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P o r r ~ l c ~CONCEPTS

Tulane University

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Library cof Congress Cataloging-in-PublicatioirData

Gaus, Gerald F.
Political concepk and political theories / Geraid F' Gaus.
p. cm.
lSBN 0-8133-3331-8
l. Pc3litical ~ i e ~ ~ cl. eTitle.

The paper used i-tt this publiation meets t11e requiremen& of the Amet-ican Natioiral Stan-
dard for Pemartence of Paper for Prittted Library Materials Z39.48-1984,
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Part One: Conceptual Analysis

1 What: Axe Political Cancepts? 3

1.1 Socral-t;sfsQuestion, 3
1.2 Wads, Defhitions, and Things, 7
1.3 Wittgenstein's Later hat)rsis, 12
1 Wittgenstein and Conceptual Investigations, 16
1.5 Summary, 22
Notes, 23

2 Canceptual Disputes
2.1 Essentially Contested Concepts, 26
3.3 Political Ideologies, 33
2-3 Political Philosophy m d Political meories, 36
2.4 Summary 43
Notes, 44

3 Pofiticaf Theories: Conceptual Structures and

Enduring Types
3.1 Liberalism, Socialism, and Conservatism, 46
3.2 Ratio~~alism/Antirationalism, 52
3.3 neories of Hzrman Nature, 60
3.4 .tndividuaZism/Collectivism, 66
3.5 Summary, 70
Notes, 71
Part Twe
Political Concepts

4 Negative and Positive Liberty 77

4.1 Negaljve L,iberty: Some Ordinary Langtrage
Considerations, 7
4.2 Positive Freedom, 82
4.3 Two Concepts of t,iberty, 86
4.4 auestioning the PositivdNegative Distinctionf 94
4.5 Summary, 97
Notes, 98

5 Liberty and Power

5.1 Positive Freedom as Power to Act, 101
5.12. Pawer and Freedom 105
5 3 Freedom, Power, and Property 110
5.4 Freedom, Power, and the Law, 116
5.5 Summary 3123
Notes, 124

6 Equality 127
and the Grounds for Equal Treatment, 127
6.1 E ~ a l i t y
6 2 Why Equality? External Arguments for the Importance
of Equaliv, 129
6.3 Why Equality? Arguments from Fundamental Human
Equality, 136
6.4 Equality of m a t ? M5
6.5 Summary, 3154
Notes, 155

7 Equality and Liberty in Political Theories

7.1 Do t,iberty and Equnljty Connict? 158
7.2 Chssical Liberalism: tiherty and Basic Equality 159
7-3 Revisioz~isfLiberalisms, 164
7.4 A Socialist Reconciliation Proposal, 178
7.5 The Consernative Criticjtte of Equ.alitJi,174
7-6 Summary, 178
Notes, 179
8 Justice and Liberalism
8.1 The EIeme~ttsof Justice, 182
8.2 Classical 1,iberdism: Rutes for Equaliy Free Peoptc, 188
8.3 Monistic Revisionist Liberalism: Social Justice and
Cortt~butionsto the Common Good, 194
8.4 Pluralistic Revisionist Liberalism: A Revised Social
Contract Among Free and Equal People, 199
8.5 Summary, 206
Notes, 207

9 Justice, Society, and Community

9.1 Marx on Societies and Their Justice, 210
9.2 Socialism and the Democratic Co
9.3 Three Conservative Appmaches to Justice, 223
9.4 Summary 233
Notes, 234

10 Political Authority
10.1. Conservatism and Political Authority, 237
10.2 art Being "hAuthol-ity;" X1
10.3 Liberal l"o1itical Authority, 246
10.4 Democratic Atr"cEr0rit.ym d the Mmagement of
Collective Affairs, 251
10.5 Summary, 257
Notes, 258

Concluding Remarks:
From Political Carrcepls to Political Theories
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Decreasixlg margirtal trtiliv
Different utility functions: Healthy and hmdicapped

Conditio~ansfor effectkc. choice and coaperati\ic.equality

Hohiel.dfsanalysis of liberties and claims

I-lohfeld" sanalysis of powers and immunitie?;
The prisoner 'S ddemma
Two possible distl.i:butims of income

A, coordhatian problem
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Ihe first great vestion of political theory was posed by Socrates: "Mikat
is justicelf7t has beer1 joimd by otkrs, suCh as, "What is liberty?'" "Vtrhat
is equality?" and "What is political authority"" Anyone with political
ideals sooner or later will face these sorts of ~ e s t i o n sThey
. also provide
perhaps t-he best er~trypoint for the study of politic& Ifiou@t; if you un-
derstmd these questions, and the answers that have been proposed, you
understand the main debates and issues in the lnistory of political theov,
Ihis book is h ~ t e ~ ~ dfor
e dboth sorts of readers: those who have already
asked these conceptual questions and those who seek an jntroduction to
political theory. I have tried to write a hook that is intermking to those
who have a l ~ a d ythought about these mtters, as well as accessible for
those with little background in political theory.
Acadennics' writb~g(including, I confess, my own) too fretftlentSy falls
into two classes. (31 the one hand, we write sophisticated ar~dcomplex
works that c m only be grasped by graduate students (perhaps only ad-
vanced graduate students) and fellow academics and, m the other, we
write tex-ttnooksfor b e g k ~ i n gstudents that are of little interest to anyone
else ( m d perhaps not even to them). X r t the first sort of book, we present
our arguments forljfied by all our defenses and qualifications in order to
withstand the scmtil7y and criticim of our colleagues; h the second, we
rehearse the familiar and achawledged posi"cons. Understandi.tbly, we
arc reluctant to bridge these safe shores. To present our views witl-rout
their full fortifications, to illterest our readers without overwhcrlming
thern with defenses, to introduce while challenging our readers and
invitislg thern to disagre+a%l of these are fl-aughtwith obvious dangers,
Yet, I think, some of the most interests politic& theory occurs in this
no-mm%-landbetkveen the rigorous scholarly book and the elementary
texfbook. In this book, I seek to present my own view of the analysis of
political concepts, one that I hope will be inkresting to the expert and
useful to the novice.
:Ihave presented much of this material to my students-both first-year
and more adva~ced-at the University of Queer~slandin Brisbane, Aus-
tralia,and the University of Minnesota, Dnluth. My thanks to all of them

for letting me think things through in front of them, and for their reac-
tions to my ideas. I wodd also like to express my appreciation to West-
view Press; I Ifiank them not oniy for their m u - a p p e e d y inter-
est and support, but for their patience in the face of delays brought &out
by my too-f~quentmovements back a7.d forth across Ihe I'acif-ic, Richard
Dagger m d Michael Freeden provided extremely helpful comments for
which 1am most grateful, Last, and in this case most irnpartant, 1wodd
like to express my profound debt to John W. chap mar^, my o w r ~teacher.
From him 1 learned not just what political. theory is about, but what aca-
demic life is all about.
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I . I Socrates's Question
Political Theory and Political Concepts
Western political philosophy begins with Socrates and Plato, and espe-
cially the Republic.1 In this imaginary conversation among a group of
Athenians, Socrates poses what may be the most fundamental of all
questions in political philosophy: "What is justice?" Indeed, one of the
great legal theorists of the twentieth century called this "the eternal ques-
tion of mankind."* We all wish a govenunent that is just-but what is jus-
To a large extent, the study of political theory is an exploration of dif-
ferent ways of understanding core political concepts such as justice, lib-
erty, power, equality, and authority. From Plato onward, political theo-
rists have asked-and have provided conflicting answers to--questions
such as "What is justice?" "What is liberty?" "What is power?" and
"What is equality?" In the first part of this book, I shall try to get a bit
clearer about what sorts of questions these are. Are we asking for a def-
inition, and if so what constitutes a good definition?Or do we seek some-
thing other than a definition when we inquire, "What is justice?" Unless
we know what we are asking for, we shall not be able to distinguish good
from bad answers. After this clarification of what sort of question we are
asking, Part I1 of the book will explore some of the enduring answers that
have been advanced in political theory.

Three Definitions of Justice

Let us return to the beginning: Socrates's inquiry, "What is justice?" The
first proposal in the Republic is made by Cephalus, who has had a long
and hmorable life in business. To Cqhalus, just-ife is a skaightforward
matter of telling the tmtb and paying one's debts-a view, no dnubt, that
has guided his owl1 life. But Socrates immediately casts doubt on
whether this is all there is to justice. Suppose, says Socrates, that a friend
from whom you hiwe loaned a weapon has gone mad and now &mm&
the return of the cveapm. W u M i t be right to if? Cephalus ilfSrees
that it would not he right to do so; and if it is not rigbt, it cmnot be what
is required by justice.
At this point, another Athenian, Polemarchus, speaks up; he believes
that he clan provide an account of justice that rescues the cmx of
Cephalus's definition while also showing why it would not be just to re-
tun1 the weapm. He suggests an abstract defi11itiox-r of justice---giving
each man his due, But, asks Socrates, is not the mad friend due his
weapon? It is, after all., his weapon. Polemarchus invokes a view that was
commor.1 among i h e Grwks, that justice demands doing goad to friends
(since that is what is due to friends) and harmhg enemies (since that is
what is due to enemies), Thus, since the madman is a friend, and it
w u l d harm him to retun7 the weapon, it cannot he just to do so; it wodd
not be appropriate to return the weapon becatrse it would not be giving
him what is his due. Socrates also rcjects this view, though his argument
against it is not as straightforward as his criticism of Cephalus's defini-
tion (that is, that justice is simply repaykg one" debts):

Socrates: Gal it really be a just man's business to harm any h u m a ~

Palemarchus: Certainly; it is right to harm bad men who are his
Socrafes: But does not harmkg a horse or a dog mean making it a
worse horse or dug, so that each will be a less perfect creature in
its own way?
Polenzarchus: Yes.
Soemitis: Isn't that also true of human beings-that to h a m &em
means; making &em worse men by lrhe stmdard of human excel-
Polemarchus: Yes,
S x m t e s : And is not justice a peculiarfy human excdence?
Polemarchus: Undoubtedly.
Socrates: To h a m a mm, then, must mean makhg him less just,
Ptllemarchzls: I suppos soso.

Thus, Socrates concludes that "if the just man is good, the business of
haming people, whether f r i e ~ ~ or
d s enemies, must betong to his oppo-
site, the tmnjust."3
It is important to see that Socrates is not appealing to a nlidely ac-
cepkd definition of justice; rather, he is rejecting a populilr Greek view
(that a just person does good to his friends and harms his enemies) by ap-
pealing to (what he sees as) a necessary connection between being just
and doing good. If a just persol1 is inhere~~tly one who does good and
who never makes others less just, then this widely held Greek view of
justice must be wrong.
At this point, Thras>~macus breaks in on the conwn.sat.ion, Thrasyma-
cus is a teacher of rhetoric-eKective public speaking-and questions
whether all this philosoyhicai argument really makes sense. Thrasyma-
cus acivar7cc.s an appare~~tly hardheaded and skeptical definition: ?us-
tice" i s whatever promotes tile interests of the stronger. As a man of the
world, rather than a philosopher, n~rasymacusjnsists that he sees the
hard truth that the stronger make the laws, these laws serve their inter-
ests, m d "'justicef?s simEtty fhe name we use fctr what these l w s require
of us. Socrates immediiitely points to a problem. Suppo" the stronger
make a mistake and pass a law that is not in their interest, If justice in-
volves obeyil7g tfie law, Lhen justice would require action Chat is not in
the irtterests of the stronger. TI-rrasymacusreplies by scvitchiw his notion
of a "ruler"': if a ruler m a k s an error and proclaims a :law that does not
promote his interest, then at that point he is not redly a ruler:

Would you say a man desrves to be called a physician at the moment when
he makes a mistake in treating his patient and just in respect of that mistake;
or a mathematician, when he ~ C X aS sum wmng and just in so far as he gets
the wrung result? Of course we do commonly speak of a physician or a
mathematician or a scholar having made a mistake; but really none of these,
1 should say, is ever mistaken, in so far as he is worthy of the name we give
him. So strictly speaking-and you [,Socrates,] are all for being precise-no
one who practices a craft makes mistakes. A man is mistaken when his
knowledge fails him; and at that moment he is no craftsman."

mrasymacus now depicts a ruler as someone not simply with superior

force, but witb superior h o d e d g e . T%isleaves him having to explain
what type of h o w k d g e is required for a (true) ruler. mrasymacus has
compmd a ruier to a mathematician or a phy"cian, but Socrates quickly
pojnts out that the howledge that they must possess is not howledge
about how to advmce their own interests, but howledge of their craft;
aIthougb they b m f i t from Lhe exrnise of their crilft because they al.e
paid, when exercishg their skill they are s e e h g the good of others, as
physicians seek the health of their patients not their own. If this is the
case, bowever, the "mferf?is one who, h the appropriate way, seeks the
good "f the szllrjects over whom he exercises arnthority*Socrates thus
turns mrasymacus% concception of justice upside down: rulers rule for
the sake of justice, rather tha3.1 justice servir~gtbe interests of lfie rulers.
326s last move by Socrates leads to the suhject of the rest of the Repzdhlil;
which is concerned with the nature of the ideal state and the tasks of
rulers and citizens in such a state.

What Socrates is Looking For

We shall retznrn to Socrates's own proposal in Section 9.3. Right nolv, I
want to draw attention to the sorts of critkisms Socrates makes of others"
answers to "What is justice?" This will help show us the sort of answer
he is seekiizg. Cephaius, Lhe hor~estmerchant, illustrates what Socraks
takes as our nor~xalcondition: he c m identify hstances or examples of
justire but confuses this with an understanding of what justice (itselffis,
As an hoz~orableperson, he has acted justly throughr,ut Etis life, hut when
asked, "'What is justice?" he provides a definition (justice as repaying
debts) that is based m his own experienre and is easily &own to be inad-
equate as a ge~~erill deiinitio~~. Socrates, though, is not interested in par-
ticular examples-he is searchhg for that common element: that all in-
stances or examples of justice share, and bp vjrtue of shasing it are cases
of justice.5
Polemarchus does better at providing a general account. His first
proyosal-giving each his due-is a vague formula, and Sacrates is un-
clear what it means; even wmse, it does not seem to explain why it is not
just to return the weapon to the mad friend, To clarify it, Polemarchus re-
lies on a commozrly accepted view (among the Greeks), that justke con-
sists in doir~ggood to friends a r ~ dharm to enernies. Socrates shows here
that traditional or widely accepted views c m be, hdeed trsually are, de-
fective, One can imagine Polemarchus saying to Socrates that "doing
good to friends and harm to e~~emies it; what we Greeks mean by "jus-
tice."Yoocrates points out, however, that relying on shared, common
views is objectionable because they c m be inconsistent or incohermt. It is
clear, Socrates says, that a just man does not make others less perfect, and
true harm to mother makes the other a worse mm. Since this fir~xcon-
viction about just-ice is inconsistent with the widely held view Socrates
believes that we must reject the widely held view. Socrates, then, is seek-
ing neither examples of justice nor popular defhitions about what "we
IhinkU";:he is seekb~gthe c o r ~ c definition
t that locates that common fea-
ture or pmperty of actio~~s, people, a r ~ dconditions that renders them just.
Last, Socrates shows the inconsistencies of those who analyze concepts
such as justice by debunkirlg them-that is, those such as Thrasymacus
who insist they are sirnply masks for power or dominatio~~. If Thrasyma-
cus was content to say that talk of justice is simply nonsense or b;tbble
(as, we shall see, some have indeed claimed; see Section 1.22, he could
avoid Socrates" criticisms. Instead he tries to show that ""adva~cingthe
interests of the stronger" is what ""jusMceM means-rather thm ignoring
the question, ''What is justice?" ':he seeks to answer it in a hardheaded
m y that rduces it to the pursuit of inkrests. As Socrates shows, how-
ever, as soon as one accepts that terns like ""justicc'dakesense, efforts to
expbi.n that sense in terns of mere intefest or power lead to muddles
and inconsistencies. m a t e v e r we mean by "justiceff%e surely do not
mem that which promotes the hterest of the stranger. nrasymacus fi-
nalv :Learns this lesson and walks away from the conversation; unahle to
explain what justice is, he ignores it.
7b sum up, tben, we can ide~~tify three basic cox~victionsof Socrates
about concepts such as justice:

* Ralrher Lhan examples of justice, he seeks that c o m o n element

that all just thhgs share; it is because it possesses that element
that anythivlg c m rightfully be said to be just.
* The correct accour~tis coherent- itr.1~3 explains ail gex~uineexam-
ples; we camot arrive at it s k p l y by rehearskg what "'we sayff
justice is, Ordinary conceptions can be confused and contra-
* "Justicerris a meaningful and important term. As soon as we
take it seriously, we see that it is not plausible to d&unk it by
showing that it reduces to something hardheaded or more obvi-
ously ""ral," such as jnterests.

1.2 Words, Definitions, and Things

Plato's Conceptual Realism
me three convictions listed at the end of the previous section led Plato
and Socrates (it will be recalkd that Plato wrote the Socratk diaiogues) to
a distinctive, if not especiatly plausible, view that I shall call ""conceptuirl.
realism,"' Simply put, Plato believes that conceptunl terms such as "jus-
tice" refer to a special realm in which the concepts themsekes exist. As
Plato put it, our conceptuirl.terms refer to the world of '"formsff-pm in-
stmces of the concepts.
To better see what Plato has in mind, let us focus on an example out-
side of politics. In another dialogue, the, Socrates asks, ""What is
shape?'' Now, the first ilnpnlse mi,ghl.he to point to exam,ples of shapes-
round, square, oblong, and so on. But as we saw in the case of Cephalus's
defir~itionof justice, this will. not do; Socrates wants to discover that
propeAy shared by round things, square things, oblong thhgs, and so
on, such that all can he said to be "&apes." There must, Socrates is con-
vizlced, be some feahnre &at makes round things, square thhgs, and Ob-
long thhgs illlshapes. A dejrritio~of shape would icfentify this "shnpe-
making"' fcature. Socrates ultirnatell; proposes this definition: "Shape is
the o~llythinfjr that always accompanies cotour,"'e Plato is seeking a simi-
lirP definition of justj.ce-
For Plato, then, a d e f ~ t i o nidentifies an essence-a shared feature of
many otherwise diverse examples. Now, recalf also that Plato is con-
vinced that notions such as justice make sense; he is out to explain them,
not debunk them*Thus, on Plato" view if ""justice" i s a sensible term, it
nzzrst refer to sonzetilirriy; and his theory of definitions leads him to co~~clude
that it must refer to thnf essence! that cammoll thing s h a r d by all examples
of justice. It would seem ta follow however, that the essence mtrst in
some sense exist; if "justice" i s sensible it must refer to something that ac-
tually exists. The essence &at is s h r e d by all cases of justice must, some-
how, somewhere, exist. AS Plato sees it, ""justice"-that is, the pure
essence shared by all hstances of just-ic xists only in what he calls the
realm of ""foms," a re& of pure c o ~ e p t sPlato . ~ seems to believe that at
some point before we are barn, we had direct access to the world of con-
cepts and mtain in our p ~ s e n world t a more or less hazy rrcollection.
Thus, people like Cephalus c m generally recognize examples of justice,
as he has some recolkction of th.e concept m d c m group cases together
as sharing the essence. But because our recollection of the world of con-
cepts is incomplt.te ar~dhazy, definitions of this essellce me often wrol~g.

