside my values and ends, rather that I m u s t regard myself as the bearer of a self distinct from my values a n d ends, w h a t e v e r they may be. It is above all an epistemological claim, a n d has little t o d o with the relative intensity of feeling associated w i t h public or private relations. U n d e r s t o o d as a n epistemological claim, however, the deonto logical conception of the self c a n n o t admit the distinction required. Allowing constitutive possibilities where 'private' ends are at stake w o u l d seem u n a v o i d a b l y to a l l o w j n least the possibility that 'public' ends could be constiTijt7v^sjyje}I Once the bounds of the self are n o longer fixed, individuated in advance and given prior to experience, t h e r e is n o saying in principle w h a t sorts of experiences could shape o r reshape them, n o guarantee that only 'private' and never ' p u b l i c ' events could conceivably be decisive. N o t egoists b u t strangers, sometimes benevolent, m a k e for citizens of the deontological republic; justice finds its occasion because we c a n n o t k n o w each o t h e r , or o u r ends, well enough to govern by the c o m m o n g o o d alone. This condition is not likely to fade altogether, a n d so long as it does not, justice will be necessary. But neither is it g u a r a n t e e d always t o p r e d o m i n a t e , and in so far as it does not, c o m m u n i t y will be possible, a n d an unsettling presence for justice. Liberalism teaches respect for the distance of self and ends, and when this distance is lost, w e are submerged in a circumstance that ceases t o be o u r s . But by seeking to secure this distance too completely, liberalism u n d e r m i n e s its o w n insight. Bj^putting the self beyond the r e a c h of politics, it makes h u m a n agency an article of faith r a t h e r t h a n a n object of continuing attention and concern, a

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premise of politics r a t h e r t h a n its p r e c a r i o u s achievement. This misses the p a t h o s of politics a n d also its m o s t inspiring possibilities. It overlooks the d a n g e r t h a t w h e n politics goes badly, not only d i s a p p o i n t m e n t s but also dislocations are likely t o result. And it forgets the possibility t h a t w h e n politics goes well, we can know a g o o d in c o m m o n that we c a n n o t k n o w a l o n e . NOTES For a compelling critique of Dworkin's view in this respect, see H. L. A. Hart (1979, pp. 86-9). For discussion of the moral, political, and epistemological consequences of the seventeenth-century scientific revolution and world-view, see Strauss, 1953; Arendt, 1958, pp. 2 4 8 - 3 2 5 ; Wolin, 1960, pp. 239-85; and Taylor, 1975, pp. 3-50. As one liberal writer boldly asserts, 'The hard truth is this: There is no moral meaning hidden in the bowels of the universe. . . . Yet there is no need to be overwhelmed by the void. We may create our own meanings, you and I' (Ackerman, 1980, p. 368). Oddly enough, he insists none the less that liberalism is committed to no particular metaphysic or epistemology, nor any 'Big Questions of a highly controversial character' (pp. 356-7,361). BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackerman, B.A. 1980. Social Justice in the Liberal State, New Haven. Arendt, H. 1958. The Human Condition, Chicago. Dworkin, R. 1977. Taking Rights Seriously, London. Hart, H.L.A. 1979. Between utility and rights. In The Idea of Freedom, ed. A. Ryan, pp.77-98. Oxford. Hume, D. 1739. A Treatise of Human Nature, 2nd edn, ed. L. A. SelbyBigge, 1978. Oxford. Hume, D. 1777. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 1966 edn, La Salle, Illinois. Kant, I. 1788. Critique of Practical Reason, translated by L. W. Beck, 1956. Indianapolis. Rawls, J. 1971. A Theory of Justice, Oxford. Rawls, J. 1975. Fairness to goodness, Philosophical Review, 84, pp.536-54. Rawls, J. 1979. A well-ordered society. In Philosophy, Politics, and Society, 5th series, eds P. Laslett and J. Fishkin, p p . 6 - 2 0 . Oxford. Rawls, J. 1980. Kantian constructivism in moral theory, Journal of Philosophy, 77, pp.5 I S - 7 2 . Sandel, M. 1982. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Cambridge. Strauss, L. 1953. Natural Right and History, Chicago. Taylor, C. 1975. Hegel, Cambridge. Wolin, S. 1960. Politics and Vision, Boston.

Charles Taylor: Hegel: History and Politics*

. . Kant's m o r a l theory remained at the edges of politics, as it were, setting limits b e y o n d w h i c h states o r individuals should not tread. For Hegel, in c o n t r a s t , morality can only receive a concrete content in politics, in the design of the society we have to further and sustain. This set of obligations which we have to further and sustain a society f o u n d e d o n t h e Idea is w h a t Hegel calls 'Sittlichkeif. This has been variously translated in English, as 'ethical life', 'objective ethics', 'concrete ethics', b u t n o translation can capture the sense of this term of a r t , and I p r o p o s e t o use the original here. 'Sittlichkeif is the usual G e r m a n t e r m for 'ethics', with the same kind of etymological origin, in t h e term 'Sitten' which we might translate 'customs'. But Hegel gives it a special sense, in contrast to 'Moralitat' (which of course has a parallel etymological origin in ' m o r e s ' , a l t h o u g h being Latin it w o u l d not be so evident to German readers). 'Sittlichkeif refers t o t h e moral obligations I have to an ongoing c o m m u n i t y of w h i c h I a m part. These obligations are based on established n o r m s a n d uses, a n d t h a t is why the etymological root in 'Sitten' is i m p o r t a n t for Hegel's u s e . The crucial characteristic of Sittlicbkeit is t h a t it enjoins us t o bring a b o u t w h a t already is. This is a p a r a d o x i c a l w a y of p u t t i n g it, but in fact the common life which is the basis of m y sittlich obligation is already there in existence. It is in virtue of its being an ongoing affair that I have these obligations; a n d m y fulfilment of these obligations is what sustains
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* 1975 Cambridge University Press. Reprinted from Hegel by Charles T a y l o r 1975, by permission of the publisher.

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it and keeps it in being. H e n c e in Sittlichkeit, there is n o gap between w h a t o u g h t t o be and w h a t is, between Sollen a n d Sein. With Moralitdt, the opposite holds. H e r e we h a v e an obligation to realize something which does n o t exist. W h a t o u g h t t o be contrasts with w h a t is. And connected with this, the obligation holds of me n o t in virtue of being p a r t of a larger c o m m u n i t y life, but as an individual rational will. Hegel's critique of Kant can then be p u t in this w a y : Kant identifies ethical obligation with Moralitdt' and c a n n o t get beyond this. For he presents an abstract, formal n o t i o n of m o r a l obligation, which holds of m a n as an individual, and which being defined in contrast t o n a t u r e is in endless opposition to w h a t is. W e can see h o w all of Hegel's reproaches against K a n t ' s moral philosophy are systematically connected. Because it remained with a purely formal notion of reason, it could not provide a content to moral obligation. Because it w o u l d not accept the only valid content, which comes from an o n g o i n g society to w h i c h w e belong, it remained an ethic of the individual. Because it shied a w a y from t h a t larger life of which we are a p a r t , it s a w the right as forever o p p o s e d to the real; morality and n a t u r e are always at loggerheads. The doctrine of Sittlichkeit is that morality reaches its completion in a c o m m u n i t y . This both give obligation its definitive content, as well as realizing it, so that the gap between Sollen a n d Sein is m a d e u p . Hegel started off as we saw, following Kant in distinguishing will and freedom from n a t u r e . But the fulfilment of freedom is w h e n n a t u r e (here society, which started in a r a w , primitive form) is m a d e over to the d e m a n d s of reason. Because the realization of the Idea requires t h a t m a n be p a r t of a larger life in a society, m o r a l life reaches its highest realization in Sittlichkeit. This highest realization is an achievement, of course, it is not present t h r o u g h o u t history, and there are even periods where public life has been so emptied of spirit, that Moralitdt expresses something higher. But the fulfilment of morality comes in a realized Sittlichkeit. This is the point where Hegel runs counter to the moral instinct of liberalism then a n d n o w . Between obligations w h i c h are founded o n o u r m e m b e r s h i p of some c o m m u n i t y a n d those which are n o t so contingent we tend to think of the latter as transcending the former, as the truly universal m o r a l obligations. Hegel's reversal of the o r d e r a n d his exalted view of political society is w h a t has inspired accusations of 'Prussianism', state-worship, even proto-Fascism. W e can see already h o w wide of the m a r k these are. W e t e n d to think of Moralitdt as more fundamental because w e see the moral

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man as being ever in d a n g e r of being asked by his c o m m u n i t y t o d o the unconscionable. A n d particularly so in an age of nationalism. We are p r o b a b l y right in feeling this in o u r age, b u t it was not w h a t Hegel foresaw. T h e c o m m u n i t y w h i c h is the locus of o u r fullest moral life is a state w h i c h c o m e s close to a t r u e e m b o d i m e n t of the Idea. Hegel t h o u g h t t h a t the states of his day w e r e building t o w a r d s that. He was w r o n g , a n d w e shall discuss this m o r e later on. But it is ludicrous t o a t t r i b u t e a view like ' m y g o v e r n m e n t right or w r o n g ' to Hegel, or to t h i n k t h a t he w o u l d have a p p r o v e d the kind of blind following of orders of G e r m a n soldiers a n d functionaries u n d e r the Third Reich, which w a s a t i m e if ever t h e r e w a s o n e when Moralitat had the higher claim. We should n o t forget t h a t t w o of Hegel's ' h e r o e s ' , i.e. pivotal figures, in history are Socrates a n d Jesus, b o t h of w h o m under mined or b r o k e with the Sittlichkeit of their people, and struck off on their o w n . Hegel's p o i n t is, h o w e v e r , t h a t m a n ' s (and Geist's) true realization c a n n o t c o m e like this. N o m a t t e r w h a t great spiritual t r u t h s a m a n discovered, they could n o t be m a d e real, i.e. embodied, if he r e m a i n s o n his o w n . As an individual he depends o n his society in a h o s t of w a y s , a n d if it is unregenerate, then he cannot realize the g o o d . If he d o e s n o t w a n t t o c o m p r o m i s e his truth and c o r r u p t his message, then he m u s t either w i t h d r a w , and/or offer a challenge t o his society which will earn him the fate of Christ or Socrates. Full realization of freedom requires a society for the Aristotelian reason t h a t a society is t h e m i n i m u m self-sufficient h u m a n reality. In putting Sittlichkeit at the a p e x , Hegel is - consciously - fol lowing Aristotle. A n d in following Aristotle, the ancient Greek world. For the last t i m e t h a t the w o r l d s a w an effortless and undivided Sittlichkeit w a s a m o n g the Greeks. Hegel's notion of Sittlichkeit is in p a r t a r e n d e r i n g of t h a t expressive unity which his whole generation saw in the Greek polis, w h e r e - it was believed men h a d seen the collective life of their city as the essence and meaning of their o w n lives, h a d s o u g h t their glory in its public life, their r e w a r d s in p o w e r a n d r e p u t a t i o n within it, a n d immortality in its m e m o r y . It w a s his expression for t h a t vertu which Montesquieu h a d seen as the m a i n s p r i n g of republics. In c o m m o n with his generation he recognized t h a t this Sittlichkeit w a s lost forever in its original form, b u t a l o n g with m a n y of his contemporaries he aspired to see it r e b o r n in a n e w w a y . The idea t h a t o u r highest a n d m o s t complete m o r a l existence is o n e we can only a t t a i n to as m e m b e r s of a c o m m u n i t y obviously takes

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us beyond the contract theory of m o d e r n n a t u r a l law, or the utilitarian conception of society as an i n s t r u m e n t of the general happiness. For these societies are n o t the focus of independent obligations, let alone the highest claims w h i c h can be m a d e on us. Their existence simply gives a particular shape t o pre-existing m o r a l obligations, e.g. the keeping of p r o m i s e s , o r the furtherance of the greatest happiness of the greatest n u m b e r . T h e doctrine which p u t s Sittlichkeit at the apex of m o r a l life requires a notion of society as a larger c o m m u n i t y life, to recall the expression used above, in which m a n participates as a m e m b e r . N o w this n o t i o n displaces the centre of gravity, as it were, from the individual on to the c o m m u n i t y , which is seen as the locus of a life or subjectivity, of which the individuals are phases. The c o m m u n i t y is an e m b o d i m e n t of Geist, a n d a fuller, more substantial e m b o d i m e n t t h a n the individual. This idea of a subjec tive life b e y o n d the individual has been the source of much resistance t o Hegel's philosophy. For it has seemed t o the c o m m o n sense at least of the Anglo-Saxon w o r l d ( n u r t u r e d by a certain philosophical tradition) as b o t h wildly e x t r a v a g a n t in a speculative sense, a n d morally very d a n g e r o u s in its ' P r u s s i a n ' or even 'Fascist consequences, sacrificing the individual a n d his freedom o n the altar of some 'higher' c o m m u n a l deity. Before going further, therefore, we should e x a m i n e this n o t i o n of the society a n d the relation of individuals t o it. W e shall see, indeed, t h a t Hegel's n o t i o n of objective Geist is n o t w i t h o u t difficulty; b u t the extrava gance is not w h e r e the atomistic mentality of the empiricist w o r l d t h o u g h t it w a s . Hegel uses a n u m b e r of terms t o characterize this relation of m a n to the c o m m u n i t y . O n e of the most c o m m o n is ' s u b s t a n c e ' . T h e state, or the people is the 'substance' of individuals. This idea is clearly expressed in the Encyclopaedia. T h e substance which k n o w s itself free, in which absolute 'Ought' is equally well being, has reality as the spirit of a people. T h e abstract diremption of this spirit is the individua tion into persons, of w h o s e i n d e p e n d e n t existence spirit is the inner p o w e r and necessity. But the person as thinking intelligence k n o w s this substance as his o w n essence - in this conviction [Gesinnung] h e ceases to be a mere accident of it rather he looks o n it a t his absolute a n d final goal existing in reality, as s o m e t h i n g which is attained in the here and now,

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while at the same t i m e h e brings it about through his activity^ but as something w h i c h in fact simply is. (EG, 514)' We can notice here at t h e e n d a reference t o t h a t basic feature of Sittlichkeit, that it provides a goal w h i c h is at t h e s a m e t i m e already realized, which is b r o u g h t a b o u t , a n d yet is. But w h a t is w o r t h noticing here is the set of related c o n c e p t s w h i c h help t o e x p l a i n 'substance'. T h e c o m m u n i t y , says H e g e l , is also 'essence', a n d also 'final goal' for the individuals. The notion b e h i n d ' s u b s t a n c e ' a n d 'essence' is t h a t the indi viduals only are w h a t they are by their i n h e r e n c e in the c o m m u n i t y . This idea is put in a p a s s a g e of V G . ' E v e r y t h i n g t h a t m a n is h e o w e s to the state; only in it can he find his essence. All value t h a t a m a n has, all spiritual reality, h e h a s only t h r o u g h t h e s t a t e ' ( V G , 1 1 1 ) . Or more directly 'the individual is a n individual in this s u b s t a n c e . N o individual can step b e y o n d [it]; he can s e p a r a t e himself certainly from o t h e r p a r t i c u l a r individuals, b u t n o t from the Volksgeisf ( V G , 5 9 - 6 0 ) . The notion b e h i n d 'final g o a l ' [Endzweck] seems to b e m o r e sinister, for it seems to imply t h a t individuals only exist t o serve the state as some pitiless M o l o c h . T h i s seems even m o r e clearly t o be the message of P R , $25S, 'this s u b s t a n t i a l u n i t y is an a b s o l u t e unmoved end in itself, in w h i c h freedom c o m e s into its s u p r e m e right. On the other h a n d this final e n d h a s s u p r e m e right a g a i n s t the individual, w h o s e s u p r e m e d u t y is t o be a m e m b e r of the s t a t e . ' But this reading is based o n a serious m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Hegel denies that the state exists for the individuals, in o t h e r w o r d s h e rejects the Enlightenment utilitarian idea t h a t the state has only an instrumental function, t h a t the e n d s it m u s t serve are those of individuals. But he c a n n o t really accept the inverse p r o p o s i t i o n . The state is n o t t h e r e for the s a k e of the citizens; o n e c o u l d say, it is the goal a n d they are its i n s t r u m e n t s . But this relation of ends a n d m e a n s is q u i t e i n a p p r o p r i a t e h e r e . F o r t h e s t a t e is not something a b s t r a c t , s t a n d i n g over a g a i n s t t h e citizens; b u t rather they are m o m e n t s as in o r g a n i c life, w h e r e n o m e m b e r is end a n d n o n e m e a n s . . . . T h e essence of t h e state is ethical life [die sittliche Lebendigkeit] [VG, 1 1 2 ) . Rather we see here t h a t t h e n o t i o n of e n d s a n d m e a n s gives w a y t o the image of a living being. T h e state or the c o m m u n i t y has a higher nte; its parts are related as the p a r t s of a n o r g a n i s m . T h u s the
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individual is n o t serving a n e n d s e p a r a t e from h i m , rather he is serving a large goal w h i c h is t h e g r o u n d of his identity, for he only is the individual h e is in this larger life. W e h a v e g o n e beyond the opposition self-goal/other-goal. Hegel a d d s t o this n o t i o n of t h e c o m m u n i t y as living t h a t of the c o m m u n i t y as 'self-consciousness'. A n d it is this, together with the use of the w o r d s 'Geist', 'Volksgeist' which h a s given rise to the idea that t h e Hegelian state o r c o m m u n i t y is a super-individual. But in the passage of VG w h e r e he i n t r o d u c e s t h e terms 'selfconsciousness', Hegel m a k e s clear t h a t he is n o t talking a b o u t it in connection with Volksgeister in t h e sense t h a t it applies to individuals. R a t h e r it is a 'philosophical c o n c e p t ' (VG, 61). Like any Geist larger t h a n t h e individual it only h a s existence t h r o u g h the vehicle of individual concrete subjects. It is t h u s n o t a subject like them. But w h y does Hegel w a n t to speak of a spirit which is larger than the individual? W h a t does it mean t o say that t h e individual is part of, inheres in, a larger life; a n d t h a t h e is only w h a t he is by doing so? These ideas only a p p e a r mysterious because of t h e powerful hold o n us of atomistic prejudices, which h a v e been very i m p o r t a n t in m o d e r n political t h o u g h t a n d culture. W e c a n think t h a t the individual is w h a t he is in abstraction from his c o m m u n i t y only if we a r e thinking of h i m qua organism. But w h e n w e think of a h u m a n being, w e d o n o t simply m e a n a living o r g a n i s m , b u t a being w h o can think, feel, decide, be moved, r e s p o n d , enter into relations with others; a n d all this implies a language, a related set of w a y s of experiencing t h e w o r l d , of interpreting his feelings, u n d e r s t a n d i n g his relation t o o t h e r s , t o the past, t h e future, t h e absolute, a n d so on. It is the particular w a y he situates himself within this cultural w o r l d t h a t w e call his identity.
5

But now a language, a n d t h e related set of distinctions underlying o u r experience a n d interpretation, is something t h a t can only g r o w in and be sustained by a c o m m u n i t y . In t h a t sense, w h a t w e are as h u m a n beings, we are only in a cultural c o m m u n i t y . Perhaps, once we have fully grown up in a culture, we can leave it a n d still retain m u c h of it. But this kind of case is exceptional, a n d in an i m p o r t a n t sense marginal. Emigres c a n n o t fully live their culture, a n d are always forced to take on something of the ways of t h e n e w society they have entered. The life of a language and culture is o n e w h o s e

locus is larger than that of the individual. It happens in the community. The individual possesses this culture, and hence his identity, by participating in this larger life.

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When 1 say t h a t a l a n g u a g e a n d the r e l a t e d d i s t i n c t i o n s c a n only be sustained by a c o m m u n i t y , I a m n o t t h i n k i n g o n l y of l a n g u a g e as a medium of c o m m u n i c a t i o n ; so t h a t o u r e x p e r i e n c e c o u l d be entirely private, a n d just n e e d a p u b l i c m e d i u m t o b e c o m m u n i c a t e d from one to another. R a t h e r the fact is t h a t o u r e x p e r i e n c e is w h a t it is, is shaped in p a r t , by t h e w a y w e i n t e r p r e t it; a n d this h a s a lot to do with the t e r m s w h i c h a r e a v a i l a b l e t o us in o u r c u l t u r e . But there is more; m a n y of o u r m o s t i m p o r t a n t e x p e r i e n c e s w o u l d be impossible outside of society, for they relate t o objects w h i c h are social. Such are, for instance, t h e e x p e r i e n c e of p a r t i c i p a t i n g in a rite, or of taking p a r t in t h e political life of o u r society, o r of rejoicing at the victory of the h o m e t e a m , o r of n a t i o n a l m o u r n i n g for a dead h e r o ; a n d so o n . All these experiences a n d e m o t i o n s h a v e objects which are essentially social, i.e. w o u l d n o t be o u t s i d e of (this) society. So the culture w h i c h lives in o u r society s h a p e s o u r p r i v a t e experience and constitutes o u r p u b l i c e x p e r i e n c e , w h i c h in t u r n interacts profoundly w i t h t h e p r i v a t e . S o t h a t it is n o e x t r a v a g a n t proposition to say t h a t w e are w h a t w e are in v i r t u e of p a r t i c i p a t i n g in the larger life of o u r society - or at least, b e i n g i m m e r s e d in it, if our relationship t o it is u n c o n s c i o u s a n d p a s s i v e , as is often the case. But of course Hegel is s a y i n g s o m e t h i n g m o r e t h a n this. F o r this inescapable relation to the c u l t u r e of m y society d o e s n o t rule o u t the most extreme alienation. This c o m e s a b o u t w h e n the p u b l i c experience of my society ceases t o h a v e a n y m e a n i n g for m e . Far from w i s h i n g t o d e n y t h i s possibility, H e g e l w a s o n e of the first to develop a theory of a l i e n a t i o n . T h e p o i n t is t h a t t h e objects of public experience, rite, festival, election, etc., are n o t like facts of nature. For they are n o t entirely s e p a r a b l e from t h e e x p e r i e n c e they give rise t o . T h e y are p a r t l y c o n s t i t u t e d b y t h e i d e a s a n d i n t e r p r e t a tions which underlie t h e m . A given social p r a c t i c e , like v o t i n g in the ecclesia, or in a m o d e r n election, is w h a t it is b e c a u s e of a set of commonly u n d e r s t o o d ideas a n d m e a n i n g s , by w h i c h the d e p o s i t i n g of stones in an u r n , or the m a r k i n g of bits of p a p e r , c o u n t s as t h e making of a social decision. T h e s e ideas a b o u t w h a t is g o i n g o n are essential to define the institution. T h e y a r e essential if t h e r e is t o be voting here, a n d n o t s o m e quite o t h e r activity w h i c h c o u l d b e carried on by p u t t i n g s t o n e s in the u r n s . N o w these ideas are n o t universally a c c e p t a b l e o r even u n d e r standable. T h e y involve a certain v i e w of m a n , society, a n d decision, for instance, w h i c h m a y s e e m evil or unintelligible t o other societies. T o t a k e a social decision by v o t i n g implies t h a t it is

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right, a p p r o p r i a t e a n d intelligible to build the c o m m u n i t y decision o u t of a concatenation of individual decisions. In some societies, e.g. m a n y traditional village societies t h r o u g h o u t the w o r l d , social decisions can (could) only be t a k e n by consensus. An atomistic decision procedure of this kind is t a n t a m o u n t to dissolving the social b o n d . Whatever else it is it could n o t be a social decision. T h u s a certain view of m a n a n d his relation t o society is e m b e d d e d in some of the practices a n d institutions of a society. So that we can think of these as expressing certain ideas. And indeed, they may be the only, o r the most a d e q u a t e expression of these ideas, if the society has n o t developed a relatively articulate and accurate theory a b o u t itself. T h e ideas w h i c h underlie a certain practice and m a k e it w h a t it is, e.g. those which m a k e the m a r k i n g of papers the taking of a social decision, m a y n o t be spelled out adequately in propositions a b o u t m a n , will, society, a n d so on. Indeed, an a d e q u a t e theoretical language may be as yet unde veloped. In this sense we can t h i n k of the institutions a n d practices of a society as a kind of language in w h i c h its fundamental ideas are expressed. But w h a t is 'said' in this language is n o t ideas which could be in the minds of certain individuals only, they are rather c o m m o n to a society, because e m b e d d e d in its collective life, in practices a n d institutions which are of the society indivisibly. In these the spirit of the society is in a sense objectified. They are, to use Hegel's t e r m , 'objective spirit'. These institutions a n d practices m a k e u p the public life of a society. Certain n o r m s are implicit in t h e m , which they d e m a n d to be maintained a n d properly lived o u t . Because of w h a t voting is as a concatenating p r o c e d u r e of social decision, certain n o r m s a b o u t falsification, the a u t o n o m y of the individual decision, etc., flow inescapably from it. T h e n o r m s of a society's public life are the content of Sittlichkeit. W e can n o w see better w h a t Hegel m e a n s w h e n he speaks of the n o r m s or ends of society as sustained by o u r action, a n d yet as already there, so t h a t the m e m b e r of society 'brings t h e m a b o u t t h r o u g h his activity, but as s o m e t h i n g w h i c h rather simply is' (EG, 514). For these practices a n d institutions are m a i n t a i n e d only by o n g o i n g h u m a n activity in conformity t o t h e m ; a n d yet they are in a sense there already before this activity, a n d must be, for it is only the o n g o i n g practice which defines w h a t the n o r m is o u r future action must seek t o sustain. This is especially the case if there is as yet n o theoretical formulation of the n o r m , as there was n o t in Hegel's view in the Greek city-states at their apogee. T h e Athenian

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acted 'as it were, o u t of instinct' ( V G , 115) his Sittlichkeit was a 'second nature'. But even if t h e r e is a t h e o r y , it c a n n o t s u b s t i t u t e t o r the practice as a criterion, for it is unlikely t h a t a n y f o r m u a t i o n c a n entirely render w h a t is involved in a social p r a c t i c e of this k i n d . Societies refer to theoretical ' v a l u e ' f o r m u l a t i o n s as their n o r m s rather than to practices, w h e n they a r e t r y i n g t o m a k e t h e m s e l v e s over to meet an unrealized s t a n d a r d ; e.g. they a r e t r y i n g t o ' b u i l d socialism', or become fully ' d e m o c r a t i c ' . But these goals a r e , of course, of the d o m a i n of Moralitat. Sittlichkeit presupposes that the living practices are an a d e q u a t e ' s t a t e m e n t ' of t h e basic n o r m s , although in the limit case of the m o d e r n p h i l o s o p h y of t h e s t a t e , Hegel sees the theoretical f o r m u l a t i o n as c a t c h i n g u p . H e n c e w e see the importance of Hegel's insistence t h a t t h e e n d s o u g h t by t h e highest ethics is already realized. It m e a n s t h a t t h e highest n o r m s are to be discovered in the real, t h a t t h e real is r a t i o n a l , a n d t h a t w e are to turn away from c h i m a e r i c a t t e m p t s t o c o n s t r u c t a n e w society from a blue-print. Hegel strongly o p p o s e s t h o s e w h o h o l d that a philosophy of state . . . [has] . . . t h e t a s k of d i s c o v e r i n g and promulgating still a n o t h e r t h e o r y . . . . In e x a m i n i n g this idea and the activity in c o n f o r m i t y w i t h it, w e m i g h t s u p p o s e that no state o r constitution h a s ever existed in t h e w o r l d at all, but that n o w a d a y s . . . w e h a d t o s t a r t all over a g a i n from the beginning, a n d t h a t t h e ethical w o r l d h a d just b e e n waiting for such present-day projects, p r o o f s a n d investiga tions. ( P R , preface, 4) The happiest, unalienated life for m a n , w h i c h the G r e e k s enjoyed, is where the n o r m s a n d e n d s e x p r e s s e d in t h e p u b l i c life of a society are the most i m p o r t a n t o n e s b y w h i c h its m e m b e r s define their identity as h u m a n beings. F o r t h e n t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l m a t r i x in which they cannot help living is n o t felt t o b e foreign. R a t h e r it is the essence, the 'substance' of t h e self. ' T h u s in u n i v e r s a l spirit each man has self-certainty, t h e certainty t h a t h e will find n o t h i n g o t h e r m existing reality than h i m s e l f (PhG, 2 5 8 ) . And because this s u b s t a n c e is s u s t a i n e d b y t h e activity of t h e zens, they see it as their w o r k . ' T h i s s u b s t a n c e is a l s o t h e universal r k [Werk], w h i c h creates itself t h r o u g h t h e a c t i o n of acn and all as their unity a n d equality, b e c a u s e it is Being-for-self It-ursichsein], the self, t h e a c t of d o i n g [das T u n ] ' [PhG, 3 1 4 ) . k < > live in a state of t h i s k i n d is t o b e free. T h e o p p o s i t i o n een social necessity a n d i n d i v i d u a l f r e e d o m d i s a p p e a r s . ' T h e
w

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rational is necessary as w h a t belongs to substance, and w e are free in so far as we recognize it as law a n d follow it as the substance of o u r o w n essence; objective and subjective will are then reconciled a n d form one a n d the same u n t r o u b l e d w h o l e ' (VG, 115). But alienation arises when the goals, n o r m s or ends which define the c o m m o n practices or institutions begin to seem irrelevant or even m o n s t r o u s , o r w h e n the n o r m s are redefined so that the practices a p p e a r a travesty of t h e m . A n u m b e r of public religious practices h a v e suffered the first fate in history; they have 'gone dead' on subsequent generations, and may even be seen as irrational or b l a s p h e m o u s . T o the extent t h a t they remain p a r t of the public ritual there is widespread alienation in society we can think of c o n t e m p o r a r y societies like Spain, which remains officially Catholic while a good part of the population is rabidly anti-clerical; or c o m m u n i s t societies, which have a public religion of atheism, even though m a n y of their citizens believe in G o d . But the democratic practices of Western society seem to be suffering something like the second fate in o u r time. M a n y people can no longer accept the legitimacy of voting a n d the s u r r o u n d i n g institutions, elections, p a r l i a m e n t s , etc., as vehicles of social decision. T h e y have r e d r a w n their conception of the relation of individual to society, so t h a t the m e d i a t i o n and distance which any large-scale voting system produces between individual decision a n d social o u t c o m e seems unacceptable. N o t h i n g can claim to be a real social decision which is not arrived at in a full and intense discussion in which all participants are fully conscious of w h a t is at stake. Decisions m a d e by elected representatives are b r a n d e d as s h a m , as m a n i p u l a t i o n m a s q u e r a d i n g as consensus. W i t h this redefinition of the n o r m of collective decision (that is, of a decision m a d e by people, and n o t just for t h e m ) , our present representative institutions begin to be p o r t r a y e d as an i m p o s t u r e ; a n d a substan tial p r o p o r t i o n of the p o p u l a t i o n is alienated from t h e m . In either case, n o r m s as expressed in public practices cease to hold o u r allegiance. They are either seen as irrelevant or are decried as usurpation. This is alienation. W h e n this h a p p e n s m e n h a v e t o turn elsewhere to define w h a t is centrally i m p o r t a n t to them. Sometimes they turn t o a n o t h e r society, for instance a smaller, m o r e intense religious c o m m u n i t y . But a n o t h e r possibility, which h a d great historical i m p o r t a n c e in Hegel's eyes, is t h a t they strike o u t o n their o w n a n d define their identity as individuals. Individual ism comes, as Hegel p u t s it in the VG, w h e n m e n cease t o identify with the c o m m u n i t y ' s life, w h e n they 'reflect', t h a t is, t u r n back on themselves, a n d see themselves m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y as individuals