Why Plofo's View Is Nof os Alien os If May Appear

It might seem that Plato's conceptual realism is implatrsible and alien-
no one thinks that way today. Although it is true that there are not too
many strict Platonists around today, three of the convictions that led
Plato to his conceptual realism are still widely shared. In particular' many
of us believe (1)W r d s such as "justice""make sense and are impartant.
:Inaddition, we arcept (2) &at if a word m&es sense we shodcl be able to
give a defkition of it. A defkihn, let us say, iljms at pmviding a set of
conditions for use of a term that is both necessary and sufficient for
(properly) ushg the w o d . "fb say that con&tion X is ~ecessaryfor prop-
erly usil-tg word W is to say that on4 gcondtion X applies to a case c m
we properly descl-ibe it by Mi;: to say that condition X is szificie~zfis to say
that if a case has X, then W is a r ~
appropriak description. Thus, for exam-
ple, "is mortal" is not a definition of hurnan bejngs; for ahhough being
rnortal is necessary to make a creature a h u m (one can he human only if
one is mortal), it is not szgflrtent; it is 110t always the case that if one is
mortal one is also human, as all other animals are marhl too. A defi-nition
of hunnanity aims at identieing that feature that is distinctive of hu-
mans---that d l h u m a ~ ~ have,
s and only humans have. M e n asked,
" m a t is justiceTbounost people seek to provide a definition of '*justicerr
that provides the essentid feature (or features) that governs the proper
use of the word.
(3) Last, mmy US share the conviction that if a word makes sense m d is
importmt, and is not about fiction or fmtasy it must at least purport to re-
fer to somethit~greal. When we are most comfortable using the
least so it seernewordls refer to * Rrasymacus would not seek to
prnvide a debunking account of "house'kr "horse": they obviously refer
to real things in the world. He seeks to dehunk "~ustice,'bshe douibts
r/vhetrher ""justice'bealty refers to al7ythiq at all; his proposal that it
refers to cvhat is in the i n k ~ soft the stmnger, a l h u g h in one way cynical,
at least does seem to show that "justice" ~ f e rto s something that is real,
Taken singly, none of these convictio~~s seems outrageous. But t a k n
together, they lead us to a new appreciation of Plato" proposal, for his
conceptual realjsm explahs all three of these convictions: it shows that
the word "justicef"is semible because it refers to a real thing (the concept
of justice), which identifies the essence, and so provides proper definition
of " J U S ~ ~ C ~ . "

Words and Things

Many people arc. i\ttracted to some version of claims (2) and (3) above;
that is, mmy af us are convinced that to understand a term is to grasp its
definition, and that sensi:ble terms refer to things, or parts of the world,
Ihose who approach ihe study of political concepts based on these two
convictions oficen dmw their inspiration from the early work of I;,udwrig
Wttgerrstein (3889-1"351)8 and a group of phi1osopher"onown as the
basic proposal in his Traclutzis Logico-
logical positivists.WI"l";enstein's
PhiEosvlziczls cvas that our language provides pictures of the world. Xnter-
estingly' 'MiitQenstcin tells us that this basic picture theory of language
was suggested to him by Lhe Paris traffic courts, in which a collision be-
t-vveen two cars would be examined by using toy cars and toy people to
recreate the accident.1" For Wittge~~stein, the cmcriai thing was the way
we connect m o v a the toy cars and toy peoyie to the real accide~~t. In
some smse, the toys must stand fir things in the real cvorld. MOre thm
that, their ~ l a t i v epositims and movernmts must also comespond to the
positiox~sand movemmts of the real things they stand for. That is, the
placement of the toys forms a pictorial representation of the real world:
each toy stands for a certain thing in the world, and the arrnngements of
the toys pictures t-he arrangement of real things. The recreated accident,
then, provides a picture of the world.
In his Tractatus, Wittgenstein argued that language does the same job:
our language rrrirrors the world by givi~lgus pictures of it. Roughly----
and I c m only give an approximate account of his complex theory her mahtains that the world is composed of objects that are re-
lated (or arranged) in such a way as to fomfacfs; lar~guageis composed
of rutords that name objects; when these words are arranged in sentences
they mirror facts, Simple sentences mirror simple facts (that is, si.mple
sente~~ces arrange n a m s is such a way as to mirror the arrmgemmt of
objects that for~xfacts), whereas complex sentences are composed of a
nurnber of simple sentences mirroring a complex fact in the world.," It is
important to stress that on the picturc? theory, languqe is not just a cata-
log of names that refer to things; the names must be arranged in such a
way as to mirror the way objects are related in the kvorld. As Wittgenstein
says, "What corrsfitutes a picture is that its elements are related to one m-
other in a determii'late wayff12Cdf course, Wttgenstcin realizes that sen-
tences do not % o Ll?i ~k the world-they are not pictures in that stsnse. His
point is that they model the world hsofar as the relations between ele-
m e ~ ~oft sa s e ~ ~ krepresent
~ ~ c e the arrangement of facts in the world.
Now, to say that language presents pictures is not to say all these pic-
tures actually comespond to facts, "A picture agrees with reality or fails
to agree; it is correct or klcorrect, true or false."= "us, "in order to tell.
whclther a picture is true or fillse we must compm it to reali,ty""""it is
irnpossiblc to tell from the picture alone whether it is true or false."ls
Language, we might say, is m attempt to describe the world; if the pic-
ture is m accurate on if it corresponds to the arrangement of objects
into facts-it is a true sentence; if it does not accurately picture the world
it is a false ser.ltence. Roughly, W can say that sentences make sense
when they seek to mi,rror the world, and are true when they actually do
nlirmr it (false sentences are thus meaningful). This led the logical posi-
tiwists-----whoadopted a very similar theory of lirnguage-as well as
Wittgenstein fiinself (at least for a tiune) to adopt a uerificationi,i;ttheory of
meming.Ib Semible or meaningful sente~~ceri can he verified in the sense
that we can imagh~ea test that would allow us to dekrmine whether or
not the sentence presented a true or Mse picturc? of the world. We need
not actually conduct the test; in fact, we may not at the present time have
the eyuipmmt to carry out such a test. The importmt claim is that if the
sewence is meaningfd, it presents a picture that, in priflciple, c o d be
tested to see whether it is or is not accurate,

The Picture Theory and Political Concepts

We have arrked at a crucial junchre. Many of the se~~tences in which we
are interrzsted seem in princi_pleunatole to be tested in this way; Consider
(1) It is not just to return a weapon to a madmm.
(2) Justice is that which is in the interest of the stronger.
(3) Masic?income for all is necessary for social justice-
(4) Liberty is the suprc?mepolitkal value.
(S) We ought to have more equality in our sociev
(C;) All authority should be illbolished.

Sentences (1.) to (6) do not seem verifiable by any test, because they
contain terms ("just,'" "Ijustice," ""social justicer")that do not name any ob-
jects we couln ever observe. To be sure, Plato eho~gSllthere were such
objects, but not only are most of us skepticd that "justice" xfers to any
such object, but even if it did, it is impossi:ble to imagine a test in which
this object plays a part, Sentence (4) has an additional problem: not only
does it refer to the abstract value ""libert~'9butit also asserts that this
value is ""spreme." H w codd we verify the supremacy of libery? Last,
(5) m d (6) da not picture the way the world is, but the way it ozkglzb:to be.
Mrheretas descriptive statements seek to fit themselves to the wodd-they
seek to conform to the way the world is-ethical claims such as (5) and
(6) seek to fit the world to them-they advise us to chmge the world so
that the world fits "the picture"' they draw.
Wittg"n&eir"t drew a similar cox~clusion.fn the Trachfus, he held that
because these sorts of ethical statements do not even seek to descrijbe the
world, they are without sense. In this he was very close to the logical pos-
itivists, who Fnsiskd that moral and value statements were "nonsenseff
because they could not, in pril-tciple, be verified, Wittgenstein's view was
more subtle. AIthough he agreed that ethical statements do 11ot describe
the world m d so are without sel"tse, he does not deny that ethics is im-
portant and he does not think it should be abandoned. Rather, he be-
lieves, ehic-Sis mystical: it cmnot be taked about because it cmnot be
conveyed in language since it does not seek to mkror the world. ""There
are inked," says Miittgenstein, "&@S that c m o t be put into words.
They make themsel:ves manifest. They are mystical."l7
Recall the three common convictions about the meaning of political
concepts that I noted above:

(1) Words such as "justice" mmake serrse and are important.

(2) If a word m k e s sense we should be able to give a definition of
(3) If a word makes scnse and is important, and is not about fieiior~
or fmtasy; it must at least purport to refer to something real.

For all its problems, Plato%conceptud realism it; attractiw il7soiar as it

makes sense of all three convictions. If, howeverpwe take a more madern
view m d refuse to accept that there is a realm in which value-laden con-
cepts exist, our devoticm to (2) and (3) tends to undermk~econviction (I),
m e logical positivists, accepting (2) and (3),thus denied that value con-
ceptmake sense and that they are important; in the Tractlatzrs Wittgen-
stein accepts that t h y m important, but still denies that t h y make
sense. h either case, it seems clear that if we combine a commitment to
a close connection between sensible words and things to which they
refer while rejecting I'fato~~ic conceptual realism, it will be hard to make
sense of puliltjcal concepts such as justice or affir~xationsof the value of
Perhaps if we eliminate any reference to goodness or vdue, we might
still be left with s m e "value-neutral" plitical concepts. Clr p a h a p m e
should say, we might be left with the value-neutral remnmts of our con-
cepts such as justice, libertlr;, and equality Some philosophers, inspired
by Wttger~stein'sTractaf~ks,have argued that W can separate out the
""value"ccompment oE concepts such as li.berty from the "descsiptivc'"
compment, allowing conceptual. analysis to focus on the latter,'" shall
m t pursue this passibility fi,r two reasons. First, even if "value-~~eutral'~
understanding5 of concepts such as liberty and equality are possible, m d
even if they have their uses in s o m technical or social scientific Iheories,
these vitlrte-neutral explicatiom are silent regar$ing our main interest in
studying political concepts: we wmt to know, for example, not only what
liber@ is, but why it is or is not important, and whether it is something
we should strive for. Seco~~d, some concepts-the. best exampie of vvhich
is jlzstice-seem to h v e very little purely descriptive components. An
analysis of justice that left out of the account why it was to be sought, or
why it s b u l d guide our actions, would tell us very little about justice.
Like Socrates, we wish to h ~ a w what justice is so that we can b o w what
sort of political and social life to strive for.

1.3 Wiugtgenstein's Later Analysis

Wittgensfein's Rejection of the Picture Theory begins his most impormt work, Philosophical Investigatiom,
with a quote from Csnfessiotzs, in which Saint Augustine (35440) tells us
how he learned to speak a language:

When they (my elders) named some c~bject,and aca>rdingfymoved towards

something, X saw this and 1 grasped that the thing was called by the sound
they uttered when they meant tct point it ctut. Their intention was shewn by
their bodily movements, as it were the natural language of aft peoples: the
expressions CIF the face, the play CIF the eyes, the movements of other parts of
the body, and the tone ctf voice which expresses ctur state of mind in seeking,
having, rejecting, or avoiding something. Thus, as I heard words repeatedly
used in their proper places in various sentences, I gradually learnt to under-
stand what ctbjects they signified; and after 1 had trained my motrtl-r to form
these signs, I used thern to express my own desire.1"

Miittgenstein comments that this gives a particular "picture" of the

essence of language. "lt is this: the indi\iidual words in language Inam
objects-entences are crombi.rtali.ons of such nanzcs."zVhe waning of
words, then, is the olbject for which they stand in the world. This view of
course, is not simply Saint Augustine's---it is ihe view of Wittge~~stein
hinlself in his "I'raef-utzts Lclgico-Plz%los~pIzie~_~s.
M"ittge11stc.h thus begins the
Philrtsophicul I1.rvesfigalionsby showing why hjs earlier picture theory of
lmguage is wrong.
Tb better undersmd the shortcomings of the naming t . l t e q of fall-
guage, WiHgenstein explores a simple language in which it seems correct.

Let us imagine a language for which the description gl"venby Augustine is

right. The language is meant to wrve for communication beween builder A
and an assistant B, A is building with buitding-stones: there are blocks, pill-
tars, slabs and beam. B has tc3 pass the stones, and that in the order in which
A needs thern. For this purpose they use a language a>nsistingof the words
""bcock," '""pillar,"dab," """barn." A calls out;--B brings the stone which he
has learnt to bring at such-and-such a calt,<onceive this as a complete

326s seems to be the sort of language one might be able to learn in, the
way Saint Augustine describes: it is a methad that takes namkg objects
as the most basic use of language. But two considerations show that even
in this e x t ~ m e t ysimple lmguatge, the assistant is not being trahed sim-
ply to comect words with things.

What is fhe Thing? Categorizing Under Concepts

Just what constitutes a ""slab" has to be learned by the assistant, 11is easy
to svppose that when a buil.tler poi"t0o a piece of stone -and says,
""Sab," the assistmt will then connect the object to the word "'slab." But
this seemingly easy coalnection presupposes a gxat deal. Suppose that
the assistant knows n o t ~ n of
g building or what the mater builder is try-
ing to do; the builder simply pokts m d says, "'Slab!" The assistmt must
know, first, what pointing is. If you try to point a bit of food out to a dog,
the dog will sniff your finger; Che assistaM must have aiready l e a d
that mems that he should look in, a certain direction. Havbg accom-
plished that, he must decide just what is be* pointed to, d shape? A
color? A rock? Do all slabs have to be the same color, the same ~"tick~ess,
the same shape? Be made of the same material,? What is the thing to
which the builder is pointhg?
Clne of the points W t t g e ~ ~ s kstresses
in in bis later work is that we only
h o w what is the thing that the word names as we come to use the word
in new sihations and gradually come to differentiate, for example, slabs
from a variety of other Chings. Another exmple may help. :Iblew a very
bright tkvo-year-old, and as with most children beginnixtg to learn lan-
guage, he began by namiTlg favorite animals-in his case, it was "dog-
gie."' His parents, i17 the ma3.11"terof Sai~"ttAugustine, had pointed to the
various dogs in the neighborhood, to which he would c o r ~ c t i ysay,
"Doggie*"Had he learned what a clog was? Well, one clay we cvere look-
ing at a picture book, and pointing to a picbre of a cow, he said, "Dog-
gie.""I corrected himf saying, ""No,cow." Ful- a moment he looked puz-
zled, and then suddenly he exclaimed, "Oh! Cow-daggie!" When his
parents pointtzd to the things they caIlcd "dogs," were they pointing to
the object "animal," ""four-legged a~~imirl,"" ""furry walking Lhing,'" or
what we call a "'dogM"?nly by ush3g the word in. different cvays in new
situations could the two-year-old come to identify the thing we call a
Wittgenstein observes that Saint Atrgustine's account of how he
learned his (first)language "describes the learnhg of human language as
if ehe child came into a strange country and did not u d e r s t m d the lan-
guage of the comtry; that is, as if he already had a lmguage, only not
this oneem'"2 A Germar~arrking in t-he W k d Staks, hlowil-tg no English,
already has distinguitihed dogs from cows a"td cats----wecan say that she
akcacfy has the concept of a dog. AB she has to learn is that the thing she
calls ""hnd" i s what we call "dog."
:It is importalit to stress here that Wttgenstein is not denying that trb-
jects are real, ancd so exist qtrite apart from language-C)f course, those twn
tfiings that wake me up in the morning by jumping on my bed and lick-
ing me are real apart from any language. But our i m ~ a g groups e these
things together trnder the same concept-"'Boxers." Learning to use the
word "Boxer" i s to learn what thisrgs are hcluded and what are not; and
when one has learned that, one has learned a good deal of the concept of
a "'Boxer." It is importmt to note here tha"rdifferent languages may group
thiTlg~logether in different ways, reflectiw different interests and con-
cern. Whereas, f-or example, we have one word for ""sno~.:"Eskimo lan-
guages have a variety of different cvords that pick out digereat types of:
snow-falljng snow, packed mow, frozen snow, and so on-which, are
identified as differex~ttl^Lhgs,reflecting the importance s m w has in the
lives of Eskimos-25
Naming Versus Language Games
Recall again our builders7language. Suppose the assistmt; havbg mas-
&red the art of pointhg, h a d e a m d the concept of slab to the extent that
he c m correctly identify t%(e ehir"tgs in the world that the word links up
with. Even in. this ridiculously simple language, "slab!" i s not just a name
for a thing; to grasp the meaning of "slab!" the assistmt must not only
know what one is, but what to do whet ehe master builder says, "Slab!"
If, when the master builder said, "'Slab!," the assistant went to a slab m d
danced a jig on it or broke it with a sledge hammer, he still would not
h o w w h t "slab!"" meant. Througbut his later work, Wittgensteil7 in-
sists that languqe is m t simply-indeed, not primrily-about snami~g
things, but: about doing thjngs.
The lcey idea here is that of a "lmguage game." m c builder m d his
assistant are weaving togetkr words and actions": to know the mean-
ing of a word is m t siznply to know what tbings it picks out in the
world, but to h o w what to do with it-how it fits into our activities m d
relations with others. The idea of a ""game"suggests a key featurt. of our
language; it is about rules that govern the moves we can sensibly make.
mink, for example, of the rules of chess: h e y tell us what constitutes a
"move"" a r ~ dhow we can respond to tlte moves of others. To know, for
example, what is a queen is not to b o w simply (1)the name of a certain,
chess piece, but to know d s o (2) the mles &at govern its movements.
Someone who only car7 pick out fhe queen in a box of chess pieces has
not really mastered the concept of a "'queen," for she has not mastered
the rules that govern its use in the g a m . T h i s would. "oecoxne ckar if she
podaimed that she knew what a queen was, picked out the queen, and
used it to crush the other queen, declaring, "My queen beat yours, I'm
the winner!"
:If to master a word for conceptual tern) is to master its use or funtrtio~~,
we might want to press Wittgenstei,n to tell us what, &er all, is the fmc-
tj,n of language. But this is to ask the wrong question, for there is no sin-
gle functio~~ that all words perform: "'i~~link of the tools in a tool-box:
there is a hammer, pliers, a saw a screw-driver, a rule, a glue-pot; glue,
nails, m d screws,-The fmction of words are as diverse as the function
of these objects.'"*"Consider the num:lber of differctnt lnnguage games:

Giving orders, and obeyistg them

Describing the appeamwe of an object or giving its measuremernts
Constructing an ohjiea from, a description (a drawing)
Reporting m event
Specdathg &out an event
Foming and testing hypotheses
M a h g up a story and rcading it
Play acting
Makhg a joke, and tellkg it
Asking, ihankb~g,cursing, gr*eeting,prayi,gzb

Forms of Life and the Public Character of Language

One of the charactefistics of most games is that those with whom we are
w i n g also understar~dtkmselves to be playhg the game. The players
have a shared w~derstandir"tg of the rules and sirrrilar expectatio~~s about
what sorts of responses are appropriate and which are not. In our
builders' language game, the builder expects the assistant to bring a slab
when he says, '"lab!"' and t-he assistant expects the builder to use the slab
to build with rather than, say, attack the assistant with it. They thus share
an understandjnff of what this activity is and what their roles am in it.
Iheir w~derstandingoi the lanpage is thus ernbeclded in what Wittgen-
skin calls a "form of li(-e."27 A lmguage is part of living; to understmd
the words of that language onc must understand the ways of living of
r/vhich that laquage is a part.
Because lmguage is a game-or rather, many different types of
games-that is an element of a fom of life, language is hherently public
and shared. To understar~da word (or a co~~cey tual term), Wittge~~stein ar-
gues, is necessarity a social act: one c m only understmd a cvorcf insofar as
one is a member of a Ihguistic community, This idea leads Wittgenstein
into complex investigatio~~s into just what is meant by ""understanding"
and what is k~vollkredin following the rules of a lmguage game. We need
not go into these compk?x matters here.2"~r us, the importa~tpoint is
that Wittge~~stein adamantly denies that one can have private meanings
for terms that are simply in one's head. Wittgenstein asks, "Can I say
' b u b u b u k d mean 'If it doesdt rain, I &all go for a walk??"'" I h e alswer,
Wittgenstein beiieves, is no, because mear7ir1gs are p a t of a Imguage,
s c o m o n jnte~rr?t;ztionsal?d expectations that consti-
whjch ~ f l e c t the
tutc a form of life. Because of this, he insists, it makes no sense to appeal to
prhate meiu~ir~gs-whatyrm (idiowcraticalty) mem by a word.