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with individual goals. This is the m o m e n t of dissolution of a Volk and its life. W h a t h a p p e n s here is t h a t the individual ceases to define his identity principally by the public experience of the society. O n the contrary, t h e m o s t meaningful experience, which seems to him most vital, t o t o u c h m o s t the core of his being, is private. Public experience seems t o h i m secondary, n a r r o w , a n d parochial, merely touching a p a r t of himself. Should t h a t experience try to make good its claim t o centrality as before, the individual enters into conflict with it a n d has to fight it. This kind of shift has of course been instantiated many times in history, b u t t h e p a r a d i g m event of this kind for Hegel occurs with the b r e a k - u p of the G r e e k city-state. T h u s in the Greek polis, men identified themselves w i t h its public life; its c o m m o n experiences were for t h e m the p a r a d i g m ones. Their most basic, unchallenge able values w e r e those e m b o d i e d in this public life, and hence their major duty a n d virtue w a s to continue and sustain this life. In other w o r d s , they lived fully by their Sittlichkeit. But the public life of each of these polis w a s n a r r o w and parochial. It was not in conformity w i t h universal r e a s o n . With Socrates arises the chal lenge of a m a n w h o c a n n o t agree t o base his life on the parochial, on the merely given, b u t requires a foundation in universal reason. Socrates himself expresses a deep contradiction since he accepts the idea of Sittlichkeit, of laws t h a t o n e should hold allegiance to; he derives this from universal reason as well. And yet because of his allegiance t o r e a s o n h e c a n n o t live with the actual law of Athens. R a t h e r he u n d e r m i n e s t h e m , he corrupts the youth not to take them as final, b u t to question t h e m . H e has to be p u t to death, a death which he accepts because of his allegiance to the laws. But n o w a n e w type of m a n arises w h o cannot identify with this public life. H e begins t o relate principally n o t to the public life but to his o w n g r a s p of universal reason. T h e norms that he n o w feels compelling are quite u n s u b s t a n t i a t e d in any reality; they are ideas t h a t go b e y o n d the real. T h e reflecting individual is in the domain of Moralitat. Of course, even the self-conscious individual related to some society. M e n t h o u g h t of themselves qua moral beings as belonging t o some c o m m u n i t y , the city of men and Gods of the Stoics, the city of G o d of the C h r i s t i a n . But they saw this city as quite other t h a n a n d b e y o n d the earthly city. And the actual community of philosophers o r believers in which they worked o u t and sustained the language by w h i c h they identified themselves was scattered and powerless. T h e c o m m o n life o n which their identity as rational or

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God-fearing individuals w a s founded w a s or could be very attenu ated. So t h a t w h a t w a s most i m p o r t a n t in a m a n ' s life w a s t h a t he did or t h o u g h t as an individual, not his participation in the public life of a real historical c o m m u n i t y . (This w a s n o t really true of the Christian church for which the Eucharist w a s of central i m p o r t ance, b u t certainly applies to the sage of the late ancient world.) In any case, the c o m m u n i t y of the wise, as t h a t of the saints, was w i t h o u t external, self-subsistent existence in history. R a t h e r , the public realm w a s given over to private, unjustified p o w e r . T h i s is Hegel's usual description of the ancient period of universal empires which succeeded the city-state, particularly the R o m a n e m p i r e . T h e unity and fulfilment of Sittlichkeit, lost from this w o r l d , w a s transposed o u t of it into an ethereal beyond. W h a t then is Hegel saying with his thesis of the p r i m a c y of Sittlichkeit, and the related notion of the c o m m u n i t y as 'ethical substance', a spiritual life in which m a n must take part? W e can express it in three propositions, p u t in ascending order of contestability. First, t h a t w h a t is m o s t i m p o r t a n t for m a n can only be attained in relation to the public life of a c o m m u n i t y , not in the private self-definition of the alienated individual. Second, this c o m m u n i t y must not b e a merely partial o n e , e.g. a conventicle or private association, w h o s e life is conditioned, controlled a n d limited by a larger society. It m u s t be co-terminous w i t h the m i n i m u m self-sufficient h u m a n reality, the state. T h e public life which expresses at least s o m e of our i m p o r t a n t n o r m s m u s t b e t h a t of a state. Thirdly, the public life of the state h a s this crucial i m p o r t a n c e for men because the n o r m s a n d ideas it expresses are not just h u m a n inventions. O n the contrary, the state expresses the Idea, the ontological structure of things. In the final analysis it is of vital i m p o r t a n c e because it is o n e of the indispensable w a y s in w h i c h m a n recovers his essential relation to this ontological structure, the other being in the m o d e s of consciousness which Hegel calls ' a b s o l u t e spirit', and this real relation t h r o u g h the life of the c o m m u n i t y is essential to the completion of the return t o conscious identity between m a n a n d the Absolute (which means also the Absolute's self-identity). Obviously these three propositions are linked. T h e third gives the underlying g r o u n d of the first a n d second. If m a n achieves his t r u e identity as a vehicle of cosmic spirit, a n d if o n e of the indispensable media in which this identity is expressed is the public life of his political society, then evidently, it is essential t h a t h e c o m e t o identify himself in relation to this public life. H e m u s t transcend the

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alienation of a private or sectarian identity, since these can never link him fully t o the Absolute. This is the c o m p l e x of ideas which lies behind the Hegelian use of terms like ' s u b s t a n c e ' , 'essence', 'Endzweck\ 'Selbstzweck' in speaking of the c o m m u n i t y . First of all that the set of practices and institutions w h i c h m a k e u p the public life of the community express the m o s t i m p o r t a n t n o r m s , most central to its members' identity, so t h a t they are only sustained in their identity by their participation in these practices a n d institutions, which in their t u r n they perpetuate by this p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Secondly, t h a t the community concerned is the state, t h a t is, a really self-sufficient community. And thirdly, t h a t this c o m m u n i t y has this central role because it expresses the Idea, the formula of rational necessity underlying man and his world. T h u s w h a t is strange and contestable in Hegel's theory of the state is n o t the idea of a larger life in which men are immersed, or the n o t i o n t h a t the public life of a society expresses certain ideas, which are t h u s in a sense the ideas of the society as a whole and not just of the individuals, so t h a t we can speak of a people as having a certain 'spirit'. For t h r o u g h o u t most of h u m a n history men have lived m o s t intensely in relation to the meanings expressed in the public life of their societies. Only an exaggerated atomism could m a k e the condition of alienated men seem the inescapable h u m a n norm. But w h e r e Hegel does m a k e a substantial claim which is not easy to g r a n t is in his basic ontological view, that man is the vehicle of cosmic spirit, a n d the corollary, that the state expresses the underlying formula of necessity by which this spirit posits the world. In other w o r d s , the idea of a 'Volksgeist\ the spirit of a people, w h o s e ideas are expressed in their c o m m o n institutions, by which they define their identity, this is intelligible enough. And something like it is essential if w e are to understand w h a t has gone o n in h u m a n history. W h a t is h a r d e r to credit is the thesis that men - and hence in their o w n w a y these Volksgeister - are vehicles of a cosmic spirit which is r e t u r n i n g to self-consciousness through man. T h u s there is n o specially o d d Hegelian doctrine of a superindividual subject of society, as is often believed. There is only a very difficult doctrine of a cosmic subject whose vehicle is man. This is w o v e n into a theory of m a n in society which by itself is far from implausible o r bizarre. Indeed, it is m u c h superior to the atomistic conceptions of some of Hegel's liberal opponents. But it is his ontological view which makes Hegel take a turn

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which goes against the m a i n s t r e a m of liberal t h o u g h t . T h i s latter tends t o assume t h a t individualism is the ultimate in h u m a n evolution. Even if civilized men are n o t alienated from the state, still their highest foci of identity are t h o u g h t t o be b e y o n d it, in religion, or s o m e personal m o r a l ideal, or the h u m a n race as a w h o l e . T h u s the condition in which men identify themselves primarily in relation to the c o m m o n life of their society m u s t be a m o r e primitive stage, a n d especially w h e r e this c o m m o n life is t h o u g h t t o e m b o d y cosmic or religious significance. For this kind of society t o succeed an age of individualism could only represent regression. A n d this is, of course, why Hegel has been harshly judged by those in this strand of liberalism (which does n o t e x h a u s t w h a t can justifiably be called liberal t h o u g h t : M o n t e s q u i e u , d e Tocqueville, H e r d e r , von H u m b o l d t , a n d others h a v e been concerned a b o u t the quality of public life, with which men m u s t identify themselves). But the a t t e m p t to u n d e r s t a n d Hegel within the terms of this liberal tradition h a s just led to distortion. A n o t o r i o u s e x a m p l e is Hegel's doctrine of the state. In the a t o m i s t liberal tradition, ' s t a t e ' can only m e a n s o m e t h i n g like 'organs of g o v e r n m e n t ' . T o talk of these as 'essence' or 'final goal' of the citizens can only m e a n subjection to irresponsible tyranny. But w h a t Hegel m e a n s by 'state' is the politically organized c o m m u n i t y . His model is n o t the Machstaat of Frederick the Great, which h e never a d m i r e d , b u t the G r e e k polis. T h u s his ideal is n o t a condition in which individuals are means to a n e n d , b u t r a t h e r a c o m m u n i t y in which like a living o r g a n i s m , the distinction between m e a n s a n d ends is o v e r c o m e , everything is b o t h m e a n s a n d end. In o t h e r w o r d s the state s h o u l d be an application of the category of internal teleology (cf. q u o t e from VG, 1 1 2 , p . 3 8 8 ) . T h u s the state w h i c h is fully rational will be o n e which expresses in its institutions a n d practices the m o s t i m p o r t a n t ideas a n d n o r m s which its citizens recognize, a n d by which they define their identity. A n d this will be the case because the state expresses the articula tions of the Idea, which rational m a n comes t o see as the formula of necessity underlying all things, which is destined to come t o selfconsciousness in m a n . So that the rational state will restore Sittlichkeit, the e m b o d i m e n t of the highest n o r m s in an o n g o i n g public life. It will recover w h a t was lost with the Greeks, b u t o n a higher level. F o r the fully developed state will i n c o r p o r a t e t h e principle of the individual rational will judging by universal criteria, the very principle t h a t u n d e r m i n e d a n d eventually destroyed the G r e e k polis. T h i s integration of individuality a n d Sittlichkeit is a r e q u i r e m e n t
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we can d e d u c e from the Idea. But this is also Hegel's way of formulating a n d a n s w e r i n g the yearning of his age to unite s o m e h o w the radical m o r a l a u t o n o m y of Kant and the expressive unity of the Greek polis. Hegel's answer to this c o n u n d r u m was, as we saw, an e x t r a o r d i n a r y and original combination of the ultra m o d e r n aspiration to a u t o n o m y , and a renewed vision of cosmic o r d e r as the f o u n d a t i o n of society; a derivation, we might say, of cosmic o r d e r from the idea of radical a u t o n o m y itself, via a displacement of its centre of gravity from m a n to Geist. This synthesis he s a w as the goal of h i s t o r y . . . .

II W e can see the aspiration to w h a t Hegel calls 'absolute freedom', or universal and total participation, as the attempt to meet an endemic need of m o d e r n society. Traditional societies were founded on differentiation: royalty, aristocracy, c o m m o n folk; priests and laymen; free a n d serf, a n d so on. This differentiation was justified as a reflection of a hierarchical order of things. After the revolution of m o d e r n , self-defining subjectivity, these conceptions of cosmic o r d e r c a m e to be seen as fictions, and were denounced as fraudulent inventions of kings, priests, aristocrats, etc., to keep their subjects submissive. But h o w e v e r much they may have been used, con sciously o r n o t , as justifications of the status q u o , these conceptions also were the g r o u n d of men's identification with the society in which they lived. M a n could only be himself in relation to a cosmic o r d e r ; the state claimed t o b o d y forth this order and hence to be o n e of m e n ' s principal channels of contact with it. Hence the power of organic a n d holistic m e t a p h o r s : men saw themselves as parts of society in s o m e t h i n g like the way t h a t a h a n d , for instance, is part of the b o d y . T h e revolution of m o d e r n subjectivity gave rise to another type of political theory. Society w a s justified n o t by what it was or expressed, b u t by w h a t it achieved, the fulfilment of men's needs, desires a n d p u r p o s e s . Society came to be seen as an instrument and its different m o d e s a n d structures were to be studied scientifically for their effects o n h u m a n happiness. Political theory would banish myth a n d fable. This reached clearest expression in utilitarianism. But this m o d e r n t h e o r y has n o t provided a basis for men's identification w i t h their society. In the intermittent crises of alienation which have followed the b r e a k d o w n of traditional society, utilitarian theories have been powerless to fill the gap. So

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that m o d e r n societies h a v e actually functioned with a large p a r t of their traditional o u t l o o k intact, or only slowly receding, as in the case of Britain, for instance. O r when s o m e radical break is s o u g h t , they have h a d recourse to m o r e powerful stuff, some variant of the general will tradition (Jacobinism, M a r x i s m , anarchism) as a revolutionary ideology. O r m o d e r n societies have h a d recourse either in revolutionary or ' n o r m a l ' times to the powerful secular religion of nationalism. And even societies which seem to be founded o n the utilitarian tradition, o r a n earlier, Lockeian variant, like the United States, in fact have recourse to ' m y t h ' , e.g. the m y t h of the frontier, of the perpetual n e w beginning, the future as boundlessly o p e n to self-creation. This last is the greatest irony of all, in t h a t the utilitarian t h e o r y itself leaves n o place for myth of this kind, t h a t is, speculative interpretation of the ends of h u m a n life in their relation to society, n a t u r e a n d history, as p a r t of the justifying beliefs of a m a t u r e society. These are t h o u g h t t o belong t o earlier, less evolved ages. M a t u r e men are attached to their society because of w h a t it p r o d u c e s for t h e m . As recently as a decade ago this perspective w a s widely believed in by the liberal intelligentsia of America and the W e s t e r n w o r l d , w h o a n n o u n c e d an imminent 'end of ideology'. But they t u r n e d o u t to be latter-day, inverted variants of M o n s i e u r J o u r d a i n , w h o were speaking n o t prose, b u t myth w i t h o u t k n o w i n g it. It is n o w clearer t h a t the utilitarian perspective is n o less an ideology than its major rivals, a n d n o m o r e plausible. Utilitarian m a n w h o s e loyalty t o his society w o u l d be contingent only o n t h e satisfactions it secured for him is a species virtually w i t h o u t m e m b e r s . And the very notion of satisfaction is n o w n o t so firmly a n c h o r e d , once we see t h a t it is interwoven with ' e x p e c t a t i o n s ' , a n d beliefs a b o u t w h a t is a p p r o p r i a t e and just. Some of the richest societies in o u r day are a m o n g the m o s t teeming w i t h dissatisfac tion, for instance, the USA. T h e aspiration to absolute freedom can be seen as an a t t e m p t t o fill this lack in m o d e r n political theory, to find g r o u n d s for identification w i t h o n e ' s society which are fully in the spirit of m o d e r n subjectivity. W e h a v e g r o u n d s for identifying ourselves w i t h o u r society a n d giving o u r full allegiance to it w h e n it is ours in the s t r o n g sense of being o u r creation, a n d m o r e o v e r the creation of w h a t is best in us a n d mostly truly ourselves: o u r m o r a l will (Rousseau, Fichte), o r o u r creative activity ( M a r x ) . F r o m Rousseau t h r o u g h M a r x a n d the anarchist thinkers to c o n t e m p o r a r y theories of p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e m o c r a c y , there h a v e been recurrent d e m a n d s t o reconstruct society, so as to d o a w a y with h e t e r o n o m y , or

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overcome alienation, or recover spontaneity. Only a society which was an e m a n a t i o n of free moral will could recover a claim on our allegiance c o m p a r a b l e t o t h a t of traditional society. For once more society w o u l d reflect or e m b o d y something of absolute value. Only this w o u l d n o longer be a cosmic order, but in keeping with the m o d e r n revolution, the absolute w o u l d be h u m a n freedom itself. T h e aspiration t o absolute freedom is therefore born of a deep dissatisfaction with the utilitarian model of society as an instrument for the furtherance/adjustment of interests. Societies built on this model are experienced as a spiritual desert, or as a machine. They express n o t h i n g spiritual, and their regulations and discipline are felt as an intolerable imposition by those w h o aspire to absolute freedom. It is therefore n o t surprising that the theorists of absolute freedom have often been close to the reactionary critics of liberal society, a n d have often themselves expressed admiration for earlier societies. Hegel u n d e r s t o o d this aspiration. As we saw he made the d e m a n d for radical a u t o n o m y a central part of his theory. He had indeed, an i m p o r t a n t place in the line of development of this aspiration to absolute freedom as it develops from Rousseau t h r o u g h M a r x and b e y o n d . For he wove the demand for radical a u t o n o m y of Rousseau a n d Kant together with the expressivist theory which c a m e from H e r d e r , a n d this provided the indispens able b a c k g r o u n d for M a r x ' s thought. And yet he was a strong critic of radical freedom. This alone would make it worthwhile to e x a m i n e his objections. Disentangled from Hegel's particular theory of social differentia tion, the basic point of this critique is this: absolute freedom requires h o m o g e n e i t y . It c a n n o t brook differences which would prevent everyone participating totally in the decisions of the society. A n d w h a t is even m o r e , it requires some near unanimity of will to emerge from this deliberation, for otherwise the majority w o u l d just be i m p o s i n g its will on the minority, and freedom would n o t be universal. But differentiation of some fairly essential kinds are ineradicable. (Let us leave aside for the m o m e n t the objection t h a t Hegel did n o t identify the right ones.) And moreover, they are recognized in o u r p o s t - R o m a n t i c climate as essential to h u m a n identity. M e n c a n n o t simply identify themselves as men, but they define themselves m o r e immediately by their partial community, cultural, linguistic, confessional, etc. M o d e r n democracy is there fore in a b i n d . I t h i n k a d i l e m m a of this kind can be seen in contemporary society. M o d e r n societies have moved t o w a r d s much greater

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homogeneity and greater interdependence, so t h a t partial com munities lose their a u t o n o m y and to s o m e e x t e n t their identity. But great differences r e m a i n ; only because of the ideology of homogeneity, these differential characteristics n o longer have meaning a n d value for those w h o h a v e t h e m . T h u s the rural p o p u l a t i o n is t a u g h t by the m a s s media t o see itself as just lacking in some of the advantages of a more advanced life style. T h e p o o r are seen as marginal t o the society, for instance, in America, and in some ways have a w o r s e lot t h a n in m o r e recognizedly class-divided societies. H o m o g e n i z a t i o n thus increases minority alienation a n d resent ment. And the first response of liberal society is t o try even m o r e of the same: p r o g r a m m e s to eliminate p o v e r t y , o r assimilate Indians, move p o p u l a t i o n o u t of declining regions, bring an u r b a n w a y of life t o the countryside, etc. But the radical response is t o convert this sense of alienation into a d e m a n d for ' a b s o l u t e freedom'. T h e idea is to overcome alienation by creating a society in which everyone, including the present ' o u t ' g r o u p s , participate fully in the decisions. But b o t h these solutions w o u l d simply aggravate the p r o b l e m , which is that h o m o g e n i z a t i o n has u n d e r m i n e d the c o m m u n i t i e s or characteristics by which people formerly identified themselves a n d p u t n o t h i n g in their place. W h a t does step into the gap a l m o s t everywhere is ethnic or n a t i o n a l identity. N a t i o n a l i s m has b e c o m e the most powerful focus of identity in m o d e r n society. T h e d e m a n d for radical freedom can and frequently d o e s join u p w i t h n a t i o n a l ism, a n d is given a definite impetus a n d direction from this. But unless this h a p p e n s , the aspiration to absolute freedom is u n a b l e to resolve the dilemma. It a t t e m p t s t o o v e r c o m e the alienation of a mass society by mass participation. But the very size, complexity a n d inter-dependence of m o d e r n society m a k e s this increasingly difficult o n technical g r o u n d s alone. W h a t is m o r e serious, the increasing alienation in a society w h i c h has eroded its traditional foci of allegiance m a k e s it h a r d e r a n d h a r d e r to achieve the basic consensus, t o b r i n g everyone to the 'general will', w h i c h is essential for radical d e m o c r a c y . As the traditional limits fade with the g r o u n d s for accepting t h e m , society tends t o fragment, partial g r o u p s become increasingly truculent in their d e m a n d s , as they see less reason t o c o m p r o m i s e w i t h the 'system'. But the radical d e m a n d for participation can d o n o t h i n g to stem this fragmentation. Participation of all in a decision is only possible if there is a g r o u n d of agreement, or of underlying c o m m o n p u r p o s e . Radical participation cannot create this; it presupposes it.

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This is the p o i n t w h i c h Hegel repeatedly m a k e s . T h e d e m a n d for absolute freedom by itself is e m p t y . Hegel stresses one line of possible consequences, t h a t emptiness leads to p u r e destructiveness. But he also m e n t i o n s a n o t h e r in his discussion in the PhG. For in fact some direction h a s t o b e given t o society, a n d hence a g r o u p can take over a n d i m p r i n t its o w n p u r p o s e o n society claiming to represent the general will. T h e y t h u s 'solve' the p r o b l e m of diversity by force. C o n t e m p o r a r y c o m m u n i s t societies provide examples of this. And w h a t e v e r can b e said for t h e m they can certainly not be thought of as m o d e l s of freedom. M o r e o v e r their solution to the emptiness of a b s o l u t e freedom is in a sense only provisional. The problem of w h a t social g o a l s t o c h o o s e or structures to a d o p t is solved by the exigencies of mobilization and c o m b a t t o w a r d s the free society. Society can be set a definite task because it has t o build the preconditions of c o m m u n i s m , either in defeating class enemies or in constructing a m o d e r n e c o n o m y . Such societies w o u l d be in disarray if ever the p e r i o d of mobilization were t o end (which is why it w o u l d e n d only over the d e a d bodies of the ruling party). But an ideology of p a r t i c i p a t i o n which does n o t w a n t to take this totalitarian r o a d of general mobilization cannot cope with the com plexity a n d f r a g m e n t a t i o n of a large-scale c o n t e m p o r a r y society. M a n y of its p r o t a g o n i s t s see this, and return to the original Rousseauian idea of a highly decentralized federation of c o m m u n i ties. But in the m e a n t i m e the g r o w t h of a large homogeneous society has m a d e this m u c h less feasible. It is n o t just that with o u r massive c o n c e n t r a t i o n s of p o p u l a t i o n a n d economic interdepend ence a lot of decisions h a v e t o be taken for the whole society, a n d decentralization gives us n o w a y of coping with these. M o r e serious is the fact t h a t h o m o g e n i z a t i o n has u n d e r m i n e d the partial communities w h i c h w o u l d n a t u r a l l y have been the basis of such a decentralized federation in the past. T h e r e is n o advantage in an artificial carving u p of society into m a n a g e a b l e units. If in fact no one identifies strongly w i t h these units, participation will be minimal, as w e see in m u c h of o u r u r b a n politics today. T h u s Hegel's d i l e m m a for m o d e r n democracy, p u t as its simplest, is this: T h e m o d e r n ideology of equality and of total participation leads t o a h o m o g e n i z a t i o n of society. This shakes men loose from their traditional c o m m u n i t i e s , but c a n n o t replace them as a focus or identity. O r r a t h e r , it can only replace t h e m as such a focus under the impetus of militant nationalism or some totalitarian ideology which w o u l d d e p r e c i a t e o r even crush diversity a n d individuality. It w o u l d be a focus for s o m e a n d w o u l d reduce the others to mute alienation. H e g e l c o n s t a n t l y stresses t h a t the tight unity ot the

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Greek city-state c a n n o t be recaptured in the m o d e r n w o r l d t h a t has k n o w n the principle of individual freedom. T h u s the a t t e m p t t o fill the gap by m o v i n g t o w a r d s a society of universal a n d total participation, w h e r e it is n o t actually harmful in suppressing freedom, is v a i n . It can only aggravate the p r o b l e m by intensifying h o m o g e n i z a t i o n , while offering n o relief since absolute freedom by itself is empty and c a n n o t offer a focus of identity. And besides, total participation is unrealizable in a large-scale society. In fact ideologies of absolute freedom only p r o d u c e s o m e t h i n g in the h a n d s of a minority with a powerful vision which it is willing t o impose. T h e only real cure for this m a l a d y , a recovery of meaningful differentiation, is closed for m o d e r n society precisely because of its c o m m i t m e n t to ideologies which constantly press it t o w a r d s greater homogeneity. Some of the differences which r e m a i n are depreci ated, and are breeding g r o u n d s for alienation a n d resentment. O t h e r s in fact fill the gap a n d become foci of identity. These are principally ethnic or n a t i o n a l differences. But they tend t o be exclusive a n d divisive. They can only w i t h difficulty form the basis 'i of a differentiated society. O n the c o n t r a r y , multi-national states have great t r o u b l e surviving in the m o d e r n w o r l d . N a t i o n a l i s m tends t o lead t o single h o m o g e n e o u s states. W h e r e n a t i o n a l i s m is strong, it tends t o provide the c o m m o n focus of i d e n t i t y j n d t o fend off fragmentation, 'But then it is in^d^n^eTliTSuxJpressing dissent "ancT'dTversity a n d falling over into a n a r r o w a n d irrational , chauvinism. Hegel gave, as w e shall see again b e l o w , little i m p o r t a n c e t o nationalism. And this w a s the cause of his failure to foresee its pivotal role in the m o d e r n world. As a n allegiance it was not rational e n o u g h , t o o close t o pure sentiment, t o have an i m p o r t a n t place in the f o u n d a t i o n s of the state. But it is also true that it c a n n o t provide w h a t m o d e r n society needs in his view. A n d this is a g r o u n d for differentiation, meaningful to the people concerned, b u t which at the same time does n o t set the partial c o m m u n i t i e s against each o t h e r , but rather knits t h e m together in a larger w h o l e . T h i s in a single formula is w h a t m o d e r n society w o u l d require t o resolve its d i l e m m a . It is s o m e t h i n g which traditional societies h a d . For the point a b o u t conceptions of cosmic o r d e r or o r g a n i c analogies is t h a t they gave a m e a n i n g t o differences between social g r o u p s which also b o u n d t h e m into o n e . But h o w t o recover this in m o d e r n society? Hegel's answer, as w e s a w it, is t o give social a n d political differentiation a m e a n i n g by seeing t h e m as expressive of cosmic o r d e r , b u t h e conceives this o r d e r as the final a n d c o m p l e t e

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fulfilment of the m o d e r r n a s p i r a t i o n t o a u t o n o m y . It is a n o r d e r founded on r e a s o n a l o n e , a n d hence is the ultimate object of the free will. We can see n o w m o r e clearly h o w the t w o levels of Hegel's thought on the necessary differentiation of society meshed with each other. O n o n e level, t h e r e is the set of considerations d r a w n from a c o m p a r i s o n w i t h t h e G r e e k polis: the size of the m o d e r n state, the great differences w h i c h a state m u s t e n c o m p a s s once all the functions are t o be p e r f o r m e d by citizens, the m o d e r n notion of individuality. T h e s e will be generally accepted by everyone t h o u g h their significance m i g h t b e d i s p u t e d . O n the other level, there is the necessary articulation of the Idea which has to be reflected in society. In Hegel's m i n d these d o n o t o p e r a t e as quite separate orders of c o n s i d e r a t i o n , as I have set t h e m o u t here. They are intricated in each o t h e r , so that Hegel sees the existing social differentiations of his t i m e as reflecting the articulations of the Idea, or rather as p r e p a r i n g a perfectly a d e q u a t e reflection as the Idea realizes itself in history. A n d t h a t is of course w h y he did n o t see these differences as r e m n a n t s of earlier history destined to wither away, as the radical t h i n k e r s of this time t h o u g h t , b u t r a t h e r as approaching the l i n e a m e n t s of a state which w o u l d finally be 'adequate to the c o n c e p t ' . We c a n n o t accept H e g e l ' s solution t o d a y . But the dilemma it w a s meant to solve r e m a i n s . It w a s the d i l e m m a w h i c h de Tocqueville tried to grapple with in different t e r m s , w h e n he saw the immense importance to a d e m o c r a t i c polity of vigorous constituent com munities in a decentralized structure of p o w e r , while a t the s a m e time the pull of equality t e n d e d t o t a k e m o d e r n society t o w a r d s uniformity, a n d p e r h a p s also submission u n d e r an o m n i p o t e n t government. T h i s c o n v e r g e n c e is p e r h a p s n o t all t h a t surprising in two thinkers w h o w e r e b o t h deeply influenced by M o n t e s q u i e u , and both h a d a d e e p a n d s y m p a t h e t i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the past as well as of the w a v e of the future. But w h e t h e r we take it in Hegel's reading or in de T o c q u e v i l l e ' s , one of the great needs of the m o d e r n democratic polity is t o recover a sense of significant differentiation, so that its partial c o m m u n i t i e s , be they geographical, or cultural, or occupational, can b e c o m e a g a i n i m p o r t a n t centres of concern a n d activity for their m e m b e r s in a w a y which connects t h e m t o the whole.

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NOTES
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3 4

Cf. Schriften zur Politik und Rechtsphilosophie, ed. G. Lasson (Leipzig, 1923), p. 388. Once again, this is Hegel's term of art; Kant himself used the usual word 'Sittlichkeit' in his works on ethics. Cf. also PR, 145,156,258. In the language of the Logic, the category of External Teleology is inadequate here. The state can only be understood by Internal Teleology. Thus in PR, 258, Hegel speaks of the state possessing 'the actuality of the substantial will . . . in the particular self-consciousness once that consciousness has been raised to consciousness of its universality' (my italics). In a work of the early 1800s, which has been published since his death under the title, The German Constitution, Hegel expresses his opposition to the modern theory that a state should be a 'machine with a single spring which imparts movement to all the rest of the infinite wheelwork' (Schriften zur Politik und Rechtsphilosophie, ed. G. Lasson, Leipzig 1923, p. 28; Hegel's Political Writings, translated T. M. Knox, ed. Z. A. Pelczynski, Oxford, 1964, p. 161). Prussia, as well as revolutionary France, is cited as an example later in this passage. (Schriften p. 3 1 , Political Writings pp. 163-4. Cf. discussion in Schlomo Avineri, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State, Cambridge, 1970, pp. 47-9).

REFERENCES GIVEN IN ABBREVIATED FORM Abbre viation PhG Work Comment

Phdnomenologie des Geistes, G. Lasson edition, Hamburg, 1952

The Phenomenology of Spirit published by Hegel in 1807 at the end of his Jena period.

EG

System der Philosophic, References are to paragraph dritter teil. Die Philosophic numbers ( . . . ) . Hegel's des Geistes, SW x. paragraphs consisted of a principal statement, sometimes followed by an explanatoryremark, sometimes in turn followed by an addition inserted by the later editors. Where useful I distinguish in my references between the principal statement

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and the remark, and where remark or addition are very long, I give the page reference in the SW edition. Grundlinien der Philosophic des Rechts, ed. J. Hoffmeister, Hamburg, 1955, or Hegel's Philosophy of Right, trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford, 1942). References to this work, first published in 1821, are also to paragraph numbers ( . . . ) . Here also the main text of a paragraph is sometimes followed by an explanatory remark (sometimes referred to with an 'E' after the paragraph number), and also sometimes by an addition inserted by later editors on the basis of lecture notes. 1 have usually quoted the text of Knox's edition, but the references to paragraph number makes it easy to find the texts in the German edition as well. Where remarks or additions are long, I have given page references to the Knox edition. The introductory part of Hegel's lectures on the philosophy of history, put together from various cycles of lecture notes after his death.

Die Vernunft in der Geschichte, ed. J. Hoffmeister (Hamburg, 1955).

10 Michael Walzer: Welfare, Membership and Need*

M e m b e r s h i p is i m p o r t a n t because of w h a t the m e m b e r s of a political c o m m u n i t y o w e t o one a n o t h e r a n d to n o o n e else, or to n o o n e else in the same degree. And the first thing they o w e is the c o m m u n a l provision of security a n d welfare. This claim might be reversed: c o m m u n a l provision is i m p o r t a n t because it teaches us the value of m e m b e r s h i p . If we did n o t provide for o n e a n o t h e r , if we recognized n o distinction between m e m b e r s a n d strangers, we w o u l d h a v e n o reason to form a n d m a i n t a i n political c o m m u n i t i e s . ' H o w shall men love their c o u n t r y ' , Rousseau asked, 'if it is n o t h i n g m o r e for t h e m t h a n for strangers, and b e s t o w s o n t h e m only t h a t which it can refuse t o n o n e ? ' Rousseau believed t h a t citizens o u g h t to love their c o u n t r y and therefore that their country o u g h t t o give t h e m particular reasons t o d o so. M e m b e r s h i p (like kinship) is a special relation. It's n o t enough to say, as E d m u n d Burke did, t h a t 'to m a k e us love o u r country, our c o u n t r y o u g h t to be lovely.' T h e crucial thing is that it be lovely for us t h o u g h w e always h o p e t h a t it will be lovely for others (we also love its reflected loveliness). Political c o m m u n i t y for the sake of provision, provision for the sake of c o m m u n i t y : the process w o r k s b o t h w a y s , a n d t h a t is p e r h a p s its crucial feature. Philosophers a n d political theorists have been t o o quick t o t u r n it i n t o a simple calculation. Indeed, w e are rationalists of everyday life; we come together, w e sign the social c o n t r a c t or reiterate the signing of it, in o r d e r to provide for o u r needs. And we value the contract insofar as those needs are met. But one of o u r needs is c o m m u n i t y itself: culture, religion, a n d politics. It is only u n d e r the aegis of these three t h a t all the other things we need b e c o m e socially recognized needs, t a k e o n historical a n d determinate form. T h e social c o n t r a c t is an agreement to reach decisions together a b o u t w h a t goods are necessary to o u r c o m m o n life, a n d then to p r o v i d e those goods for o n e a n o t h e r . T h e signers
1 2

* From Spheres of Justice by Michael Walzer. 1983 by Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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own one another m o r e t h a n m u t u a l aid, for t h a t they o w e or can owe to anyone. They o w e m u t u a l p r o v i s i o n of all those things for the sake of which they h a v e s e p a r a t e d themselves from m a n k i n d as a whole and joined forces in a p a r t i c u l a r c o m m u n i t y . Amour social is one of those things; b u t t h o u g h it is a d i s t r i b u t e d g o o d - often unevenly distributed - it arises o n l y in t h e course of o t h e r distributions (and of the political choices t h a t t h e o t h e r distri butions require). M u t u a l provision breeds m u t u a l i t y . So the common life is simultaneoulsy the prerequisite of p r o v i s i o n a n d o n e of its products. Men and w o m e n c o m e t o g e t h e r because they literally c a n n o t live apart. But they can live t o g e t h e r in m a n y different w a y s . T h e i r survival and then their well-being require a c o m m o n effort: against the wrath of the g o d s , the hostility of o t h e r p e o p l e , t h e indifference and malevolence of n a t u r e (famine, flood, fire, a n d disease), the brief transit of a h u m a n life. N o t a r m y c a m p s a l o n e , as D a v i d Hume w r o t e , b u t temples, s t o r e h o u s e s , irrigation w o r k s , a n d burial grounds are the t r u e m o t h e r s of cities. As the list suggests, origins are not singular in c h a r a c t e r . Cities differ from o n e a n o t h e r , p a r t l y because of the n a t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t s in w h i c h they are built a n d the immediate dangers their builders e n c o u n t e r , p a r t l y because of the conceptions of social g o o d s t h a t t h e b u i l d e r s h o l d . T h e y recognize but also create o n e a n o t h e r ' s needs a n d so give a p a r t i c u l a r s h a p e t o what 1 will call the 'sphere of security a n d welfare'. T h e s p h e r e itself is as old as t h e oldest h u m a n c o m m u n i t y . I n d e e d , o n e m i g h t say that the original c o m m u n i t y is a sphere of security a n d welfare, a system of c o m m u n a l p r o v i s i o n , d i s t o r t e d , n o d o u b t , b y gross inequalities of strength a n d c u n n i n g . But t h e system h a s , in any case, no n a t u r a l form. Different experiences a n d different c o n c e p tions lead t o different p a t t e r n s of p r o v i s i o n . T h o u g h t h e r e a r e s o m e goods that are needed absolutely, t h e r e is n o g o o d such t h a t o n c e we see it, we k n o w h o w it s t a n d s vis-d-vis all o t h e r g o o d s a n d h o w much of it w e o w e t o o n e a n o t h e r . T h e n a t u r e of a need is n o t selfevident.
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C o m m u n a l provision is b o t h general a n d p a r t i c u l a r . It is general whenever public funds are s p e n t so as t o benefit all or m o s t of the members w i t h o u t any d i s t r i b u t i o n t o individuals. It is p a r t i c u l a r whenever g o o d s are actually h a n d e d over t o all o r any of t h e members.* W a t e r , for e x a m p l e , is o n e of ' t h e b a r e r e q u i r e m e n t s of 1 don't mean to reiterate here the technical distinction that economists make between public and private goods. General provision is always Public, at least on the less stringent definitions of that term (which specify

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civil life', and the building of reservoirs is a form of general p r o v i s i o n . But the delivery of w a t e r to one r a t h e r t h a n t o another n e i g h b o u r h o o d (where, say, the wealthier citizens live) is particular. T h e securing of the food supply is general; the distribution of food to w i d o w s a n d o r p h a n s is particular. Public health is m o s t often general, the care of the sick, m o s t often particular. Sometimes the criteria for general and particular provision will differ radically. T h e building of temples a n d the o r g a n i z a t i o n of religious services is an e x a m p l e of general provision designed t o meet the needs of the c o m m u n i t y as a w h o l e , b u t c o m m u n i o n with the gods m a y be allowed only t o particularly m e r i t o r i o u s m e m b e r s (or it m a y be sought privately in secret or in n o n c o n f o r m i s t sects). T h e system of justice is a general g o o d , meeting c o m m o n needs; b u t the actual distribution of r e w a r d s a n d p u n i s h m e n t s m a y serve the particular needs of a ruling class, or it m a y b e organized, as w e c o m m o n l y think it should be, to give individuals w h a t they individually deserve. Simone Weil has argued t h a t , w i t h regard t o justice, need operates at both the general a n d t h e p a r t i c u l a r levels, since criminals need t o be p u n i s h e d . But t h a t is an idiosyncratic use of the w o r d need. M o r e likely, the p u n i s h m e n t of criminals is something only the rest of us need. But need d o e s o p e r a t e both generally a n d particularly for other g o o d s : health care is an obvious e x a m p l e t h a t I will later consider in s o m e detail. Despite the inherent forcefulness of the w o r d , needs are elusive. People d o n ' t just have needs, they h a v e ideas a b o u t their needs; they have priorities, they have degrees of need; a n d these priorities and degrees are related n o t only to their h u m a n n a t u r e b u t also to their history a n d culture. Since resources are always scarce, h a r d choices h a v e to be m a d e . I suspect t h a t these can only be political choices. T h e y are subject to a certain philosophical elucidation, b u t the idea of need a n d t h e c o m m i t m e n t t o c o m m u n a l provision d o not by themselves yield any clear determination of priorities or degrees. Clearly w e c a n ' t meet, a n d we d o n ' t have to meet, every need t o the same degree or a n y need to
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only that public goods are those that can't be provided to some and not to other members of the community). So are most forms of particular provision, for even goods delivered to individuals generate non-exclusive benefits for the community as a whole. Scholarships to orphans, for example, are private to the orphans, public to the community of citizens within which the orphans will one day work and vote. But public goods of this latter sort, which depend upon prior distributions to particular persons or groups, have been controversial in many societies; and I have designed my categories so as to enable me to examine them closely.

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the ultimate degree. T h e a n c i e n t A t h e n i a n s , for e x a m p l e , p r o v i d e d public baths a n d g y m n a s i u m s for the citizens b u t never p r o v i d e d anything remotely resembling u n e m p l o y m e n t i n s u r a n c e or social security. They m a d e a choice a b o u t h o w t o s p e n d public funds, a choice shaped p r e s u m a b l y by their u n d e r s t a n d i n g of w h a t the c o m m o n life required. It w o u l d be h a r d t o a r g u e t h a t they m a d e a mistake. I s u p p o s e there are n o t i o n s of need t h a t w o u l d yield such a conclusion, b u t these w o u l d n o t be n o t i o n s acceptable to - they might n o t even be c o m p r e h e n s i b l e t o - the A t h e n i a n s themselves. T h e question of degree suggests even m o r e clearly the i m p o r t a n c e of political choice a n d the irrelevance of any merely p h i l o s o p h i c a l stipulation. N e e d s are n o t only elusive; they are also e x p a n s i v e . In the phrase of the c o n t e m p o r a r y p h i l o s o p h e r C h a r l e s Fried, needs are v o r a c i o u s ; they eat u p r e s o u r c e s . But it w o u l d be w r o n g t o suggest t h a t therefore need c a n n o t be a distributive principle. It is, rather, a principle subject t o political l i m i t a t i o n ; a n d the limits (within limits) can be a r b i t r a r y , fixed by s o m e t e m p o r a r y coalition of interests o r majority of voters. C o n s i d e r the case of physical security in a m o d e r n A m e r i c a n city. W e c o u l d p r o v i d e a b s o l u t e security, eliminate every source of violence e x c e p t d o m e s t i c vio lence, if w e p u t a street light every ten y a r d s a n d s t a t i o n e d a policeman every thirty y a r d s t h r o u g h o u t the city. But t h a t w o u l d be very expensive, a n d so w e settle for s o m e t h i n g less. H o w m u c h less can only be decided politically.* O n e can imagine the sorts of things t h a t w o u l d figure in the d e b a t e s . A b o v e all, I t h i n k , t h e r e w o u l d be a certain u n d e r s t a n d i n g m o r e o r less widely s h a r e d , controversial only at t h e m a r g i n s of w h a t constitutes ' e n o u g h ' security or of w h a t level of insecurity is simply intolerable. T h e decision w o u l d also be affected by o t h e r factors: alternative n e e d s , the state of t h e e c o n o m y , the agitation of the p o l i c e m e n ' s u n i o n , a n d so o n . But w h a t e v e r decision is ultimately r e a c h e d , for w h a t e v e r r e a s o n s , security is p r o v i d e d because the citizens need it. A n d because, at some level, they all need it, the criterion of need r e m a i n s a critical s t a n d a r d (as w e shall see) even t h o u g h it c a n n o t d e t e r m i n e priority a n d degree. . . .
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And should be decided politically: that is what democratic political arrangements are for. Any philosophical effort to stipulate in detail the rights or the entitlements of individuals would radically constrain the scope of democratic decision making. I have argued this point elsewhere.
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Distributive justice in the sphere of welfare a n d security has a twofold m e a n i n g : it refers, first t o the recognition of need a n d , second, to the recognition of m e m b e r s h i p . G o o d s m u s t be provided t o needy m e m b e r s because of their neediness, b u t they m u s t also be provided in such a w a y as to sustain their m e m b e r s h i p . It's not the case, however, t h a t m e m b e r s have a claim on any specific set of g o o d s . Welfare rights are fixed only w h e n a c o m m u n i t y a d o p t s some p r o g r a m m e of mutual provision. T h e r e are strong a r g u m e n t s t o be m a d e that, under given historical conditions, such-and-such a p r o g r a m m e should be a d o p t e d . But these are n o t a r g u m e n t s a b o u t individual rights; they are arguments a b o u t the character of a particular political c o m m u n i t y . N o o n e ' s rights were violated because the A t h e n i a n s did not allocate public funds for the education of children. Perhaps they believed, a n d p e r h a p s they were right, t h a t the public life of the city w a s e d u c a t i o n e n o u g h . T h e right t h a t m e m b e r s can legitimately claim is of a m o r e general sort. It u n d o u b t e d l y includes some version of the H o b b e s ian right t o life, some claim on c o m m u n a l resources for b a r e subsistence. N o c o m m u n i t y can allow its m e m b e r s t o starve to death w h e n there is food available t o feed t h e m ; n o g o v e r n m e n t can stand passively by at such a time - n o t if it claims to be a g o v e r n m e n t of or by o r for the c o m m u n i t y . T h e indifference of Britain's rulers during the Irish p o t a t o famine in the 1840s is a sure sign t h a t Ireland w a s a colony, a conquered land, n o real part of G r e a t Britain. This is n o t to justify the indifference - o n e has obligations to colonies a n d to conquered peoples - but only to suggest t h a t the Irish w o u l d have been better served by a g o v e r n m e n t , virtually any g o v e r n m e n t , of their o w n . Perhaps Burke came closest t o describing the fundamental right t h a t is at stake here w h e n he w r o t e : ' G o v e r n m e n t is a contrivance of h u m a n w i s d o m to provide for h u m a n w a n t s . M e n have a right that these w a n t s should be p r o v i d e d for by this w i s d o m . It only h a s t o be said t h a t the w i s d o m in question is the w i s d o m n o t of a ruling class, as Burke seems t o h a v e t h o u g h t , but of the c o m m u n i t y as a whole. O n l y its culture, its character, its c o m m o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g s can define the ' w a n t s ' that are t o be provided for. But culture, character, a n d c o m m o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g s are not givens; they d o n ' t o p e r a t e a u t o m a t i c a l l y ; a t a n y particular m o m e n t , the citizens must argue a b o u t the extent of m u t u a l provision. T h e y argue a b o u t the m e a n i n g of the social c o n t r a c t , the original
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and reiterated conception of the sphere of security and welfare. This is n o t a hypothetical or an ideal contract of the sort J o h n Rawls has described. Rational men and w o m e n in the original position, deprived of all particular knowledge of their social standing a n d cultural understanding, would probably opt, as Rawls has argued, for an equal distribution of whatever goods they were told they n e e d e d . But this formula doesn't help very much in determining w h a t choices people will make, or w h a t choices they should m a k e , once they k n o w w h o and where they are. In a world of particular cultures, competing conceptions of the good, scarce resources, elusive a n d expansive needs, there isn't going to be a single formula, universally applicable. There isn't going to be a single universally a p p r o v e d p a t h that carries us from a notion like, say, 'fair s h a r e s ' to a comprehensive list of the goods to which that n o t i o n applies. Fair shares of w h a t ?
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Justice, tranquillity, defence, welfare, and liberty: that is the list p r o v i d e d by the United States Constitution. O n e could construe it as an exhaustive list, b u t the terms are vague; they provide at best a starting p o i n t for public debate. T h e standard appeal in that debate is t o a larger idea: the Burkeian general right, which takes on d e t e r m i n a t e force only u n d e r determinate conditions and requires different sorts of provision in different times and places. The idea is simply t h a t w e have c o m e together, shaped a community, in order to c o p e with difficulties a n d dangers that we could n o t cope with alone. A n d so whenever we find ourselves confronted with difficul ties a n d d a n g e r s of that sort, we look for c o m m u n a l assistance. As the balance of individual and collective capacity changes, so the kinds of assistance t h a t are looked for change, t o o . T h e history of public health in the West might usefully be told in these t e r m s . Some minimal provision is very old, as the Greek and Jewish examples suggest; the measures adopted were a function of the c o m m u n i t y ' s sense of danger a n d the extent of its medical k n o w l e d g e . O v e r the years, living arrangements on a larger scale b r e d n e w dangers, and scientific advance generated a new sense of d a n g e r a n d a n e w awareness of the possibilities of coping. And then g r o u p s of citizens pressed for a wider p r o g r a m m e of c o m m u n a l provision, exploiting the new science to reduce the risks of urban life. T h a t , they might rightly say, is w h a t the community is for. A similar a r g u m e n t can be m a d e in the case of social security. The very success of general provision in the field of public health has greatly e x t e n d e d the span of a n o r m a l h u m a n life and then also the s p a n of years during which men a n d w o m e n are unable to support themselves, d u r i n g which they are physically b u t most often not

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socially, politically, or morally incapacitated. O n c e again, s u p p o r t for the disabled is one of the oldest and most c o m m o n forms of particular provision. But n o w it is required on a m u c h larger scale t h a n ever before. Families are o v e r w h e l m e d by the costs of old age a n d look for help t o the political c o m m u n i t y . Exactly w h a t o u g h t t o be d o n e will be a m a t t e r of dispute. W o r d s like health, danger, science, even old age, have very different meanings in different cultures; n o external specification is possible. But this is not to say t h a t it w o n ' t be clear enough to the people involved t h a t s o m e t h i n g s o m e particular set of things - o u g h t to b e d o n e . Perhaps these examples are too easy. Disease is a general t h r e a t ; old age, a general prospect. N o t so u n e m p l o y m e n t and poverty, which p r o b a b l y lie b e y o n d the ken of m a n y well-to-do people. T h e p o o r can always be isolated, locked into ghettos, b l a m e d a n d punished for their o w n misfortune. At this point, it might be said, provision can n o longer be defended by invoking a n y t h i n g like the ' m e a n i n g ' of the social contract. But let us look m o r e closely at the easy cases; for, in fact, they involve all the difficulties of the difficult ones. Public health and social security invite us to t h i n k of the political c o m m u n i t y , in T. H . M a r s h a l l ' s phrase, as a ' m u t u a l benefit c l u b ' . All provision is reciprocal; the m e m b e r s take t u r n s providing a n d being provided for, m u c h as Aristotle's citizens t a k e t u r n s ruling and being ruled. This is a h a p p y picture, a n d one t h a t is really u n d e r s t a n d a b l e in contractualist t e r m s . It is n o t only the case t h a t rational agents, k n o w i n g n o t h i n g of their specific situation, w o u l d agree t o these t w o forms of provision; the real agents, the o r d i n a r y citizens, of every m o d e r n d e m o c r a c y have in fact agreed t o t h e m . T h e t w o are, or so it a p p e a r s , equally in the interests of hypothetical a n d of actual people. C o e r c i o n is only necessary in practice because s o m e minority of actual people d o n ' t u n d e r s t a n d , or d o n ' t consistently u n d e r s t a n d , their real interests. O n l y the reckless a n d the i m p r o v i d e n t need to be forced to c o n t r i b u t e a n d it can always be said of t h e m t h a t they joined in the social c o n t r a c t precisely in order t o protect themselves against their o w n reckless ness a n d improvidence. In fact, h o w e v e r , the reasons for coercion go m u c h deeper t h a n t h i s ; the political c o m m u n i t y is s o m e t h i n g m o r e t h a n a m u t u a l benefit c l u b ; a n d the extent of c o m m u n a l provision in any given case w h a t it is a n d w h a t it s h o u l d be is determined by conceptions of need that are m o r e p r o b l e m a t i c t h a n the a r g u m e n t t h u s far suggests. Consider again the case of public h e a l t h . N o c o m m u n a l provi sion is possible h e r e w i t h o u t the constraint of a w i d e r a n g e of activities profitable t o individual m e m b e r s of the c o m m u n i t y b u t
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threatening t o some larger number. Even something so simple, for e x a m p l e , as the provision of uncontaminated milk to large urban p o p u l a t i o n s requires extensive public control; and control is a political achievement, the result (in the United States) of bitter struggles, over m a n y years, in one city after a n o t h e r . When the farmers or the m i d d l e m e n of the dairy industry defended free enterprise, they were certainly acting rationally in their own interests. T h e same thing can be said of other entrepreneurs w h o defend themselves against the constraints of inspection, regulation, a n d enforcement. Public activities of these sorts may be of the highest value t o the rest of us; they are not of the highest value to all of us. T h o u g h I have t a k e n public health as an example of general provision, it is provided only at the expense of some members of the c o m m u n i t y . M o r e o v e r , it benefits most the most vulnerable of the others: t h u s , the special importance of the building code for those w h o live in c r o w d e d tenements, and of anti-pollution laws for those w h o live in the immediate vicinity of factory smokestacks or water drains. Social security, t o o , benefits the most vulnerable members, even if, for reasons I have already suggested, the actual payments are the same for everyone. For the well-to-do can, or many of them think they can, help themselves even in time of trouble and would m u c h prefer n o t to be forced to help anyone else. The truth is that every serious effort at c o m m u n a l provision (insofar as the income of the c o m m u n i t y derives from the wealth of its members) is redistributive in c h a r a c t e r . The benefits it provides are not, strictly speaking m u t u a l . O n c e again, rational agents ignorant of their o w n social standing w o u l d agree t o such a redistribution. But they would agree too easily, a n d their agreement doesn't help us understand w h a t sort of a redistribution is required: H o w much? For w h a t purposes? In practice, redistribution is a political matter, and the coercion it involves is foreshadowed by the conflicts that rage over its character a n d extent. Every particular measure is pushed through by s o m e coalition of particular interests. But the ultimate appeal in these conflicts is n o t to the particular interests, not even to a public interest conceived as their sum, but to collective values, shared u n d e r s t a n d i n g s of m e m b e r s h i p , health, food and shelter, work and leisure. T h e conflicts themselves are often focused, at least overtly, o n questions of fact; the understandings are assumed. T h u s the e n t r e p r e n e u r s of the dairy industry denied as long as they could the c o n n e c t i o n between c o n t a m i n a t e d milk and tuberculosis. But once t h a t connection w a s established, it was difficult for them to deny t h a t milk s h o u l d be inspected: caveat emptor was not, in such a
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case, a plausible doctrine. Similarly, in the debates over old-age pensions in G r e a t Britain, politicians mostly agreed on the tradi tional British value of self-help but disagreed sharply a b o u t w h e t h e r self-help was still possible t h r o u g h the established working-class friendly societies. These w e r e real mutual-benefit clubs organized on a strictly voluntary basis, b u t they seemed a b o u t to be overwhelmed by the g r o w i n g n u m b e r s of the aged. It became increasingly a p p a r e n t t h a t the m e m b e r s simply did not have the resources t o protect themselves and o n e a n o t h e r from poverty in old age. And few British politicians w e r e p r e p a r e d to say t h a t they should be left u n p r o t e c t e d . H e r e , then, is a m o r e precise account of the social c o n t r a c t : it is an agreement t o redistribute the resources of the m e m b e r s in accordance with some shared u n d e r s t a n d i n g of their needs, subject to o n g o i n g political determination in detail. T h e contract is a m o r a l b o n d . It connects the strong and the w e a k , the lucky and the unlucky, the rich and the p o o r , creating a u n i o n that transcends all differences of interest, d r a w i n g its strength from history, culture, religion, language, a n d so on. Arguments a b o u t c o m m u n a l provi sion a r e , at the deepest level interpretations of t h a t u n i o n . T h e closer and m o r e inclusive it is, the wider the recognition of needs, the greater the n u m b e r of social goods t h a t are d r a w n into the sphere of security a n d w e l f a r e . I d o n ' t d o u b t t h a t m a n y political communities h a v e redistributed resources on very different princi ples, n o t in accordance with the needs of the m e m b e r s generally b u t in accordance with the p o w e r of the wellborn or the wealthy. But t h a t , as Rousseau suggested in his Discourse on Inequality, m a k e s a fraud of the social c o n t r a c t . In any c o m m u n i t y , w h e r e resources are t a k e n away from the p o o r a n d given t o the rich, the rights of the p o o r are being violated. T h e w i s d o m of the c o m m u n i t y is n o t engaged in providing for their w a n t s . Political debate a b o u t the n a t u r e of those w a n t s will have to be repressed, else the fraud will quickly be exposed. W h e n all the m e m b e r s share in the business of interpreting the social contract, the result will be a m o r e or less extensive system of c o m m u n a l provision. If all states are in principle welfare states, democracies are m o s t likely to be welfare states in practice. Even the imitation of d e m o c r a c y breeds welfar ism, as in the 'people's democracies', w h e r e the state protects the people against every disaster except those that it inflicts o n t h e m itself. So d e m o c r a t i c citizens argue a m o n g themselves a n d o p t for m a n y different sorts of security a n d welfare, extending far b e y o n d my 'easy' examples of public health a n d old-age pensions. T h e category
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of socially recognized needs is open-ended. For the people's sense of w h a t they need encompasses not only life itself but also the good life, a n d the a p p r o p r i a t e balance between these t w o is itself a matter of dispute. T h e A t h e n i a n d r a m a and the Jewish academies were both financed with m o n e y that could have been spent on housing, say, or o n medicine. But d r a m a and education were taken by Greeks a n d J e w s t o be n o t merely enhancements of the common life but vital aspects of c o m m u n a l welfare. 1 w a n t to stress again that these are n o t judgements that can easily be called incorrect.

AN AMERICAN WELFARE STATE

W h a t sort of c o m m u n a l provision is appropriate in a society like our o w n ? It's n o t my p u r p o s e here to anticipate the outcomes of d e m o c r a t i c d e b a t e or to stipulate in detail the extent or the forms of provision. But it can be argued, I think, that the citizens of a m o d e r n industrial d e m o c r a c y owe a great deal to one another, and the a r g u m e n t will provide a useful opportunity to test the critical force of the principles I have defended up until now: that every political c o m m u n i t y must attend to the needs of its members as they collectively u n d e r s t a n d those needs; that the goods that are distributed m u s t be distributed in p r o p o r t i o n to need; and that the distribution m u s t recognize and uphold the underlying equality of m e m b e r s h i p . These are very general principles; they are meant to apply to a wide range of communities - to any community, in fact, w h e r e the m e m b e r s are each other's equals (before God or the law), or w h e r e it can plausibly be said that, however they are treated in fact, they o u g h t t o be each other's equals. The principles probably d o n ' t apply to a c o m m u n i t y organized hierarchically, as in tradi tional India, w h e r e the fruits of the harvest are distributed not according t o need b u t according t o caste - or rather, as Louis D u t n o n t has written, w h e r e 'the needs of each are conceived to be different, d e p e n d i n g on [his] caste.' Everyone is guaranteed a share, so D u m o n t ' s Indian village is still a welfare state, 'a sort of co operative w h e r e the m a i n aim is to ensure the subsistence of everyone in a c c o r d a n c e with his social function', but not a welfare state or a co-operative w h o s e principles we can readily " s t a n d . (But D u m o n t does not tell us h o w food is supposed to be distributed in time of scarcity. If the subsistence standard is the same for everyone, then w e are back in a familiar world.) Clearly, the three principles apply to the citizens of the United States; a n d they have considerable force here because of the
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affluence of the c o m m u n i t y a n d the expansive u n d e r s t a n d i n g of individual need. O n the other h a n d the United States currently maintains one of the shabbier systems of c o m m u n a l provision in the Western world. This is so for a variety of reasons: the c o m m u n i t y of citizens is loosely organized; v a r i o u s ethnic a n d religious groups r u n welfare p r o g r a m m e s of their o w n ; the ideology of self-reliance and entrepreneurial o p p o r t u n i t y is widely accepted; a n d the movements of the left, particularly the l a b o u r m o v e m e n t , are relatively w e a k . Democratic decision-making reflects these realities, and there is n o t h i n g in principle w r o n g with that. Nevertheless, the established pattern of provision d o e s n ' t measure u p to the internal requirements of the sphere of security a n d welfare, and the c o m m o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g s of the citizens point t o w a r d a m o r e elaborate p a t t e r n . O n e might also argue t h a t American citizens should w o r k t o build a stronger and more intensely experienced political c o m m u n i t y . But this argument, t h o u g h it w o u l d have distributive consequences, is n o t , properly speaking, an a r g u m e n t a b o u t distributive justice. T h e question is, W h a t d o the citizens o w e o n e a n o t h e r , given the c o m m u n i t y they actually inhabit? Consider the e x a m p l e of criminal justice. The actual distribution of p u n i s h m e n t s is an issue I will take u p in a later c h a p t e r . But the a u t o n o m y of p u n i s h m e n t , the certainty that people are being punished for the right reasons (whatever those are), depends u p o n the distribution of resources within the legal system. If accused men a n d w o m e n are t o receive their rightful s h a r e of justice, they must first have a rightful share of legal aid. H e n c e the institution of the public defender a n d the assigned counsel: just as the h u n g r y must be fed, so the accused must be defended; a n d they must be defended in p r o p o r t i o n to their needs. But n o impartial observer of the American legal system t o d a y can d o u b t t h a t the resources necessary t o meet this s t a n d a r d are n o t generally a v a i l a b l e . T h e rich and the p o o r are treated differently in American courts, t h o u g h it is the public c o m m i t m e n t of the courts to treat them the same. T h e a r g u m e n t for a m o r e generous provision follows from t h a t c o m m i t m e n t . If justice is to be provided at all, it must be provided equally for all accused citizens w i t h o u t regard to their w e a l t h (or their race, religion, political p a r t i s a n s h i p , a n d so o n ) . I d o n ' t m e a n t o underestimate the practical difficulties here; but this, again, is the inner logic of provision, a n d it m a k e s for a n illuminating e x a m p l e of c o m p l e x equality. For the inner logic of r e w a r d a n d p u n i s h m e n t
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is different, requiring, as I shall argue later, that distributions be proportional t o desert a n d n o t to need. Punishment is a negative good t h a t o u g h t to be m o n o p o l i z e d by those w h o have acted badly - and w h o h a v e been found guilty of acting badly (after a resourceful defence). Legal aid raises n o theoretical problems because the institutional stuctures for p r o v i d i n g it already exist, and what is at stake is only the readiness of the c o m m u n i t y to live up to the logic of its own institutions. I w a n t to t u r n n o w t o an area where American institutions are relatively underdeveloped, and where communal c o m m i t m e n t is p r o b l e m a t i c , the subject of continuing political debate: the area of medical care. But here the argument for a more extensive provision m u s t move more slowly. It isn't enough to s u m m o n u p a 'right to t r e a t m e n t ' . I shall have to recount something of the history of medical care as a social good.