1.4 Wittgenstein and Conceptual investigations

326s last point is important. In response to Socrates" question, " m a t is

justice?" people often reply with somethhg like, "Well, what f mem by
justice is . . ." h response to our deep disagreements about justice, it is
tempting to resort to private mear~ingsor definitiol~s.It is, after all, much
easier to answer, "What do 1 mean by 'justice?')"'than "'What is justice?"
Indeed, it seems that you c ot be ~ ~ r o about n g what you mean-it is
sirnply a matter of reporthlg w h a t is in YL~ZIThead when you talk about
justice- Moreover, this may seem more tollerant; rather than praclaimhg
what justice is, you content yourself with explairnkg your meaning, al-
lowing fhat others may meal someehing entkeiy different. A?; Wittgen-
stein sees it, however, to say, 'This is what I mean by 'justice,"hough no
one agrees with me or uses the word that way" makes no more sense
than to proclaiq "Vtrherl I say "bububuffit meirns 'If it doesn't rain, 1shall
go for a walk.'" If language is inbere~~tw p"b1ic and shared, conceptuiri
investigahn cannot be about individual reports clf private meanings.
Recal again Socrates" question, and the answers given by Cephalus
and Polemarchus (Scsctior~1.1).Cephalus, having spent a r ~ honarable life
in bushess, tells Socrates that justice is payhg one's debts and keephg
one's word. Socrates finds that this definition does not explain the injus-
tice of rebrr~inga weaporl to a m d friend, so Polernarcrhus replies with a
more general definition, Chat justice consists in doing good to one's
friends and harm to one's enemies. This, as :I pointed out, was a tradi-
t i m l Atherliiarli view. Wittgmstein" later philosophy suggests that
Cephalt~sand Palemarchus are an the right track: they seek to explain
what "wefr (Athenims) mean by justice, Of course, they do not expfaixl
all of the 'ljustice lanwage game," but they appear to have the right idea.
To explicate justice is to explain the way justice enters into the Athenim
form of life. If doing good to onc's friends and harming me%enemies is
fundamental to Athernim justice, then Cephalus and Polemarchus pm-
vide the right sort of answer to Socrates's questions- From this perspec-
tive, even Thrasymacus makes a. valuable contribution. Although he is no
doubt w o r ~ gthat ""justice'km~ulzs "in the interests of the strongerff-in
this respect he is not really ilnswering Socrales's r;question""'he does
shed light on one function of justice talk. As Karl Marx pok~tcdout (see
Section 9.1), talk about justice can he employed as an insh-ume~~t of fhe
powerful to protect their own inte~sts.If our interest is in unlterstnlnding
our language games (which, it will, he recalled, includes the role or func-
tion they pI"y), Ceph"lUq Polemarchus, and nrasymacus all make im-
portmt abservations.

:If one takes seriously Wittgenstcin's :later view of :language, Socrates

seems the most confused of the discussants. Socrates" criticisms are
based on three convictions, all of which Wittgenstein disputes.
First, Socrates is convinced that "justice" names a thing, and that the
aim of cmlceptclal inquiry is to discover the nature of that thirlig. As we
have seen (%&ion I .3)! in many ways the guid-ing ajrn of Wittgensteln's
:later philosophy is to show the inadequacy of this naming tln.eory of
Second, Socrates" criticisms of Cephalus, Polemarchus, and mrasy-
rnilcus all aim to show that they have not d~firzedjustice, in the senscs of
identifyixlg the necessary and sufficjerlit conditions for properly calling
something "just" "ctian 1.2).Socrates-and 1have suggested that many
of us concur-wants a defiinition in the sense of identifyillg that trait that
every just thing has and that, if a~ythinghas it, makes that thing just,
That is, he seeks a defi~liitiollthat identifies the essence of justice: that
common thing all cases of justice share, and by virtue of sharhg it are
cases of justice, Socrates is convinced that if one does not know the
essence, one c m never h o w whether one is correctly ascribing justice in
particular cases..If one does not h ~ o wwhat makes something just, how
can one justify a claim that "Sacrates is a just man" or "Athens is a just
cityf? ?us, ailrhough he admits that his interlocutors plausibly identify
some cases of justice, he insists that they fall far short of b o ' ~ v h what
justice is (and so they cannot really be sure about their cases),
Wittge~listein,however; &Ifs us that it is misguided to search for a def-
inition that provides the essence of a concept:

Consider for example the proceedings that we call ""gmes."h e a n board-

g m e " card-games, OIympic games, and so on. What i s common to them
all?-Don? say: There t ? ~ l i sbe
t something common, or that they would not
be called "$"gamesu""but look l a ~ dsee whether there is anything common to
all.-For if you Xook at them you will nctt see something that is common to
nff, but sidlarities, relatirtnships. And a whole series ctf them at that. To re-
peat: drm't think, l00k!31

:It might seem that aII games involve a whmer and loser. But what about
solitairc? Perhaps aII games are musing-but war games are not at all
arntxshg. Da all games involves rules-kvhat of a child throwing his ball
at the wall and then cakhing it again? m a t we see is "a ccomplicakdi net-
work of similarities overlapping and criss-cr0ssirTg.q Wj.ttgel?steia calls
these relations "family resemblances.'' We c m identify. members af the
same family because they are united, by a variety of crisscrossing traits.
There is a "Gaus nose," but not all Gauses have it; there are 'Gaus ears,'"
shared by many, but not aX1.Gauses-and similar things can be said about
complexion, height, and the shape of the Galas face, Wittgcznstein's point
is that none of these farnily traits are likely to be shared by each and
every Gaus; one may have the Gaus height, nose, and ears; mother the
nose, complexion, and face; a third the face, nose, and height; and yet a
fourth the face and complexion. In &is list, the first and last share no
common traits, yet it still may be quite obvious that they are members of
the same family (once we consider their relations to the others). Wttgen-
stein sometimes uses ar~othermetaphol-: that of a Lhread or a rope. No
sbgle fiber runs through the entire rape, yet we c30 not question the unity
of the rope, Rather, the rope is composed of overlaypillg threads (traits).
:If the w~ityof our concepts is best explained by farnily resemblances,
the search for essentialist defhitions is doomed to failure. Socrates" sawn
attempts to formulate such definitions seem testimony to this. We al-
ready have seen that he defines s h p e as that which always follows color;
after a long analysis in the Republic: he s e e m to suggest swerai formula-
tions of the concept of justice. Socrates defkes justice as a proper order-
ing, in which each part performs its appropriate task; justice in. a man is a
just ordering of the parts of his soul, whereas a just city is one in which
each class pmforms its appropriate function." e' : can see how %crates
is Icd. to these furmalistic and highly abstract definitions, for he seeks
what is commorl to alf cases. But the very abstrachess and formality of
his pmposals lead us to question whether the search for essences is really
what we are interested in when we ask, "What is justice?f'
If we take Wittgenstein's later philomophy seriously, we will under-
stmd our concepts as parts of languaf~e games~onstellationsof actions
and utterances related in complicated and crisscrosskg ways. The inter-
est in conceptual investigations is not tru see what at1 the members of this
constellation share, but to chart out the relationships among them and to
see precisely how the constellation hangs together to f o m our concept of
justice. 'This :looks much m m promising than i h e search far the sorts of
formal, sharc?d essences that are the focus of Socratic pt?ilosopf-ty; we
shall develoy, this idea in the next chapter.

What fo Do Abouf Conceptual Confusion?

GZiJttgrnstei~z'sApproaclz to Cttrzfusion. The first two criticisms that

Wttgenstein might make of Socrates seem sound and promise a much
more fruitful patb when analyzing political concqts: our task is not to
find the ""t-hng" k~ which the conceptual term refers, m d we should not
be seeking a shared essence of all appropriate uses of the conceptual,
tern. Wittgez~stein,however, su~i;ge"s a third criticism of the Socratic ap-
proach that c&s for closer examj.nation.
More basic than conceptual realism and the search for definitions is
Socrates's conwictim that our actual practices are co~~fused a r ~ dcontra-
dictory, and the aim of philosophy must be to make them rational and
corzsistent. Cephalus, Polemarchus, m d Thrasymacus are all criticized
because their proposds end up in co~~tradictions or confusiolls: they as-
sert that justice is one thing (for example, giving back what is owed) but
then deny it (it is unjust to return a madman" weapon). Socrates takes it
as manj.l'est that insofar as our actual practices arc? co~lfusedor contradic-
tory, they must be erroneous; ancd insofar as they m erroneous t h y c m -
not guide the actims of rational agents. As rational people, we want our
actions and beliefs to make sellse, m d to act on inconsistent or erroneous
views cmnat make sense. T%us, Socrates takes it: as given that when we
show the confusions and inconsistencies of our actual views and Ian-
gwge gmes, W show them to be defective, and so in need of revision.
'That indeed, is the task of the philosopher:
Wittgenstein suggests a different understanding of philosophy. Be-
cause Imguage games are to be understood in terns of the frlnctjons they
serve, the very incomistr-mcy or incoherence of a language game may
help it serve its f'tmction. Consider, once agak, our notion of justiceq34
Philosophers have long d i s a g ~ e dabout the rdatio~lof justice to the so-
cial good or overall welfare of sockty. S o ~ philosopf~er.;,
e especially
those in the utilitarian tradition,35 have insisted that "justice" picks out
lhose things that are crucial for advancing the social good; justjce is thus
always a way to promote lfie social good or the welfare of society." But
as we shall see jn Chapter R, others have insjsted, that the demmds of
justice are constrajnts on promoting the social good: John Rawls, for ex-
ample, hmousty proclaimed that "'each member of society has an inwio-
lirbility founded on justice whjch even the weifarc. of everyone c m o t
override."v If so, rather than deriving from our commitme~ltto advar~c-
ing social welfare, justice is independenl: of social welfare and, crucidly,
limits what c m be done to advmce it. Even if it would advance the social
good, we camot justly sacrifice some people to m k e others better off.
Now it cannot be the case both (1)that justicre derives from our com-
mitment to social kvelfare and (2) that it is independent of our commit-
ment to social welfare. A theory that asserted both would be inconsistent;
to accept such a view of justice requims having hcmlsistent beliefs about
justice. Socrates, of cowse, codd not accept such a theory: we must either
embrace (1)or (2)or try to show how to reasomlably mcond.le them (per-
haps by showing that in some ways justice derives from lfie social good
and in other ways it does not). Wittgensteixn, however, suggests that the
aim of conceptual investigation should not be to cnsure our conceptual
commitments am consistent, but to explain why our language games ap-
peal to inconsistent beliefs- For example, a philosopher inspit-ed by might suggest that the job of individual. rights-a crucial el-
ement of juslice-(see Sectio~~ 8.7)---is to ens- trhat people will, in a pre-
dictabl.e way, be left to enjoy their Eft., Ijberty, Tlnd pmperty as they see ft,
at least within wide limits. People, we thus say, have rights to life, liberty,
and property, a d these cannot be taken away eve11 if it wouid advmce
the welfirre of society to, say, deprive s m e irttensely di,sliked minority of
lheir liberty and property, If justice is to perform this joh of blocking ap-
peals to social w a r e , we must vjew it as il7deper1&11t of social welfare.
How could justice effectively block propmills to advmce the social w l -
fare if ever)rone saw jusljce as kriving from the social welfare? So, to do
its job, the Wittgensteinim rrright say, we must understand justice as
quite independent of the social good, and so give it the standing to effec-
tively block that good, Yet, the salne Witlgensteinian may insist, for jus-
tice to be widely supported and e~~dorsed, it generaiiy must be consistent
with the weifare of society: if justice really m d e society worse off, people
would not be committed to it. W o would support justice if it was be-
lieved that it stood in the way of what is good for society? Individual
rights rwst thus be seen as a m y to advance the social welfare. To ensure
commitment to justice, we need to believe that justice is good for society
Thus, for justice to efkctively perform its function of securlirmg certain
sorts of treatmer~tfor individuals, it is zrs#tdt to f l r i ~ kand ray cuntradicfury
filings about if. Once we understand this character of justice-as simujtit-
neously blocking and deriving from the social welfare-we can under-
stand why philosophers have lor~gdefe~~ded these hcompatible t-heories
of justice. But havkg thus explained our concept of justice, there is noth-
ing left for the Wittgerrstejniitn phjlosopher to do. It is, our Vu'ittgensteh-
i a would
~ say, a sign of ghilosophiwconhsion to then go on to ask, "Is
justice really derivative of social welfare or indepertdent of i t ? ' V e have
seen how it both i s and is not derivative, and why both ways of see@ it
are crucial for it to effectively function: that is itll there is to say about it. It
is not the proper task of philosopks to "'fix" our lmgunge for us.

Why We Need to Try to Clear U p (70~1fasior.r~.Altltough it is enlighte~~hg

to see why we are confused, and why some conf~~sions persist and are
even useful, %crates's basic conviction is right, As mtional believers, we
c m o t rest contcfnt with the thought that we entertain irrconsistent be-
liefs about: justice. We employ noti,ons of justice to cf-tange our societyf to
punish, to reward, to justify interference or refraining from interfering
with the lives of others, to tax, to educate, to guide votir.lg and pubtic pol-
icy, and someeiunes to decide on life m d death. If our beliefs about justice
are confused and cont-radictory, then they cannot serve as an effective
gUide to action. Co~~sider, for example, the case of Atlied statesme11 in
World War IX*The British held Russian and ZThainian prisoners of war,
some, but not all of whom, had fougJ-tt in support of the Germans, Josef
Stalin, the Soviet dictator, demanded that the prisoners be returned to the
Soviet Union; it was widely believed that they would be sent to camps
and killed if returned. The Americans, however, were convhced that the
prospects for world peace after the war depended on securing the friend-
ship of Stalin, and so, &spite th,e marrifest injustice to these prisoners,
p ~ s s u r e dthe British to return to them to StaliJr. The British acceded to
the pressure, and the prisoners were r e t u r x d and executed." Both
British m d American statesmen were caught ha conflict bet-vveen the de-
mands of justice and the ability to secure social and world good, by bring-
ing about peace. They had to make a cJecisio11. Non: in making this &ci-
sion, the relation between justice and the social goad was crucially
iIxsportant. To the extent that justice serves the social good, the statesmen
w u l d have far more rc?asoll to sacrifice sorne for the sake of such a great
good as worid peam";o th" extent that justice is indepenkr~tof the social
good, and bloclcs attempts to secure the good of many at a cost to the few,
they had strong reasons to resist the temptation to accede to Stalin" de-
mar%&.TOtell them that justicre both is and is not derivative of the social
good does not assist them irt makiclg thc right decision.
As Socrates realized,, we seek t-o understand justice because we w m t to
$0 the righl: t h g a ~ we d wish to have a just society. Because we wish
not only to mderstand the bvay concepts are used but to employ them to
guide our own decisions and actions, we need to go beyond uderstand-
ing confusions; we must try to clear them up. h d as soon as we seek to
clear up conceptznal confusion, we encomter conceptual disputes: com-
peting proposals as to the best way to clear up our concepts. We turn to
such disputes in the next chapte~:

In this chapter, I have explored three approaches to the analysis of politi-

cal concepts. 1 began Section 1.1with a discussion of Plato" Repzdblic, in
which Socrates is searnhing for a definition of justice; W saw that
Socrates thinks that most peaple" ideas about justice are partly right, but
deeply confused; Socrates is searchjng for a definition that shows what
all cases of justice have in cornmoxl. Socrates and Plato ultimately hold
that notions such as "'justice" refer to a realm of "'forms'7n which pure
cases of the concepts exist; the examples of justire we see in the world in
s m e way relate to or insta-rtiatetkese concepts. :More generdy, Platorlic
eonceptzial realism makes sense of three common convictions about lan-
guilge a d concepts; (1)words such as "jjusfice" make sense m d are im-
portant; (2) if a word makes scznse we s b u l d be -able to give a definition
of it that reveals the essence of the idea to which the word refers; and (3)
if a tern makes sense m d is iunportant, and is not about fiction or fantasy,
it must at least purport to refer to something real.
Although it makes sense of these three key convictions, Platonic con-
cephtal realism strikes as implausible. And though m a y are reluc-
tant to accept Plato's theory of foms, they are also reluctant to abmdon
convictions (2) and (3)"As we saw in Section 1.2, Wittgenstein" early
work in the 7i.lactuf.zis, and the logicai positivists, retain (2) and (3): they
insist that kvords c m be defhed in terms of the objects to whi& they refer
and that meaningful sentences seek to somehow picture or describe the
w r l d . But rejecting the idea that concepts such as justice we part of the
world, t h y ultimaely reject cowiction (1):that such corrcepts are mean-
ingfzll and irngortal7t. The logical positivists hold that these coneepts are
neither mear1ir"tgful nor importal~t;Wittgenstein thinks they are impor-
tant, but in a mystic& way that transcends meaning. Neither leaves any
room for rational maXysis of our most importmt political concepts.
Last, in S c t i m s 1.3 and 1.4, I turned to the later work of Wittgenstein
in his Philosophical f~zuesfigafioi~zs. Here he gives up both col~victions
(2) and (3). Words cannot be defined, and most language is not about
naming objects. Language provjdes a wide range of functions; naming is
one, but so are commanclir~g,asking questions, telling jokes, making
complakts, praying, and poetry. 'To understand a term is not to grasp
what it naxnes, but how it is used in a form of life. Conceptual inves-
tigation, then, seeks to understand lrhe uses of a tern-why we use it in
different ways in different contexts to perform different functions.
Athough this view rescues our political concepts from the charge of
senselessness-witlout resorting to any sort of col~ceptualrealism-and
in that respect is a great advmce on the first two views we considered, it
seems to have skayed too bar ham Socrates" ((andour) interest in under-
standing political ca~~cepts. We do not wish to simply k"towhow ""jus-
tice" is used artd to mderstmd the ways in which it fumtions in diverse
settings. We nlant to h o w what is just; we want a well-supported and
coherex~tcox~ceptof justice to guide our dctiberatio~~ and action.

1. %?crates (470-399 B.c.) was the first great Western philosopher. He did not
leave any writings, but his philosophical views are reported-albeit in an edited
and modified fc~rm-by his student, Plato (ca 42tF-347 B.c.).It .is thus impossible
fully to disentangle the views of Sctcrates and Plato, as the main evidence we
have for Socrates's positions are the dialogues written by Plato.
2. Elans Kelsen, Wtwt is Jzistice? (Berketey: University of Cafifcjrnia Press, 1957),
p. l.
3, Plato, 'The: Republic, Francis MacDmald Cornford, ed,. and trans. (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1945), pp. 33-14 [I, 334-3351,
4, Ibid., p, 20 [I, 34G3411.
5. Socrates makes this point even clearer in another dialogue, the Metzo, in
which he is searching for a definitirln of virtue. Meno keeps giving Socrates ex-
ampies of virtues, but Socrates seeks the common element that ""permeates each
of them" and explains why each is an example of virtue. See Plato, Prr7tagoras and
Me~zo,W.K.G. Cuthrie, trans, (Harmondswortt-\,UK: Penguin, 1956), p. 119 174 A].
6. Plato, Metzu, p. 221 1175 B].
7". Plato's views about the forms seemed to undergo change, For more classic
statements, see the Meno and the Republic; he seems more skeptical in the fir-
tneg ides.
S. See, for example, Felix Oppenheim, bliticnl Ct>nct.pts:A Reconstrttciio~z(Ox-
ford: Basil Blackwell, 1981), pp. 1'E'-l"i7.
9. This movement was important in the years between the First and Second
World Wars and in the 1950s. The British philosopher A, J, Ayer (191&1"389) was
one of the leading logical positivists.
10. See Ludwig Wttgenstein, Tracfladzishglsu-Pljilosuphkus, D. F. Pears and B. F.
McGuimess, tram. (tondctn: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961).
11. For a very helpful account, see K. T. Fann, Witfgenstez'nb Ci>nct.ytionof Pllilus-
opfty (Berkeley: University of Califc3rnia Press, 19691, esp. p. 20,
12. Witfgenstein, Tractatus, sect. 2.24.
13. Ibid., sect. 221,
14. Xbid., sect. 2.23,
15. Ibid., sect. 2.224,
16. See Hans Slugs, ""udwig Wittgenstein: Life and Work," in Hans SIuga and
David G. Stern, eds., The Cambridge (?ompanit~illnfo Wii"fgenstez'n(Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 199Sj, pp. 14-15.
117. Wittgenstein, Raciafus, sect. 6.622. See also Hannah Pitkin, Wiffgenstez'nand
just ice (Berkeiey: University of California Press, 1"322),chap, 2,
18. See Oppenheirn, F701itical Colzcepfs,chaps. 8-9. For a criticism, see Wiltiarn E.
Connolly, The E n n s of PolifimfDiscourse, 2nd ed. (Princetcm: Princeton University
Press, 1983), pp. 22ff.
19, Saint Augustine, as quoted in Ludwig Wittgenstein, PIzifosoplzica1I~vestiga-
tr'ouzs, 3rd ed., G.E.M. Anscornbe, trans, (New k r k : Macmillan, 1958), note to
sect. I.
20, Xbid., sect. 1.
21. Xbid., sect. 2.
22. Ibid., sect. 32,
23. See Pitkin, Wiftgenstez'nafaB lustice, pp. 102-105.
24. Wittgenstein, P!zilmoylzicol Itzvestigalb~zs,sect. 7.
25, Xbid., sect. 11.
26, Ibid., sect. 23.
27, Ibid., sects, 19,23.
28. Fur useful discussions, see Fann, Wittgensteil-zS Concepfio~zqf Plzilosaplzy,
chap. 8; Fitkin, Wftgezisteinnzid fzkstice, chap. 4
p. 18n.
29. Wittgenstein, Iff-tiIosoplzicnEIn~?esfigatir>ns,
30, See Pitkn, Wilkge~ste-ilz and jzrstice, chap. 8.
31. Wittgenstein, PFzz'losoplzicnl Inz?esfigafions,sect. 66.
32. Ibid.
33, See, far example, Plato, The Ryublie, pp. 12tt-143 [IV, 433-441, pp. 298-315
[IX, 5'92-587'1.
34, Hannak Pitkin makes the same point with a different example-knowl-
edge. See her Wittgenslei~zand justice, pp. 85ff.
35, "The creed which accepts as the foundatirtn of morals %utility1or the "great-
est happiness principle3hoXds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to
promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happinessr'
(John Stuart Mill, Utl'lifarinnism, in jczhn G r a ed.,
~ Otr Libert-y a ~ Ollzcr
d Essnys
[New Ycxk Oxfc>rdUniversity Press, 19413, chap. 2, para. 2). See my Socinl PJzz'lus-
upizy (Armonk, NE": M. E. Sharpe, 1999),chap. 4.
36. See Mill, Utl'lifarinnit;m,chap, 5.
37, John Rawls, A 77~mryofJzistice (Cambridge, M A : Haward University Press,
lW"i71, p, 3.
38. See S. I. Benn, "Public and Private Morality: Clean Living and Dirty
Hands," h S.1. Benn and G. E Gaus, eds., Public afaB PrimEe ilrz Social Lfe (New
Ycfrk: St. Martin" Press, 1983), chap. 7,
2.1 Essentially Contested Conrepts
The Politics o f Political Concepfs
I argued in. the first chapter that not only do we need to tmderstmd our
concepkral confusions, but we wed to try to clear them up. This process
of "'clearil7g up" inevitatabiy il7volves decisio~~s about whicrh uses-parts
of the co~~cept-weWjll stress and continue to affim, and which we will
revise or reject. To retznrn to our example of justice m d the social good
(Section U),if it c ot be the case that jusftice is both (1)entirely inde-
per~dentof considerations of socid welfare and (2) simply a way to pro-
mote the social good, then we must in, some way revise our understand-
ing of justice. Thus, utilitarian phihsophers such as John Stumt Mitl
(1806-1873) have tried to show how justice derives from consideralions
of social welfare, m d is nof something independent of it, whereas others
have sought to demmstrate how svcial justice is enl-irely &istinctfrom so-
cial welfare, ancf camot be derived from it. As ratior~alagents, we em-
ploy cortcepts to make sense of, and to change, our social life-kve cannot
remain content with contradictov and confused ideas.
Socrates understoocf this and was constantly seeking to get beyond the
confusions of our normal wnys of thinking. Philosophical mflection, he
believed, codd clcar up these conceptual confusions. And m n y contem-
poray philosophers agree: philosophical i~livestigatior~, they insist, can
clarify and systematize our cmcepts.1 Yet, when we examine disputes
abmt the best way to interpret a political concept, we typically do not
find dispassionak philosophers engaged in a disinterested pursuit of the
truth, but parti,sm and chmged conflicts, with, all, parti,cipmts often deny-
ing that their opponenb even make sense, Consider, for example, the no-
tion of social (or distributive) justice that has been described as the '%b-
session of our tine,"Vo many philosopher, especidly socialjsts and
defenders of the contemporary wdfare state, social or distributive just-ife
is a fundamentai maral imperative:

To have an understanding of the moral language-game, to have an under-

standing of what morality requires, we need to understand that we camot
be indifferent to the suffering of others. Are we justified in holding onto
even a mkzdscztltr bit of our property, say Ecmd which could be shared with a
starving person, when sharing it could be done without any serious incon-
venience to oursefves? . . . Sometimes we are morally compelled to redistrib-
ute. . . . It is not so much demands placed on individuals within an unjust
system that are crucial but a commitment ctn the part of individuals tct alter
the social system. . . . What needs to be altered is the social system. . . .
Morally speaking, there has to be redistrib~tion.~

In contrast, E A. Hayek (1899-1992), a Noble prize-whning economist,

defevlder of milrkets and opponenf: of wonomic planning, insists that
"social justire" k an "abuse"'of the word "~ustice":

It is perhaps nett surprising that men should have applied to the joint effects
of the actions of many people, even where these were never foreseen or in-
tended, the conception of justice which they had developed with respect tc3
the conduct of individuals towards each other. ""Social'" justice (or some-
times "economic" justice) came to be regarded as an attribute which the "%c-
tions" of society, or the ""treatment" of individuals and groups by society
ought tc? possess. As primitive thinking usually does when first noticing
some regular process, the results ctf the spontaneous orderkg of the market
were interpreted as if some thinking being deliberately directed them, or as
if the particular benefits or harm difkrent persons derived from the market
were determined by particular acts of the will, and could therefore be
guided by moral rules. This ccmception of ""sclcial" "justice is thus a direct
a?nseqtrence of that anthropomorphism or personification by which naive
thinking tries to account far the xjt-ctrdering process. It is a sign of the im-
maturity of our minds that we have not yet outgrc~wnthese primitive ccm-
cepts and still demand from an impersonal process . . . that it conform to the
moral precepts men have errotved for the guidance of individual actions,"

Thus, whereas the socialist, Kai Nielsen, insists that given the moral lan-
guilge game, social justice ~quirc3sthat the social sptem distribute goods
in the way required bp morality, Hiayek maintains that this is to personify
society, it as if it were an indhictual that codd act, and so could
violate rules of morality, Since society is the realrn of impersonal forces,
Hayek co~~cludes, it is an &use of language to talk &out whether it is
just. Nielsen is aware of?but rejects, Hayek"s dismissal of social.justice.3
In many ways, this dispute seems intractable: Nielsen believes that
Hayek's view is based on a misur~derstandil-rgof the moral language
game, kvhereas Hayek insists that Nielserr" socialism mistmderstands
the concept of justice. Ratlner than being an ivnpartial dispute about the
best way to char up our confused thhking, lfie conflict is more akjn to a
political disptrte, jn which each side steadfastly trpholds its jnterpreta-
tion. Why do our conceptud disputernabout justice-and liberty, equal-
ity and so on-ti-tke on this politicai character?

In m h p o r t m t essay titled "'Essentially Contest-edConcepts," W. El. Gallie

tries to explain the intractable nature of disputes about political con-
cepts.6 GaUie expiains bis idea of a11 'kssa~tiallycor~testedconcept'"
thmugh t-he example of championship. As Gallic points out, we are aIl
fitmiliar with the idea of a c h q i o n s h i p , or "the champicrns" in a sport.
Typically there is m m u a l competition, and the permon or team selwted
by the rules is desipated the "'champion" for that year, and ge~~erally re-
mains the champion until the next season's competition is concluded.
Gallie, however, considers a different sort of competition, wifh some UTI-
usual f e a t u ~ s :

(1) Each team has a distinctive style of play; some teams specialize
in speed, others in power or "trategy
(2) T%echampionship is not akvarded according to some settled and
agreed-upon body of rules, but rather in virtue of the style and
level of play. Ewryone agrees, though, that the champio~~ is the
tearn that "'pfays the bestatf
(3) There is no one point at which a team becomes the champion,
nor does it retain the title for a fixed period. Since there arc. con-
tinuous games, a team can be the champion today and de-
throned tomorrow.
(4) The competition has no officiaf judges. Each side has its devoted
supporter" as well as less loyd "floalifig" fms, who endorse the
team as " h e best.'r
(S) Every team" supporters insist that it is the champion, ol. ihe
""true"or the ''E&'chantpion. Even if one team tends to win the
most, the supporters of other t c m s will insist that their tearn is
the true champion, because their team excels in Ihe styie of play
that is most importmt.

Each team stresses some aspect of the gam peed, power, strakgy-
and is supported by its fms, who hsist that this is trhe truly crucial aspect
of the game. So each side sees its team as the best because it expresses
that part of the g m e that, t-hey claim, is lrhe most important.
Gallie's poht, of course, is that such a competition would be character-
ized by constant, intractable dispute about who i s the champion. Clearly,
W would never expect the dispute to be settled: who was champion
would always be contcrsfed.More importmt; though, it seems in prhciplle
impossible to resolve the dispute, for it seems ian.possible to show what
aspect of the game is truly the most important, a r ~ dso which team is
truly the champion. In this sense, the championship is essentially
Based on this model of the champior~ship,Gallie lists the conditions a
concept must fuliill to be essentialfy conksted:
(X) The concept must be evaluative or "'appriaisive"': it must indicate or
signify something that is valuable, good, right, worthy, and so on. Each
team wants to clajrn the title of ""chmpior~."No party to the dispute
would be willlng to let another team decide on how ""campion" is to be
(11) The nature of the concept must be complex? so that d i f f e ~ nas-
pects of it can be stressed.
(XI%) 'Just why the achievement or condition signified by the complex
concept is good, right, worthy, a d so 01%is not manifest; its goodness,
righh-ress, and so on can be expained in different ways, depending on
which aspect of the complex concept a supporter focuses.
(IV)The cor~ceptis open to new h~terprctations.
(V) Parties to the dispute recognize that their olvn use is disputed, m d
each party has some understanding and agpretliation of opposing uses
and the aspects of the cor~cepton which they are based.
Because of (V), at1 contestmts must maintain. their own use af the con-
cept in the face of other uses; aU must defend heir claim h a t the aspect
(or aspects) of the concept on which they focus is the most importa~tand
try to argue agahst those who stress other aspects.

An Example: Social Justice

Gallie provides several examples of essentii-rllycontest4 cmcepts, one of
r/vhich is the concept of social justice, "or of the gewral p"i""p1e""hat
should govem the distribut-ion of goods in a civilised and humane soci-
ety."" There are, Gallie claims, two rival interpretations of social justice,
one liberal or individualist, the other socialist or coUectivist. The liberal
conception builds on the idea af fair dealhgs between hdividuals and
s just rewards should reflect merit or contribution (see Sections
s t ~ s s e that-
8.2 8.3).The cmtral case for this view is fair market relatior~s:in fair Crzla~s-
actims people are rewarcfed differently m d this reflects the of the
individuals and the products they offer, "hfine," says GaHie, "from the
liberal or inllividuatistic standpoint, social justice consists of those
arrmgements whereby the meritorious individual shall1 receive back, for
his pmducts or serviccts, his . . . due,"mis has somethes been called com-
~r? model is a free and fair ifldividual conkact, in which
both sides hanor their commitmf3nt.s m d provide a proportionate service
to the other. Cephalus (Section 1.1) focused m commutativejustice.
:Incontrast, Gallie tells us, the socialist or collectivist insists that justice
is not so mu& &out fair dealings between free individuals (though, of
course, that is one aspect of justice), but about the best way for society to
distribute its goods to help humms live the best lives possi:ble (see Sec-
tions 8.3, 8.4, 9.7). "Sociai justice, from this standpoirzt, does not rest on
any claims that hdividual or groups have ever made on one mother in
respect of fair rewards and returns for work donc: rather it is an idea-
one aspect of a r ~ided picture of human living.""Vocialjustice looks at
the justj.ce clr fairness of the overall distri:hution of goods ir.1a society, not
the fairness of individual transactions. Importantly, these two ideas of
justice can conftict. Suppose that meritorious inditciduals make free and
fais contracts in whjch they serve each other's ijntertlst; m d that they are
honest and always keep their contracts, Commutative justice is achieved.
:In such a condition, however, t-he skilled anrt industrkut; may accumu-
late great wealth while the unskilled or unindustsious may be left be-
hind. Nielxn, of course, would insist that the resralting distribuicjm of in-
come would be unjust. Thus, a society that focuses on commutative
justice may not achieve distributive justice.
Because the idea of justice is so complex, a d because both commutative
and distributive. nolio~~s of justice are inteiiil;ible uses of the term "justice,"'
it is hard ta accept Hayek's claim that the sociafist-couectivisl is misushg
the km or &using the concept, just as it s e e m wrong to say that accept-
utative justice is based o r ~
a (clear)misw~dersta~dhg of the
utative m d d~tribzxtivejustice are, as Gallie
notes, "cmBicting facets of m y advanced social morality"~f" But which is
most importmt? To be sure, to most it w d d be desirabk to achiwe both,
but if we carnot have both, does the "truly just society" (the "real &am-
pion"') stress the commutative or the distributive aspect of the "justice
g a m f f ?Just a w e mm& see how the different terns could ever resolve
their dispute about who is the champion, Gallie holds that liberals m d so-
cialists will not be able to resolve their diBerences over social jus~ce,