The Case of Medical

Care

Until recent times, the practice of medicine was mostly a matter of free enterprise. D o c t o r s m a d e their diagnosis, gave their advice, healed or d i d n ' t heal their patients, for a fee. Perhaps the private character of the e c o n o m i c relationship was connected to the intimate c h a r a c t e r of the professional relationship. M o r e likely, I think, it h a d t o d o w i t h the relative marginality of medicine itself. Doctors could, in fact, d o very little for their patients; and the c o m m o n a t t i t u d e in the face of disease (as in the face of poverty) was a stoical fatalism. O r , p o p u l a r remedies were developed that were not m u c h less effective, sometimes more effective, than those prescribed by established physicians. Folk medicine sometimes produced a k i n d of c o m m u n a l provision at the local level, but it was equally likely to generate n e w practitioners, charging fees in their t u r n . Faith healing followed a similar pattern. Leaving these t w o aside, we can say that the distribution of medical care has historically rested in the hands of the medical profession, a guild of physicians t h a t dates at least from the time of H i p p o c r a t e s in the fifth century BC. The guild has functioned to exclude u n c o n v e n t i o n a l practitioners and to regulate the number of physicians in any given community. A genuinely tree m a r k e t has never been in the interest of its members. But is in the interest of the m e m b e r s to sell their services to

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individual p a t i e n t s ; a n d t h u s , by a n d large, the well-to-do have been well cared for (in accordance with the c u r r e n t u n d e r s t a n d i n g of g o o d care) a n d the p o o r hardly cared for at all. In a few u r b a n communities - in the medieval Jewish c o m m u n i t i e s , for e x a m p l e - medical services w e r e m o r e widely available. But they w e r e virtually u n k n o w n for m o s t people m o s t of the time. Doctors w e r e the servants of the rich, often a t t a c h e d to noble houses a n d royal courts. W i t h regard to this practical o u t c o m e , however, the profession has always h a d a collective bad conscience. For the distributive logic of the practice of medicine seems to be this: that care should be p r o p o r t i o n a t e to illness a n d not to w e a l t h . Hence, there have always been d o c t o r s , like t h o s e h o n o u r e d in ancient Greece, w h o served the p o o r on the side, as it w e r e , even while they earned their living from paying patients. M o s t d o c t o r s , present in an emergency, still feel b o u n d to help the victim w i t h o u t regard to his material status. It is a m a t t e r of professional G o o d Samaritanism t h a t the call 'Is there a d o c t o r in the h o u s e ? ' should not go u n a n s w e r e d if there is a d o c t o r t o a n s w e r it. In o r d i n a r y times, however, there w a s little call for medical help, largely because there w a s little faith in its actual helpfulness. A n d so the b a d conscience of the profession w a s n o t echoed by a n y political d e m a n d for the replacement of free enterprise by c o m m u n a l provision. In E u r o p e d u r i n g the M i d d l e Ages, the cure of souls w a s public, the cure of bodies private. T o d a y , in m o s t E u r o p e a n c o u n t r i e s , the situation is reversed. T h e reversal is best explained in terms of a major shift in the c o m m o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of souls a n d bodies: w e have lost confidence in the cure of souls, and w e h a v e c o m e increasingly to believe, even to be obsessed w i t h , the cure of bodies. Descartes's f a m o u s declaration that the 'preservation of h e a l t h ' was the 'chief of all g o o d s ' m a y be t a k e n t o symbolize the shift - or to herald it, for in the history of p o p u l a r attitudes, Descartes's Discourse on Method c a m e very e a r l y . T h e n , as eternity receded in the p o p u l a r consciousness, longevity m o v e d t o the fore. A m o n g medieval Christians, eternity w a s a socially recognized need; and every effort w a s m a d e t o see that it w a s widely a n d equally distributed, t h a t every Christian had an equal chance at salvation a n d eternal life: hence, a church in every parish, regular services, catechism for the y o u n g , c o m p u l s o r y c o m m u n i o n , and so o n . A m o n g m o d e r n citizens, longevity is a socially recognized need; a n d increasingly every effort is m a d e to see t h a t it is widely a n d equally distributed, t h a t every citizen h a s an equal c h a n c e at a long
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and healthy life: hence doctors a n d hospitals in every district, regular c h e c k - u p s , health education for the young, compulsory vaccination, a n d so o n . Parallel to the shift in attitudes, a n d following naturally from it, was a shift in institutions: from the church to the clinic and the hospital. But the shift h a s been gradual: a slow development of c o m m u n a l interest in medical care, a slow erosion of interest in religious care. T h e first major form of medical provision came in the area of p r e v e n t i o n , n o t of treatment, probably because the former involved n o interference with the prerogatives of the guild of physicians. But the beginnings of provision in the area of treatment w e r e roughly simultaneous with the great public health campaigns of the late nineteenth century, and the t w o undoubtedly reflect the s a m e sensitivity t o questions of physical survival. The licensing of physicians, the establishment of state medical schools and u r b a n clinics, the filtering of tax m o n e y into the great voluntary hospitals: these m e a s u r e s involved, perhaps, only marginal interfer ence with the profession - some of them, in fact, reinforced its guildlike c h a r a c t e r ; b u t they already represent an important public commitment. Indeed, they represent a commitment that ulti mately can be fulfilled only by turning physicians, or some substantial n u m b e r of t h e m , into public physicians (as a smaller n u m b e r o n c e t u r n e d themselves into court physicians) and by abolishing or c o n s t r a i n i n g the m a r k e t in medical care. But before I defend t h a t t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , I w a n t t o stress the unavoidability of the c o m m i t m e n t from w h i c h it follows.
21

W h a t has h a p p e n e d in the m o d e r n world is simply that disease itself, even w h e n it is e n d e m i c rather t h a n epidemic, has come to be seen as a plague. A n d since the plague can be dealt with, it must be dealt with. People will n o t e n d u r e w h a t they n o longer believe they have to e n d u r e . D e a l i n g with tuberculosis, cancer, or heart failure, however, requires a c o m m o n effort. Medical research is expensive, and the t r e a t m e n t of m a n y particular diseases lies far beyond the resources of o r d i n a r y citizens. So the community must step in, and any d e m o c r a t i c c o m m u n i t y will in fact step in, more or less vigorously, m o r e o r less effectively, depending on the outcome of particular political battles. T h u s , the role of the American Govern ment (or g o v e r n m e n t s , for m u c h of the activity is at the state and local levels): subsidizing research, training doctors, providing hospitals a n d e q u i p m e n t , regulating voluntary insurance schemes, u n d e r w r i t i n g t h e t r e a t m e n t of the very old. All this represents the

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contrivance of h u m a n w i s d o m t o provide for h u m a n w a n t s . ' And all t h a t is required t o m a k e it morally necessary is the development of a ' w a n t ' so widely a n d deeply felt t h a t it can plausibly be said t h a t it is the w a n t n o t of this or t h a t person alone b u t of the c o m m u n i t y generally - a ' h u m a n w a n t ' even t h o u g h culturally shaped a n d stressed. * But once c o m m u n a l provision begins, it is subject to further m o r a l constraints: it must provide w h a t is ' w a n t e d ' equally to all the m e m b e r s of the c o m m u n i t y ; a n d it must d o so in w a y s t h a t respect their m e m b e r s h i p . N o w , even the pattern of medical provision in the United States, t h o u g h it stops far short of a national health service, is intended t o provide minimally decent care t o all w h o need it. O n c e public funds are c o m m i t t e d , public officials can hardly intend anything less. At the same time, however, n o political decision has yet been m a d e t o challenge directly the system of free enterprise in medical care. A n d so long as t h a t system exists, wealth will be d o m i n a n t in (this p a r t of) the sphere of security a n d welfare; individuals will be cared for in p r o p o r t i o n to their ability t o pay a n d n o t to their need for care. In fact, the situation is m o r e complex t h a n t h a t formula suggests, for c o m m u nal provision already encroaches upon the free m a r k e t , and the very sick and the very old sometimes receive exactly the t r e a t m e n t they should receive. But it is clear t h a t poverty remains a significant b a r t o a d e q u a t e a n d consistent treatment. Perhaps the most telling statistic a b o u t c o n t e m p o r a r y American medicine is the correlation of visits to d o c t o r s a n d hospitals with social class r a t h e r t h a n with degree or incidence of illness. Middle- a n d upper-class Americans are considerably m o r e likely t o have a private physician a n d t o see him often, a n d considerably less likely t o be seriously ill, t h a n are their p o o r e r fellow c i t i z e n s . W e r e medical care a l u x u r y , these
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* Arguing against Bernard Williams's claim that the only proper criterion for the distribution of medical care is medical need, Robert Nozick asks why it doesn't then follow 'that the only proper criterion for the distribution of barbering services is barbering need'? Perhaps it does follow if one attends only to be the 'internal goal' of the activity, conceived in universal terms. But it doesn't follow if one attends to the social meaning of the activity, the place of the good it distributes in the life of a particular group of people. One can conceive of a society in which haircuts took on such central cultural significance that communal provision would be morally required, but it is something more than an interesting fact that no such society has ever existed. I have been helped in thinking about these issues by an article of Thomas Scanlon's; I adopt here his 'conventionalist' alternative.
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discrepancies w o u l d n o t m a t t e r much; but as soon as medical care becomes a socially recognized need, and as soon as the community invests in its provision, they matter a great deal. For then deprivation is a d o u b l e loss - to one's health and to one's social standing. D o c t o r s a n d hospitals have become such massively i m p o r t a n t features of c o n t e m p o r a r y life that to be cut off from the help they p r o v i d e is n o t only dangerous but also degrading. But any fully developed system of medical provision will require the c o n s t r a i n t of the guild of physicians. Indeed, this is more generally t r u e : the provision of security and welfare requires the constraint of those men a n d w o m e n w h o had previously controlled the goods in q u e s t i o n a n d sold them on the market (assuming, what is by n o m e a n s always t r u e , that the market predates communal provision). F o r w h a t we d o when we declare this or that good to be a needed g o o d is t o block or constrain its free exchange. We also block any o t h e r distributive procedure that doesn't attend to need p o p u l a r election, m e r i t o c r a t i c competition, personal or familiar preference, a n d so o n . But the m a r k e t is, at least in the United States today, the chief rival of the sphere of security and welfare; and it is most i m p o r t a n t l y the m a r k e t that is pre-empted by the welfare state. N e e d e d g o o d s c a n n o t be left to the whim, or distributed in the interest, of s o m e powerful group of owners or practitioners. M o s t often, o w n e r s h i p is abolished, and practitioners are effect ively conscripted or, at least, 'signed u p ' in the public service. They serve for the s a k e of the social need and not, or not simply, for their o w n sakes: t h u s , priests for the sake of eternal life, soldiers for the sake of n a t i o n a l defence, public [state] school teachers for the sake of their p u p i l s ' e d u c a t i o n . Priests act wrongly if they sell salvation; soldiers, if they set up as mercenaries; teachers, if they cater to the children of the wealthy. Sometimes the conscription is only partial, as when lawyers are required to be officers of the court, serving the cause of justice even while they also serve their clients and themselves. Sometimes the conscription is occasional and tempor ary, as w h e n lawyers a r e required to act as 'assigned counsels' for defendants u n a b l e t o p a y . In these cases, a special effort is made to respect the p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r of the lawyer-client relationship. I w o u l d look for a similar effort in any fully developed national health service. But I see n o reason to respect the doctor's market freedom. N e e d e d g o o d s are n o t commodities. O r , more precisely, they can be b o u g h t a n d sold only insofar as they are available above and beyond w h a t e v e r level of provision is fixed by democratic decision m a k i n g (and only insofar as the buying and selling doesn t distort distributions b e l o w that level).

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It might be argued, however, t h a t the refusal thus far t o finance a national health service constitutes a political decision by the American people a b o u t the level of c o m m u n a l care (and a b o u t the relative i m p o r t a n c e of o t h e r goods): a minimal s t a n d a r d for everyone - namely, the s t a n d a r d of the u r b a n clinics; and free enterprise b e y o n d t h a t . T h a t w o u l d seem to me an inadequate s t a n d a r d , but it w o u l d n o t necessarily b e an unjust decision. It is n o t , however, the decision the American people have m a d e . The c o m m o n appreciation of the i m p o r t a n c e of medical care has carried t h e m well beyond that. In fact, federal, state, and local governments n o w subsidize different levels of care for different classes of citizens. This might be all right, t o o , if the classification w e r e connected to the purposes of the care if, for e x a m p l e , soldiers a n d defence w o r k e r s w e r e given special t r e a t m e n t in time of w a r . But the p o o r , the middle class, a n d the rich m a k e an indefensible triage. So long as c o m m u n a l funds are spent, as they currently are, t o finance research, build hospitals, a n d pay the fees of d o c t o r s in private practice, the services t h a t these expenditures u n d e r w r i t e m u s t be equally available t o all citizens. T h i s , t h e n , is the a r g u m e n t for an e x p a n d e d A m e r i c a n welfare state. It follows from the three principles w i t h w h i c h I b e g a n , a n d it suggests t h a t the tendency of those principles is to free security and welfare from the prevailing patterns of d o m i n a n c e . T h o u g h a variety of institutional a r r a n g e m e n t s is possible, the three principles w o u l d seem to favour provision in k i n d ; they suggest an i m p o r t a n t a r g u m e n t against current proposals to distribute m o n e y instead of education, legal aid, or medical care. T h e negative income t a x , for e x a m p l e , is a plan to increase the p u r c h a s i n g p o w e r of the p o o r a modified version of simple e q u a l i t y . This plan w o u l d not, however, abolish the d o m i n a n c e of wealth in the sphere of need. Short of a radical equalization, m e n a n d w o m e n with greater p u r c h a s i n g p o w e r could still, and surely w o u l d , bid u p the price of needed services. So the c o m m u n i t y w o u l d be investing, t h o u g h n o w only indirectly, in individual welfare b u t w i t h o u t fitting provision to the shape of need. Even w i t h equal incomes, health care delivered t h r o u g h the m a r k e t w o u l d n o t be responsive to need; n o r w o u l d the m a r k e t provide adequately for medical research. This is n o t an a r g u m e n t against t h e negative income t a x , however, for it m a y be the case t h a t m o n e y itself, in a m a r k e t e c o n o m y , is one of the things t h a t people need. And then it t o o , p e r h a p s , should be provided in kind. I w a n t to stress again t h a t n o a priori stipulation of w h a t needs o u g h t t o be recognized is possible; n o r is there any a priori way of
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determining a p p r o p r i a t e levels of provision. O u r attitudes toward medical care h a v e a history; they have been different; they will be different again. T h e forms of c o m m u n a l provision have changed in the past a n d will continue to change. But they don't change automatically as attitudes change. T h e old order has its clients; there is a lethargy in institutions as in individuals. Moreover, popular attitudes are rarely so clear as they are in the case of medical care. So change is always a matter of political argument, organization, a n d struggle. All that the philosopher can do is to describe the basic s t r u c t u r e of the arguments and the constraints they entail. H e n c e the three principles, which can be summed up in a revised version of M a r x ' s famous m a x i m : From each according to his ability (or his resources); to each according to his socially recognized needs. This, I think, is the deepest meaning of the social contract. It only remains to w o r k out the details - but in everyday life, the details are everything.

NOTES
1

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 'A Discourse on Political Economy', The Social Contract and Discourses, trans. G. D. H. Cole (New York, 1950), pp. 3 0 2 - 3 . Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution (London, 1910),
P

Cf. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, bk. in, part n, ch. 8. The quotation is from the Greek geographer Pausanias, in George Rosen, A History of Public Health (New York, 1958), p. 41. Simone Weil, The Need for Roots, trans. Arthur Wills (Boston, 1955), p. 2 1 . Charles Fried, Right and Wrong (Cambridge, Mass, 1978), p. 122. Michael Walzer, 'Philosophy and Democracy', Political Theory 9 (1981), pp. 3 7 9 - 9 9 . See also the thoughtful discussion in Amy Gutmann, Liberal Equality (Cambridge, England, 1980) especially PP. 197-202. For an account of the famine and the British response, see C. B. Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849 (London, Burke, French Revolution [2], p. 57. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, Mass, 1971), part i, chs. I and 3. T. H. Marshall, Class, Citizenship and Social Development (Garden City, New York, 1965), p. 298. , . See Judith Walzer Leavitt, The Healthiest City: Milwaukee and We Politics of Health Reform (Princeton, 1982), ch. 5.

11

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1 3

Welfare,

Membership

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Need

1 4

15

16 1 7

1 8 1 9

2 0

2 1

2 2

2 3

2 4

2 5

2 6

See the careful discussion in Harold L. Wilensky, The Welfare State and Equality (Berkeley, 1975), pp. 87-96. P. H. J. H. Gosden, Self-Help: Voluntary Association in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1973), ch. 9. See, for example, Harry Eckstein's discussion of conceptions of com munity and welfare policies in Norway. Division and Cohesion in Democracry: A Study of Norway (Princeton, 1966), pp. 857. Rousseau, Social Contract (1), pp. 2502. Louis Dumont, Humo Hierarchus: The Caste System and Its Implica tions (revised English ed., Chicago, 1980), p. 105. Wilensky, Welfare State (32), chs. 2 and 3. See Whitney North Seymour, Why Justice Fails (New York, 1973), especially ch. 4. Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Harmondsworth, England, 1960), p. 85. For a brief account of these developments, see Odin W. Anderson, The Uneasy Equilibrium: Private and Public Financing of Health Services in the United States, 1875-1965 (New Haven, 1968). Bernard Williams, 'The Idea of Equality', in Problems of the Self (Cambridge, England, 1973), p. 240. See Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York, 1974), pp. 2 3 3 - 5 . Thomas Scanlon, 'Preference and Urgency', Journal of Philosophy, 57 (1975), pp. 655-70. Monroe Lerner, 'Social Differences in Physical Health', John B. McKinley, 'The Help-Seeking Behavior of the Poor', and Julius Roth, 'The Treatment of the Sick', in Poverty and Health: A Sociological Analysis, ed. John Kosa and Irving Kenneth Zola (Cambridge, Mass, 1969), summary statements at pp. 103,265, adn 2 8 0 - 1 . Also, supposedly, cheaper form of welfare: see Colin Clark, Poverty before Politics: A Proposal for a Reverse Income Tax (Hobart Paper 73, London, 1977).

11 Michael Oakeshott: Political Education*

The expression 'political e d u c a t i o n ' has fallen o n evil d a y s ; in the wilful and disingenuous c o r r u p t i o n of l a n g u a g e w h i c h is character istic of our time it h a s a c q u i r e d a sinister m e a n i n g . In places o t h e r than this, it is associated w i t h t h a t softening of the m i n d , by force, by alarm, or by the h y p n o t i s m of the endless repetition of w h a t w a s scarcely w o r t h saying o n c e , by m e a n s of w h i c h w h o l e p o p u l a t i o n s have been reduced to s u b m i s s i o n . It is, therefore, an enterprise worth u n d e r t a k i n g t o c o n s i d e r again, in a quiet m o m e n t , h o w w e should u n d e r s t a n d this e x p r e s s i o n , which joins together t w o laudable activities, a n d in d o i n g so play a small p a r t in rescuing it from abuse. Politics I take t o be t h e activity of a t t e n d i n g t o the general arrangements of a set of p e o p l e w h o m c h a n c e o r choice have brought together. In this sense, families, clubs, a n d learned societies have their 'polities'. But t h e c o m m u n i t i e s in w h i c h this m a n n e r of activity is p r e - e m i n e n t are the h e r e d i t a r y co-operative g r o u p s , m a n y of them of ancient lineage, all of t h e m a w a r e of a past, a present, and a future, w h i c h w e call 'states'. F o r m o s t people, political activity is a s e c o n d a r y activity - t h a t is t o say, they have s o m e t h i n g else to d o besides a t t e n d i n g t o these a r r a n g e m e n t s . But, as w e have come to u n d e r s t a n d it, t h e activity is o n e in w h i c h every m e m b e r of the group w h o is neither a child n o r a lunatic h a s some p a r t a n d some responsibility. W i t h us it is, at o n e level or a n o t h e r , a universal activity. I speak of this activity as ' a t t e n d i n g t o a r r a n g e m e n t s ' , r a t h e r t h a n as 'making a r r a n g e m e n t s ' , b e c a u s e in these h e r e d i t a r y co-operative * 1977 Permission granted by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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g r o u p s the activity is never offered the b l a n k sheet of infinite possibility. In any generation, even the m o s t r e v o l u t i o n a r y , the a r r a n g e m e n t s which are enjoyed always far exceed those w h i c h are recognized t o s t a n d in need of attention, a n d those w h i c h are being p r e p a r e d for enjoyment are few in comparison with those which receive a m e n d m e n t : the new is an insignificant p r o p o r t i o n of the w h o l e . There are s o m e p e o p l e , of course, w h o allow themselves to speak As if arrangements were intended For nothing else but to be mended but, for most of us, o u r determination t o i m p r o v e o u r c o n d u c t does n o t prevent us from recognizing that the greater p a r t of w h a t we have is not a b u r d e n t o be carried o r an incubus to be t h r o w n off, but an inheritance to be enjoyed. A n d a certain degree of shabbiness is joined with every real convenience. N o w , a t t e n d i n g to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society is a n activity which, iike every other, has to be learned. Politics m a k e a call u p o n k n o w l e d g e . Consequently, it is n o t irrelevant to enquire i n t o the kind of k n o w l e d g e which is involved, a n d t o investigate the n a t u r e of political e d u c a t i o n . I d o n o t , h o w e v e r , p r o p o s e to ask w h a t information w e should equip ourselves with before w e begin to be politically active, o r w h a t w e need t o k n o w in o r d e r to be successful politicians, b u t to enquire into the k i n d of k n o w l e d g e we unavoid ably call u p o n whenever we are engaged in political activity a n d to get from this an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the n a t u r e of political e d u c a t i o n . O u r t h o u g h t s o n political education, then, might be supposed t o spring from o u r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity a n d the k i n d of k n o w l e d g e it involves. And it w o u l d a p p e a r t h a t w h a t is w a n t e d at this point is a definition of political activity from w h i c h t o d r a w s o m e conclusions. But this, I t h i n k , w o u l d be a mistaken w a y of going a b o u t o u r business. W h a t w e require is n o t so m u c h a definition of politics from which t o d e d u c e the c h a r a c t e r of political e d u c a t i o n , as an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity which includes a recognition of the sort of education it involves. For, to u n d e r s t a n d a n activity is t o k n o w it as a concrete w h o l e ; it is t o recognize the activity as h a v i n g the source of its m o v e m e n t w i t h i n itself. An u n d e r s t a n d i n g which leaves the activity in debt t o s o m e t h i n g outside itself is, for t h a t r e a s o n , an i n a d e q u a t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g . A n d if political activity is impossible w i t h o u t a certain k i n d of k n o w l edge a n d a certain sort of education, t h e n this k n o w l e d g e a n d education are n o t mere appendages to the activity b u t are p a r t of

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the activity itself a n d m u s t be incorporated in our understanding of it. W e s h o u l d n o t , therefore, seek a definition of politics in order to deduce from it the character of political knowledge and education, but r a t h e r observe the kind of knowledge and education which is inherent in any u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity, and use this observation as a m e a n s of improving o u r understanding of politics. M y p r o p o s a l , then, is to consider the adequacy of t w o current u n d e r s t a n d i n g s of politics, together with the sort of knowledge and k i n d of e d u c a t i o n they imply, a n d by improving u p o n them to reach w h a t m a y p e r h a p s be a m o r e a d e q u a t e understanding at once of political activity itself and the knowledge and education which belongs to it. In the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of some people, politics are w h a t may be called an empirical activity. Attending to the arrangements of a society is w a k i n g u p each m o r n i n g a n d considering, ' W h a t would I like to d o ? ' or ' W h a t w o u l d somebody else (whom I desire to please) like to see d o n e ? ' , and doing it. This understanding of political activity m a y be called politics w i t h o u t a policy. O n the briefest inspection it will a p p e a r a concept of politics difficult to s u b s t a n t i a t e ; it does not look like a possible m a n n e r of activity at all. But a n e a r a p p r o a c h t o it is, perhaps, to be detected in the politics of the proverbial oriental despot, or in the politics of the wall-scribbler a n d the vote-catcher. And the result may be supposed t o be c h a o s modified by whatever consistency is allowed to creep i n t o caprice. They are the politics attributed t o the first Lord Liverpool, of w h o m Acton said, 'The secret of his policy was that h e h a d n o n e ' , a n d of w h o m a Frenchman remarked that if he had been present at the creation of the world he w o u l d have said, ' M o Dieu, conservons le chaos'. It seems, then, that a concrete activity, which m a y be described as an a p p r o x i m a t i o n to empirical politics, is possible. But it is clear t h a t , although knowledge of a sort belongs t o this style of political activity (knowledge, as the French say, not of ourselves b u t only of o u r appetites), the only kind of education a p p r o p r i a t e t o it w o u l d be an education in lunacy - learning to be ruled solely by passing desires. A n d this reveals the important p o i n t ; n a m e l y , t h a t t o u n d e r s t a n d politics as a purely empirical activity is t o m i s u n d e r s t a n d it, because empiricism by itself is not a concrete m a n n e r of activity at all, and can become a partner in a concrete m a n n e r of activity only w h e n it is joined with something else - in science, for e x a m p l e , w h e n it is joined with hypothesis. W h a t is significant a b o u t this understanding of politics is not that s o m e s o r t of a p p r o a c h t o it can a p p e a r , but t h a t it mistakes for a

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concrete, self-moved m a n n e r of activity w h a t is never m o r e t h a n an abstract m o m e n t in any m a n n e r of being active. Of course, politics are the pursuit of w h a t is desired a n d of w h a t is desired at the m o m e n t ; but precisely because they are this, they can never be the p u r s u i t of merely w h a t r e c o m m e n d s itself from m o m e n t to m o m e n t . T h e activity of desiring does n o t take this c o u r s e ; caprice is never absolute. From a practical point of view, then, w e may decry the style of politics which a p p r o x i m a t e s to pure empiricism because we can observe in it an a p p r o a c h to lunacy. But from a theoretical point of view, purely empirical politics are n o t some thing difficult to achieve or p r o p e r t o be avoided, they are merely impossible; the p r o d u c t of a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g . T h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics as an empirical activity is, then, i n a d e q u a t e because it fails to reveal a concrete m a n n e r of activity at all. A n d it has the incidental defect of seeming t o encourage the thoughtless to p u r s u e a style of a t t e n d i n g to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of their society which is likely t o have u n f o r t u n a t e results; to try to d o something which is inherently impossible is always a c o r r u p t i n g enterprise. W e m u s t , if we can, improve u p o n it. And the impulse t o i m p r o v e m a y be given a direction by asking, ' W h a t is it t h a t this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics has neglected t o observe?' W h a t (to put it crudely) has it left out w h i c h , if a d d e d in, w o u l d c o m p o s e an u n d e r s t a n d i n g in which politics are revealed as a self-moved (or concrete) m a n n e r of activity? And the a n s w e r t o the question is, or seems t o be, available as s o o n as the question is f o r m u l a t e d . It w o u l d a p p e a r t h a t w h a t this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics lacks is s o m e t h i n g t o set empiricism t o w o r k , s o m e t h i n g to c o r r e s p o n d w i t h specific hypothesis in science, an end to be p u r s u e d m o r e extensive t h a n a merely instant desire. A n d this, it should be observed, is n o t merely a g o o d c o m p a n i o n for empiricism; it is something w i t h o u t w h i c h empiricism in action is impossible. Let us e x p l o r e this suggestion, a n d in o r d e r t o bring it t o a point I will state it in t h e form of a p r o p o s i t i o n : t h a t politics a p p e a r as a self-moved m a n n e r of activity w h e n empiricism is preceded a n d guided by a n ideologi cal activity. I a m n o t concerned with the so-called ideological style of politics as a desirable o r undesirable m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g t o the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society; I a m concerned only w i t h the c o n t e n t i o n t h a t w h e n t o the ineluctable element of empiricism (doing w h a t o n e w a n t s t o do) is a d d e d a political ideology, a self-moved m a n n e r of activity a p p e a r s , a n d t h a t consequently this m a y be regarded in principle as an a d e q u a t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity. As I u n d e r s t a n d it, a political ideology p u r p o r t s t o be an a b s t r a c t

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principle, o r set of related abstract principles, which has been independently premeditated. It supplies in advance of the activity of a t t e n d i n g to the arrangements of a society a formulated end to be p u r s u e d , a n d in so d o i n g it provides a means of distinguishing between those desires which o u g h t to be encouraged and those which o u g h t to be suppressed or redirected. T h e simplest sort of political ideology is a single abstract idea, such as F r e e d o m , Equality, M a x i m u m Productivity, Racial Purity, or H a p p i n e s s . A n d in t h a t case political activity is understood as the enterprise of seeing that the arrangements of a society conform to or reflect the chosen abstract idea. It is usual, however, to recognize the need for a complex scheme of related ideas, rather than a single idea, a n d the examples pointed to will be such systems of ideas as: 'the principles of 1 7 8 9 ' , 'Liberalism', 'Democracy', ' M a r x i s m ' , or the Atlantic Charter. These principles need not be considered absolute or i m m u n e from change (though they are frequently so considered), but their value lies in their having been premeditated. T h e y c o m p o s e an understanding of what is to be pursued indepen d e n t of how it is to be pursued. A political ideology purports to supply in a d v a n c e k n o w l e d g e of w h a t 'Freedom' or 'Democracy' or 'Justice' is, a n d in this m a n n e r sets empiricism to work. Such a set of principles is, of course, capable of being argued about and reflected u p o n ; it is something that men compose for themselves, a n d they m a y later r e m e m b e r it or write it d o w n . But the condition u p o n which it can perform the service assigned to it is that it owes n o t h i n g t o the activity it controls. ' T o k n o w the true good of the c o m m u n i t y is w h a t constitutes the science of legislation,' said B e n t h a m ; 'the art consists in finding the means to realize that good.' T h e c o n t e n t i o n we have before us, then, is that empiricism can be set t o w o r k (and a concrete, self-moved manner of activity appear) w h e n there is a d d e d t o it a guide of this sort: desire and something n o t generated by desire. N o w , there is n o d o u b t about the sort of knowledge which political activity, u n d e r s t o o d in this manner, calls upon. W h a t is required, in the first place, is knowledge of the chosen political ideology - a k n o w l e d g e of the ends to be pursued, a knowledge of w h a t w e w a n t to d o . Of course, if we are to be successful in p u r s u i n g these ends w e shall need knowledge of another sort also a k n o w l e d g e , shall we say, of economics and psychology. But the c o m m o n characteristic of all the kinds of knowledge required is t h a t they m a y be, and s h o u l d be, gathered in advance of the activity of a t t e n d i n g t o the arrangements of a society. Moreover, the a p p r o p r i a t e sort of education will be an education in which the