Concepts and Conceptions

Gafiie considers fhe possibility that, perhaps, there is no real d i s a g ~ e -
ment about such concepts. Perhaps the contendhg parties are not really
h l k h g about the s m e thing at all. If we were more careful, we might say
that one team's supporters mair~titinthat it is the '"peed champio~~,'hn-
other team" declare it is the ""polver champion,'' m d a third group sup-
ports its team as the "strategy champim." Oar, in the case of justire, we
mig:ht say that inditciduafists are the acfvocates of co
whereas collectivists are the advocates of distributive justice. But if that is
so, there really is no disagreemat, The liberal m d swialist thought they
were a r w h ~ gabout justice, hut it turned out that they were simpIy using
the same ward to describe different things. But that seems wrong. To
claim that, in the end, the liberal and the socialist do not really disagree
about justice becauscl they are usixzg lfie same word 0-u-s-t-i-cr-e)to mean
diffemnt thillgs implies Lhat these central political dispMes are simply
confusions based on ambiguous words; when once the confusions are ex-
po=& we will see that the liberal and the socialist do not reaIly disagree
about the demands of justice. Yet nothing seems clearer than the funda-
mental difference between liberals and socialists about the demands of
justice. We want to understand this dispute-we wmt to understmd pre-
cisely what liberals and socialists are &sagreeh"tg about when they &S-
pute the true meaning of.justice.
To show that liberals and socialists are really disagreeingpGallie pro-
vides two more conditio~~s for esse~~tial contestabihty. According to con-
dition WI, the connicting parties agree on m "exemplarM-a sort of per-
fect case-that embodies all the importmt fcaturcs of the concept. In the
chmpionshig exirmple, we might think of some past team that everyone
agrees is the best team ever-the one that perftlctly exemplifies all the as-
pects of Ihe sport, Each team" supporters, then, clairn that their team is
closest to the exemplar. Furthemore, according to Gaitic's seventh CVfl)
condition, each team" supporters claim that their tearn is the true inheri-
tor of the exemplar" achievement and is developing that achievement in
the best way.
Conditions V1 and V11 ensure that the disputants are really disagree-
ing: Accepting the s a m exemplar, all claim that their tearn is closest to it
and develops it in the w y s truest to why everyone values the exemplar.
l%us, the supporkrs of the speed team clairn that t.lnough speed, power,
and strategy were all characteristics of the exemplar team, it was its
speed that was crucial to its greabss, and that is why the speed team is
the true inhcritor of the exemplar's aclrievements. The p w e c and strat-
egy teams, of course, will stress that it was other elements of the exem-
piar that made for its greabess. In t-he case of social justice, both liberals
and socialists typically accept that justice concerns the fair treatment of
individuals, and that in a just society indkiduals would receive their fair
share of tbe socid resources. The idea of a society in which each perso11 is
alwap treated fairly is an ideal shared by a wide range of liberals and so-
cialists; their debate is about how that ideal is best actualized in our
One way to trnderstand Gallie" point is to distinguish between a con-
cept m d various crlnclptiofzs of it.lLme characteristi~~ of the exemplar ihe c m of the concept: unless one cxplah~sthis core, and can
show that in same way one" account is the best interpretation of this
core, one camot be said. to have provided m account of that concept.
"Contests . . . are after all, contests over something: esserrtially contested
concepts must have some common core; otherwise holv could we justifi-
ably claim that the contests were about the same concept?"Q A team that
ignored the qua:iities of the exemplar, hut still insisted that it was Lhe
champion, would not be part of the competitio~~, for the competition is
about the best analysis of, m d development of, the exemplar. We c m call
each of these i n t e ~ ~ t a t i o ofn s the concept a conception of it, Gallie's
analysis suggests, then,&at we undertitar~deach co~~ception -as provi"Jing
an interpretation and development of the core-the concept.
But Gallie's claim that all the disputants accept a commm exemplat
and the related idea that all the competing c o n c q t i o ~ ~ errrhrace
s a com-
m m core, falls into the s m e error as did Socrates: the assmption that
there must be an essential comxnon core to all, the uses of a concept C,by
virtue of which we see each of those uses as an instance of C. Recall
Wittgenstein" directive from Section 1.4: "Dan't say: There must be
something common . . . but look and see whether there is anythhg c m -
man tru all.""We need not posit a common core ehat is shared by afl: the
uses of a concept such as justice (or libert-y or equality), which every con-
ception must seek to explain and develop. Instead of understmding vafi-
ous cmceptiom as all developint; a coma11 core, it it;better to see ehem
as providi,ng diferent accounts of a constelfaljon or cluster'%f the ideas,
beliefs, and actions that make up the area of conceptual dispute. There
may be no one eleme~~t of the constellatior~that all agree is a part of the
concept, but insofa as each conception pr0vidt.s an interpretation of Lhe
complex of vaIues, beliefs, and actions (related by family resem:blmce), it
competes with other co~~ceptions.
A conception, then, identifia some parts of the cluster (or language
garne) as crucial to uderstanding the coazcept, while insisthg that other
elemnts of ihe cluskr are of less importance, and some perhaps shoufd
be elimbaled. We might say, then, that a conceplion nvgavzizs fhc cllister of
m actiiirify,sl'zowi~zgwhich are most il?zportatzt, and how they am
bell+, z ~ ~ l unlzd
all rclaft~dtrt ilze another. ':To employ a metaphor, we c m Lhink of a concep-
tion as a sort of map of the terrajn. covered by the concept. A good map
tells us how to move around the terrain, identifyjng the crucial land-
marks and showing h w they all relate to each other.
2.2 Political Ideologies
ideologies as Systems of Conceptions
Gallie beljeves that political concepts are essentially contested, A concept
such as social justice, he claims, harr; muttiple facets, which allow us to
formulnte d i f f e ~ n t essentially
, contested, conceptions of it. Insofar as
Gallie shows how disputes about political concepts can themselves be-
come political disputes, his esserrtial corntestability pr")~)oml has much to
recommend iL. But: although Gallie does a lot to help explain horu corrcep-
tud disputes arise, he is less clear why we fight so hard about political
concepts and why we are so averse to adopting our oppoxnentfsconcep-
tion. His min thou&ht seems to be that because a corncept such as justice
is apprasive it is somehow a valuable weapon or trophy ir.1 our political
battles and can he used aggressively agailrst our poiitiral opponents.
Surely there is more behind our disputes than that. Gallie's hndiwidualist
liberals m d collectivist socialists believe that it is vitally important to un-
d e r s t d justjce in their p r e f e r ~ dways. Zn this regard, the champimship
exmple seems to mislead us. A team's fms support a team as chmpion
just because it. is tfrcir twm. It seems odd to t h k of peoy,le coming to =a-
soned conclusions about what team they will he a fan of. In an important
sense, the choice of one%favorite k m is just a preference, like a taste for
ice cream or pizza, Liberals m d socialists, however, do not typicauy see
their disputes like this; they see themselves as engaged in a deeply im-
portant dispute, onc. in which gettii.lg the answer wrong leads to all sorts
of pr"blcms. Why do they see their conceptual disputes in this way?
Michael Freeden goes far toward explaining the nature of our disputes
about "esse~ntiallycolntested concepts."' Our political conceptiolns, Free-
den polnts out, are the basic buildkg blucks of our thhkixlg &out poi-
tics." m a t is constructed from these buildkg blocks-conceptior-rs of
liberty, power; eyuality justice, aulhoriiy, and so onnal.e what Freeden
classes as "ideologies," comprehensive systems of ideas that provide the
basis for explanation and criticism of political life, Thus, on his view, lib-
eralism, socialism, and colnservatism are all ideologies built up from an
interrelated series of interpretations of political concepts. t,iberalism,
then, constitutes a system uf corzccptiof~s,centered on a certain conception
of liberty, with an -allied undcrrstandilng of equality and justice, support-
ing a disthctively liberal understanding of authority an$ democracy.l"t
is importmt to stress that on Freeden" view liberalism (and the same c m
be said about other ideologies) is not sinlply a group of politicai concep-
tions: it is a system of interpretation of political concepts; the case for, say,
its interpretation of liberty supports, and is supported by, its interpre-
tatioln of eyuality, justice, and authority. For example, in examining the
lheory of John Stuart Mdl, the great rtineteenlh-century liberal, Fxeden

a mutually sustaining crtre structure of political concepts that holds Mill's

ideology together. Xt is a crtre structure in a dual sense: the removal of any
one of the concepts would change the peculiar pattern created by their joint
intermeshing, causing the a x e to a>llapse; and a further range of adjacent
and peripheral concepts derives from, and is in a slightly looser sense de-
pendent on, that core, If Mill is a typical liberal, liberal ideofc3gy places the
protection of Individual capacities at the core cof its programmatic concerns
and its arrangements are primarily geared to emuring that free individuals
will be able to develop their rational and sociable attributes. A diffused,
responsible, and limited use of political power is the chief institutional
corollary of liberty; it complements Mill's specific crtnceptictn ctf liberty, of
achieving non-constraint through space for individual expression. It also
a>mplementsthe avoidance of sectional privileges and, with the adjacent
concept ctf democracy that attaches itself to l i d t e d power, the accountable
and educated exercise of political choices and decisions,'c

My concern at present is not the accuracy of I;reede2lfsspecific ana[ysis

of the system of col~ceptior.~~ that constitutes liberalism, but kis idea that
political ideologies m systems of inteqretatioms of concepts. If we un-
derstand political views in this way WC can see why, for example, dis-
putes betwer.1liberals and socialists have two key feahnres. First, these
disputes run deep. A socialist's devotion to her favorcrd account of social.
justice is not at all like a devotion to a sports team; it follows from every-
thing else she believes about eyudity, merty, and the point of poliiicaI
life. To challenge her views on social justice is not simply to challenge
this one political concept, hut her system of cmceptions-her entire ide-
ology. Because, as E'reedel~arwes, the interprtltatiol~of one col~ceptaf-
fects the interp~tationof others, if (to revert to Gallie's exanzple; Section
2.1) the liberal individualist could convhce her that the cornmutarcive no-
tion was superior to distributive justice, this w o d d chailenge her notiol~s
of eq~~ality, liberty, and political life, Tlnd so m d e m h ~ her
e entire socialist
ideology. In dispute~aboutsocial justice, it is not simply ant.%views
about social justice that are beil'lg challe~~ged, hut uitimately one's overall
understanding of political, and perhaps nonpolitical, life-
fjc.cond,if our view about one political concept is greatZy influenced by
our wiews on others, it should he no suqrise that t-hese de$ates seem so
intractable, Ruming so deep, and involvhg so much of our overall view
of politia and society, our arguments about justice lead us to furlher dis-
agreeme~~ts about the nature of liberty, powcsr, equality, ar.1~3authority
Just because the d&ates covm so much ground, we must expect that it
will be very hard to make headway*In the face of your good reasons for
v e s t i o ~ ~ i anothczr"
r~g sview of justice, she replies with an argument that
relies on her theory of equality, which you do not share m d which. you
then proceed to criticize. Hence the familiar feeling that our disagree-
m e ~ ~not t s only go i\l-ow~din circles, but are continually leading to 11ew
disagreements rather thm producbg agreement.

Reason and ideology

Freeden" nrtotion of an i&ology aa a "cornbhation of political concepts
org"l7ized in a particutar way'"l7helps us to explain the ~ ~ a t u of r r .our dis-
putes about political concepts. We need to be cteilrer, however, as to pre-
cisely what he mems by ways of organizjng the jnterpretations- Freeden
emphasizes three m a h ways that political concepts are linked,
(l)Freeden allows that reason, or what he often calls '"logic," organizes
our beliefs. This, of course, is the heart: of Socrates" method, and indeed
all of philosophy. As Socrates reminds Cephahs (Scctim 1.29,one's be-
liefs must be consiste~~t; if one accepts that (af it is always right to do jus-
tice and m) it is kvrong to keep one's pmmise to retur11 a weapon to a
mactxnan, then one must reject (c) the claim that justice always requires
keeging o11e's word, includii7g one's promise to retun1 what one has hor-
rowed. A ration& p e r s d s beliefs must be consistent-more generally,
we can say that a rational person's beliefs hang together in a coherent
m y . As a whole, the beliefs of a ratior~alpersm make sense, and they
support each other to form a sensi[ble and coherent view of the kvorld.
(2) Freeden stresses, however, that ideafogirr; are not simpl_)i organized
by reasorl. Because '5deo:logies have to deliver conceptual social maps
and political decisions, and they have to do so in lmgmage accessible to
the m s s e s as well as intellectuals, to m a t e u r as well, as professional
thinkers,'"t:hey freely mix appeals to rmson a r ~ demotion.18 An ideolugy
may be organized in a way that is rationally flawed, but emotionally ap-
pealing. An emotionally appealing ideology m y cntertaisl inconsistent
beliefs. Fascism, for instance, seemed to shultm~eouslymaintain that all.
individuals should be subservient to the collective group m d that same
individuals were superior and should lead m d &ape the collcrctivity. C3tn
the face of it, these are inconsistent belie&; but if they are emotionally ap-
pealing-say; to the masses who desire to be Zed by their superiors m d
yet yearn for equality-they both may he important parts of m ideology.
(3) More generauy, Freeden emphasizes that ideologies are &aped by
culture m d history. M a t combhations of interpretations are accepted as
'"going together" in such a way as to form an ideology is as much a mat-
ter of histmy and culture as it is of I.casolI. Icieolclgies, on his view, are at-
tached to social gmoups Tlnd shaped by political and social connicts about
power; and their character is dependent on thc requirements of these
conflicts as w d as the relations betwee11 ideas. Because ideologies "per-
form a range of services, such ils legitirn,ation, orderhg, simplification,
and action-orientation," the configurations of concepts they produce are
ones that have arise11because they serve these purposes.lq
The upstnot of Freeden's analysis is that It-re student of ideologies
should not engage in a "quest for a good usage of a concept,"~Wec m
try to ~llzderstaszdideologies-to u~lderstmdhow they organize politic&
concept-i;onsin. a particular kvay-but it seems illegitimate to try to "dear
up" the interpretatims. After all, reason is not the sole, perhaps not even
the primry, organizing principle of an ideology. To revise an ideologfs
inkrpretation of a concclpt by making it better conform to reasolI, or by
abandonhg same parts of it that do not fit with the others, is to ignore
that the glue holding m ideology together is an emotive-political-
cuftrural-rational mis. Glvcn this, it seems that "there are no c o r ~ c tway^
of d e f b k g conceptsaff21
Gallie arrived at if not the same then at least a broadly similar conclu-
sion. Gallie believed that recog1"tizing"a given concept as essentially con-
tested imp;ies recognition of r i d uses of it (such as oneself mpudiates)
as not only- loe;icallJr possibk and humanly 'likely,-ut as of permanent
critical value to one's own use m hterp~"~"tati~fl of the co~~cciipt
in ques-
t.ion.'QUs Gallie perceives it, the various contedws all have n l . u
artjculate elelnents of the concept, albeit in differing ways. Thus, Gallic
too seems suspicious of those who would dismiss rival uses as wrong
and who claim that they alone have the correct interpretation. And he
seems suspicious because he a p p a ~ n t i ydoubts that there is such a thin;
as the C I I Y R C ~ inte~retationof m essentially cmtested col~cept.

2.3 Political Philosophy m d Political Theories

ideology Versus Political Theory: The Example of Public and Private
Freedex1 is certai~lilycarrect that liberalim, sociatism, a r ~ dconservatism
can be viewed as systems of conceptions organized on partly rational,
but also emotive, cultural, and historical grounds. And thus it may well.
be that an ideo:iogy will not be hlly consistent, but nevertheless (indeed,
perhaps because of that inconsistency) it c m serve to legitimate and or-
gmize political. movements, For s t u d e ~ ~ofbpolitical thinking, it will be
important a r ~ dinteresthg if, say, the political movemer~tk ~ o w as n ""iiber-
alissrr" shodd turn out to be in some w y rationally fiawecf. Consicacr, for
example, Stanley Bern and my work on the liberal conception of the pub-
lic a ~ private.
d For the most part, we a r p e d , the liberal conception of the
privak and the ptrblic presupposes an individualist theory of social life:
society can he reduced to individuals (see Section 3.4). On this view,
"Pzkblic, as oppaw"dto puimfef is that h i c h has no immediate relation tru
any specified person or persons, but may directly concern any member
or members of the communi.ty;without distinction.""2 h contrast, what is
priv&e is that w:hich can be assiped to a specific perso11 or group. So, we
might say, h the basicdly liberal individualist world, the idea of the pri-
vate focuses on specific, assipable individuals, whereas the public cen-
ters on gex~eralclasses and can refer to nlzyone or eucryone in that ciass. A
library is puhlic because it is open to any member of th,e class of resi-
dents, whereas a private house is only open to the specific iTldividuals
owning it or invited into it. Both these concqtions---of the pu:blic and
ake perfect sense in a world composed simpty of individuals,
But as Jemmy Bentham (174GIS32) recopized, this purely individual-
ist way of looking at sociey makes less sexlse of other ideas, such as the
public interest:

The interest uf individuals, it is said, ought to yield to the public interest. But
what does this mean? X s not one individual a s much a part of the public as
another? This public interest, which you introduce as a person, is only an ab-
stract t c m ; it represents nothing but the mass of individual interests. It is
necessary to take them all into account, instead of considering sorne a s ail,
and others as nctthing. . . . Jn a word, the interest of everybody is sacred, or
the interest of nobody
Individual interests are the only real interests.24