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chosen political ideology is taught and learned, in which the techniques necessary for success are acquired, a n d (if we are so u n f o r t u n a t e as t o find ourselves e m p t y - h a n d e d in t h e m a t t e r of an ideology) an education in the skill of abstract t h o u g h t a n d p r e m e d i t a t i o n necessary t o c o m p o s e o n e for ourselves. T h e edu cation we shall need is one which enables us t o e x p o u n d , defend, implement, a n d possibly invent a political ideology. In casting a r o u n d for s o m e convincing d e m o n s t r a t i o n t h a t this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics reveals a self-moved m a n n e r of activity, w e should n o d o u b t consider ourselves r e w a r d e d if w e could find an e x a m p l e of politics being conducted precisely in this m a n n e r . This at least w o u l d constitute a sign t h a t w e w e r e on the right track. T h e defect, it will be r e m e m b e r e d , of the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics as a purely empirical activity w a s t h a t it revealed, not a m a n n e r of activity at all, b u t an abstraction; a n d this defect m a d e itself manifest in o u r inability to find a style of politics w h i c h w a s a n y t h i n g m o r e t h a n an a p p r o x i m a t i o n to it. H o w does the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics as empiricism joined with an ideology fare in this respect? A n d w i t h o u t being over-confident, w e may p e r h a p s think t h a t this is w h e r e w e w a d e ashore. F o r we w o u l d a p p e a r to be in n o difficulty w h a t e v e r in finding an e x a m p l e of political activity which c o r r e s p o n d s t o this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of it: half the w o r l d , at a conservative estimate, seems to c o n d u c t its affairs in precisely this m a n n e r . And further, is it n o t so manifestly a possible style of politics t h a t , even if w e disagree with a particular ideology, w e find n o t h i n g technically a b s u r d in the writings of those w h o urge it u p o n us as a n a d m i r a b l e style of politics? At least its advocates seem to k n o w w h a t they are talking a b o u t : they u n d e r s t a n d n o t only the m a n n e r of the activity b u t also the sort of k n o w l e d g e a n d the kind of e d u c a t i o n it involves. 'Every s c h o o l b o y in Russia', w r o t e Sir N o r m a n Angel, 'is familiar with the doctrine of M a r x a n d c a n recite its catechism. H o w m a n y British schoolboys have any c o r r e s p o n d i n g k n o w l e d g e of the principles enunciated by Mill in his i n c o m p a r a b l e essay o n Liberty?' 'Few people', says M r E. H . C a r r , ' a n y longer contest the thesis t h a t the child should be educated in the official ideology of his c o u n t r y . ' In short, if w e are looking for a sign t o indicate that the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics as empirical activity preceded by ideological activity is an a d e q u a t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g , w e can scarcely be mistaken in s u p p o s i n g t h a t w e h a v e it t o h a n d . A n d yet there is p e r h a p s r o o m for d o u b t : d o u b t first of all w h e t h e r in principle this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics reveals a selfm o v e d m a n n e r of activity; a n d d o u b t , consequentially, w h e t h e r

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w h a t h a v e been identified as examples of a style of politics c o r r e s p o n d i n g exactly t o this understanding have been properly indentified. T h e c o n t e n t i o n we are investigating is that attending to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society can begin with a premeditated ideology, can begin w i t h independently acquired knowledge of the ends to be p u r s u e d . It is s u p p o s e d t h a t a political ideology is the product of intellectual p r e m e d i t a t i o n and that, because it is a body of principles n o t itself in d e b t to the activity of attending to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society, it is able to determine and guide the direction of t h a t activity. If, however, we consider more closely the c h a r a c t e r of a political ideology, we find at once that this supposition is falsified. So far from a political ideology being the quasi-divine p a r e n t of political activity, it turns out to be its earthly stepchild. Instead of an independently premeditated scheme of ends to be p u r s u e d , it is a system of ideas abstracted from the manner in which p e o p l e h a v e been accustomed to go about the business of attending to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of their societies. The pedigree of every political ideology shows it to be the creature, not of p r e m e d i t a t i o n in advance of political activity, but of meditation u p o n a m a n n e r of politics. In short, political activity comes first and a political ideology follows after; and the understanding of politics we are investigating has the disadvantage of being, in the strict sense, p r e p o s t e r o u s . Let us consider the m a t t e r first in relation to scientific hypothesis, which I h a v e t a k e n t o play a role in scientific activity in some respects similar to t h a t of an ideology in politics. If a scientific hypothesis w e r e a self-generated bright idea which owed nothing to scientific activity, then empiricism governed by hypothesis could be considered t o c o m p o s e a self-contained manner of activity; but this certainly is n o t its character. T h e truth is that only a man w h o is already a scientist can formulate a scientific hypothesis; that is, an hypothesis is n o t an independent invention capable of guiding scientific e n q u i r y , but a dependent supposition which arises as an abstraction from within already existing scientific activity. M o r e o v e r , even w h e n the specific hypothesis has in this manner been f o r m u l a t e d , it is inoperative as a guide to research without c o n s t a n t reference t o the traditions of scientific enquiry from which it w a s a b s t r a c t e d . T h e concrete situation does not appear until the specific hypothesis, which is the occasion of empiricism being set to w o r k , is recognized as itself the creature of knowing h o w to c o n d u c t a scientific enquiry. , , O r consider the e x a m p l e of cookery. It might be supposed that an
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ignorant m a n , some edible materials, a n d a cookery b o o k c o m p o s e together the necessities of a self-moved (or concrete) activity called c o o k i n g . But n o t h i n g is further from the t r u t h . T h e cookery b o o k is n o t an independently generated beginning from w h i c h cooking can spring; it is n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n an abstract of s o m e b o d y ' s k n o w l edge of h o w t o cook: it is the stepchild, not the p a r e n t of the activity. T h e b o o k , in its t u r n , may help t o set a m a n o n to dressing a dinner, but if it were his sole guide h e could never, in fact, begin: the b o o k speaks only to those w h o k n o w already the kind of thing t o expect from it a n d consequently h o w t o interpret it. N o w , just as a cookery b o o k presupposes s o m e b o d y w h o k n o w s h o w t o cook, and its use presupposes s o m e b o d y w h o already k n o w s h o w to use it, and just as a scientific hypothesis springs from a knowledge of h o w to conduct a scientific investigation and separ ated from that k n o w l e d g e is powerless t o set empiricism profit ably to w o r k , so a political ideology m u s t be u n d e r s t o o d , n o t as an independently premeditated beginning for political activity, b u t as k n o w l e d g e (abstract a n d generalized) of a concrete m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society. T h e catechism w h i c h sets o u t the p u r p o s e s to be pursued merely abridges a concrete m a n n e r of b e h a v i o u r in which those purposes are already h i d d e n . It d o e s not exist in advance of political activity, a n d by itself it is always an insufficient guide. Political enterprises, the ends to be p u r s u e d , the a r r a n g e m e n t s to be established (all the n o r m a l ingredients of a political ideology), c a n n o t be p r e m e d i t a t e d in advance of a m a n n e r of attending t o the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society; what w e d o , and m o r e o v e r w h a t we w a n t to d o , is the creature of how we are a c c u s t o m e d to conduct o u r affairs. Indeed, it often reflects n o m o r e t h a n a discovered ability t o d o s o m e t h i n g w h i c h is then translated into an a u t h o r i t y t o d o it. O n 4 August 1 7 8 9 , for the complex and b a n k r u p t social a n d political system of France w a s substituted the Rights of M a n . R e a d i n g this d o c u m e n t we c o m e to the conclusion that s o m e b o d y has d o n e some thinking. H e r e , displayed in a few sentences, is a political ideology: a system of rights a n d duties, a scheme of e n d s justice, freedom, equality, security, p r o p e r t y , and the rest ready a n d waiting to be p u t into practice for the first time. 'For the first time?' N o t a bit of it. This ideology n o m o r e existed in advance of political practice t h a n a cookery b o o k exists in advance of k n o w i n g h o w to c o o k . Certainly it w a s the p r o d u c t of s o m e b o d y ' s reflection, b u t it w a s n o t the p r o d u c t of reflection in advance of political activity. For here, in fact, are disclosed, abstracted a n d abridged, the c o m m o n law rights of Englishmen, the gift n o t of independent

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premeditation or divine munificence, b u t of centuries of the day-to day attending to the a r r a n g e m e n t s of an historic society. O r consider Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government, read in America a n d in F r a n c e in the eighteenth century as a statement of abstract principles to be p u t into practice, regarded there as a preface to political activity. But so far from being a preface, it has all the m a r k s of a postscript, a n d its p o w e r to guide derived from its roots in actual political experience. H e r e , set d o w n in abstract terms, is a brief c o n s p e c t u s of the m a n n e r in which Englishmen were a c c u s t o m e d to go a b o u t the business of attending to their arrangements - a brilliant a b r i d g m e n t of the political habits of Englishmen. O r consider this passage from a contemporary con tinental writer: ' F r e e d o m keeps E u r o p e a n s in unrest and move ment. They wish t o h a v e freedom, a n d at the same time they k n o w they have n o t got it. T h e y k n o w also t h a t freedom belongs to man as a h u m a n right.' And h a v i n g established the end to be pursued, political activity is represented as the realization of this end. But the 'freedom' w h i c h can be p u r s u e d is n o t an independently premedi tated 'ideal' o r a d r e a m ; like scientific hypothesis, it is something which is already i n t i m a t e d in a concrete m a n n e r of behaving. Freedom, like a recipe for g a m e pie, is n o t a bright idea; it is not a ' h u m a n right' t o be d e d u c e d from some speculative concept of h u m a n n a t u r e . T h e freedom which w e enjoy is nothing more than arrangements, p r o c e d u r e s of a certain kind: the freedom of an Englishman is n o t s o m e t h i n g exemplified in the procedure of habeas corpus, it is, at t h a t p o i n t , the availability of that procedure. And the freedom w h i c h w e wish to enjoy is n o t an 'ideal' which we premeditate i n d e p e n d e n t l y of o u r political experience, it is w h a t is already i n t i m a t e d in t h a t e x p e r i e n c e .
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^ O n this reading, t h e n , the systems of abstract ideas we call 'ideologies' are abstracts of s o m e kind of concrete activity. M o s t political ideologies, a n d certainly the most useful of them (because they u n q u e s t i o n a b l y h a v e their use), are abstracts of the political traditions of s o m e society. But it sometimes happens that an ideology is offered as a guide t o politics which is a n abstract, n o t of political experience, b u t of s o m e o t h e r m a n n e r of activity - war, religion, o r the c o n d u c t of industry, for e x a m p l e . And here the model w e are s h o w n is n o t only abstract, but is also inappropriate on account of the irrelevance of the activity from which it has been abstracted. T h i s , I t h i n k , is o n e of t h e defects of the model provided by the M a r x i s t ideology. But the i m p o r t a n t point is that, at most, an ideology is an a b b r e v i a t i o n of s o m e m a n n e r of concrete activity. W e are n o w , p e r h a p s , in a position t o perceive more accurately

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the character of w h a t m a y be called the ideological style of politics, a n d t o observe t h a t its existence offers n o g r o u n d for supposing t h a t the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity as empiricism guided solely by an ideology is an a d e q u a t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g . T h e ideological style of politics is a confused style. Properly s p e a k i n g , it is a t r a d i t i o n a l m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g t o the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society w h i c h has been a b r i d g e d i n t o a doctrine of ends t o be p u r s u e d , the a b r i d g m e n t (together w i t h the necessary technical knowledge) being erroneously r e g a r d e d as the sole guide relied u p o n . In certain circumstances an a b r i d g m e n t of this k i n d m a y b e v a l u a b l e ; it gives s h a r p n e s s of outline a n d precision to a political t r a d i t i o n which the occasion may m a k e seem a p p r o p r i a t e . W h e n a m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g t o a r r a n g e m e n t s is t o be t r a n s p l a n t e d from the society in which it has g r o w n u p into a n o t h e r society (always a q u e s t i o n a b l e enter prise), the simplification of a n ideology m a y a p p e a r as a n asset. If, for e x a m p l e , the English m a n n e r of politics is t o be planted elsewhere in the w o r l d , it is p e r h a p s a p p r o p r i a t e t h a t it s h o u l d first be abridged into s o m e t h i n g called ' d e m o c r a c y ' before it is p a c k e d u p a n d shipped a b r o a d . T h e r e is, of c o u r s e , a n alternative m e t h o d : the m e t h o d by which w h a t is e x p o r t e d is the detail a n d n o t the a b r i d g m e n t of the t r a d i t i o n a n d the w o r k m e n travel w i t h t h e tools - the m e t h o d which m a d e the British E m p i r e . But it is a slow a n d costly m e t h o d . A n d , particularly w i t h m e n in a h u r r y , I'homme a programme w i t h his a b r i d g m e n t wins every t i m e ; his slogans e n c h a n t , while the resident magistrate is seen only as a sign of servility. But w h a t e v e r the a p p a r e n t a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s o n occasion of the ideological style of politics, the defect of the e x p l a n a t i o n of political activity connected with it b e c o m e s a p p a r e n t w h e n we consider the sort of k n o w l e d g e a n d t h e k i n d of e d u c a t i o n it encourages us to believe is sufficient for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the activity of a t t e n d i n g t o the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society. F o r it suggests t h a t a k n o w l e d g e of the chosen political ideology can t a k e the place of u n d e r s t a n d i n g a tradition of political b e h a v i o u r . T h e w a n d a n d the b o o k c o m e to be regarded as themselves p o t e n t , a n d n o t merely the symbols of potency. T h e a r r a n g e m e n t s of a society are m a d e to a p p e a r , not as m a n n e r s of b e h a v i o u r , b u t as pieces of machinery to be t r a n s p o r t e d a b o u t the w o r l d indiscriminately. T h e complexities of the tradition which have been squeezed o u t in the process of a b r i d g m e n t are t a k e n t o b e u n i m p o r t a n t : the 'rights of m a n ' are u n d e r s t o o d t o exist insulated from a m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g to a r r a n g e m e n t s . A n d because, in practice, t h e a b r i d g m e n t is never by itself a sufficient guide, w e are e n c o u r a g e d t o fill it o u t , n o t w i t h o u r suspect political experience, b u t with experience d r a w n from o t h e r

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(often irrelevant) concretely u n d e r s t o o d activities, such as w a r , the conduct of industry, or t r a d e u n i o n n e g o t i a t i o n . The u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics as the activity of a t t e n d i n g to the arrangements of a society u n d e r the g u i d a n c e of a n independently premeditated ideology is, t h e n , n o less a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a n the understanding of it as a p u r e l y empirical activity. W h e r e v e r else politics may begin, they c a n n o t begin in ideological activity. A n d in an attempt to i m p r o v e u p o n this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics, w e have already observed in principle w h a t needs to be recognized in o r d e r to have an intelligent c o n c e p t . Just as scientific hypothesis c a n n o t appear, and is impossible t o o p e r a t e , except w i t h i n an already existing tradition of scientific investigation, so a s c h e m e of e n d s for political activity a p p e a r s w i t h i n , a n d can be e v a l u a t e d only w h e n it is related t o , a n already existing t r a d i t i o n of h o w t o a t t e n d t o o u r arrangements. In politics, t h e only concrete m a n n e r of activity detectable is o n e in w h i c h e m p i r i c i s m a n d the e n d s t o be p u r s u e d are recognized as d e p e n d e n t , alike for their existence a n d their operation, u p o n a t r a d i t i o n a l m a n n e r of b e h a v i o u r . Politics is the activity of a t t e n d i n g to the general a r r a n g e m e n t s of a collection of p e o p l e w h o , in respect of their c o m m o n recognition of a m a n n e r of a t t e n d i n g t o its a r r a n g e m e n t s , c o m p o s e a single community. T o s u p p o s e a collection of p e o p l e w i t h o u t recognized traditions of b e h a v i o u r , o r o n e w h i c h enjoyed a r r a n g e m e n t s w h i c h intimated n o direction for c h a n g e a n d needed n o a t t e n t i o n , is t o suppose a p e o p l e i n c a p a b l e of politics. T h i s activity, then, springs neither from i n s t a n t desires, n o r from general principles, b u t from the existing t r a d i t i o n s of b e h a v i o u r themselves. A n d the form it takes, because it can t a k e n o o t h e r , is the a m e n d m e n t of existing arrangements by e x p l o r i n g a n d p u r s u i n g w h a t is i n t i m a t e d in t h e m . The a r r a n g e m e n t s w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e a society c a p a b l e of political activity, w h e t h e r they are c u s t o m s o r institutions or laws or diplomatic decisions, are a t o n c e c o h e r e n t a n d i n c o h e r e n t ; they compose a p a t t e r n a n d a t t h e s a m e t i m e they i n t i m a t e a s y m p a t h y for w h a t does n o t fully a p p e a r . Political activity is the e x p l o r a t i o n of that s y m p a t h y ; a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y , relevant political r e a s o n i n g will be the convincing e x p o s u r e of a s y m p a t h y , p r e s e n t b u t n o t yet followed u p , a n d the c o n v i n c i n g d e m o n s t r a t i o n t h a t n o w is the appropriate m o m e n t for recognizing it. For e x a m p l e , the legal status of w o m e n in o u r society w a s for a long time (and p e r h a p s still is) in c o m p a r a t i v e c o n f u s i o n , b e c a u s e t h e rights a n d duties which c o m p o s e d it i n t i m a t e d rights a n d duties w h i c h w e r e never theless n o t recognized. A n d , o n t h e v i e w of things I a m suggesting,

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the only cogent reason t o be advanced for the technical 'enfranchisement' of w o m e n w a s t h a t in all o r most other impor t a n t respects they h a d already been enfranchised. A r g u m e n t s d r a w n from abstract n a t u r a l right, from 'justice', or from some general concept of feminine personality, m u s t be regarded as either irrelevant, or as unfortunately disguised forms of the one valid a r g u m e n t ; namely, t h a t there was an incoherence in the arrange ments of the society which pressed convincingly for remedy. In politics, then, every enterprise is a consequential enterprise, the pursuit, n o t of a d r e a m , or of a general principle, b u t of an intimation. W h a t w e have to d o with is s o m e t h i n g less imposing t h a n logical implications or necessary consequences: b u t if the intimations of a tradition of behaviour are less dignified o r m o r e elusive than these, they are not on t h a t a c c o u n t less i m p o r t a n t . Of course, there is n o piece of mistake-proof a p p a r a t u s by means of which we can elicit the intimation most w o r t h w h i l e p u r s u i n g ; a n d n o t only d o we often m a k e gross errors of judgement in this matter, but also the total effect of a desire satisfied is so little t o be forecast, t h a t o u r activity of a m e n d m e n t is often found to lead us w h e r e w e w o u l d n o t go. M o r e o v e r , the w h o l e enterprise is liable at any m o m e n t to be perverted by the incursion of an a p p r o x i m a t i o n to empiricism in the pursuit of p o w e r . These are features w h i c h can never be eliminated; they belong t o the character of political activity. But it may be believed t h a t o u r mistakes of u n d e r s t a n d i n g will be less frequent a n d less disastrous if w e escape the illusion t h a t politics is ever a n y t h i n g m o r e t h a n the pursuit of i n t i m a t i o n s ; a conversion, n o t a n a r g u m e n t . N o w , every society which is intellectually alive is liable, from t i m e t o time, t o abridge its tradition of b e h a v i o u r into a scheme of abstract ideas; a n d o n occasion political discussion will be con cerned, n o t (like the debates in the Iliad) with isolated transactions, n o r (like the speeches in Thucydides) w i t h policies and traditions of activity, b u t with general principles. A n d in this there is n o h a r m ; p e r h a p s even s o m e positive benefit. It is possible t h a t the distorting m i r r o r of an ideology will reveal i m p o r t a n t hidden passages in the tradition, as a caricature reveals the potentialities of a face; a n d if this is so, the intellectual enterprise of seeing w h a t a tradition looks like w h e n it is reduced t o a n ideology will be a useful p a r t of political e d u c a t i o n . But t o m a k e use of a b r i d g m e n t as a technique for exploring the intimations of a political tradition, t o use it, t h a t is, as a scientist uses hypothesis, is one thing; it is s o m e t h i n g different, a n d something i n a p p r o p r i a t e , t o u n d e r s t a n d political activity itself as the activity of a m e n d i n g the a r r a n g e m e n t s of a

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society so as t o m a k e t h e m agree with the provisions of an ideology. For then a c h a r a c t e r has been attributed to an ideology which it is unable to sustain, a n d w e m a y find ourselves, in practice, directed by a false a n d a misleading guide: false, because in the abridgment, however skilfully it has been performed, a single intimation is apt to be exaggerated a n d p r o p o s e d for unconditional pursuit and the benefit to be h a d from observing w h a t the distortion reveals is lost when the distortion itself is given the office of a criterion; misleading, because the a b r i d g m e n t itself never, in fact, provides the whole of the k n o w l e d g e used in political activity. There will be s o m e people w h o , though in general agreement with this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity, will suspect that it confuses w h a t is, p e r h a p s , n o r m a l with w h a t is necessary, and that i m p o r t a n t exceptions (of great contemporary relevance) have been lost in a hazy generality. It is all very well, it may be said, to observe in politics the activity of exploring and pursuing the intimations of a tradition of b e h a v i o u r , b u t w h a t light does this throw upon a political crisis such as the N o r m a n Conquest of England, or the establishment of the Soviet regime in Russia? It would be foolish, of course, to d e n y the possibility of serious political crisis. But if we exclude (as w e must) a genuine cataclysm which for the time being m a d e an end of politics by altogether obliterating a current tradition of b e h a v i o u r (which is not w h a t happened in AngloSaxon E n g l a n d or in R u s s i a ) , there is little to support the view that even the m o s t serious political upheaval carries us outside this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics. A tradition of behaviour is not a fixed and inflexible m a n n e r of d o i n g things; it is a flow of sympathy. It may be t e m p o r a r i l y disrupted by the incursion of a foreign influence, it m a y be diverted, restricted, arrested, or become driedu p , a n d it m a y reveal so deep-seated an incoherence that (even w i t h o u t foreign assistance) a crisis appears. And if, in order to meet these crises, there w e r e s o m e steady, unchanging, independent guide to which a society-might resort, it would n o doubt be well advised to d o so. But n o such guide exists; we have no resources outside the fragments, t h e vestiges, the relics of its o w n tradition of behaviour w h i c h the crisis h a s left untouched. For even the help we may get from the t r a d i t i o n s of a n o t h e r society (or from a tradition of a vaguer sort w h i c h is shared by a n u m b e r of societies) is conditional u p o n o u r being able to assimilate them to our own a r r a n g e m e n t s . T h e h u n g r y a n d helpless m a n is mistaken if he supposes t h a t h e o v e r c o m e s the crisis by means of a tin-opener: w h a t saves h i m is s o m e b o d y else's knowledge of h o w t o cook, which he c a n m a k e use of only because he is n o t himself entirely
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i g n o r a n t . In short, political crisis (even w h e n it seems to be imposed u p o n a society by changes beyond its control) always a p p e a r s within a tradition of political activity; a n d 'salvation' comes from the u n i m p a i r e d resources of the tradition itself. Those societies which retain, in changing circumstances, a lively sense of their o w n - identity a n d continuity (which are w i t h o u t that h a t r e d of their o w n experience which m a k e s t h e m desire to efface it) are t o be counted fortunate, n o t because they possess w h a t others lack, b u t because they h a v e already mobilized w h a t n o n e is w i t h o u t a n d all, in fact, rely u p o n . In political activity, then, men sail a boundless a n d bottomless sea; there is neither h a r b o u r for shelter n o r floor for a n c h o r a g e , neither starting-place n o r appointed destination. T h e enterprise is t o keep afloat o n a n even keel; the sea is both friend a n d e n e m y ; a n d the s e a m a n s h i p consists in using the resources of a traditional m a n n e r of behaviour in order to m a k e a friend of every hostile occasion. A depressing doctrine, it will be said even by those w h o d o n o t m a k e the mistake of a d d i n g in an element of crude determinism w h i c h , in fact, it has n o place for. A tradition of behaviour is n o t a g r o o v e within which w e are destined to grind out o u r helpless a n d unsatisfying lives: Spartam nactus es; hanc exorna. But in the m a i n the depression springs from the exclusion of h o p e s t h a t w e r e false a n d the discovery that guides, reputed to be of s u p e r h u m a n w i s d o m a n d skill, are, in fact, of a s o m e w h a t different character. If the doctrine deprives us of a model laid u p in heaven to which w e s h o u l d a p p r o x i m a t e o u r behaviour, a t least it does n o t lead us into a m o r a s s w h e r e every choice is equally good o r equally to be deplored. And if it suggests t h a t politics are nur fur die Schwindelfreie, t h a t should depress only those w h o have lost their nerve.
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T h e sin of the a c a d e m i c is that he takes so long in c o m i n g t o the p o i n t . Nevertheless, there is s o m e virtue in his dilatoriness; w h a t he has to offer m a y , in the e n d , be n o great m a t t e r , b u t at least it is n o t u n r i p e fruit, a n d t o pluck it is the w o r k of a m o m e n t . W e set o u t to consider the kind of k n o w l e d g e involved in political activity a n d the a p p r o p r i a t e sort of e d u c a t i o n . And if the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics I h a v e r e c o m m e n d e d is n o t a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g , there is little d o u b t a b o u t the k i n d of k n o w l e d g e a n d the sort of e d u c a t i o n w h i c h belongs t o it. It is k n o w l e d g e , as p r o f o u n d as w e can m a k e it, of o u r t r a d i t i o n of political b e h a v i o u r . O t h e r k n o w l e d g e , certainly, is desirable in a d d i t i o n ; b u t this is the k n o w l e d g e w i t h o u t which w e c a n n o t m a k e use of w h a t e v e r else we m a y have learned.