In Bentham" thoroughly individualistic world, the only sensible mean-

ing of the "public interesl" cvould be the ""interest of everyone.'Tef:
Bentham is quite right that political discourse often treats "tthe public" as
a sort of giant perm"": the puhlic int-erest is not the int-erest of everyone,
but the interest: of '"the community," considered as an eMity in its own
right, and one that cmnot be reduced simply to a collectim of individu-
als. After all, very &\/v of our appeals to the public interest really are ap-
peals to the interests of &solutely each and every person in the c o m m -
nit8 but neither do they reduce to appeals to the interests of tfie mere
m"jority Riltber, ox~ewho speaks of ihe pubfic interest typically has in
mind sorne notion of the hierest of the community as a whole, or the so-
ciety as such, Allhough, as Rentham recognized, this idea does not fit into
an individualist mderstaxliding of society, liberals often make appeals to
the public interest or the public good,
NOW, as outsiders trying to u n d e r s t d liberal ideology, we find this
an ertliglteniq insight: we find that the p w r and persuasivex~ess
of liberiliism, may result h m its ability to scvitck from its prr.$om,inant
individ.ualist theory to a nonindividualist view of community when
malking certain sorts of political appeafs. Consider; however, what a
lfieral-someone who accepted liberal ideas and conceptions as her
guide in politics-would make of this, From the kside-from within lib-
eratism-could one reasonably coz~thueto affirm i h i s doctrfne bowing
that one was appealkg to hconsistent views of society? It seems not. The
analysis of the lberal conception of the public and psivate implies that
the liberd conception is ratio~~aily flawed: it camot be sow~d,because it
supposes an impossibility-that society both is, m d is not, simply com-
posed of indkiduals. The liberal conception of the public and private
thus canr~othe justgied, and it certairdy cannot in any seme he correct. TO
coz~tinueadherence to the liberal conception of the public and private
would be an act of faith, as same Roman Catholics accept the mystery of
the Trhity (but, utlnllike the Catholic, the liberal could not have faith that
this mystery will he resohed in itr.2 afterlife).As rational agez~ts,however,
we seek beliefs that make sense of the world, and inconsistent beliefs
camot help us do that.
:If liberalism is not sirnply an ideology-a social or poliiical phenome-
non that merits study-but a polificnl theory that contends for our alle-
giance and that seeks to guide our actions, it must be plausi"ule; m d to be
plausibk, it must be illternally consistent. Should a liberal confmt the
sort of inconsistency reveilled in liberal concepljons of the public and pri-
vate, the rational liberal must either albando1.r liberalism or reconstmct it
so as to make it consiste~~t. And of course, the same c m he said of cozIsel=.
vatism, socialism, m d so on.
Consider again the metaphor of a map. Freeden and others have com-
pared systems of political col~ceptior~s to maps (Sections 2.1, 2.2): they
help us nalrigate around the political world by highlighting same fea-
tures and showhg how one feature is related to others. Now, one thing a
ratio~~al agent wants is a consistent m p . Imagke that you are visiting
Atrstralia, m d you wish to drive from Sydney to Melbourne. After nine
hours, you stop to consult your map to see just where you are, U n h t u -
mtely, your map has two cliffere~~t, inconsistent parts; if you loak at the
first sheet you are almost in Melhoume, but if you check the second, you
have gone ttntirely in the wrong clirectim m d will soon be in Brisbane.
Where me you, and in which direction shouid you go? Clear@ an incon-
sistent map is no help at all..Until the entire map makes sense and all its
directims are corrsisknt with each other, it does not even begin to help
you make sense of your fcmcephnal)world. Of course, even such incon-
sistent maps may have their uses: if Auskaiia was invaded by a foreign
power, this would be the psefect map for Australims to give to their in-
vaders! One thi~ligsuch a map will not do, however; is to help people
make sense of the locations of Australian cities.
Jvsfificafory Political Theories
We c m thhk of a political theory (as opposed to an ideology) as seeking
to jzistih a specific organization of different intevretations of political
cox-rcepts. A political theory will provide linked argu""ntdor cox-rcep-
t i ~ n of
s Eberty, p w r , e ~ d i t yjustice,
, auel-lority, dernocrxy, and so on.
:It will justify each interpsetation of the chief political concepts by appeal
to other interpmtations, as well as other fur~clamentalvalues and claims
(for example, individualism or collecti\rism; see Section 3.4). Further-
more, the justifications offered by the political theory will place some
politicai ideas at the core of its concerns, while putt* others in a sec-
ondary position, and pushing yet others to a nnarginal place or even en-
tirely rejecting them.
To say that a political theov justifies a particular conception involves
four important claims. (1)A justification does not seek simply to con-
vince or persuade: it provides reasons* A justjfication, then, cims not ap-
pea1 to mere emotions or prejudices. Because political theories seek to
justify rather than merely persuade, they are bound by reason to respect
consistency and logicality No matter holv persuasive, an appeal to can-
kadictory considerations camot count as a justification.
R may be useful here to distinguish jzl-st$cntio~z from legifimatiotz,A po-
litical view is justified if it is supported by good reasons, is free from in-
krnal inconsistency, is consistent with known facts, and so on. Justifica-
tion is a matter of sound belief. Rational adherel-rts of a political t-heory
mtxst suppose that the view is justified; if it is not supported by good rea-
sons, then adherence to it is not rational. Although related, the idea of
legitimation is distir-rct. A political ideology m y legitimize a conception
of, say, justice, for its adherenls insofar as the icieology actvances consid-
erations that lead its aetberents to approve or accept that coxzception. The
consideratiox-rsadvanced by the kgitimizing ideology may be good rea-
sons, but they also may be emotional appeals, ungmunded cultural prej-
udices, and inconistent docthnes: what mtters is that the package of
consideratiox-rsadvitr1cec.l by the ideology actually induces people to ac-
cept or approve of its conception of justice, If the package of consid-
erations actually produces widespread support for the conception or
povides consideratiox-rs that lead people to conclude that it is the best
concept-i;on,the ideology has legitkized the concept-i;on.People view it
as legitimate, Viewed from the inside, then, the ideology seeks to legit-
imize certail7 concegtiom, social armgements, m d policies for its adher-
ents: it seeks to induce them to afcegt or approve of the conceptions m$
arrangements. But insofar as the packzlge of considerations involves un-
reasox-red entotional appeals or relies on incox-rsistenl:claims or Mse or
weakly gromded theories, the pachge fails to justify the arrangement.
Thus, if liberaljsm is an incmsistent or confused political doctrine it can
still legitimize (and so m y be a perfectly good ideology) but it camat
justify (and so is inadepate as a politjcd theory). z5 MW, iT'rterestingly,
insofar as you and I are rational agents, we must suppose that the politi-
cal doctrine that guides us is not merely a legitixl-tizing ideology but a jus-
tifieatosy poli'E;cal theory. A raliomal dherent of ljberalism (or socialism
or conservatism) must see it as more than a way to legitimize certah so-
cid arrm-rgements-as a way to induce people to approve of tltose social
arrangements. The rational adherent must suppose that liberalism is a
justified, political theov; &at is, it provides good reasons to adopt the lib-
eraf view of politics.
(2) To say that: political theories justify an interpretation of a political
concept is different from saying that a themy "chooses," '""adopts,"" or
"prefers" a specific conception. This is an important point, Conceptual
analysis is not about "'choosing""how to "clear up" our incmsistcnt or
confirsed concepts, nor is it a decision to ""stamdby"' one hterpretntion
rather than another. bstjfying a specific conception is, in the end, not at
all Ijke becoming lrhc fan of a sports team. A po:iitical theory identifies
some considerations as important, and havhg done that, it is led to see-
ing s o m aspects of, for example, justice or liberty as more important
than others. As a cox-rtcmporarypolitical phiiosopher observes, our argu-
ments-our justifications-"are our connection with the considerations
that ultimately matter to us," and it is those considerations that lead us to
favor ox-reway of seeing justice or Ilherty rather than another.26 W cannot
anskver Socrates's question-"What is justice?"-t~ntil we b o w the
thhgs that really matter to us, and the way h which we understand soci-
ety 'Thus, onty withir-r a political theory can we justifgr one conceptim of,
say' justice, rather thm mother.
(3) This explains t%ie intractable nature of politjcal disputes to which
Gallif. has called our attention. If we c m only justify a conception Lvithin
the framework of a pdiljcai theory, we will find Lhat our jwstifjeations-
however convinckg they are to us-will not move those who are ern-
@a@g a competir-rg political theory From lrhcir poil7t of view, our con-
ception will not seem justified, for the considerations that matter to us
will not necessarily be compelling in their competing politicd Iheory.
Hmce we may well find Irhal:even our very best argumex-rtsdo m t move
those with kvhom we disagree. h d becatrse our conceptions follow from
the other things we see as iMpoctmt, we are not apt to m r n ~ " " i xor
back down in these political disputes, for that would be to give up muCh
of what we hold importmt.
(4) In contrast to Freeden and Gallie" view (Section 2,2), however, it
does not fo:llow f m this that none of the parties is correct and there it;no
correct answer to conceptual disputes. It is certahly true that given the
:limits of time, and our ability to think things through, we cannot resolve
the differe~~ces betweer.1 the major politicai theories. We cannot k ~ o win
advmce, however, whether this is becatrse none of the theories is better
than all the others or because we have not yet ciiirried on the argument far
enough and thoroughly cnough to discrover which trheory is the best. In
the end, both Freeden and Gallie claim that they h o w what the result
would be if we carried out a rational dialogue to its completion-they
know that in the end no theory can be show"lo be the best. But how can
we know that? Ali W c m say right nnw is that given the impmfect m d
:limited reasoners we are, we disagree about wtRtich conception of libertyt
justice, or equality is best.
The ve"ion, then, is, which should we assume: (a) that no theory can
ever lay claim to being the best, or fb) that some theory could perhaps
make out such a claim if we thought long enough and hard cmough?
Gallie seems to t h i d that (a) is fhe superior assumptio~~.
As he sees it, the
assumption that there is no shgle correct answer induces a tolerance of
the views of others:

Recognition of a given concept as essentially contested implies recopition

of the rival uses of it (such as oneslf repudiates) as not only logically possi-
ble and humanly ""likely," but as of permanent critical value tco one's sown
use ur interpretation of the concept in question; whereas to regard any rival
use as anathema, per.verse, bestial or lunatic means, in many cases, tct sub-
mit oneself tc3 the chronic human perit of underestimating, or completely ig-
noring, the value of one's opponentsr p c ~ s i t j ~ > n s ~ ~ ~

Recognition that there is no miquely correct answer, Gallie believes, will

tend to undermi,ne an intolerant fmatical belief:that one's p&li,.cal oppo-
nents have nothing wort%lwhil.eto say, while emouraging m apprecia-
tion that one's opponer~tsalso see an aspect of trhe concept, and so have a
valuable critical contribution to make to the debate. Becatrse your fa-
vored conception of an essent-ially contested concept cannot be shown to
be the uniyuely correct one, Gailie believes that r e c o p i t i o ~of~the essen-
tially contested nature of political concepts leads you to be more tolerant
and appreciate of other conceptions.
If, however, we h c , w in advance t-hat m pasition can be show11 to be
superior to the others, what is the point of argument? We might hope to
win converts, but to do that emtive appeals arcr likely to be more effec-
tive Lhan arguments about ""What is liberty?" or " m a t is justice?" If we
h o w there could never be a correct answer, why kvaste the time arguing
and debating? Rather than promoting a tolcsrallt debate, accepting that
them can be no correct or best al1swer makes ratioml defense of one's p u
sition m d critiqtre of the other" position polintless. Why argue when no
one can he right? Perhaps some point remains: even if there is no correct
answer, there d g h t be some that are fiomughly wrongheaded-
perhaps debate is simply about showing that your position is not one of
the wrong ones.28 But there is still no point arguhg with the good alter-
m t h e s to your view-and it would seem that it is precisely those that we
most wmt to confront and question.
Of course, fanaticism and intolermce arr; to be avoided. The spirit of
tolera~tdebate, however, is not fostered by a co~~viction that there is no
right anskver to be had (for that mdermhes the spirit of debate) but by a
recopition of our ownfallibiliy-recognition that we all easily fall into
error and we c m never he certain that we possess the truth and others am
in the grip of error. Recognition of our failibility leads us to a p p ~ c i a t r
the potential vdue in the c d j c t i n g opinioms of others and to constsuc-
tively engage them mther than repress or ignore them. h d given the
compllzxity of tbe issues, involving as they do entirt. systems of concepts,
it would be a foolish person d e e d who djd not appreciate her own fdli-
bility. fn contrast, Gallie" position suggests a sk~pticisn?that there is any
correct answer to be had. Alll-rough the fallibilist hekves that there is a
best mswer but is always abvare that her own position may be wrong, the
skeptk questions whether there is a best amwer.
It is clear why Lhe fallibilist sees poter~tialvalue in the cornpcting posi-
tions of othcrs: perhaps t h y have the best mswer, and it is the best m-
swer the fallibilist seeks. Thus, the fallibilist will not wish to silence op-
po"ii7g v j,ws. As Jobn Stuart Mill arped, we shoutd not seek to repress a
view that competes with our own because it

may possibly be true, Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its
truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the ques-
tion for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means ctf
judging. To refuse a hearing tc:, an opinicm, because they are sure that it is
false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as abscllute certainy.
All silencing of discussion is an assumption ctf infallibility.29

:It is far less clear why skepticism would lead to toleration of compeling
views. True, a skeptic cannot clajrn that competing views are false or
m n g , but neither c m lrhe skeptic hope to learn the truth from his oppo-
nent (becatrse, says the skeptie, ""there are no correct ways of defining
concepts"). If part of the skeptic's ideology is that those who disagree
with him art-. a menace (not because they are wror.11;~just because they
disagree) m d so should be silenced, his skeptical view of political con-
cepts provides him with no reason to xfrain from silenrhg others. Why
should he not star~dup for his intolemnt ideology? It is, after all, no less
correct than other, mare tolerant, l4ews.
2.4 Summary
This chapter has considered several explanations of the nature of concep-
tual disputes and the reasons why they run so deep and are so difficult to
resolve. In Section 2.1, I examined Gallie's essential contestability thesis,
according to which parties to a conceptual debate favor conceptions that
place importance on different aspects of a complex concept. In some
sense, Gallie seems to be arguing, the different conceptions each stress a
different, but valuable and important, aspect of the concept, and there is
no way to adjudicate which is the superior. In Section 2.2, I inquired into
why the participants in these conceptual debates are so wedded to their
positions. I argued that a person's favored conception of, say, liberty is
not freestanding, but linked to her favored conceptions of equality, jus-
tice, and so on. Consequently, debates about one political concept lead to
our interpretationsof others; to give way to our opponent on one concept
may lead to undermining our entire political outlook. If, then, one wants
to understand a particular political conception, one must place it in a po-
litical theory-a system of such conceptions.
The chapter concluded with a contrast between two ways of under-
standing political theories: as ideologies and as justificatory. If we follow
Freeden, we shall understand these systems of conceptions as held to-
gether not only by reasons, values, and claims about society, but by emo-
tional and cultural appeals that may lead to inconsistent yet engaging
political views. In contrast, for political theories to be understood as gen-
uinely justificatory, they must make sense by providing a reasoned and
coherent view of the world. We saw that although a student looking at a
political view from the "outside" can see it as an ideology, those who ac-
cept it and use it to make sense of the world and organize their political
action must see it as justificatory.
Justificatory political theories, I argued, make claims that they are in
some way correct. As we saw in Section 2.1, liberals and socialists dis-
agree about the nature of justice: each not only favors her own view, she
thinks it the best view. Both Gallie and Freeden suggest that this is a mis-
takethere really is no true or correct conception. "The language of ide-
ologies," says Freeden, "is couched in terms of truth-assertions, but
ideologies .. .do not attain truth-value status."30 I concluded the chapter
by considering whether tolerant debate is best supported by the assump-
tion that (1)none of our views can possibly be the correct or best view, or
(2) although there may well be a best answer to our disputes, because
they are so complex, and we are so apt to error, we should not suppose
we are certainly right and our opponents wrong beyond a doubt. The
second assumption, I argued, gives us reasons both to pursue debate and
to conduct it in a tolerant way.
1. See Fefix Opgenheirn, Polllicnl Cuncepks: A Reconstrz4clion (Oxford: Basil
Blackwell, 19811, chap. 9.
2. By the French political philosopher, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Suvereiglzt!j: An 112-
quz'ry infu the I>ulificalGood, j. E Huntingtun, trans. (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 14561, p, 317.
3, Kai NieZsen, EqflaliCy mid Liberty: A Defe~zse";1( hdicnl EglaEitfirit~~zism (Totowa,
N J :Rowman and AllenheEd, 1985), p. ?Q.
4. F", A. f-iayek, Law,Legislation utzd Liberty, vol. 2, M i r ~ g eof Suci~ljzlstice
(Lc~ndon:Routledge, 2982), p. 62.
5. Nielsen, Eqltatity n ~ t~i bde r f for
~ example, p. 197,
6. W. B. Gallie, "Essentially Contested Concepts," in his Ptzilosuplzy alzd the
Historical Ulzderstattdirzg, 2nd ed. (New Ucxk: Shocken Books, 14681, pp. 157-191.
For discussions of this idea, see Christine Swanton, Freedorn: A Collewnce Tlzeuqj
(Indianapofis, IN: Hackett, 19921, chap. 1; John Gray, ""On the Contestability
of Social and Political Concepts," htftical Tlzeory" vol. 5 (August 1977), pp. 331-
7". Callie, ""Essentially Contested Concepts," p. 1181,
8. ibid.
9, Ibid., p. 182.
10. %id.
11, For a very helpful analysis, see Swanton, Fwedonz: A Coherence Theory,
chap. l .
12, Steven tukes, P o w e ~A Radical View (New York: Macmillan, 1"34), p, 187,
13, On the idea ctf a "cluster concept,'" see Wifliarn E, Conncttly; The Terms of
Political Disconrse, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princetcm University Press, 19831, chap. 1,
14, Michael Freeden, XdeoEogz'es a d Political Tjlcory: A Conceptzinl Apymach
(Oxfcjrd: Cfarendon Press, 2996), p. 2.
15, See ibid., chap. 4,
16. Ibid., pp. 253-154.
17. Ibid., p. 75,
18. Ibid., p. 30.
19. Ibid., p, 22.
20, Xbid., p. 53.
21. Ibid.
22. Gallie, '%ssentially Contested Concepts," p. 188.
23. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, quoted in Stanley 1. Benn and Gerald E Gaus,
""Te Liberal Conception ctf it-re Public and Pri\rateP5islrBenn and Gaus, edw, Public
afaB Priz~~le irz Social k f e (New York: St. Martin's Press, 113831, p. 32.
24. Jeremy Bentham, The TJ'lzwy of legisfatioiclrz, 2nd ed. (London: Triitsner, 1871),
p. 144.
25. I argue in my ""Lberalism at the End of the Centuryf" "urncal ofPolificnl Ide-
ologies. vol. 5 f2000), pp. 45-65, that the incoherence of liberal ideology may well
account ftx its wide appeal.
26. Jererny Waldron, Tfze Right: to Prz't?ateProperfy (Oxford: CIarendctn Press,
1988), p. 433.
27, Gaflie, "Tssentiaify Contested Concepts," pp. 187-188.
28, See here Swanton, Freedonz: A Collerence Tftmry, chap. 1.
29, John St-uart Mill, Qtz Liber+, in John Gray ed., Ozz Liberty nzzd Other Essap
(New York: Oxfc~rdUniversity Press, 1981), chap. 2, para. 3,
30, Freeden, Xdenlogies a d Political Tl~eory,p. 94.

3,! Liberalism, Socialism, and Conssrva~isrn

Enduring Types
In the last chapter, I argued that political theories hvolve systems of in-
terpretations of political concepts, .A political theory will, for example,
advance a catain col~ceptionof liberty, which helps justify a view of
equality, whi& in turn supports (and is supporkd by) a conception of
justice and aut-Xlonty-And as Freeden rightly contends (Section 2.3, the
political theory will order these concepts-same will be given pride of
place, whereas others will be accorded supporting mles or a periphaal
status in the overall,scheme.
The construction of such a system of concepts will often involve
cmativity, producing novel combinations of interpretations. Political
theorizjng is an ongoing enterprise, m d one ilspect of that entet-prise is
drawing new conceyhail maps, which logically relate political concepts
in hitherto unthought-of ways. There is no formuia for the creation of a
political theory m a t said, the history of political theory reveals endurhg
types: systems of interpretations that traditions of thinkers have em-
braced and, withi11 limits, have sought to improve and modify. These
enduring types unite concept-i;onsof liberty, power, eqt~ality,justice, m d
political authority, appealing to values and visions of society that pro-
duce a cofnmnt and compelling view of these fundamer~talpolitical con-
cepts. n e s e political theories are by no means the only rczason-
able ways to arrange political conceptions, but their appeal over
h u d r e d s of years to sizable groups of thjnkers and citizens m k e s t-hern
of special importmce in. our debates about political concepts.
When describing political theories as systems of political conceptions,
W must always remember Wittgenstein's insight that language is not
merely about words, but about actions and practices (Section 1.3).To un-
derstand liberty, power, equality justice, rights, and authoriy in certain
w y s is not just to think ar~dtalk in certak ways, but to dr, certail7 things:
to work for certain sorts of just arrangemms, opposing solne sorts of
govemental actions while supporting others, and so on. Like language
itself, potiticai theories arc. complexes of words and actiom.
The focus of this book i-vill be on liberalism, socialism, and conser-
vatism-three enduring political theories and arguably the tlhree most
important of the past two hundrt"d years. We shaii see that these are by
no mearls mor~alithicviews: within each there are varieties, which
arrmge political concepts in different i-vays.Also, as we pmceed we will
have occasion to corrtrast these three enduring theories to other political

"By defhition," i t has been said, "'a liberal is a man who believes in lib-
erty."UAll fiberai theories, regardless of Iheir disagrecmer~f;?;, place h & -
viduitl liberty (or freedom) at the heart of politics 2; indeed, so irrnportant
is Ijberty to Eberals that, to a large degree, debaks h u t the nature of lib-
erty are debates within the liberal tradition. We shall see that fibera1 de-
votion to freedom leads to a view of justice that gives pride of place to ex-
pansive liberty rights while m a h g equality a more limited, secondary;
notion. Justice focuses on eyual liberty rights. Because liberals typirally
see the auLhority of goverr~mer~t as a limitatior~of freedom, they are usu-
ally suspicious of it.
The liberal tradition and its debates about the nature of liberty approx-
imates one aspect of Gallie's description of an essentiaIIy co~~tested con-
cept. It will be recalled from %ction 2.1 that, accordiing to Gallie's condi-
tjon Vf, the conflirting parljes agree on an "exemplaru-a sort of perfect
case-that perkctly ernbodics the concept. In his championship example,
it was perhaps same past team that everyone agrees is the best team
ever-the one that perfectly exemplifies all aspects of the sport. Now, in
the liberal tradition fohn Stuart Mill's On fibrrty (1859) approximates the
stiltus of an exem,plar. Allt-tough a few li,berals are highly crioical of On
tibcrtyPto an amazing extent it is seen as the pintessential liberal text. In
what is perhaps the. most famous paragrayh in the li:beral tradition, Mill
explains the aim ol On Liber&:

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, a s entitled to
govern absolutely the dealings of sociew with the individual in the way of
compulsion and control, whether it-re means used be physical farce in the
form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion ctf public rtpinion. That princi-
ple is, that the sale end for which mankind are warranted, individually or
a>llectivelyin interfering with the liberty of action of any of their numberr is
xjt-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully ex-
ercised over any member of a civilized cc3mmmity against his will, is to pre-
vent harm to others. His own good, either phpicaf or mural, is not a suffj-
cient warrant, He carnot rightfully be compelled to dct or forbear because it
will be better for him tc:, do so, because it will make him happier, becaus, in
the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good
reasons for remonstrating with hirn, or reasoning with him, or persuading
hirn, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting hirn with any
evil, in case he do otfiewise. Tr3 justify that, the a>nductProm which it is de-
sired to defer him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else, The
only part of the condud of any one, for which kre is amenable tt3 society is
that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his
independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and
mind, the individual is sovereign.?

As Mill says in another work, the plmper rok of c o e r c i o ~ ~ employing

threats to get people to do what you want them to cJo (see Sectior~4.1)----
"is to enforce upon everyone the conduct necessary to give all other per-
sons their fair chance: conduct which chiefly consists in not doing them
harm, a ~ mt d impedjng them in ar7ytl-thgwhich withoul harmin$ others
does good to themselcres-" And Mill adds, ""Demanding no mare than
this, society, in m y tolerable circumstances, obtahs much more: for the
naturd activity of hurnan naturt-., shut out from ail ~~ortious directions,
will exparrd itself in useful ones.""
lhese pass%@.;express fu~rdamentalliberal thcmes. First, Mill defends
one's sovmignty m r o ~ ~ eown ' s fife---tl~efreedom to lead ox?re"sown life
in a way that one sees fit" Yet, though liberals insist on the prhacy af
freedom, they recognize the necessity of limits m freedom. My freedom
may be lhited if f use it in a way that harms others. Mill is explicit that
ot be limited to protect me from my own choices: what 1
do with my life is up to me exccpt insofar as it harms others. Because M11
piaces so much vdue 01%the individual" ssovereignv over her own life,
hie places severe limits an the atrthority of others, hcluding government,
over the individuals, h d although Mill was a proponent of democratic
g o v e m n t , he was dways worrid that democratic mjorities may tyr-
annize over the individual, wrongfulily limiting her liberty- (Compare
Freeden" descriptio of the Milliian conceptual m p inSection 2.2.)
%ward the cnd of the ninekmth century, liberal theory split into iwo
camps. M a t m o&en cdled "'cassicalrYiberals ftzllowed Mili in insist-
ing cm the central role of freedom, and the necessiw in the interests of
frtiedom, to drasticdly limit coercio~~ or force, including the force of gov-
emnnenl. For classical libernls, both freedom and justice are closely
bound to the protection of the market order and private property rights.
Hmce ctassical liberais have been advocates of limited govemme~~t and
free markets. Elelng wary of all government; they are cautious advacates
of kmocracy, Insofar as democracy pmtecb liberty, they suppart it, but,
ag"in foilowing Mll, they oppose democracjes that overly restrict Lhe
freedom of some of their citizens. 1". A. Hayek, one of the preernhent clas-
sical liberals of the twentieth century, writes of democracy that it "is an
ideal worth fil;hting for to lfie utmost, because it is our only protection
. . . against tyranny. mough democracy itself is not freedom . . . it is one
of the m s t ixnportant safeguards of frcedom."Vn all this, Mayek sees
himself developing Mill's liberalism, A%thoughcritical of sume of Mill's
speciiic views, F-layek concludes one of his mast irnportmt works with
the s m e quote with whi& M111 htroduced Qn Libert,~:"The grmd, the
:leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these
p"ges directly cowerges, is the absolutely a d essentid importance of
humm development in its richest diversity*"B
Co~~trasting to the classical liberals are '%revisionistuor ""new liberalsfff
who sc,u$ht to move liberalism closer to sc,cidism. L. ':l: Hohhouse f 1864-
19291, a leading new liberal, \vent so far as to advocate a ""Zberal Social-
ism."7 Hobhouse also SW himsdf as developi~~g Mill's doctrine: "The
teaching of Mill brings us close to the heart of Liberdim."" Hobhouse
and his kllow revisionist liberals reinterpret liberty; distancing it from
private property and moving it closer to a full embrace of the democratic
welfnre state. "fhough incfividual liberty remains at the coref their fmored
conception of liberty harmonizes with an extensive democratic bvelfare
state pursuing social justice and regulating market relations.
Because liberals have developed Mi:tl%exemplar in such profoundly
different bvays, 1 will disthguish throughout betkveen classical and revi-
sionist liberalism. WC shall see that classical and revisionist liberals de-
fend markedly differe~~t conceptio~~s of liber% ewaiit;\l, and justice, yet
their common stress on liberty m d their Millian heritage firmly identiq
lhem both as parts of the liberal tradition.

As Freeden notes, "AB socialisms as5el.t ihe equality of human beings,'""
placing strong ideals of eyualiv at the core of their political outlooks,
which in turn provides the basis for strongly egalitarian conceptions of
social justice and cJemocracy. It has often been said that one of the great
debdes in political. theory is between propomnls of m e r e and of equal-
ity. Now since liberals place liherty in a s u p ~ m positim,
e relegating
equaiity to secondary status, it m y seem that as standard bearer.; of
equality, socialists kvould simply reverse this priority upholding equality
over liberty. Altln.ough this m y well have been a characteristic of early
socialist tl-leories, it is not a feature of recent socidism. fndeed, according
to one contemporary scxiillist, '*Liberty deserves almost fanatic support
horn democratic socialists,0l"' Fundamental to most recent socialisms is
the ciaim that given lfie proper interpretatio~~s, liberty and ewaiity are
mtxtuaUy supportkg. Z,&erty, says an importmt contemporary socialist
philosopher, 'kequires equalil-yI""l in particular, an quality of power, In a
simi:iar vein, another contemporary socialist insists that "'freedom and
equality, far h m be* oppoed ideais, actualty coincide."12 In arguing
far a cojncidence of iiherty m d equalxty, socjaists pave the way far
claims that strongly egalitarian democratic governments en:hance frce-
dom. fn contrast, they insist, priv"te property-hased markets-perhaps
all, markets-are the enemy of freedom, produckg irtegalitarian concen-
&ations of properly and power.
Again, although some simpIification is helpfui in understanding com-
plex poljtical theories, we must be careful not b be too siMII)tistic, Social-
ists, Eke liberals, disagree on impartant issues. One such disagreementl
which we will consider in Sectior.3 10.4, occurred between democratic so-
cialists and the followers of Vladimir I3ich Lenin (1870-1924) as to
whether a nondemocratic state, controlled by a socialist elite, could be a
justified means to socialist egalitarian values;. Could the values; of social
and economic equaliv justify m authoritarim state that was devoted to
those socialist aims? And what feature of the socialist conceptual map
coutd lead an othwwise egaiitarian politicai t.lteory to endorse a higw
inegalitarian view of po1iticd authority?

Orze mcent political theorist has charwterized conservatism as "a philos-
ophy of imperfectim, committed to the idea of h i t s , and directed to-
wards the defense of a lirmited style of politics.'"3 At the core of conser-
vatism is a conception of politics as a limited and difficult activity
that is vpicaily misun&rstood. Co~~servatism arose as a reactior.2 to the
g d poiitical projeek of first liberals and then socialists to bring about
revolutionary changes in support of their key political values: liberty and
equality. The Fre~~ch Revdutior~of 1789 was the spur for tl-le greatest of
all conservat.ive wnrks, Edmund Burke's (1729--1797) RepTections on the
ilz Fra~~ce
Rm~ll~ifirrn (1790). Because of the complexity of society and the
limits of our reasor.2, lrhc conservative stresses that politics cannot k i n g
about great, beneficial, revolutionary changes. Attempts at such revoltx-
tioalary chmge almost a h a y s bring about disasters-witrzess, says the
cox~servativc.,the great fiberaf and socialist rwolutims, France in 37139
and Russia in 1937. As Bwke saw it., "A man full of warm speculative
benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it;
but a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall
make the most of the existing milferial of his counky. A cfisposj,tion
to preserve, and an ahiljty to improve, would be my standard of a

As we shall see, the conservative typically stresses that polities is a

practical and complex activiw. Indeed, says the coalserviltiv+alld Plato
has been the inspiraticm of many conservatives on this point-it is lfie art
of govemillg people a r ~ dr u ~ u ~ i na gstate. The main justification for some
rather than others possessing this authmily is that some, and not others,
have practicral howledge of the art of politics, filing, like medicine or
cavenh-y, is an art. It requires a prc)F)erknowledge of the techniques of
the art, its tools and its ajms. And like any art, it should be performed by
lhose who are best equkped to parljcipate. If one wodd not trust one's
body to a doctor who has 210 practical knovviedge of medicirne, but o d y
has read a book, why would one trust one's ssociety to a group that has no
practical knowledge of politics? Because the conservative insists that
most do not understand the lintited possibifities of the art of politics, con-
servatives offer a view of political authority that stresses the irnportmce
of expertise, and so is criticd of egalitarian (dcmocralic) values, The atti-
tude toward liberty is more complex---it is not so much a rejection of the
idea as an attempt to control and limit its revolutionary potential, stress-
ing not a gepleral, expansive notion of liberty, but a defhed enumeration
of important traditional potitical liberties. And it is clear that the corlser-
vative rejects the socialist's attempt to reconcile liberty and equality:
"There is no prhciple more basic in the conservative philosophy than
that of the inherent al?d absolute incompatibiuy between liherty and
Again, within the co~~servative tradition &ere is variety and suhtley*
S o m cmservatives stress the limits of politics, whereas others grant
great political authority to political experts, and yet others give govern-
m n t the role of cmfnrcing traditional virtue and morality. One of our
aims will be to discover what parts of the co~~servative system of ideas
justify these different understamdings of justice and aul17orily.

Three Enduring Political lssues

ALt-hough political theorics are systems of mutually supporting inttzrpreta-
tions of politic& c o ~ ~ c q tour
s , enduring political theories have oeber ele-
ments as well. As we have just seen in. our sketch of conservative political
*inking, one of its roots is a skepticism about the powers of human rea-
son to unGjerstar~dand control sockty. Liberalism, for exampk, can be
understood as havhg positions on the nature of howledge, humm soci-
ety m d psychology, reasm, m d ideals of lj.fe.1" lIlhcral%position on
these nnattws helps justify her il7terpretatiom of politic& concepts and
the policy proposals that follow from them. An entire political theory;
then, is a highly complex structure, involving claims about moralivf the
nature of society a r ~ dpersons, reason, libery, eyuality, justice, a r ~ dso on.
TO fully gm"" the justificatiort for a liberaf, conservative, or socialist
analysis of a political comepc we wodd have to take account of the rele-
vmce of the politic& Ifieorist" ppositions on d l these other matters. That,
thougl~,wodd be a daw~tirrgundertaking, and one outside the scope of
the book. Although we c at consider all these other elements, we c m
identify three crucial issues on which liberals, swialists, and conserva-
tives have long disagwed and that art.crucial to understanding their dis-
a g ~ e m e n t sh u t pol.iticd concepts: (l)rationalism~a~~tirationalism~ (2)
theorjes of human nature, and (3) individualism/collecti~ism~ Again,
these three issues are by no means the only relevmt ol3c.s; but they are
fundamentill, m d they explain a gseat deal of the differences in. the so-
cialist, liberal, and conservative outlooks. Throuighout this book, we shall
see that differences 017 these three basic issues often resuit in very differ-
ent hte~retationsof our main political concepts.

An endurbg issue in.political theory is the role of reason in humm affairs.
A rationalist is one who stresses the power of human reason to understand
society to enlighten us about what is good and right, and wide society
almg the best path. The rationiJlist is g n c r d y suspicious of custom m d
&adition, for people follow them without knowing why they do so or
whether the actions dictated by custom a ~ tradition
d are the best options
open ta US. M e n confronted with a customay practice, the rationalist m-
alyzes and questions it: does E a s m point toward a better way of doing:
things? A rationalist is thus apt to look to scie~~cc? rather &an tradition for
guidmce, for science is the syst-ematiceffort to apply reason to ~mderstmd
naturt-.and stciety: For shilar reasons, rationalists are apt to be suspicious
of rdi@or~ insofar -as it asks us to accept beliefs on faith rather than rctaso1.1.

Fundamental to most conservative political theory is a criticism of ratio-

nalism in politics. Michael Oakeshott (1901-19YO), the foremost recent
conservative polifical philosopher; tells us that a rationalist in politics is
characterized by the foflowing traits:lT

A rationalist believes that thought should be free from any obli-

gation to itny authority and should follow the dictates of reasor1
A rationalist is the encmy of tradition, authority, custom, and
A rationalist feels herself free to question any ophian, belief, or
A ralionalist trusts the power of reason tru deternine truth ancf
A rationalist believes that the pokver of reason is common to all
A ratior~alistfinds it hard to believe that others who think about
a problem in a clear and honest bvay will arrive at an answer
that differs horn her own,
A ratior~alistdoes not pay cnough attentiar~to experience; he id-
ways wmt S to rely on his own, reason m d begin, afresh the solu-
tion to every prdlem.
When a rationalist does learn from experience, he wants to
transform its lesson into a rational formula that can be con-
veyed to all.
(9) A rationalist does not-grasp ihe mysteries of Iife.
(10) A rationalist uses theones to understand events; hence she only
recopizes the large outline of experience.

As Gdakeshatt sees it, this sort of thinking has characterized much of

modern life, and especially political theory since the Middle Ages. Liber-
alism and socidism, with their strong declaratior~sof politicai values
aramd which politics should be orgmized, are, in. Oalkeshotl" eyes, mm-
ifestations of the rationalism that has characterized modern European
politics.M These rationalislic theories ignore experience m d seek to r e p -
late the life of complex societies by abstract concepts invented by political
thhkers, Oakeshott does not claim that such theodes are useless, Butr he
insists, they capture only a part of the truth. The ratior~alist,Ifiough, does
not see this; she mistakes part of the tmth for the whole truth.
Oakeshott builds his case around two types of knowledge: what
he calls "technical k%ovvledgeff a r ~ d"'practicd hIovvledge.""The first-
kchnieal knowle$ge-invotves knowledge of techrrjquc:

In every art and science, and in every practical activity, a technique is in-
volved. In many activities this technical knc>wlledgeis formulated into rules
which are, or may be, deliberately learned, remrsmbered, and, a s we say put
into practice; but whether or not it is, or has been, precisely formulated, its
chief characteristic is that it is susceptible of precise formulatirtn, althaugh
special skill and insight may be required to give it that formulaticm, The
technique (or part of it) of driving a motor car on English roads is to be
found in the Highway Code, the technique ctf cookery is contained in the
cookery book, and the technique of diwavery in natural science-or in l-ristcxy
is in their rules of research, ctbservation and verification,l9

Cbakeshatt contrasts this sort of knowledge to practical bowledge,

which cannot be formulated into rules, :It is knowledge one gains
through actual experience, as a cook h a w s m a y things that are not
witten in cookbooks, but can only be learned by being a cock. As
Cbakeshott puts it, techica) kno'~vledgewilt. te13 a person what to do, but
practical knowledge will tell him how to do it.2"
Techical. bawledge c m be written down. It can be codified ar put in,
the forln of rules. Practical knowledge, C)&eshott believes, c m o t be.
TThis does not mem that practkal knowledge camot be taught; a master
craftsman teaches his appre~~tice his skills. Rut all that he teaches cannot
be reduced to rules and put down in same book- The typical expression
of such practicd bowledge, Oakeshott writes,

is in a customary ctr traditional way of doing things, or, simply, in practice.

And this gives it the appearance ctf imprecision and consequently of uncer-
tainty, c~ofbeing a matter c~fopinion, of prt~babilityrather than truth. It is, in-
deed, a knowledge that is expressed in taste or connoisseurship, lacking
rigidity and ready for the impress of the mind of the learner.21

Now, says Oakeshott, ""Rationalism is the assertion that what 1 have

called prackical knowledge is not knowledge at all, the assertion that,
poperly speaking, there is no h o d e d g e that is not techl7ical knowl-
edge-"" That isI Oakeshott thinks that ratimalim equates knowledge
with what can be systematized, cast in the form of a gerreral tl-reor~and
witten down in books. "The sovereipty of keaso11,9for the Rationaljst,
mems the sovereignty of techiqueeff23
:It would appear that both liberal a d socidist lfiinkinfjr are rationaljst
insofar as they are attempts to rethink the nature of poijticd life f m the
begbb~g and aim to codify all this h t o neat, of &ought.
:In place of the practical knowledge that one needs to engage in politics-
hoLvledge that c m 011ly he gained through experience-the liberal and
the socialist give US the equivalent of political. ""coakbooksm-""f-tw to"
books that simplify palitics by reducing it to technical k~~owledge. Thus,
to Oakeshott, tt7e great works oi the liberal and socialist traditions---for
exmple, Mitl's CZtz Lihevfy and the writings oC Kart. Marx (1818-1883) and
Friedrich Engels (382E)--1895)-manifcst the rationalist urge to equate all
political knoMJledge with technical lu~owledgethat car1 be writtell down
far all to read." "Koth liberalism and socialism, he suggests, arose as
guides for a politically inexperienced class that was comk~gto power.
These 1lew classes-first flte middle class ard later the workcjrs-gained
power, but were without the necessary practical political bowledge. So
they sought political "cribs": they needed a book to tell them what to do.
As he sees them, liberal and socialist political theories might be aptly
subtitled "political rule made easy" or "'a layunm" guide to politics." If
all political knowledge is reduced to technical knowliedge, it can be
taug:ht to t-he hexperienced.