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N o w , a t r a d i t i o n of behaviour is a tricky thing to get to know. Indeed, it m a y even a p p e a r to be essentially unintelligible. It is neither fixed n o r finished; it has n o changeless centre to which u n d e r s t a n d i n g c a n a n c h o r itself; there is n o sovereign purpose to be perceived o r invariable direction to be detected; there is no model to be copied, idea t o be realized, or rule to be followed. Some parts of it may c h a n g e m o r e slowly than others, but none is immune from change. Everything is t e m p o r a r y . Nevertheless, though a tradition of behaviour is flimsy a n d elusive; it is not without identity, and w h a t m a k e s it a possible object of knowledge is the fact that all its parts d o n o t c h a n g e at t h e same time and t h a t the changes it undergoes are potential within it. Its principle is a principle of continuity: a u t h o r i t y is diffused between past, present, and future; between the old, the n e w , a n d w h a t is to come. It is steady because, though it m o v e s , it is never wholly in motion; and though it is tranquil, it is never w h o l l y at r e s t . N o t h i n g that ever belonged to it is completely lost; w e are always swerving back to recover and m a k e s o m e t h i n g topical o u t of even its remotest moments: and nothing for long r e m a i n s unmodified. Everything is temporary, but nothing is a r b i t r a r y . Everything figures by comparison, not with w h a t stands n e x t t o it, b u t with the w h o l e . And since a tradition of behaviour is n o t susceptible of the distinction between essence and accident, k n o w l e d g e of it is unavoidably knowledge of its detail: to k n o w only the gist is to k n o w nothing. W h a t has to be learned is not a n a b s t r a c t idea, o r a set of tricks, n o t even a ritual, b u t a concrete, c o h e r e n t m a n n e r of living in all its intricateness. It is clear, t h e n , t h a t w e m u s t n o t entertain the hope of acquiring this difficult u n d e r s t a n d i n g by easy m e t h o d s . T h o u g h the knowl edge we see is m u n i c i p a l , n o t universal, there is n o short cut to it. Moreover, political e d u c a t i o n is not merely a matter of coming to understand a t r a d i t i o n , it is learning h o w to participate in a conversation: it is a t o n c e initiation into an inheritance in which we have a life interest, a n d the exploration of its intimations. There will always r e m a i n s o m e t h i n g of a mystery about h o w a tradition of political b e h a v i o u r is learned, a n d p e r h a p s the only certainty is that there is n o p o i n t at w h i c h learning it can properly be said to begin. The politics of a c o m m u n i t y are n o t less individual (and not more so) t h a n its l a n g u a g e , a n d they are learned and practised in the same manner. W e d o n o t begin t o learn o u r native language by learning the alphabet, o r by l e a r n i n g its g r a m m a r ; we d o not begin by learning w o r d s , b u t w o r d s in use; w e d o not begin (as we begin in reading) with w h a t is easy a n d go o n to w h a t is m o r e difficult; we do n o t begin a t s c h o o l , b u t in the cradle; a n d w h a t we say springs
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always from o u r m a n n e r of speaking. A n d this is true also of o u r political education; it begins in the enjoyment of a tradition, in the observation and imitation of the behaviour of o u r elders, a n d there is little o r n o t h i n g in the w o r l d which comes before us as w e open o u r eyes which does not contribute to it. W e are a w a r e of a past a n d a future as s o o n as w e are a w a r e of a present. Long before w e are of an age to take interest in a b o o k a b o u t o u r politics w e are acquiring t h a t complex a n d intricate k n o w l e d g e of o u r political t r a d i t i o n w i t h o u t which w e could n o t m a k e sense of a b o o k w h e n we c o m e t o o p e n it. And the projects we entertain are the creatures of o u r t r a d i t i o n . The greater p a r t , then - p e r h a p s the m o s t i m p o r t a n t p a r t - of o u r political education we acquire h a p h a z a r d in finding o u r w a y a b o u t the natural-artificial w o r l d into which w e are b o r n , a n d there is n o o t h e r w a y of acquiring it. T h e r e will, of course, be m o r e to acquire, a n d it will be m o r e readily acquired, if w e have the g o o d fortune to be b o r n into a rich and lively political t r a d i t i o n a n d a m o n g those w h o are well educated politically; the lineaments of political activity will earlier become distinct: b u t even the m o s t needy society a n d the m o s t c r a m p e d s u r r o u n d i n g s have some political education t o offer, a n d we t a k e w h a t we can get. But if this is the m a n n e r of o u r beginning, there are deeper recesses to explore. Politics are a p r o p e r subject for academic s t u d y ; there is s o m e t h i n g t o think a b o u t and it is i m p o r t a n t t h a t w e s h o u l d think a b o u t the a p p r o p r i a t e things. H e r e also, a n d everywhere, the governing consideration is that w h a t we are learning to u n d e r s t a n d is a political tradition, a concrete m a n n e r of b e h a v i o u r . A n d for this reason it is p r o p e r t h a t , at the academic level, the study of politics should be an historical study - not, in the first place, hecause it is p r o p e r to be concerned with the past, b u t because w e need to be concerned with the detail of the concrete. It is t r u e that n o t h i n g a p p e a r s on the present surface of a tradition of political activity which has not its roots deep in the past, and that n o t to observe it c o m i n g into being is often to be denied the clue to its significance; a n d for this reason genuine historical study is an indispensable p a r t of a political e d u c a t i o n . But w h a t is equally i m p o r t a n t is n o t w h a t h a p p e n e d , here o r there, but w h a t p e o p l e have t h o u g h t a n d said a b o u t w h a t h a p p e n e d : the history, not of political ideas, but of the m a n n e r of o u r political thinking. Every society, by the underlinings it m a k e s in the b o o k of its history, c o n s t r u c t s a legend of its o w n fortunes which it keeps u p to date and in which is hidden its o w n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of politics; and the historical investigation of this legend - not to e x p o s e its e r r o r s but to u n d e r s t a n d its prejudices m u s t be a pre-eminent p a r t of a political education. It is, then, in the

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study of genuine history, a n d of this q u a s i - h i s t o r y w h i c h reveals in its backward glances the t e n d e n c i e s w h i c h are a f o o t , t h a t w e m a y hope to escape one of the m o s t insidious c u r r e n t m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s of political activity - the m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g in w h i c h i n s t i t u t i o n s and procedures a p p e a r as pieces of m a c h i n e r y d e s i g n e d t o achieve a putpose settled in a d v a n c e , instead of as m a n n e r s of b e h a v i o u r which are meaningless w h e n s e p a r a t e d from t h e i r c o n t e x t : t h e misunderstanding, for e x a m p l e , in w h i c h Mill c o n v i n c e d himself that something called ' R e p r e s e n t a t i v e G o v e r n m e n t ' w a s a ' f o r m ' of politics which could be r e g a r d e d as p r o p e r t o any society w h i c h h a d reached a certain level of w h a t h e called ' c i v i l i z a t i o n ' ; in s h o r t , t h e misunderstanding in w h i c h w e r e g a r d o u r a r r a n g e m e n t s a n d institutions as s o m e t h i n g m o r e significant t h a n t h e f o o t p r i n t s of thinkers and statesmen w h o k n e w w h i c h w a y t o t u r n t h e i r feet without knowing a n y t h i n g a b o u t a final d e s t i n a t i o n . Nevertheless, to be c o n c e r n e d only w i t h o n e ' s o w n t r a d i t i o n of political activity is not e n o u g h . A political e d u c a t i o n w o r t h t h e name must embrace, also, k n o w l e d g e of the politics of o t h e r contemporary societies. It m u s t d o this b e c a u s e s o m e at least of o u r political activity is related t o t h a t of o t h e r p e o p l e ' s , a n d n o t t o know how they go a b o u t a t t e n d i n g t o their o w n a r r a n g e m e n t s is not to know the course they will p u r s u e a n d n o t t o k n o w w h a t resources to call u p o n in o u r o w n t r a d i t i o n ; a n d b e c a u s e t o k n o w only one's own tradition is n o t t o k n o w even t h a t . But here a g a i n two observations must be m a d e . We did n o t begin y e s t e r d a y t o nave relations with o u r n e i g h b o u r s ; a n d w e d o n o t r e q u i r e constantly to be h u n t i n g o u t s i d e the t r a d i t i o n of o u r politics t o find some special formula o r s o m e merely ad hoc e x p e d i e n t t o direct those relations. It is only w h e n wilfully o r negligently w e forget t h e resources of understanding a n d initiative w h i c h b e l o n g s to o u r L,. ? ' " k e actors w h o h a v e f o r g o t t e n t h e i r p a r t , w e a r e h u ' y' y knowledge worth having about the politics of a n o t h e r society is t h e s a m e k i n d of k n o w l e d g e f u r o w n t r a d i t i o n . H e r e a l s o , la verite reste dans les ^f\ c o m p a r a t i v e study of i n s t i t u t i o n s , for e x a m p l e , und j u l d p r o v i d e only a n illusory sense of h a v i n g anon? s s r e m a i n s a secret. T h e s t u d v of ^ o t n e r people's politics, like the s t u d y of o u r o w n , s h o u l d be a n study* f u behaviour, not an anatomical Andnnl f devices o r the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of a n i d e o l o g y , way ^ [ s t u d y is of this sort shall w e find o u r s e l v e s in t h e others T ^ > b u t n o t i n t o x i c a t e d , by t h e m a n n e r s of o range the w o r l d in o r d e r t o select t h e ' b e s t ' of t h e
tt n t n a t g a g A n d s e c o n c l l t n e o n l S w e s e e l c n n e a n d a U r e d t h i s w W h a t n e v e r t n e l e St o i a t r a d i t i o n o f m c h a n i c a l w h e n o u r 8 s t l m u l a t e d

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practices and purposes of others (as the eclectic Z e u x i s is said to have tried to c o m p o s e a figure m o r e beautiful t h a n Helen's by p u t t i n g together features each notable for its perfection) is a c o r r u p t i n g enterprise a n d one of the surest ways of losing one's political balance; but t o investigate the concrete m a n n e r in which a n o t h e r people goes a b o u t the business of a t t e n d i n g t o its arrange ments may reveal significant passages in o u r o w n tradition which might otherwise remain hidden. T h e r e is a third d e p a r t m e n t in the a c a d e m i c study of politics which must be considered w h a t , for w a n t of a better n a m e , 1 shall call a philosophical study. Reflection on political activity m a y take place at various levels: we may consider w h a t resources o u r political tradition offers for dealing w i t h a certain situation, or w e m a y abridge o u r political experience into a doctrine, which may be used, as a scientist uses hypothesis, t o explore its i n t i m a t i o n s . But b e y o n d these, and other m a n n e r s of political thinking, there is a range of reflection the object of which is t o consider the place of political activity itself on the m a p of o u r total experience. Reflec tion of this sort has gone on in every society which is politically conscious a n d intellectually alive; a n d so far as E u r o p e a n societies are concerned, the enquiry has uncovered a variety of intellectual p r o b l e m s which each generation has formulated in its o w n w a y a n d has tackled with the technical resources at its disposal. And because political philosophy is not w h a t may be called a 'progressive' science, a c c u m u l a t i n g solid results and reaching conclusions u p o n w h i c h further investigation may be based with confidence, its history is specially i m p o r t a n t : indeed, in a sense, it has n o t h i n g b u t a history, which is a history of the incoherences philosophers have detected in c o m m o n ways of thinking a n d the m a n n e r of solution they h a v e p r o p o s e d , rather than a history of doctrines and systems. T h e study of this history m a y be s u p p o s e d to have a considerable place in a political education, and the enterprise of u n d e r s t a n d i n g the turn which c o n t e m p o r a r y reflection has given t o it, an even m o r e considerable place. Political philosophy c a n n o t be expected t o increase o u r ability to be successful in political activity. It will n o t help us t o distinguish between good a n d b a d political projects; it has n o p o w e r t o guide or to direct us in the enterprise of p u r s u i n g t h e intimations of o u r tradition. But the patient analysis of t h e general ideas which have c o m e t o be connected w i t h political activity ideas such as n a t u r e , artifice, r e a s o n , will, law, authority, obligation, etc. in so far as it succeeds in removing some of t h e c r o o k e d n e s s from o u r t h i n k i n g a n d leads to a m o r e economical use of concepts, is an activity neither t o b e overrated n o r despised. But

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it must be u n d e r s t o o d as an explanatory, not a practical, activity, and if we p u r s u e it, w e m a y hope only to be less often cheated by a m b i g u o u s s t a t e m e n t and irrelevant argument. Abeunt studia in mores. The fruits of a political education will a p p e a r in the m a n n e r in which we think and speak about politics and p e r h a p s in the m a n n e r in which we conduct our political activity. T o select items from this prospective harvest must always be h a z a r d o u s , a n d opinions will differ about what is most impor tant. But for myself I should hope for two things. The more p r o f o u n d o u r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of political activity, the less we shall be at the mercy of plausible b u t mistaken analogy, the less we shall be tempted by a false or irrelevant model. And the more thoroughly w e u n d e r s t a n d o u r o w n political tradition, the more readily its whole resources are available to us, the less likely we shall be to e m b r a c e the illusions which wait for the ignorant and the unwary: the illusion t h a t in politics we can get on without a tradition of behaviour, the illusion t h a t the abridgement of a tradition is itself a sufficient guide, a n d the illusion that in politics there is anywhere a safe h a r b o u r , a destination to be reached or even a detectable s t r a n d of progress. 'The w o r l d is the best of all possible worlds, and everything in it is a necessary evil.'

NOTES This is the case, for example, with Natural Law; whether it is taken to be an explanation of political activity or (improperly) as a guide to political conduct. Cf. 'Substantive law has the first look of being gradually secreted in the interstices of procedure.' Maine, Early Law and Customs, p. 389. E.g. a society in which law was believed to be a divine gift. The Russian Revolution (what actually happened in Russia) was not the implementation of an abstract design worked out by Lenin and others in Switzerland: it was a modification of Russian circumstances. And the French Revolution was far more closely connected with the ancien regime than with Locke or America. To those who seem to themselves to have a clear view of an immediate destination (that is, of a condition of human circumstance to be achieved), and who are confident that this condition is proper to be imposed upon everybody, this will seem an unduly sceptical understand ing of political activity; but they may be asked where they have got it from, and whether they imagine that 'political activity' will come to an end with the achievement of this condition? And if they agree that some more distant destination may then be expected to disclose itself, does not

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this situation entail an understanding of politics as an open-ended activity such as 1 have described? Or do they understand politics as making the necessary arrangements for a set of castaways who have always in reserve the thought that they are going to be 'rescued?' The critic who found 'some mystical qualities' in this passage leaves me puzzled: it seems to me an exceedingly matter-of-fact description of the characteristics of any tradition the Common Law of England, for example, the so-called British Constitution, the Christian religion, modern physics, the game of cricket, shipbuilding.

12 Hannah Arendt: The Revolutionary Tradition and its Lost Treasure*

. . 'As C a t o c o n c l u d e d every speech with the words. Carthago delenda est, so d o I every opinion, with the injunction, "divide the counties into w a r d s . " T h u s Jefferson once summed up an exposition of his most cherished political idea, which, alas, turned out to be as incomprehensible to posterity as it had been to his c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . T h e reference to C a t o was no idle slip of a tongue used to Latin q u o t a t i o n s ; it was meant to emphasize that Jefferson t h o u g h t the absence of such a subdivision of the country consti tuted a vital t h r e a t t o the very existence of the republic. Just as R o m e , a c c o r d i n g to C a t o , could not be safe so long as Carthage existed, so the republic, according to Jefferson, would not be secure in its very f o u n d a t i o n s w i t h o u t the w a r d system. 'Could I once see this I should consider it w a s as the dawn of the salvation of the republic, a n d say with old Simeon, " N u n c dimittis Domine." ' H a d Jefferson's plan of 'elementary republics' been carried out, it w o u l d h a v e exceeded by far the feeble germs of a new form of g o v e r n m e n t which we are able to detect in the sections of the Parisian C o m m u n e a n d the popular societies during the French Revolution. H o w e v e r , if Jefferson's political imagination surpassed them in insight a n d in scope, his thoughts were still travelling in the same direction. Both Jefferson's plan and the French soaetes revolutionnaires anticipated with an almost weird precision those councils, Soviets a n d Rate, which were to make their appearance m every genuine revolution t h r o u g h o u t the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each time they appeared, they sprang up as the spon2

*From On Revolution by Hannah Arendt. Copyright 1963, 1965 by Hannah Arendt. Reprinted by permission of Viking Penguin Inc. Also m Great Britain by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd.

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t a n e o u s o r g a n s of the people, not only outside of all revolutionary parties b u t entirely unexpected by them and their leaders. Like Jefferson's p r o p o s a l s , they were utterly neglected by statesmen, historians, political theorists, and, most i m p o r t a n t l y , by the revolu tionary tradition itself. Even those historians w h o s e sympathies were clearly o n the side of revolution a n d w h o could n o t help writing the emergence of p o p u l a r councils into the record of their story regarded t h e m as n o t h i n g m o r e than essentially t e m p o r a r y o r g a n s in the revolutionary struggle for liberation; t h a t is t o say, they failed to u n d e r s t a n d to w h a t an extent the council system confronted t h e m with an entirely n e w form of g o v e r n m e n t , with a n e w public space for freedom which w a s constituted a n d organized d u r i n g the course of the revolution itself. T h i s statement m u s t be qualified. T h e r e are t w o relevant exceptions to it, namely a few r e m a r k s by M a r x at the occasion of the revival of the Parisian C o m m u n e during the short-lived revolution of 1 8 7 1 , a n d some reflections by Lenin based n o t on the t e x t b y M a r x , b u t on the actual course of the Revolution of 1 9 0 5 in Russia. But before w e t u r n o u r attention t o these m a t t e r s , w e h a d better try t o u n d e r s t a n d w h a t Jefferson h a d in m i n d w h e n he said with u t m o s t self-assurance, ' T h e wit of m a n c a n n o t devise a m o r e solid basis for a free, d u r a b l e , and well-administered republic.'" It is p e r h a p s n o t e w o r t h y t h a t w e find n o mention of the w a r d system in any of Jefferson's formal w o r k s , a n d it may be even m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a t the few letters in which he w r o t e of it with such e m p h a t i c insistence all d a t e from the last period of his life. It is true, at o n e time he h o p e d that Virginia, because it w a s 'the first of the n a t i o n s of the e a r t h which assembled its wise men peaceably together to form a fundamental constitution', w o u l d also b e the first ' t o a d o p t the subdivision of our counties into w a r d s ' , b u t the p o i n t of the m a t t e r is that the w h o l e idea seems t o have occurred to him only at a time w h e n he himself w a s retired from public life a n d w h e n he h a d w i t h d r a w n from t h e affairs of state. H e w h o h a d been so explicit in his criticism of the C o n s t i t u t i o n because it h a d n o t i n c o r p o r a t e d a Bill of Rights, never t o u c h e d o n its failure to i n c o r p o r a t e the t o w n s h i p s which so obviously were the original models of his 'elementary republics' w h e r e ' t h e voice of t h e w h o l e people w o u l d be fairly, fully, and peaceably expressed, discussed, a n d decided by the c o m m o n r e a s o n ' of all citizens. In terms of his o w n role in the affairs of his c o u n t r y and the o u t c o m e of the Revolution, the idea of the w a r d system clearly w a s an after t h o u g h t ; a n d , in terms of his o w n biographical development, t h e repeated insistence o n the 'peaceable' character of these w a r d s
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d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t this system was to him the only possible non violent alternative to his earlier notions about the desirability of recurring revolutions. At any event, we find the only detailed descriptions of w h a t he h a d in mind in letters written in the year 1 8 1 6 , a n d these letters repeat rather than supplement one another. Jefferson himself k n e w well enough that w h a t he proposed as the 'salvation of the republic' actually was the salvation of the revolutionary spirit t h r o u g h the republic. His expositions of the w a r d system always began with a reminder of h o w 'the vigor given to o u r revolution in its c o m m e n c e m e n t ' was due to the 'little republics', h o w they h a d ' t h r o w n the whole nation into energetic a c t i o n ' , a n d h o w , at a later occasion, he had felt 'the foundations of the g o v e r n m e n t shaken under [his] feet by the N e w England t o w n s h i p s ' , 'the energy of this organization' being so great that 'there w a s n o t an individual in their States whose body was not t h r o w n with all its m o m e n t u m into action.' Hence, he expected the w a r d s to p e r m i t the citizens to continue to d o w h a t they h a d been able t o d o d u r i n g the years of revolution, namely, to act on their o w n a n d thus to participate in public business as it was being transacted from day to day. By virtue of the Constitution, the public business of the nation as a whole had been transferred to W a s h i n g t o n a n d was being transacted by the federal government, of which Jefferson still t h o u g h t as 'the foreign branch' of the republic, w h o s e domestic affairs were taken care of by the state g o v e r n m e n t s . But state government and even the administrative machinery of the county were by far t o o large and unwieldy to p e r m i t immediate participation; in all these institutions, it was the delegates of the people rather than the people themselves w h o constituted the public realm, whereas those w h o delegated them and w h o , theoretically, were the source and the seat of power r e m a i n e d forever outside its d o o r s . This order of things should have sufficed if Jefferson h a d actually believed (as he sometimes profes sed) that the happiness of the people lay exclusively in their private welfare; for because of the way the government of the union was constituted - with its division and separation of powers, with controls, checks a n d balances, built into its very centre - it was highly unlikely, t h o u g h of course not impossible, that a tyranny could arise o u t of it. W h a t could happen, and what indeed has h a p p e n e d over a n d over again since, was that 'the representative o r g a n s should become c o r r u p t a n d perverted', but such corruption w a s n o t likely t o be d u e (and hardly ever has been due) to a conspiracy of the representative organs against the people w h o m they represented. C o r r u p t i o n in this kind of government is much
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m o r e likely t o spring from the midst of society, t h a t is, from the p e o p l e themselves. C o r r u p t i o n and perversion are m o r e pernicious, and at the same time m o r e likely to occur, in an egalitarian republic t h a n in any o t h e r form of g o v e r n m e n t . Schematically speaking, they come to pass w h e n private interests invade the public d o m a i n , t h a t is, they spring from b e l o w a n d n o t from a b o v e . It is precisely because the republic excluded o n principle the old d i c h o t o m y of ruler a n d ruled t h a t c o r r u p t i o n of the b o d y politic did n o t leave the people u n t o u c h e d , as in other forms of g o v e r n m e n t , w h e r e only the rulers or the ruling classes needed t o be affected, and w h e r e therefore an ' i n n o c e n t ' people might indeed first suffer a n d t h e n , o n e d a y , effect a dreadful b u t necessary insurrection. C o r r u p t i o n of the people themselves as distinguished from c o r r u p t i o n of their representa tives or a ruling class is possible only u n d e r a g o v e r n m e n t that has g r a n t e d t h e m a share in public p o w e r and has t a u g h t t h e m h o w to m a n i p u l a t e it. W h e r e the rift between ruler a n d ruled h a s been closed, it is always possible t h a t the dividing line between public a n d private m a y b e c o m e blurred and, eventually, obliterated. Prior t o the m o d e r n age and the rise of society, this d a n g e r , inherent in republican g o v e r n m e n t , used to arise from the public realm, from the tendency of public p o w e r to e x p a n d a n d t o trespass u p o n private interests. T h e age-old remedy against this d a n g e r w a s respect for private p r o p e r t y , t h a t is, the framing of a system of laws t h r o u g h which the rights of privacy w e r e publicly g u a r a n t e e d a n d the dividing line between public and private legally protected. T h e Bill of Rights in the A m e r i c a n C o n s t i t u t i o n forms the last, a n d the m o s t exhaustive, legal b u l w a r k for the private realm against public p o w e r , a n d Jefferson's p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the d a n g e r s of public p o w e r a n d this remedy against t h e m is sufficiently well k n o w n . H o w e v e r , u n d e r c o n d i t i o n s , n o t of prosperity as such, b u t of a rapid a n d c o n s t a n t e c o n o m i c g r o w t h , t h a t is, of a constantly increasing e x p a n s i o n of the private realm - a n d these w e r e of course the conditions of the m o d e r n age the d a n g e r s of c o r r u p t i o n a n d perversion w e r e m u c h m o r e likely to arise from private interests t h a n from public p o w e r . And it speaks for the high calibre of Jefferson's s t a t e s m a n s h i p that he w a s able to perceive this d a n g e r despite his p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the older a n d b e t t e r - k n o w n threats of c o r r u p t i o n in bodies politic. T h e only remedies against the misuse of public p o w e r by private individuals lie in the public realm itself, in the light which exhibits each deed enacted within its b o u n d a r i e s , in the very visibility to which it exposes all those w h o enter it. Jefferson, t h o u g h the secret

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vote was still u n k n o w n at the time, had at least a foreboding of how d a n g e r o u s it might be to allow the people a share in public power w i t h o u t providing them at the same time with more public space t h a n the ballot box and with more opportunity to make their voices h e a r d in public than election day. W h a t he perceived to be the mortal d a n g e r to the republic was rhat the Constitution had given all p o w e r t o the citizens, without giving them the opportunity of . being republicans and of acting as citizens. In other words, the d a n g e r was that all p o w e r had been given to the people in their private capacity, and that there was no space established for them in their capacity of being citizens. W h e n , at the end of his life, he s u m m e d u p w h a t to him clearly was the gist of private and public morality, 'Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more t h a n yourself', he k n e w that this maxim remained an empty e x h o r t a t i o n unless the 'country' could be made as present to the 'love' of its citizens as the 'neighbor' was to the love of his fellow men. For just as there could not be much substance to neighbourly love if one's neighbour should make a brief apparition once every t w o years, so there could n o t be much substance to the admonition t o love one's country m o r e than oneself unless the country was a living presence in the midst of its citizens. H e n c e , according to Jefferson, it was the very principle of republican government to demand 'the subdivision of the counties into w a r d s ' , namely, the creation of 'small republics' through which 'every m a n in the State' could become 'an acting member of the C o m m o n government, transacting in person a great portion of its rights a n d duties, subordinate indeed, yet important, and entirely within his c o m p e t e n c e . ' It was 'these little republics [that] would be the main strength of the great o n e ' ; for inasmuch as the republican g o v e r n m e n t of the Union was based on the assumption t h a t the seat of p o w e r w a s in the people, the very condition for its p r o p e r functioning lay in a scheme 'to divide [government] a m o n g the m a n y , distributing to every one exactly the functions he [was] c o m p e t e n t t o . ' W i t h o u t this, the very principle of republican g o v e r n m e n t could never be actualized, and the government of the United States w o u l d be republican in name only. T h i n k i n g in terms of the safety of the republic, the question was h o w to prevent 'the degeneracy of o u r government', and Jefferson called every government degenerate in which all powers were c o n c e n t r a t e d 'in the h a n d s of the one, the few, the well-born or the m a n y . ' H e n c e , the w a r d system w a s not meant to strengthen the p o w e r of the m a n y but the p o w e r of 'every one' within the limits of his c o m p e t e n c e ; a n d only by breaking up 'the m a n y ' into assemblies
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w h e r e every one could count and be c o u n t e d u p o n 'shall we be as republican as a large society can be.' In terms of the safety of the citizens of the republic, the question was h o w to m a k e everybody feel t h a t he is a participator in the g o v e r n m e n t of affairs, n o t merely at an election one day in the year, but every day; w h e n there shall n o t be a m a n in the State w h o will n o t be a m e m b e r of some o n e of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be t o r n o u t of his b o d y sooner than his p o w e r wrested from h i m by a Caesar or a B o n a p a r t e . Finally, as to the question of h o w t o integrate these smallest o r g a n s , designed for everyone, into the governmental structure of the U n i o n , designed for all, his answer w a s : ' T h e elementary republics of the w a r d s , the county republics, the State republics, a n d the republic of the Union w o u l d form a g r a d a t i o n of authorities, standing each on the basis of law, holding every o n e its delegated share of p o w e r s , and constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the g o v e r n m e n t . ' O n one point, h o w e v e r , Jefferson remained curiously silent, and t h a t is the question of w h a t the specific functions of the elementary republics should be. H e m e n t i o n e d occasionally as ' o n e of the advantages of the w a r d divisions I have p r o p o s e d ' t h a t they w o u l d offer a better w a y to collect the voice of the people than the mechanics of representative g o v e r n m e n t ; but in the m a i n , h e w a s convinced t h a t if o n e w o u l d 'begin t h e m only for a single p u r p o s e ' they w o u l d ' s o o n s h o w for w h a t others they [were] the best i n s t r u m e n t s ' . " This vagueness of p u r p o s e , far from being due to a lack of clarity, indicates p e r h a p s m o r e tellingly t h a n any other single aspect of Jefferson's p r o p o s a l t h a t the afterthought in which he clarified a n d gave substance to his m o s t cherished recollections from the Revolution in fact concerned a new form of government r a t h e r t h a n a mere reform of it or a mere s u p p l e m e n t to the existing institutions. If the ultimate end of revolution w a s freedom a n d the constitution of a public space where freedom could a p p e a r , the constitutio libertatis, then the elementary republics of the w a r d s , the only tangible place w h e r e everyone could be free, actually were the end of the great republic w h o s e chief p u r p o s e in d o m e s t i c affairs should have been t o provide the people w i t h such places of freedom a n d to protect t h e m . T h e basic a s s u m p t i o n of the w a r d system, w h e t h e r Jefferson k n e w it or n o t , w a s that n o o n e could be called h a p p y w i t h o u t his share in public happiness, that n o o n e

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could be called free w i t h o u t his experience in public freedom, and that n o o n e could be called either happy or free without participat ing, a n d having a share, in public power.

II It is a strange and sad story that remains to be told and r e m e m b e r e d . It is not the story of revolution on whose thread the historian m i g h t string the history of the nineteenth century in E u r o p e , w h o s e origins could be traced back into the Middle Ages, w h o s e progress had been irresistible 'for centuries in spite of every obstacle', according to Tocqueville, and which M a r x , generalizing the experiences of several generations, called 'the locomotive of all h i s t o r y ' . I d o not d o u b t that revolution was the hidden leitmotif of the century preceding ours, although I d o u b t both Tocqueville's a n d M a r x ' s generalizations, especially their conviction that revolu tion h a d been the result of an irresistible force rather than the o u t c o m e of specific deeds a n d events. W h a t seems to be beyond d o u b t a n d belief is t h a t n o historian will ever be able to tell the tale of o u r century w i t h o u t stringing it 'on the thread of revolutions'; b u t this tale, since its end still lies hidden in the mists of the future, is n o t yet fit t o be told.
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T h e same, to an extent, is true for the particular aspect of revolution with which we n o w must concern ourselves. This aspect is the regular emergence, during the course of revolution, of a new form of g o v e r n m e n t t h a t resembled in an amazing fashion Jeffer son's w a r d system a n d seemed to repeat, under no matter what circumstances, the revolutionary societies and municipal councils which h a d spread all over France after 1789. Among the reasons t h a t r e c o m m e n d e d this aspect to our attention must first be m e n t i o n e d t h a t we deal here with the p h e n o m e n o n that impressed m o s t the t w o greatest revolutionists of the whole period, M a r x and Lenin, w h e n they were witnessing its spontaneous rise, the former d u r i n g the Parisian C o m m u n e of 1871 and the latter in 1905, during the first Russian Revolution. W h a t struck them was not only the fact t h a t they themselves were entirely unprepared for these events, b u t also t h a t they knew they were confronted with a repetition u n a c c o u n t e d for by any conscious imitation or even mere r e m e m b r a n c e of the past. T o be sure, they had hardly any k n o w l e d g e of Jefferson's w a r d system, but they k n e w well enough the revolutionary role the sections of the first Parisian C o m m u n e h a d played in the French Revolution, except t h a t they had never

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t h o u g h t of t h e m as possible germs for a new form of g o v e r n m e n t b u t h a d regarded them as mere instruments to be dispensed with o n c e the revolution came to an end. N o w , h o w e v e r , they were confronted with p o p u l a r organs - the c o m m u n e s , the councils, the Rate, the Soviets - which clearly intended to survive the revolution. This contradicted all their theories a n d , even m o r e i m p o r t a n t l y , was in flagrant conflict with those a s s u m p t i o n s a b o u t the n a t u r e of p o w e r a n d violence which they shared, albeit unconsciously, with the rulers of the d o o m e d or defunct regimes. Firmly a n c h o r e d in the tradition of the nation-state, they conceived of revolution as a m e a n s to seize p o w e r , a n d they identified p o w e r with the m o n o p o l y of the m e a n s of violence. W h a t actually h a p p e n e d , h o w e v e r , w a s a swift disintegration of the old p o w e r , the sudden loss of control over the means of violence, a n d , at the same time, the a m a z i n g formation of a new p o w e r structure which o w e d its existence to n o t h i n g b u t the organizational impulses of the people themselves. In other w o r d s , w h e n the m o m e n t of revolution h a d c o m e , it turned o u t that there was n o p o w e r left to seize, so t h a t the revolutionists found themselves before the rather u n c o m f o r t a b l e alternative of either putting their o w n pre-revolutionary ' p o w e r ' , that is, the organization of the p a r t y a p p a r a t u s , into the vacated p o w e r centre of the defunct g o v e r n m e n t , or simply joining the n e w revolutionary p o w e r centres which had s p r u n g u p w i t h o u t their help. For a brief m o m e n t , while h e w a s the mere witness of something he never h a d expected, M a r x u n d e r s t o o d t h a t the Kommunalverfassung of the Parisian C o m m u n e in 1 8 7 1 , because it w a s supposed t o b e c o m e 'the political form of even the smallest village,' might well be ' t h e political form, finally discovered, for the e c o n o m i c liberation of labor.' But he s o o n became a w a r e to w h a t an extent this political form contradicted all n o t i o n s of a ' d i c t a t o r s h i p of the proletariat' by m e a n s of a socialist or c o m m u n i s t p a r t y w h o s e m o n o p o l y of p o w e r a n d violence w a s modelled u p o n the highly centralized g o v e r n m e n t s of nation-states, a n d he concluded t h a t the c o m m u n a l councils were, after all, only t e m p o r a r y o r g a n s of the r e v o l u t i o n . It is a l m o s t the s a m e sequence of attitudes w h i c h , one generation later, we find in Lenin, w h o twice in his life, in 1 9 0 5 a n d in 1 9 1 7 , c a m e u n d e r the direct impact of the events themselves, that is t o say, w a s t e m p o r a r i l y liberated from the pernicious influence of a revolutionary ideology. T h u s he could extol w i t h great sincerity in 1 9 0 5 ' t h e revolutionary creativity of the people,' w h o spon taneously h a d begun to establish an entirely new p o w e r structure in the midst of r e v o l u t i o n , just as, twelve years later, he could let loose and w i n the O c t o b e r Revolution w i t h the slogan: 'All
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p o w e r to the Soviets: But during the years that separated the two revolutions he h a d d o n e nothing to reorient his thought and to incorporate the new organs into any of the many party programmes, with the result t h a t the same spontaneous development in 1917 found him a n d his party n o less unprepared than they had been in 1 9 0 5 . W h e n , finally, during the Kronstadt rebellion, the Soviets revolted against the p a r t y dictatorship and the incompatibility of the n e w councils with the party system became manifest, he decided a l m o s t at o n c e t o crush the councils, since they threatened the p o w e r m o n o p o l y of the Bolshevik party. The name 'Soviet Union' for p o s t - r e v o l u t i o n a r y Russia has been a lie ever since, but this lie has also c o n t a i n e d , ever since, the grudging admission of the o v e r w h e l m i n g popularity, not of the Bolshevik party, but of the soviet system which the p a r t y reduced to i m p o t e n c e . Put before the alternative of either adjusting their thoughts and deeds to the n e w a n d the unexpected or going to the extreme of tyranny and suppression, they hardly hesitated in their decision for the latter; with the exceptions of a few moments without consequence, their b e h a v i o u r from beginning t o end was dictated by considerations of p a r t y strife, w h i c h played n o role in the councils but which indeed h a d been of p a r a m o u n t importance in the pre-revolutionary p a r l i a m e n t s . W h e n the C o m m u n i s t s decided, in 1919, 'to espouse only the cause of a soviet republic in which the Soviets possess a C o m m u n i s t m a j o r i t y ' , they actually behaved like ordinary party politicians. So great is the fear of men, even of the most radical and least c o n v e n t i o n a l a m o n g them, of things never seen, of thoughts never t h o u g h t , of institutions never tried before. T h e failure of the revolutionary tradition to give any serious t h o u g h t t o the only n e w form of government born out of revolution can partly be explained by M a r x ' s obsession with the social question a n d his unwillingness to pay serious attention to questions of state a n d g o v e r n m e n t . But this explanation is weak and, to an extent, even question-begging, because it takes for granted the o v e r t o w e r i n g influence of M a r x on the revolutionary movement a n d t r a d i t i o n , an influence which itself still stands in need of e x p l a n a t i o n . It w a s , after all, not only the Marxists among the revolutionists w h o p r o v e d to be utterly unprepared for the actuali ties of r e v o l u t i o n a r y events. And this unpreparedness is all the more n o t e w o r t h y as it surely c a n n o t be blamed upon lack of thought or interest in revolution. It is well k n o w n that the French Revolution h a d given rise t o an entirely n e w figure on the political scene, the professional revolutionist, a n d his life was spent not in revolution ary agitation, for which there existed but few opportunities, but in
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study a n d t h o u g h t , in theory and d e b a t e , w h o s e sole object was revolution. In fact, n o history of the E u r o p e a n leisure classes w o u l d be complete w i t h o u t a history of the professional revolutionists of the nineteenth a n d t w e n t i e t h centuries, w h o , together with the m o d e r n artists a n d writers, have b e c o m e the true heirs of the hommes de lettres in the seventeenth a n d eighteenth centuries. The artists a n d writers joined t h e revolutionists because 'the very w o r d bourgeois came to have a h a t e d significance n o less aesthetic than political'; together they established Bohemia, that island of blessed leisure in the midst of the busy and overbusy century of the Industrial Revolution. Even a m o n g the m e m b e r s of this n e w leisure class, the professional revolutionist enjoyed special privileges since his w a y of life d e m a n d e d n o specific w o r k w h a t s o e v e r . If there was a thing he h a d n o reason to c o m p l a i n of, it w a s lack of time to think, whereby it m a k e s little difference if such an essentially theoretical w a y of life was spent in the famous libraries of L o n d o n and Paris, or in the coffee houses of V i e n n a a n d Z u r i c h , or in the relatively comfortable a n d u n d i s t u r b e d jails of the various anciens regimes.
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T h e role the professional revolutionists played in all m o d e r n revolutions is great a n d significant e n o u g h , b u t it did n o t consist in the p r e p a r a t i o n of revolutions. They w a t c h e d a n d analysed the progressing disintegration in state and society, they hardly did, or were in a position to d o , m u c h t o a d v a n c e a n d direct it. Even the w a v e of strikes t h a t spread over Russia in 1 9 0 5 and led into the first revolution was entirely s p o n t a n e o u s , u n s u p p o r t e d by any political or trade-union organizations, which, on the c o n t r a r y , s p r a n g up only in the course of the r e v o l u t i o n . T h e o u t b r e a k of most revolutions has surprised the revolutionist g r o u p s a n d parties n o less t h a n all others, a n d there exists hardly a revolution w h o s e o u t b r e a k could be blamed u p o n their activities. It usually w a s the o t h e r w a y r o u n d : revolution b r o k e o u t a n d liberated, as it w e r e , the professional revolutionists from wherever they h a p p e n e d t o be from jail, or from the coffee house, or from the library. N o t even Lenin's party of professional revolutionists w o u l d ever h a v e been able to ' m a k e ' a revolution; the best they could d o w a s t o be a r o u n d , or t o h u r r y h o m e , at the right m o m e n t , t h a t is, at the m o m e n t of collapse. Tocqueville's observation in 1 8 4 8 , t h a t the m o n a r c h y fell 'before rather t h a n b e n e a t h the b l o w s of t h e victors, w h o were as astonished a t their t r i u m p h as were the vanquished at their defeat', has been verified over a n d over again. T h e p a r t of the professional revolutionists usually consists not in m a k i n g a revolution b u t in rising to p o w e r after it has b r o k e n o u t ,
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a n d their great a d v a n t a g e in this power struggle lies less in their theories a n d mental or organizational preparation than in the simple fact t h a t their n a m e s are the only ones which are publicly k n o w n . " It certainly is not conspiracy that causes revolution, and secret societies - t h o u g h they may succeed in committing a few spectacular crimes, usually with the help of the secret police - are as a rule m u c h t o o secret to be able to make their voices heard in public. T h e loss of authority in the powers-that-be, which indeed precedes all revolutions, is actually a secret to no one, since its manifestations are open and tangible, though not neccessarily spectacular; b u t its s y m p t o m s , general dissatisfaction, widespread malaise, a n d c o n t e m p t for those in power, are difficult to pin down since their m e a n i n g is never u n e q u i v o c a l . Nevertheless, contempt, hardly a m o n g the motives of the typical professional revolutionist, is certainly o n e of the most potent springs of revolution; there has hardly been a revolution for which Lamartine's remark about 1848, 'the revolution of contempt', would be altogether inappropriate. H o w e v e r , while the p a r t played by the professional revolutionist in the o u t b r e a k of revolution has usually been insignificant to the p o i n t of non-existence, his influence upon the actual course a revolution will take has proved to be very great. And since he spent his apprenticeship in the school of past revolutions, he will invariably exert this influence not in favour of the new and the unexpected, b u t in favour of some action which remains in a c c o r d a n c e with the past. Since it is his very task to assure the continuity of revolution, he will be inclined to argue in terms of historical precedents, a n d the conscious and pernicious imitation of p a s t events, which we mentioned earlier, lies, partially at least, in the very n a t u r e of his profession. Long before the professional revolutionists h a d found in M a r x i s m their official guide to the interpretation a n d a n n o t a t i o n of all history, past, present and future, Tocqueville, in 1 8 4 8 , could already note: 'The imitation [i.e. of 1 7 8 9 by the revolutionary Assembly] was so manifest that it concealed the terrible originality of the facts; I continually had the impression they w e r e engaged in play-acting the French Revolution far m o r e t h a n continuing i t . ' And again, during the Parisian C o m m u n e of 1 8 7 1 , on which M a r x and Marxists had no influence w h a t s o e v e r , a t least one of the new magazines, Le Pere Duchene, a d o p t e d the old revolutionary calendar's names for the months ot the year. It is strange indeed that in this atmosphere, where every incident of p a s t revolutions w a s mulled over as though it were part of sacred history, the only entirely new and entirely spontaneous
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institution in revolutionary history should have been neglected to the point of oblivion. A r m e d with the w i s d o m of hindsight, o n e is t e m p t e d to qualify this statement. T h e r e are certain p a r a g r a p h s in the writings of the U t o p i a n Socialists, especially in P r o u d h o n and B a k u n i n , into which it h a s been relatively easy to read an a w a r e n e s s of the council system. Yet the t r u t h is that these essentially anarchist political thinkers were singularly u n e q u i p p e d t o deal with a p h e n o m e n o n which d e m o n s t r a t e d so clearly h o w a revolution did n o t end with the abolition of state and g o v e r n m e n t but, o n the c o n t r a r y , aimed at the f o u n d a t i o n of a n e w state and the establishment of a new form of government. M o r e recently, historians have pointed t o the rather obvious similarities between t h e councils a n d the medieval t o w n s h i p s , the Swiss c a n t o n s , the English seventeeth-century 'agi tators' o r rather ' a d j u s t a t o r s ' , as they were originally called and the General Council of C r o m w e l l ' s a r m y , b u t the p o i n t of the m a t t e r is that n o n e of t h e m , with the possible exception of the medieval t o w n , h a d ever the slightest influence o n the minds of the people w h o in the course of a revolution spontaneously organized themselves in councils. H e n c e , no tradition, either revolutionary o r pre-revolutionary, can be called to account for the regular emergence a n d reemergence of the council system ever since t h e French Revolution. If w e leave aside the February Revolution of 1848 in Paris, w h e r e a commission pour les travailleurs, set u p by the g o v e r n m e n t itself, was almost exclusively concerned w i t h questions of social legisla tion, the m a i n dates of a p p e a r a n c e of these o r g a n s of action and germs of a n e w state are the following: t h e year 1 8 7 0 , w h e n the French capital u n d e r siege by the Prussian a r m y ' s p o n t a n e o u s l y reorganized itself into a m i n i a t u r e federal b o d y ' , which then formed the nucleus for the Parisian C o m m u n e g o v e r n m e n t in the spring of 1 8 7 1 ; the year 1 9 0 5 , w h e n t h e w a v e of s p o n t a n e o u s strikes in Russia suddenly developed a political leadership of its o w n , outside all revolutionary parties a n d g r o u p s , a n d the w o r k e r s in the factories organized themselves into councils, Soviets, for the p u r p o s e of representative self-government; the F e b r u a r y Revolu tion of 1 9 1 7 in Russia, w h e n 'despite different political tendencies a m o n g t h e Russian w o r k e r s , the o r g a n i z a t i o n itself, that is the soviet, w a s n o t even subject t o d i s c u s s i o n ' ; t h e years 1 9 1 8 a n d 1 9 1 9 in G e r m a n y , w h e n , after the defeat of t h e a r m y , soldiers a n d w o r k e r s in o p e n rebellion constituted themselves i n t o Arbeiter- und Soldatenrdte, d e m a n d i n g , in Berlin, that this Rdtesystem become the f o u n d a t i o n stone of the n e w G e r m a n constitution, and estab2 4 2 5 26

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lishing, t o g e t h e r with the Bohemians of the coffee houses, in M u n i c h in the spring of 1 9 1 9 , the short-lived Bavarian Rdterepublik; the last date, finally, is the autumn of 1956, when the H u n g a r i a n Revolution from its very beginning produced the council system a n e w in Budapest, from which it spread all over the c o u n t r y 'with incredible r a p i d i t y . ' T h e mere e n u m e r a t i o n of these dates suggests a continuity that in fact never existed. It is precisely the absence of continuity, tradition, a n d organized influence that makes the sameness of the phe n o m e n o n so very striking. Outstanding among the councils' c o m m o n characteristics is, of course, the spontaneity of their coming into being, because it clearly and flagrantly contradicts the theoretical 'twentieth-century model of revolution - planned, p r e p a r e d , a n d executed almost to cold scientific exactness by the professional r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s . ' It is true that wherever the revolu tion w a s n o t defeated a n d not followed by some sort of restoration, the o n e - p a r t y dictatorship, that is, the model of the professional revolutionary, eventually prevailed, but it prevailed only after a violent struggle with the organs and institutions of the revolution itself. T h e councils, m o r e o v e r , were always organs of order as much as organs of action, a n d it was indeed their aspiration to lay down the n e w o r d e r t h a t b r o u g h t them into conflict with the groups of professional revolutionaries, w h o wished to degrade them to mere executive o r g a n s of revolutionary activity. It is true enough that the m e m b e r s of the councils were not content to discuss and 'enlighten themselves' a b o u t measures that were taken by parties or assem blies; they consciously a n d explicitly desired the direct participation of every citizen in the public affairs of the c o u n t r y , and as long as they lasted, there is n o d o u b t that 'every individual found his own sphere of action and could behold, as it were, with his own eyes his o w n c o n t r i b u t i o n to the events of the d a y . ' Witnesses of their functioning w e r e often agreed on the extent to which the revolution had given birth to a 'direct regeneration of democracy', whereby the implication w a s t h a t all such regenerations, alas, were foredoomed since, obviously, a direct handling of public business through the people w a s impossible u n d e r modern conditions. They looked upon the councils as t h o u g h they were a romantic dream, some sort of fantastic Utopia come true for a fleeting moment to show, as it w e r e , the hopelessly r o m a n t i c yearnings of the people, who apparently did n o t yet k n o w the true facts of life. These realists t o o k their o w n bearings from the party system, assuming as a matter of course t h a t there existed n o other alternative tor representative g o v e r n m e n t a n d forgetting conveniently that the
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downfall of the old regime h a d been d u e , a m o n g o t h e r things, precisely t o this system. For the r e m a r k a b l e thing a b o u t the councils w a s of course not only that they crossed all p a r t y lines, t h a t m e m b e r s of the various parties sat in them together, b u t that such p a r t y m e m b e r s h i p played n o role whatsoever. T h e y were in fact the only political o r g a n s for people w h o belonged to n o party. H e n c e , they invariably came into conflict with all assemblies, with the old parliaments as well as with the n e w ' c o n s t i t u e n t assemblies', for the simple reason t h a t the latter, even in their m o s t e x t r e m e wings, were still the children of the party system. At this stage of events, t h a t is, in the midst of revolution, it w a s the party p r o g r a m m e s m o r e t h a n a n y t h i n g else that separated the councils from the parties; for these p r o g r a m m e s , n o m a t t e r h o w revolutionary, were all ' r e a d y - m a d e f o r m u l a s ' which d e m a n d e d n o t action but execution - 'to be carried out energetically in practice', as Rosa L u x e m b u r g pointed o u t w i t h such a m a z i n g clearsightedness a b o u t the issues at s t a k e . T o d a y we k n o w h o w quickly the theoretical formula disappeared in practical execution, but if the formula had survived its execution, a n d even if it h a d p r o v e d to be the p a n a c e a for all evils, social a n d political, the councils w e r e b o u n d to rebel against any such policy since the very cleavage between the party experts w h o ' k n e w ' and the mass of the people w h o were supposed t o apply this k n o w l e d g e left o u t of account the average citizen's capacity t o act and to form his o w n opinion. T h e councils, in other w o r d s , were b o u n d to b e c o m e superfluous if the spirit of the revolutionary p a r t y prevailed. Wherever k n o w i n g a n d doing have p a r t e d c o m p a n y , the space of freedom is lost. T h e councils, obviously, were spaces of freedom. As such, they invariably refused t o regard themselves as t e m p o r a r y o r g a n s of revolution and, on the contrary, m a d e all attempts at establishing themselves as p e r m a n e n t o r g a n s of g o v e r n m e n t . Far from wishing to m a k e the revolution p e r m a n e n t , their explicitly expressed goal was 'to lay the f o u n d a t i o n s of a republic acclaimed in all its consequences, the only g o v e r n m e n t which will close forever the era of invasions and civil w a r s ' ; n o paradise o n e a r t h , n o classless society, n o d r e a m of socialist or c o m m u n i s t fraternity, b u t the establishment of 'the true Republic' w a s the ' r e w a r d ' h o p e d for as the end of the s t r u g g l e . A n d w h a t h a d been true in Paris in 1 8 7 1 remained true for Russia in 1 9 0 5 , w h e n the ' n o t merely destructive but constructive' intentions of the first Soviets were so manifest t h a t c o n t e m p o r a r y witnesses 'could sense the emergence a n d the forma3 1 33

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tion of a force which one day might be able to effect the transformation of the S t a t e . ' It w a s n o t h i n g m o r e or less than this hope for a transformation of the state, for a n e w form of government that would permit every m e m b e r of the m o d e r n egalitarian society to become a 'participa t o r ' in public affairs, t h a t w a s buried in the disasters of twentiethcentury revolutions. Their causes were manifold and, of course, varied from c o u n t r y t o country, but the forces of what is commonly called reaction a n d counter-revolution are not prominent among them. Recalling the r e c o r d of revolution in our century, it is the weakness r a t h e r t h a n the strength of these forces which is impressive, the frequency of their defeat, the ease of revolution, and - last, not least - the e x t r a o r d i n a r y instability and lack of authority of most E u r o p e a n governments restored after the downfall of Hitler's E u r o p e . At any rate, the role played by the professional revolutionaries a n d the revolutionary parties in these disasters was i m p o r t a n t e n o u g h , a n d in o u r context it is the decisive one. Without Lenin's slogan, 'All p o w e r to the Soviets', there would never have been an O c t o b e r Revolution in Russia, but whether or not Lenin w a s sincere in proclaiming the Soviet Republic, the fact of the m a t t e r w a s even then that his slogan was in conspicuous contradication t o the openly proclaimed revolutionary goals of the Bolshevik p a r t y to 'seize p o w e r ' , that is, to replace the state machinery with the party a p p a r a t u s . H a d Lenin really wanted to give all p o w e r to the Soviets, he would have condemned the Bolshevik p a r t y to the same impotence which now is the outstan ding characteristic of the Soviet parliament, whose party and non party deputies are n o m i n a t e d by the party and, in the absence of any rival list, are n o t even chosen, but only acclaimed by the voters. But while the conflict between party and councils was greatly sharpened because of a conflicting claim to be the only 'true' representative of the Revolution and the people, the issue at stake is of a m u c h m o r e far-reaching significance. . W h a t the councils challenged was the party system as such, m a i l its forms, a n d this conflict was emphasized whenever the councils, b o r n of revolution, t u r n e d against the party or parties whose sole aim had always been the revolution. Seen from the vanguard point of a t r u e Soviet Republic, the Bolshevik party was merely more d a n g e r o u s b u t n o less reactionary than all the other parties or me defunct regime. As far as the form of government is concerned a n d the councils everywhere, in contradistinction to the revolution ary parties, w e r e infinitely m o r e interested in the political than in

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the social aspect of r e v o l u t i o n - t h e o n e - p a r t y d i c t a t o r s h i p is only the last stage in the d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e n a t i o n - s t a t e in general and of the m u l t i - p a r t y system in p a r t i c u l a r . This m a y s o u n d like a t r u i s m in the midst of the twentieth century w h e n the multi-party d e m o c r a c i e s in E u r o p e have declined t o the p o i n t w h e r e in every French o r Italian election ' t h e very f o u n d a t i o n s of the state a n d the n a t u r e of the r e g i m e ' are at s t a k e . It is therefore enlightening to see t h a t in principle the same conflict existed even in 1 8 7 1 , during the Parisian C o m m u n e , w h e n Odysse B a r r o t formulated w i t h rare precision the chief difference in t e r m s of French history between the n e w form of g o v e r n m e n t , aimed at the C o m m u n e , a n d the old regime w h i c h s o o n w a s t o be restored in a different, nonm o n a r c h i c a l disguise:
3 6

En tant q u e revolution sociale, 1 8 7 1 procede directement de 1 7 9 3 , qu'il c o n t i n u e et qu'il doit achever . . . En t a n t q u e revolution politique, au c o n t r a i r e , 1 8 7 1 est reaction c o n t r e 1 7 9 3 et u n r e t o u r a 1 7 8 9 . . . . 7/ a efface du programme les mots 'une et indivisible' et rejette l'idee a u t o r i t a i r e qui est u n e idee t o u t e m o n a r c h i q u e . . pour se rallier a l'idee federative, qui est par excellence l'idee liberale et republicaine (my italics).
iJ

These w o r d s are surprising because they w e r e w r i t t e n at a time w h e n there existed hardly a n y evidence at any rate n o t for p e o p l e u n a c q u a i n t e d w i t h the course of the A m e r i c a n Revolution - a b o u t the intimate c o n n e c t i o n between the spirit of revolution a n d the principle of federation. In o r d e r t o p r o v e w h a t Odysse Barrot felt to be t r u e , we must t u r n t o the February R e v o l u t i o n of 1 9 1 7 in Russia and to the H u n g a r i a n Revolution of 1 9 5 6 , b o t h of w h i c h lasted just long e n o u g h t o s h o w in b a r e outlines w h a t a g o v e r n m e n t w o u l d look like a n d h o w a republic w a s likely t o function if they w e r e founded u p o n the principles of the council system. In b o t h instances councils or Soviets h a d s p r u n g u p e v e r y w h e r e , completely i n d e p e n d e n t of o n e a n o t h e r , w o r k e r s ' , soldiers', a n d p e a s a n t s ' councils in the case of Russia, the m o s t d i s p a r a t e kinds of councils in the case of H u n g a r y , n e i g h b o u r h o o d councils t h a t emerged in all residential districts, so-called revolutionary councils that grew o u t of fighting together in the streets, councils of writers a n d artists, b o r n in the coffee h o u s e s of Budapest, s t u d e n t s ' a n d y o u t h s ' councils at the universities, w o r k e r s ' councils in the factories, councils in the a r m y , a m o n g the civil servants, a n d so o n . T h e formation of a council in each of these d i s p a r a t e g r o u p s t u r n e d a m o r e or less accidental

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proximity into a political i n s t i t u t i o n . T h e m o s t striking aspect of these spontaneous d e v e l o p m e n t s is t h a t in b o t h instances it t o o k these independent a n d highly d i s p a r a t e o r g a n s n o m o r e t h a n a few weeks, in the case of Russia, o r a few d a y s , in t h e case of H u n g a r y , to begin a process of c o - o r d i n a t i o n a n d i n t e g r a t i o n t h r o u g h t h e formation of higher councils of a regional o r p r o v i n c i a l c h a r a c t e r , from which finally t h e delegates t o a n assembly r e p r e s e n t i n g t h e whole country could be c h o s e n . As in t h e case of the early covenants, 'cosociations', a n d c o n f e d e r a t i o n s in t h e colonial history of North America, w e see h e r e h o w t h e federal principle, t h e principle of league a n d alliance a m o n g s e p a r a t e u n i t s , arises o u t of the elementary c o n d i t i o n s of action itself, uninfluenced by a n y theoretical speculations a b o u t t h e possibilities of r e p u b l i c a n government in large territories a n d n o t even t h r e a t e n e d i n t o coherence by a c o m m o n e n e m y . T h e c o m m o n object w a s t h e foundation of a n e w b o d y politic, a n e w type of republican government which w o u l d rest o n ' e l e m e n t a r y r e p u b l i c s ' in such a way that its o w n central p o w e r did n o t deprive t h e c o n s t i t u e n t bodies of their original p o w e r t o c o n s t i t u t e . T h e councils, in o t h e r words, jealous of their capacity to act a n d t o form o p i n i o n , w e r e bound to discover the divisibility of p o w e r as well as its m o s t important consequence, t h e necessary s e p a r a t i o n of p o w e r s in government . . .
3 8

Freedom, wherever it existed as a t a n g i b l e reality, h a s always been spatially limited. This is especially clear for t h e greatest a n d m o s t elementary of all negative liberties, t h e freedom of m o v e m e n t ; t h e borders of n a t i o n a l territory o r t h e walls of the city-state c o m p r e hended a n d p r o t e c t e d a space in w h i c h m e n c o u l d m o v e freely. Treaties a n d i n t e r n a t i o n a l g u a r a n t e e s p r o v i d e an e x t e n s i o n of this territorially b o u n d freedom for citizens o u t s i d e their o w n c o u n t r y , but even u n d e r these m o d e r n c o n d i t i o n s t h e e l e m e n t a r y coincidence f freedom and a limited space r e m a i n s manifest. W h a t is true for freedom of m o v e m e n t is, t o a large e x t e n t , valid for freedom in general. F r e e d o m in a positive sense is possible o n l y a m o n g e q u a l s , and equality itself is by n o m e a n s a universally valid principle b u t , again, applicable only w i t h l i m i t a t i o n s a n d even w i t h i n spatial units. If w e e q u a t e these spaces of f r e e d o m - w h i c h , following t h e gist, though n o t t h e t e r m i n o l o g y , of J o h n A d a m s , w e could also call spaces of a p p e a r a n c e s - w i t h t h e political realm itself, w e shall be inclined to t h i n k of t h e m a s islands in a sea o r as oases in a desert, ' h i s image, I believe, is suggested t o us n o t merely by t h e consistency of a m e t a p h o r b u t b y t h e r e c o r d of history as well.

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T h e p h e n o m e n o n I a m concerned with here is usually called the 'elite', a n d my quarrel with this t e r m is not t h a t I d o u b t that the political way of life has never been a n d will never be the way of life of the m a n y , even t h o u g h political business, by definition, concerns m o r e than the m a n y , namely strictly speaking, the sum total of all citizens. Political passions courage, the pursuit of public h a p p i ness, the taste of public freedom, an ambition that strives for excellence regardless n o t only of social status a n d administrative office but even of achievement and c o n g r a t u l a t i o n are perhaps n o t as rare as we are inclined to think, living in a society which has perverted all virtues into social values; b u t they certainly are o u t of the o r d i n a r y u n d e r all circumstances. M y quarrel with the 'elite' is t h a t the term implies an oligarchic form of g o v e r n m e n t , the d o m i n a t i o n of the m a n y by the rule of a few. F r o m this, one can only conclude - as indeed o u r w h o l e tradition of political t h o u g h t has concluded - t h a t the essence of politics is rulership a n d that the d o m i n a n t political passion is the passion to rule or to govern. This, I p r o p o s e , is p r o f o u n d l y u n t r u e . T h e fact t h a t political 'elites' have always determined the political destinies of the m a n y a n d have, in m o s t instances, exerted a d o m i n a t i o n over t h e m , indicates, o n the o n e h a n d , the bitter need of the few to protect themselves against the m a n y , or rather t o p r o t e c t the island of freedom they have come t o inhabit against the s u r r o u n d i n g sea of necessity; a n d it indicates, on the o t h e r h a n d , the responsibility t h a t falls automatically u p o n those w h o care for the fate of those w h o d o not. But neither this need n o r this responsibility touches u p o n the essence, the very substance of their lives, which is freedom; b o t h are incidental a n d secondary w i t h respect to w h a t actually goes o n within the limited space of the island itself. Put into t e r m s of present-day institutions, it w o u l d be in p a r l i a m e n t a n d in congress, w h e r e h e moves a m o n g his peers, t h a t the political life of a m e m b e r of representative g o v e r n m e n t is actualized, n o m a t t e r h o w m u c h of his time m a y be spent in c a m p a i g n i n g , in trying t o get t h e vote a n d in listening t o the voter. T h e p o i n t of the m a t t e r is n o t merely the o b v i o u s p h o n i n e s s of his dialogue in m o d e r n p a r t y g o v e r n m e n t , w h e r e the voter can only consent or refuse t o ratify a choice which (with the exception of the American primaries) is m a d e w i t h o u t h i m , a n d it does n o t even concern c o n s p i c u o u s abuses such as the i n t r o d u c t i o n i n t o politics of M a d i s o n Avenue m e t h o d s , t h r o u g h which the relation ship b e t w e e n representative a n d elector is t r a n s f o r m e d into t h a t of seller a n d buyer. Even if t h e r e is c o m m u n i c a t i o n between represen tative a n d voter, b e t w e e n the n a t i o n a n d p a r l i a m e n t - a n d the existence of such c o m m u n i c a t i o n m a r k s the o u t s t a n d i n g difference

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between the g o v e r n m e n t s of the British and the Americans, on one side, a n d those of Western Europe, on the other - this communi cation is never between equals bur between those who aspire to govern a n d those w h o consent to be governed. It is indeed in the very n a t u r e of the p a r t y system to replace 'the formula "govern ment of the people by the p e o p l e " by this formula: "government of
the p e o p l e by an elite sprung from the people" V'
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It has been said t h a t 'the deepest significance of political parties' m u s t be seen in their providing 'the necessary framework enabling the masses t o recruit from a m o n g themselves their own elites', a n d it is t r u e e n o u g h t h a t it was primarily the parties which opened political careers to m e m b e r s of the lower classes. N o doubt the p a r t y as t h e o u t s t a n d i n g institution of democratic government c o r r e s p o n d s t o one of the major trends of the modern age, the c o n s t a n t l y a n d universally increasing equalization of society; but this by n o m e a n s implies that it corresponds to the deepest significance of revolution in the modern age as well. The 'elite s p r u n g from the p e o p l e ' has replaced the pre-modern elites of birth a n d w e a l t h ; it has n o w h e r e enabled the people qua people to make their e n t r a n c e into political life and to become participators in public affairs. T h e relationship between a ruling elite and the people, between the few, w h o a m o n g themselves constitute a public space, a n d the m a n y , w h o spend their lives outside it and in obscurity, h a s remained unchanged. From the viewpoint of revolu tion a n d the survival of the revolutionary spirit, the trouble does n o t lie in the factual rise of a new elite; it is not the revolutionary spirit but the d e m o c r a t i c mentality of an egalitarian society that tends to d e n y the o b v i o u s inability and conspicuous lack of interest of large p a r t s of the population in political matters as such. The t r o u b l e lies in the lack of public spaces to which the people at large w o u l d h a v e e n t r a n c e a n d from which an elite could be selected, or rather, w h e r e it could select itself. The trouble, in other words, is t h a t politics has become a profession and a career, and that the 'elite' therefore is being chosen according t o standards and criteria w h i c h are themselves profoundly unpolitical. It is in the nature of all p a r t y systems t h a t the authentically political talents can assert themselves only in rare cases, and it is even rarer that the specifically political qualifications survive the petty manoeuvres of p a r t y politics with its d e m a n d s for plain salesmanship. Of course the men w h o sat in the councils were also an elite, they were even the only political elite, of the people and sprung from the people, the m o d e r n w o r l d has ever seen, b u t they were not nominated trorn a b o v e a n d n o t s u p p o r t e d from below. With respect to the

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elementary councils t h a t s p r u n g u p wherever people lived or w o r k e d together, one is tempted t o say t h a t they h a d selected themselves; those w h o organized themselves were those w h o cared a n d those w h o t o o k the initiative; they w e r e the political elite of the people b r o u g h t into the o p e n by the revolution. From these 'elementary republics', the councilmen t h e n chose their deputies for the next higher council, a n d these deputies, again, w e r e selected by their peers, they w e r e n o t subject t o any pressure either from above or from below. Their title rested on n o t h i n g but the confidence of their equals, a n d this equality was n o t n a t u r a l b u t political, it was n o t h i n g they h a d been b o r n with; it w a s the equality of those w h o h a d c o m m i t t e d themselves to, and n o w were engaged in, a joint enterprise. Once elected a n d sent into the next higher council, the deputy found himself again a m o n g his peers, for the deputies on any given level in this system were those w h o had received a special trust. N o d o u b t this form of government, if fully developed, w o u l d have assumed again the shape of a p y r a m i d , w h i c h , of course, is the shape of an essentially authoritarian g o v e r n m e n t . But while, in all a u t h o r i t a r i a n government w e k n o w of, a u t h o r i t y is filtered d o w n from above, in this case authority w o u l d have been generated neither at the t o p n o r at the b o t t o m , b u t on each of the p y r a m i d ' s layers; a n d this obviously could constitute the solution t o o n e of the most serious p r o b l e m s of all m o d e r n politics, w h i c h is n o t h o w to reconcile freedom a n d equality but h o w t o reconcile equality a n d authority. (To avoid m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g : The principles for the selection of the best as suggested in the council system, the principle of selfselection in the grass-roots political o r g a n s , a n d the principle of personal trust in their development into a federal form of govern ment are not universally valid; they are applicable only within the political realm. T h e cultural, literary, a n d artistic, the scientific a n d professional a n d even the social elites of a c o u n t r y are subject t o very different criteria a m o n g which the criterion of equality is conspicuously absent. But so is the principle of a u t h o r i t y . T h e r a n k of a poet, for instance, is decided neither by a vote of confidence of his fellow poets n o r by fiat coming from the recognized m a s t e r , b u t , on the contrary, by those w h o only love poetry a n d are i n c a p a b l e of ever writing a Une. T h e r a n k of a scientist, on the other h a n d , is indeed determined by his fellow scientists, but n o t o n the basis of highly personal qualities and qualifications; the criteria in this instance are objective a n d beyond a r g u m e n t or persuasion. Social elites, finally, at least in a n egalitarian society w h e r e neither birth

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nor wealth c o u n t , c o m e i n t o being t h r o u g h processes of discrimina tion.) It would be t e m p t i n g t o spin o u t further the potentialities of the councils, b u t it certainly is wiser t o say with Jefferson, 'Begin t h e m only for a single p u r p o s e ; they will s o o n s h o w for w h a t others they are the best i n s t r u m e n t s ' - t h e best i n s t r u m e n t s , for example, for breaking u p the m o d e r n m a s s society, with its d a n g e r o u s tendency toward the f o r m a t i o n of pseudo-political mass m o v e m e n t s , or rather, the best, the m o s t n a t u r a l w a y for interspersing it at the grass roots w i t h a n 'elite' t h a t is chosen by n o o n e b u t constitutes itself. T h e joys of p u b l i c h a p p i n e s s a n d the responsibilities for public business w o u l d t h e n b e c o m e the s h a r e of those few from all walks of life w h o h a v e a taste for public freedom a n d c a n n o t be ' h a p p y ' w i t h o u t it. Politically, they are the best, a n d it is the task of good g o v e r n m e n t a n d t h e sign of a well-ordered republic to assure them of their rightful place in the public realm. T o be sure, such an 'aristocratic' form of g o v e r n m e n t w o u l d spell the end of general suffrage as w e u n d e r s t a n d it t o d a y ; for only those w h o as voluntary members of a n ' e l e m e n t a r y republic' h a v e d e m o n s t r a t e d that they care for m o r e t h a n their p r i v a t e h a p p i n e s s and are concerned a b o u t the state of the w o r l d w o u l d have the right t o be heard in the conduct of the business of the republic. H o w e v e r , this exclusion from politics s h o u l d n o t b e d e r o g a t o r y , since a political elite is by no means identical with a social o r cultural o r professional elite. The exclusion, m o r e o v e r , w o u l d n o t d e p e n d u p o n an outside b o d y ; if those w h o b e l o n g are self-chosen, those w h o d o not belong are self-excluded. A n d such self-exclusion, far from being arbitrary discrimination, w o u l d in fact give substance a n d reality to one of the m o s t i m p o r t a n t negative liberties w e have enjoyed since the end of the ancient w o r l d , n a m e l y , freedom from politics, which was u n k n o w n to R o m e o r A t h e n s a n d which is politically p e r h a p s the most relevant p a r t of o u r C h r i s t i a n heritage. . This, a n d p r o b a b l y m u c h m o r e , w a s lost w h e n the spirit of revolution - a n e w spirit a n d the spirit of beginning something new - failed t o find its a p p r o p r i a t e institution. There is nothing that could c o m p e n s a t e for this failure or prevent it from becoming final, except m e m o r y a n d recollection. A n d since the storehouse ot m e m o r y is k e p t a n d w a t c h e d over by the p o e t s , w h o s e business it is to find a n d m a k e t h e w o r d s we live by, it may be wise to turn in conclusion t o t w o of t h e m (one m o d e r n , the other ancient) in order to find a n a p p r o x i m a t e articulation of the actual content of o u r lost treasure. T h e m o d e r n p o e t is Rene C h a r , perhaps the most

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articulate of the m a n y French w r i t e r s a n d artists w h o joined the Resistance during the Second W o r l d W a r . His b o o k of aphorisms w a s written d u r i n g the last year of the w a r in a frankly apprehen sive anticipation of liberation; for h e k n e w t h a t as far as they were concerned, there w o u l d be not only the w e l c o m e liberation from G e r m a n o c c u p a t i o n b u t liberation from the ' b u r d e n ' of public business as well. Back they w o u l d h a v e t o go t o the epaisseur triste of their private lives a n d pursuits, t o the 'sterile d e p r e s s i o n ' of the p r e - w a r years, w h e n it w a s as t h o u g h a curse h u n g over everything they did: 'If I survive, I k n o w that I shall have t o b r e a k w i t h the a r o m a of these essential years, silently reject (not repress) my treasure.' T h e t r e a s u r e , h e t h o u g h t , w a s t h a t he h a d 'found himself, that he no longer suspected himself of 'insincerity', that he needed no m a s k a n d n o make-believe to a p p e a r , t h a t wherever he w e n t he a p p e a r e d as he w a s to others and t o himself, t h a t h e could afford 'to go n a k e d ' . These reflections are significant e n o u g h as they testify t o the involuntary self-disclosure, t o the joys of a p p e a r i n g in w o r d a n d deed w i t h o u t equivocation and w i t h o u t self-reflection t h a t are inherent in action. A n d yet they are p e r h a p s t o o ' m o d e r n ' , t o o selfcentred to hit in p u r e precision the centre of t h a t ' i n h e r i t a n c e which w a s left to us by n o t e s t a m e n t ' .
41

Sophocles in Oedipus at Colonus, the f a m o u s a n d frightening lines: Mr) &vvai xbv anavxa vixa Xoyov. to 6 ' EJIEI &avfj, fUjvai HEIO' onoOev neg fjXEI TTOXV devregov (bg xayioxa.

the play of his old age, w r o t e

' N o t t o be b o r n prevails over all m e a n i n g uttered in w o r d s ; by far the second-best for life, o n c e it has a p p e a r e d , is t o go as swiftly as possible whence it c a m e . ' T h e r e h e also let us k n o w , t h r o u g h the m o u t h of T h e s e u s , the legendary founder of Athens a n d hence her s p o k e s m a n , w h a t it w a s t h a t enabled o r d i n a r y m e n , y o u n g a n d o l d , t o bear life's b u r d e n : it w a s the polis, the space of m e n ' s free deeds a n d living w o r d s , w h i c h could e n d o w life w i t h s p l e n d o u r - xbv P'LOV ha/xnobv noieioOai.

Hannah

Arendt

261

NOTES
x

In the letter to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824. This quotation is from a slightly earlier period when Jefferson proposed to divide the counties 'into hundreds'. (See letter to John Tyler, 26 May 1810.) Clearly, the wards he had in mind were to consist of about a hundred men. Letter to Cartwright, quoted previously.

7 8

1 3

1 4

1 5 1 6

Letter to Samuel Kercheval, 12 July 1816. The citations are drawn from the letters just quoted. Letter to Samuel Kercheval, 5 Sept. 1816. Letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith, 21 Feb. 1825. Letter to Cartwright, quoted previously. Letter to John Tyler, quote previously. The citations are drawn from the letter to Joseph C. Cabell of 2 Feb. 1816, and from the two letters to Samuel Kercheval already quoted. George Soule, The Coming American revolution, New York, 1934, p. 53. For Tocqueville, see author's Introduction to Democracy in America; for Marx, Die Klassenkampfe in Frankreich, 1840-1850 (1850), Berlin, 1951, p. 124. In 1871 Marx called the Commune die endlich entdeckte politische Form, unter der die okonomische Befreiung der Arbeit sich vollziehen konnte, and called this its 'true secret'. (See Der Biirgerkrieg in Frankreich (1871), Berlin, 1952, pp. 71, 76.) Only two years later, however, he wrote: 'Die Arbeiter miissen . . . auf die entschiedenste Zentralisation der Gewalt in die Hande der Staatsmacht hinwirken. Sie diirfen sich durch das demokratische Gerede von Freiheit der Gemeinden, von Selbstregierung usw, nicht irre machen lassen' (in Enthullungen iiber den Kommunistenprozess zu Koln (Sozialdemokratische Bibliothek Bd. IV), Hattingen Zurich, 1885, p. 81). Hence, Oskar Anweiler, to whose important study of the council system, Die Rdtebewegung in Russland 1905-1921, Leiden, 1958, I am much indebted, is quite right when he maintains: 'Die revolutionaren Gemeinderate sind fur Marx nichts weiter als zeirweilige politische Kampforgane, die die Revolution vorwartstreiben sollen, er sieht in ihnen nicht die Keimzellen fur eine grundlegende Umgestaltung der Gesellschaft, die vielmehr von oben, durch die proletarische zentralistische Staatsgewalt, erfolgen soil' (p. 19). I am following Anweiler, p. 101. The enormous popularity of the councils in all rwentieth-century revolutions is sufficiently well known. During the German revolution of 1918 and 1919, even the Conservative party had to come to terms with the Rate in its election campaigns.

262
1 7

The Revolutionary

Tradition

and

its Lost

Treasure

1 8

1 9 2 0

2 1

2 2

2 3 2 4

2 5 2 6 2 7 2 8

2 9

3 0

In the words of Levine, a prominent professional revolutionist, during the revolution in Bavaria: 'Die Kommunisten treten nur fur eine Raterepublik ein, in der die Rate eine kommunistische Mehrheit haben.' See Helmut Neubauer, 'Miinchen und Moskau 1918-1919: Zur Geschichte der Ratebewegung in Bayern', Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, Beiheft 4, 1958. See the excellent study of The Paris Commune of 1871, London, 1937, by Frank Jellinek, p. 27. See Anweiler, Die Ratebewegung, p. 45. Maurice Duverger - whose book on Political Parties. Their Organiza tion and Activity in the Modern State (French edition, 1951), New York, 1961, supersedes and by far excels all former studies on the subject mentions an interesting example. At the elections to the National Assembly in 1871, the suffrage in France had become free, but since there existed no parties the new voters tended to vote for the only candidates they knew at all, with the result that the new republic became the 'Republic of Dukes.' The record of the secret police in fostering rather than preventing revolutionary activities is especially striking in France during the Second Empire and in Tsarist Russia after 1880. It seems, for example, that there was not a single anti-government action under Louis Napoleon which had not been inspired by the police; and the more important terrorist attacks in Russia prior to war and revolution seem all to have been police jobs. Thus, the conspicuous unrest in the Second Empire, for instance, was easily contradicted by the overwhelmingly favourable outcome of Napoleon Ill's plebiscites, these predecessors of our public-opinion polls. The last of these, in 1869, was again a great victory for the Emperor; what nobody noticed at the time and what turned out to be decisive a year later was that nearly 15 per cent of the armed forces had voted against the Emperor. Quoted from Jellinek, The Paris Commune, p. 194. One of the official pronouncements of the Parisian Commune stressed this relation as follows: 'C'est cette idee communale poursuivie depuis le douzieme siecle, affirmee par la morale, le droit et la science qui vient de triompher le 18 mars 1871.' See Heinrich Koechlin, Die Pariser Commune von 1871 im Bewusstsein ihrer Anhanger, Basel, 1950, p. 66. Jellinek, The Paris Commune, p. 7 1 . Anweiler, Die Ratebewegung, p. 127, quotes this sentence by Trotsky. For the latter, see Helmut Neubauer, 'Miinchen und Moskau'. See Oskar Anweiler, 'Die Rate in der ungarischen Revolution', in Osteuropa, vol. VIII, 1958. Sigmund Neumann, 'The Structure and Strategy of Revolution: 1848 and 1948', in The Journal of Politics, Aug. 1949. Anweiler, Die Ratebewegung, p. 6, enumerates the following general characteristics: '(1) Die Gebundenheit an eine bestimmte abhangige oder unterdruckte soziale Schicht, (2) die radikale Demokratie als Form,

Hannah

Arendt

263

(3) die revolutionare Art der Entstehung', and then comes to the conclusion: 'Die diesen Raten zugrundeliegende Tendenz, die man als 'Rategedanken' bezeichnen kann, ist das Streben nach einer moglichst unmittelbaren, weitgehenden und unbeschrankten Teilnahme des Einzelnen am offentlichen Leben . . .' In the words of the Austrian socialist Max Adler, in the pamphlet Demokratie und Ratesystem, Wien, 1919. The booklet, written in the midst of the revolution, is of some interest because Adler, although he saw quite clearly why the councils were so immensely popular, nevertheless immediately went on to repeat the old Marxist formula according to which the councils could not be anything more than merely 'eine revolutionare Uebergangsform', at best, 'eine neue Kampfform des sozialistischen Klassenkampfes'. Rosa Luxemburg's pamphlet on The Russian Revolution, translated by Bertram D. Wolfe, 1940, from which I quote, was written more than four decades ago. Its criticism of the 'Lenin-Trotsky theory of dictator ship' has lost nothing of its pertinence and actuality. To be sure, she could not foresee the horrors of Stalin's totalitarian regime, but her prophetic words of warning against the suppression of political freedom and with it of public life read today like a realistic description of the Soviet Union under Khrushchev: 'Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to . . . applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unani mously - at bottom, then, a clique affair. . . .' See Jellinek, The Paris Commune, pp. 129 ff. See Anweiler, Die Ratebewegung p. 110. It is quite characteristic that in its justification of the dissolution of the workers' councils in December 1956, the Hungarian government complained: 'The members of the workers' council at Budapest wanted to concern themselves exclusively with political matters.' See Oskar Anweiler's article quoted previously. Thus Duverger, Political Parties, p. 419. Quoted from Heinrich Koechlin, Die Pariser Commune, p. 224. For details of this process in Russia, see Anweiler's book, Die Ratebewegung, pp. 155-8, and also the same author's article on Hungary. Duverger, Political Parties, p. 425. Ibid., p. 426. Rene Char, Feuillets d'Hypnos, Paris, 1946. For the English translation, see Hypnos Waking: Poems and Prose, New York, 1956.

Index

'absolute freedom' 191-5 'absolute spirit' 188-9 academic study of politics 2 3 2 - 7 accountability 140 Ackerman, B.A. 176 acquisition of additional capacities 83 of holdings 107-8 action intelligibility of 130-2 intentions and 127-30 modernist view of 125 narratives and 133-8 self-moved, and politics 224-6 settings for 128-9 Acton, J.E.E. 31,221 Adams, J. 255 agency 166 alienation 183,186 anarchists 121 Andromache 126,134 Angel, Sir N. 224 Anscombe, G.E.M. 59 Aquinas, Thomas 97 Arendt, H. 7, 11 on revolutionary tradition 239-63 aristocratic concept and honour 150 Aristotle 57, 97,126, 134-5, 179 autocracy and liberty 2 1 - 2 , 2 6 - 9 Bakunin,M. 250 Barrot, O. 254 Becket, Thomas 134-5 behaviour see action

'behavioural sciences' 129 Belinsky, V. 18 Bentham, J. 36,40,43,223 Berger,P. 149 Berlin, I. 7-8 on liberty 15-26 Burke, E. 19,32,144,200,205 Caesar, Julius 134,244 Campbell,/. K. 151 Carr, E.H. 224 Carter, J.E. 75 Cato 239 Chamberlain, W., as example of distributive justice 115-17 Char, R. 259 character, friendship and selfknowledge 171-6 choice 40 hedonism as method of 53-7 of rival goods 146-7 civil rights see rights coercion 16, 20, 82 Collingwood, R.G. 98 common sense precepts and justice 44-5 community/society homogenization of 193-6 honour and dignity concepts 153,156 individual and 143,178-99
passim

justice and 167-8 language of 182-4 liberty in 185-6,191-5 particular, birth into 95-6

266

Index on liberalism 6079

political 219-38 see also environment Condorcet, Marquis de 21,36 congenital differences 82-4 conservatives, American 613, 72-5 constraints, libertarian 105-6 Constant, B. 1 7 , 1 9 , 2 6 - 8 'constructivism' 169 contract view of right and good 48-53 contrasts, right and good 37-59 conversation 1334 corruption in government 2412 council system, revolutionary 239-63 passim Cromwell, O. 250 Crosland, A. 98 current time-slice principles 109-11 Dahrendorf, R. 126 deinstitutionalization 155, 157 democracy conservatism and 734 dissatisfaction with 186-7, 195-7 liberalism and 6971 liberty and 28 deontology justice as 401 liberating project of 1 6 0 - 1 , 168-71 Descartes, R. 126 Deschamps, E. 150 deserving 47 differences, individual 8 1 - 4 , 95-6, 105 dignity, concept of 150, 153, 157-8 distribution 1 1 - 1 3 , 6 2 - 7 1 see also equality distributive justice see justice dominant-end conception of deliberation 53 Dumont, L. 209 Dworkin, R. 8-9, 160

economic freedom 16 incentives 1 17, 120 market 6 6 - 9 , 7 1 - 3 , 76 Edgeworth, F.Y. 40, 43 education inequality and 8 6 - 7 political 219-38 egalitarianism see equality Elias,N. 151 elite 2 5 6 - 7 embedding 134-5, 145 embourgeotsement of concept of honour 1512 empirical activity, politics as 2 2 1 - 2 , 224 end-state principle of distributive justice 1 0 9 - 1 1 , 1 1 8 see also patterning ends and means 103,2256 Engels, F. 135 entitlement theory 47, 107-9 see also justice, distributive entrepreneur in socialist society 117 environment, inequality in 8 2 - 7 see also community equality 18,60-79 distributive 1 1 - 1 3 , 6 2 - 7 1 law and 6 9 - 7 1 , 8 0 , 8 2 liberty and 4 1 , 6 0 - 3 value and merit 80-99 see also inequality; justice, distributive Erasmus 20 'essence'of individual 181,189 ethics see moral; Moralitdt; Sittlichkeit expectations, legitimate, and moral desert 4 4 - 8 fairness see justice as fairness Falstaff and concept of honour 152,154 family as basis for inequality 84-6

Index Fiacco, A. 119 FichteJ.G. 192 Ford, G.R. 75 Ford,H. 113 France, revolution 239-40, 245-54 passim 262 freedom see liberty Fried, C. 203 Friedman, M. 100 friendship, self-knowledge and character 171-6 Gallie, W.B. 97 Gehlen, A. 155,157 Geist, 180-1 genres 134 Germany, revolution 2 5 0 - 1 goal 'final', of individual 181 moral 101-3 Goffman,E. 126,143,156 good, the, concept of 141-2, 146-7 justice and 159-76 utilitarianism and 101 see also right and good; virtues Greek polis 1 7 9 , 1 8 7 , 1 9 0 , 1 9 7 Green, T.H. 35 GrenfellJ. 137 gun control, American 75 Guttenplan, S. 147 happiness, justice as 44 Hardy, B. 133 Hare, R.M. 146 harmony, final 30 Hart, H.L.A. 4 Hayek, F.A. von 120 on equality, value and merit 80-99 healthcare 2 0 5 - 6 , 2 1 1 - 1 7 Hector 126,134 hedonism as method of choice 5 3 - 7 Hegel, G.W.F. 1 6 , 2 3 , 2 5 , 3 0 on history and politics, Taylor on 177-99

267

and Kant 5,7,10,177-8,191 193 Heidegger, M. 136, 156 Helvetius 34 Henry II, King 134-5 Herder, J.G. 190,193 hereditary differences 82-4 hierarchical view of society and honour 150-1 Hippocrates of Cos 211 historical and end-result principles of distributive justice 109-11, 118 history and pol itics 177-99 see also tradition Hitler, A. 253 Hobbes,T. 19,34,169 Hobsbawm, P. 136 holdings, justice in 107-9, 1 ] 4, 120-1 Holmes, O.W. 80 homogenization of society 193-6 honour as obsolescent concept 149-58 Humboldt, K.W. von 190 Hume, D. 43, 97-8, 139,162-3, 165, 201 H u n g r y , revolution 251,254-5

idea abstract, of politics 223, 230 state as expression of 188 identity see individual ideological style of politics 222-9 ignorance and justice 50 independence of individual 162, 166, 168-71 see also individual, differences individual/self accountability 140 community and 143,178-99 passim differences 81-4, 95-6, 105 see also separateness below 'essence'of 181,189 ends and means 103 expression 21

268

Index criminal 210-11 distributive and moral constraints 4 4 - 8 , 1 0 0 - 2 2 as fairness 3 7 - 5 9 , 1 5 4 - 6 1 , 167-8 good, the 159-76 as happiness 44 historical and end-result principles 1 0 9 - 1 1 , 1 1 8 in holdings 1 0 7 - 9 , 1 1 4 individual and 50 inequality and 94 law and 210-11 liberty upsets patterns 115-18 patterning 11115 utilitarianism and 37-59, 1 6 0 - 1 , 168 Kafka, F. 135 Kant, I. 2 , 3 2 , 6 3 , 1 3 0 Hegel and 5 , 7 , 1 0 , 1 7 7 - 8 , 1 9 1 , 193 on individual 1 0 3 , 1 0 5 , 1 6 8 on justice 162 on moral law 169 knowledge individual 1716 political 2 1 9 - 3 8 Knowles, Dom D. 134 Kristol, I. 120 Lamartine, A. de 249 language, community 1824 law equality and 6 9 - 7 1 , 8 0 , 82 honour and 149-50 justice and 2 1 0 - 1 1 liberty and 1 7 , 2 7 - 8 , 3 1 - 2 , 3 5 , 61 Leibniz, G.W. 138-9 Lenin, V.I. 1 3 4 , 2 4 0 , 2 4 5 - 8 , 2 5 3 liberalism American 6079 equality, value and merit 80-99 history and politics 177-99 honour as obsolescent concept 149-58

freedom see liberty below identity 138-43 inviolability 103-5 justice and 50 knowledge 171-6 liberty 1 2 , 1 9 - 2 1 , 2 3 - 5 , 8 0 - 1 , 157' modernity and 125-6,1424, 153-6 morality 160,168 moved manner of activity 2 2 4 - 6 narrative 138-41, 145 objectivity 147 rights 7 0 - 1 , 745, 1 0 1 - 3 , 1 5 3 , 157 roles 138 separation from 1 2 5 - 6 , 1 4 3 , 154-6 separateness of 162,166, 168-71 tradition and 1435 inequality distributive 6 8 - 9 , 7 1 environmental 827 justice and 94 result of equal treatment 82 see also equality injustice in holdings 107-9 see also justice institutions and modernity 155, 157,186-7 insult and concept of honour 149-50 intelligibility 130-5, 140 intentions and action 127-30 interdependence of society 194 inviolability of individual 103-5 James, W. 25 Jefferson, T. 1 9 , 2 3 9 - 4 5 , 2 5 9 Jesus 179 Johnson, D r S . 136 Joyce, J. 138 justice American 6 9 - 7 1 , 74 community 167-8

Index justice and the good 159-76 liberty, concepts of 15-36 moral constraints and distributive justice 10022 political education 21938 revolutionary tradition 23963 right and good contrasted 37-59 virtues, unity of human life and tradition 125-48 welfare, membership and need 200-18 liberating concept of deontology 160-1,168-71 liberty absolute 191-5 autocracy and 2 1 - 2 , 2 6 - 9 in community 1 8 5 - 6 , 1 9 1 - 5 concepts of 1536 constraints 105-6 democracy 3nd 28 equality and 4 1 , 6 0 - 3 individual 1 7 , 1 9 - 2 1 , 2 3 - 5 , 80-1,157 justice and 115-18 law and 1 7 , 2 7 - 8 , 3 1 - 2 , 3 5 , 6 1 'negative' 15-22 one and many 2 9 - 3 4 positive 225 sovereignty 2 6 - 9 spatial limitation 255 Liverpool, Lord 221 Locke, J. 1 7 , 1 9 , 4 3 , 1 3 9 love and benevolence 164-5 Luxemburg, R. 2 5 2 , 2 6 3 McCormick, G. 119 Maclntyre, A. 65 on virtues, unity of human life and tradition 125-48 M a c k a y J . H . 121 many and one 2 9 - 3 4 Marshall, T.H. 206 Marx, E. 126 Marx, K. and Marxism on ability and needs 217 on alienation and false

269

consciousness 156 on constraints 137 on creativity 192 on freedom 193 on revolution 240, 245-7 on social laws 30, 34 on subjectivism 156 material equality 81 means and ends 103, 225-6 medical care 205-6, 211-17 membership, need and welfare 200-18 Mencius 153 merit distribution and 11-13 equality and value 80-99 reward and 89-94, 98 and value 88-97,113 MillJ.S. 2,224 on envy 88 on 'experiments in living' 32 on personal freedom 17, 19-22, 28,31 on representative government 235 minimal and ultraminimal state 100-1 Mink, L.O. 133-4,136 modernity action and 125 dissatisfaction with 191-7 honour concept and 14951, 153 individual and 125-6,136, 142-4,153-6 institutions 155,157, 186-7 subjectivity and 155-6,191 monism 32-3 Montesquieu, Baron de 179,190, 197 Montrose, Marquis of 146 moral/morality constraints and distributive justice 100-22 libertarian 105-6 minimal and ultraminimal state 1 0 0 - 1

270

Index ideological style of 222-9 parties 257 styles 224-9 positive freedom 22-5 poverty 206 preference-utilitarianism 78 privacy 19 Procrustes 32 professional revolutionaries 247-9 Proudhon, P.-J. 250 provision see welfare Quixote, Don, as example of honour concept 152 racial discrimination 74-5 rationality 4 8 - 9 Rawls, J. 4 - 5 , 8 - 9 , 1 1 9 , 2 0 5 on right and good 3759 Sandel on 159-75 rectification of injustice 1089 redistribution 69,207 see also distribution reflection 166 Reisman, D. 156 remuneration see reward republic and revolution 239, 241, 243,258 resources, preservation of 76 revolutionary tradition 239-63 reward and merit 89-94, 98 right and good contrasted 3759 examples 4853 hedonism as method of choice 53-7 legitimate expectations and moral desert 4 4 - 8 related contrasts 39-44 see also good rights, concept of 1 0 1 - 3 , 1 5 3 , 157 roles and individual 138 separation of 1256, 143, 154-6 rough equality 65-6

moral goals and 1013 side 103-5 desert, and legitimate expectations 448 epistemology, justice of 162-6 individual 160,168 merit and distribution 111-13 order, objective, lack of 168 particularities of community and self 143 politics and 177 private 160, 168 Moralitdt 178-9,185,187 narratives 13341,145 nation, particular, birth in 95-6 nationalism 196 need, welfare and membership 200-18 'negative'freedom 15-22 neutrality 6 4 , 6 6 , 1 1 8 nightwatchman state 100 non-violation of rights 101-3, 119 Nozick, R. 8-9,214n on moral constraints and distributive justice 100-22 Paine, T. 19 Pareto-optimality 121-2 Parfit,D. 138 patterning 111-18 personal see individual Petrarch 55 philosophical study of politics 236 Pigou, A.C. 43 Plato 2 3 , 3 0 pleasure as method of choice 53-7 pluralism of values 33 Pole, Cardinal R. 146 politics/political education 219-38 as empirical activity 2 2 1 - 2 , 224 history 177-99

Index Rousseau, J.-J. 1 6 , 2 6 - 7 , 1 9 2 - 3 , 195, 200, 208 rural culture and concept of honour 151 Russia, revolution 240, 2 4 5 - 5 5 , 262 Sandel, M.J. 9 on justice and the good 159-76 Snntayana, G. 55 Sartre, J.-P. 1 2 6 , 1 3 6 , 1 4 3 , 1 4 6 satisfactions 37 Scanlon, T. 214 Schumpeter, J. 8 Self see individual separateness 162, 166, 168-171 settings of action 128-9 Shakespeare, W. 17,135 side constraints 1025 Sidgwick, H. 4 0 , 4 3 , 5 4 - 5 Simeon 239 similarity of people 83 simple way of life 76 Sittlichkeit 177-8 1, 1 8 4 - 5 , 188, 190 Skinner, B.E. 129 Smith, A. 19 social action 31 good 105 laws 30,34 recognition 2 0 0 - 1 8 welfare 3 9 - 4 1 , 2 0 0 - 1 8 society see community Sophocles 1 5 3 , 1 7 9 , 1 8 7 , 2 6 0 sovereignty and liberty 2 6 - 9 Soviet Union see Russia spatial limitations of liberty 255 spectator, impartial 38 'spirit, absolute' 1 8 8 - 9 state 1 8 8 - 9 0 and the good 1 5 9 - 6 2 minimal and ultraminimal 100-1 see also community Stebbing, L.S. 98 Stephen, J. 21

271

stories see narrative structural principle of distributive justice 109 subjectivity 155-6, 191 'substance' of individuals 155-6, 191 Sumner, W.G. 97 sympathy 38 Tawney, R.H. 32 Taylor, C. 10 on history and politics 177-99 teleology 4 0 - 1 , 5 6 - 7 , 1 3 7 Theseus 260 time-slice principles, current 109-11 Tocqueville, Marquis A. de 17, 28, 190, 197,245,248-9 tradition revolutionary 239-63 and virtues and unity of human life 125-48 tragic protagonist 146-7 transfer, of holdings 107-8,114, 120-1 Trotsky, L. 134 truth 21 ultraminimal state 100-1 unemployment 206 United States dissatisfaction with 192 liberalism in 6079 revolution 2 3 9 - 4 3 welfare state 209-17 unity of human life, virtues and tradition 125-48 unpredictability 137 utilitarianism 101-3 American 76,78 dissatisfaction with 191-3 the good, concept of 101 justice and 3 7 - 5 9 , 1 6 0 - 1 , 1 6 8 value 33 merit and 8 0 - 9 9 , 1 1 3 Van Fraasen, B.C. 146

272 Vico,G. 138 virtues choice of 1 4 6 - 7 legitimate expectations and 44-8 and unity of human life and tradition 125-48 see also good; moral virtuous society 7 2 - 3 Volksgeist 182, 189 Walzer, M. 10

Index on welfare, membership and 200-18 ward system, revolutionary 23963 passim Weber, M. 152,168 Weil,S. 202 welfare, membership and need 200-18 William of Canterbury 134 Zeuxis 236 Zijderveld, A.

158