B u r k e u t t a c k on Rationalism
Burke" attack on the French Revolution shares mtxch with Oakeshott's
criticism of rationnlism. Throughout t-he Reflections, Burke calls attation
to the way in which the French Revolutim was be@ guided by ""meta-
physicsf%d "phil~sophy,'"~~ """They[the Frencf-t Assel-nblyj commit the
whole to the m c ~ of y untried speculations; they abandon the dearest in-
&rests of the public to those loose theories, to which none of them would
chuse [sic] to tmst the slightest of his private co~~cer~~s.'"%atso ap-
palls Burke-and every other conservative who has followed hh-is the
way in which. the rrvolutionaries in Frilnce sought to create a whole new
social and politiml order based on Lhe ahstract theory of the rights of
mm. In place of the political &aditions of France-traditions that had
grown and developed over many generations-the :Leadersof the French
Revolution sought to remold h n c h society and politics on the basis of a
philosophic theory of natural rights (see Sections 8.1,8.2). As Burke sees
it, this view of politics places far too much faiZlh in the powers of hurnm
reaso1.l to undc.rsta"~d society. Writing to a supporter of the Fre~~chRevo-
lution, Burke kvrites, in defense of the English,

You see, Sic that in this enlightened age T am bold enough to confess, that
we [in England] are generally men uf untaught feelings; that instead of cast-
ing away ail our old prejudices, we cherish thern to a very considerable de-
gree, and, ta take mtlre shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they
are prcrjudices; and the longer they have prevailed, the more we cherish
them. We are afraid tct put men tct five and trade each upon his own private
stock of reason; becaus we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and
that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank
and capital of natiom, and ctf ages. Many of our men of speculation, instead
of explrsding general prejudices, employ their sagacity tc:, discover the latent
wisdom which prevails in thern.27
Thus, whereas the ratimaljst grounds her theory in the power of reason
in each individual, the. conserwative places his faith in fie accumulated
practical howledge embedded in custom m d tradition. T%us, to Elurke,
the rationalist "scirnce" that would attempt to datroy all traditim and
start afresh is no morc? than a "presumph;rous ig11orance.~'28

Socialism and Rationalism

The conservative characterization of rationalism seeks to show it in a
negative light-in Gurke" words, as a '"presumptuous ignorance." We
should mf expect that a n y liberal or socialist wouid concur with that
characterization of their doctrfne. Neverthekss, it seems ge~~erally cor-
rect that lfieralism sometimes, and socialism trsually; tends toward
something akin to Oakesholt" notion of rationalism.
Especially since the writings of Marx and E~~gels, socialism has tended
to stress the powes of h m m reason, the ilccomplishmentsof sciences ir.r
understanding burnms and societ~and the ability of rational people to
control their societies. Fclr Xl'riedrich Engels, Marx's collaborator, the great
triwmpfi of Marxism cvas to t-ransfotm socidi,sm into a science.29 Accord-
ing to a contemporary socialist, rathalism is one of the basic tendcmies
of socialism:

The human race, rationalism maintains, has now grown up and at last has
freed itself from the age-old yokes of iporance and superstition. We have in
our possession ""science," the rational, ordered kmcjwledge of the laws of na-
ture: we can progressively dctmesticate, mould nature as to make it serve
our own ends, and we can apply this knowledge tc:,human society, Since it is
primarily material wealth (objects gained through the process of subjugat-
ing nature) that conduces to our happiness, we shctufd ctrganize our lives,
our relatic2nships as to secure the maximum technical, economic and admin-
istrative efficiency in a13 our social activities. The rationalistic critique of cap-
italism, it-rerefc~re,decries most of the CJZOC)S and zufistt" involved in capitalist
production, and its cmtinued enthronement of ignorance and supersti-
tion, . . . Socialism, the rational organisation of society, it holds to be the self-
evident crowning of the values and aspiraticlns of the Enlightenment: it
needs only common sense and the right kind of education tt3 make people
accept it and work towards its realization.%

Liberalism's Complex Rejotion to Rationalism

Liberal Xafz'a~zalisjt~z.Like socialism, liberalism has its roots in the h~tellec-

tual period known ils the Enlightenment. This era-the heart of whjch
was in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France, England, Scot-
land, and America-insisted on the power of individual reason. Reason,
insisted the philosophers of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire (1694
1778) and Denis Diderot (1713-1784), was the key to progress and scien-
tific discovery, whereas custom codified superstition and error.31 From
this followed the supreme importance of individual freedom, especially
freedom of thought. John Stuart Mill was to make this a key theme of On
Liberty. Mill repeatedly criticized "the despotism of custom. . . the stand-
ing hindrance to human advancement, being in unceasing antagonism to
that disposition to aim at something better than customary, which is
called, according to circumstances, the spirit of liberty, or that of progress
or irnprovement."32 As Mill saw it, improvement in human affairs de-
pended on the free exercise of human reason, which is always question-
ing tradition and custom; to insist that we follow custom is to stifle lib-
erty, reason, and progress. Liberalism thus asserts the primacy of reason
in conducting human affairs. As the great classical liberal Ludwig von
Mises (1881-1973) argued, "All that man is and all that raises him above
animals he owes to his reason. Why should he forgo the use of his reason
.. . in the sphere of social policy and trust to vague and obscure feelings
and impulses?"33

Liberal Antirationalism: Value Pluralism. As one contemporary liberal has

pointed out, not only are liberals identified with rationalism, but its crit-
ics often associate them with "hyperrationalism":

Rationalists are said to believe that human reason is powerful enough to

construct a workable blueprint for the best possible social order and that
people can be led by rational argument to accept this blueprint. The critics of
such hyperrationalism argue that reason is too feeble for such a task, given
the complexity of social life.34

Liberals seldom embrace hyperrationalism. Although drawing on the

Enlightenment's faith in reason, liberalism also displays skepticism
about--or at least a cautious attitude toward-the powers of human rea-
son." Von Mises asserts not only the importance of being guided by rea-
son, but its limits: "Our powers of comprehension are limited. We cannot
hope ever to discover the ultimate and most profound secrets of the uni-
verse."36 Indeed, one of the most famous liberal works of the twentieth
century, Karl Popper's (1902-1994) The Open Society and Its Enemies, was,
first and foremost, a criticism of the highly rationalistic philosophies
of, among others, Plato and M m . The most famous liberal criticism of
rationalism was advanced by Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997). According to
One belief, more than any other, is responsible for the slaughter of individu-
als ctn the alters of the great historical ideas-justice or progress ctr the hap-
piness of future generations, or the sacred mission or emancipation of a
nation or race or class, or even liberty itself, which demands the sacrifice of
individuals for the freedctm of society. This is the [ratirtnalistic] belief that
somewhere, in the past or the future, in divine revelation or in the mind of
an individual thinkex; in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the
simple heart of an uncorrupted gclod man, there is a final solution.57

For Berlh, the ratimalists of the Enlightenment believed that, ultimately,

the use of human reason would reveal the best way to live; it would
show us what values we all should follow, and how those values should
be ordered in our lives. T%ey were convinced that. application of humm
reason would, in the end, tell us how to live and what to strive for. As
Berlin sees it, the ermr of rationalism is its failure to grasp that there is no
fjnar answer to the questions, '*What is best in Ijfd" or "'Whieh is the
most worthy end for our society to pursue??"'The ratimalist seeks to an-
swer a question that cannot be answered; and her effort to mold society
to conform to her mswer is no more than sanneone trying to live out m
illusion, albeit at great:costs to others,
Bedin, drawing 0x1 the tradition of antiratiox~alistthh~kers,advocaks
"value pluralismft-the doctrine that there are many values or goad
lhings in life, and there is no rational basis for concluding that one is best,
or that some combinatio~~ is best. Says Berlin,

The world that we encowter in ordinary experience is one in which we are

faced with choices between ends equally ultimate, and claims equally ab-
solute, the realization of some of which must inevitabXy involve the sacrifice
of others. . . . If, as X believe, the ends of men are many, and nctt all ctf them
are in principle compatible with each other, then the possibility of conflict-
and of tragedy-can never wholly be eliminated from human Xife, either
persrtnaf or social. The necessity ctf choosing between absolute claims is then
an inescapable characteristic nf the human cc3nditic?n.38

Berlin thus contrasts his notion of pluralism (according to which there is

no rational answer about how to resolve basic: conflicts of values) to
murzism, a rationalistic doctrine that jnsists that a rationally correct an-
swer to d u e disputes can be discove~d,and there is, in principle, a ra-
tionally best way for us all to live. Cln Berli1Ifsview, true liberalism rests
on pluralism: because there is na sbgXe correct answer as to holv each
should live, it is essential to ensure each has liberty to arrive at: her own
answer: co~~trast, Berlin insists, socialism, a ~ much
d of revisio~~istlib-
eralism, are hfarlxed by a monistic tmderstmdhg of life: the application
of buman reason, these theorists believe, can show us how all, our impor-
tant and cherished ideals c m he h d simultaneously, eliminating the
need to sacrifice some good amd important things so as to achieve others.

Liberal A;r-rtl'ratz'olzalIsm: Liberals have defended two
opposing views of the liberal order-one s t ~ s s i n gthe spo~~taneous, un-
plmned order of a marke"lsociet.y; the ather stresshg btentional design.
The former has been of fundamentd importance to classkal liberahsm.
As Lord Robbins observed,

The essence of Classical Liberalism was the belief that, within a suitable sys-
tem of general rules and instituticms, there will arise spontaneous retation-
ships also deserving the name ""order" but which are self-sustaining and,
within the limits prerjcribed by the rules, need nct detailed and specific regu-
la tion.3"

l'l-rc most sophisticated artfedation of this conception of liberal society

and institULims is to be found in the work of Hayek, who cor~traststwo
"rvays of tookhg at the pattern of humm activities which lead to very
different conclusions concernhg both its explanalion and the possibili-
ties of deliberately alkring it."

The first [that is, constructivist] view holds that human institutions will
serve human purposes only if they have been deliberately designed for
these purposes, often also that the Pact that an institution exists is evidence
of its having been created for a purpose, and always that we should so re-
design society and its imtitutions that all our acticlns will be wholly guided
by known purposes. . . .
The other view, which has slowly and gradually advanced since antiquity
but for a time was almost entirely overwhelmed by the rntlre glamorous
constructi\~istview was that the orderliness of society which greatly in-
creased the effectiveness of individual action was not due solely to institu-
ticms and practices which has been invented or designed f ~ that r purpclse
but was largely due to a process described as ""growth" m d later as "evoXu-

On the first view of sock@-implicit inthe whtinga of revisionist liberals

such as f o b Dewey (M59-1952)-humm reason can grasp the purposes
of society ar~dplan society so arr; to fulfil1 this purpose; indeed, on this
view, consciaus plaming is the only way social order cm be achieved.
This constructivist theory of sociG@is thus highly rationalistic: the appli-
calion of the powers of humilr~reason is what altows for ordered social
life. Cln the alternative, anticonstructivist l4ew characteristic of much
classical liberal thought, the social order is so complex that husnan reason
cannot grasp it-it cannot understmd and coxrtrol society.

Rutkaalism and Political Thmvies. Socialism, then, is c o m i t t e d to s t m g

forms of rationalism. Socialists, we will see, closely ljnk freedom with
reason -and insist that, properIy undastood, freedom and equality al.e
consistent. Conser~~atives typically strongly disagree, hsisting that rea-
son camot show US how to avoid conflicts between commitmen& to lib-
erty a d the promotion of equillity. Nor do ihey beliwe that politics is
properly understood as the attempt to rationally reconstmct society. Lib-
erals, we have seen, am profoundly divided on rationalkm in politks. Al-
though all libel-als believe that we shouid seek to apply our reason to bet-
ter understand society and reform it, they fmdamentally disagree as to
the limits of this rationalistic tndcavor, Although many revisionist liber-
als have believed that reasoxr can reveal the true good for h u m a r h d
and the best sort of society (see SecLicm 4.3) that zznites freedom with
equality, those such as Berlfn insist that reason c m never tell us the one
best way to live or harmxrize liberty and equality. And dthough revi-
sionist liberals such as John Dewey have endorsed the power of reason to
understand and pZm societ-y;classical liberals such as Hayek insist that
m such comprehensive planning is possible. As we shail see Irhrougbut
this book, because liberais & s a v e on the basic issue of the place of rea-
son in politics, liberalism fractures into divergent political doctrjnes and
inlcrpretatims of political concepts.

Human Nature and Polifical Theory

The notion of ""humar~nature" h s been used in narrower and wider
senses. h its narrower sense, humm nature is about: human "hstkctsPf
or "drives," h the wider sense, ""human nature" i s much the same as
"psychologym-explaxrati~xrs of humar~hehavior and characteristics.
When the term is trsed in the narrower sense, many disptrte kvhether
there is really such a thhg as human nature, since many doubt whether
we have natural instincts or drives. hrdeed, as we will see, the clairn that
humms are moved by powerful. jnstincts can be trnderstood as one view
of human nature-a view rejected by many h the wider sense, however,
it seems that any poIitical theory must include some picture of human
nature. hsofar as a theory of hmmm natznre tries to tell us what humms
are really like," this will be of obvious relevance to questions such as,
"Why do we value tiherty?'" "Are we suited to al.1 egalitarimr society?ff
and "Wow much can juastjce demmd of pe~ple?'"~et us briefly consider
four theories of human nature that have played impartant roles in liberal,
socialist or co~~servative

According to one familiar view of human nature, people are basically

self-interested-if not in all. aspects of their lives, certainly in politics,
David Hume (1711-1776) famusly argued that it is "a just politic&
maxim, that every man must be supposed a have,"% that is, that peaple
will always act to promole lheir own self-interest. Jererny Bentharn went
a good &a1 further, a r p i n g that in -all amas of life each person purmxes
her m 1pieasurea a ~ -avoids
d her own pains:

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters,
pain and pleasure. It is f t x them alone to point out what we ought tc? do, as
well as to determine what we shall do. . . . They govern us in all we do, in a13
we say in all we tit-rink: every effort w e can make to throw off our subjectirtn,
will serve but ta demtlnstrate and confirm it.4?

lhis co~~ception of human nature has had great influence in ccronodcs.

:In many ways, t-he n o t i o ~of~Wonzo ecunun4ic~as co~~omic ma~-can be
traced back to Bentharn; economic m m acts to pursue his own hterests
and plans m d is not dirnctly cmcerned with advancing the goals and in-
s others. Because of the close tie betweell classical liberalism and
t e ~ s t of
economics, this seE-interested theory of human action has had great
influence in classical liberal thought. James Buchanan, another Nable
Prize-wil711ing classical liberai economistr, has repeatedly argmcl that
X-lomo econumz'cus explains political as well as economic behavior.4 This
lheory also has been a favoritc target of criticism by revisionist liberals,
conservatfves, and socialists who hawe strel~uouslyargued that the flaw
in classical liberal capitalism is its view of humms as seff-inte~stcdcon-
surners with infinite appetites,=

l h e divide betwee11 clwsicai and revisionist lfberals is nowhere sharper

than concerning their views of human nature. h the place of the basically
(if not entirdy) self-interested cmception of persons that dominated clas-
sical liberal ecommic t h h ~ h gliberals
, in tt7e late nineteenth and twenti-
eth centuries embraced a view of humans as self-developers, focused not
on promoting their i n t e ~ s t hut
s on developing their capacities, talents,
and abilities. Again, Mill it; the critical figure?. In On I,ibert!/, Mill argues
that freedam is necessary for individual sel6deveXopment and growth;
only if a person is allowed great scope for choosing a life of her own will
she find a life that suits her talents, abilities, and interests. Later liberals
such as 'E H. Green (1836-1882), L. T. Mobhouse, Bernard Bosanquet
(1848-1923), and John D e w q developed this idea. In his analysis of the
"Heart of Liberalism," Hohhouse insisted, "The f o w ~ d a t i oof~Iiberty
~ is
the idea of growth.""" Although this view of humms is by no mems ab-
sent from dassical liberal theory," it dominates revisionist liberalism.
Individuals, says the revisionist liherai, are not moved simply to
advmce their i n t e ~ s t sm d consume or satis@ their appetites, but to de-
velop and refine their capacities and talents. Moreover, according to revi- Ifherals, seli-development is a cooperat& activity: only by par-
ticipating in a communiw of self-developers can one best develop o11e~s
talents. The development of others stimulates m d completes one's own:
one cannot be a developed,, realized, individual in a world of undevel-
oped, stunted people. C o ~ ~ s e q e twey , have a r ~interest in each otherfs
devdopment. T%is idea was crucinl to T, M. Grt?err'snotjon of the com-
mon good; according to Grem, "Man cannot cmtemplak himself as in a
better state, or on the way to the best, witl-toutcontemplating others, not
merely as a means to fiat better state, but as slnaritlg it with him."" K u s ,
revisionist liberalism comes to advocate a cooperative and sociable view
of t-rumm beil'lgs as parbIers in each other's self-developmmt.
T%eideal of self-devetapment, central to rcrvir;ionist liberdsm, has also
been influential in socialist thought. C, B. Macpherson (1911-1987)-a
Marxist philosopher ard a harsh critic of ihe wlf--1Rterestc.d conception of
human n a m e that looms large irt clnssicaf liberalism-was much more
sympathetjc to the revisionist liberal view of the human being "as exerter
and en~oyerof his own powers."49 T%eproblem for ~visiol2istIjberalism,
Macpherson repeatedly insisted, bvas that liberal capitalism did not allow
people to direct and develop their powers and capacities, revising in-
stead that workers m s t sell their lahor to t-he capitalist so that hc. couid
use their pokvers and abilities for his own purposes..'This criticism c m be
found in the early works of Karl Marx, in which he developed his theory
of alienation, maintaining that under capitalism workers were -alienakd
from their work-they sabv their work as controllkg them rather than as
lheir own cxalion. A worker" labor is not a way for her to express her
humanity; it is the way for the capitalist to make the worker reflect his
aims. Work, as Marx saw it, becomes under capitalism s k p l y a means to
meet one"s most basic needs. ITather than the expsession of the distinc-
tively humar~capacities, work is reduced to being a mere mems for ani-
mal surbsistence. The worker bvorks k order to eat: "It is . . . not the satis-
faction of a need [fiat is, the human need to express oneself by c-ing
the world], it is merely a rncrans to satisfy needs exter~~al to it,"so More-
over, far from, de~relopingthe disti,lzctive:ly h u m capacities of the
worker, labor under capitalism destroys those capacities. Capitalists do
m t emphy machhery to lighttln t-he load of workers, hut to get more out
of them. Consequently; Marx argued, work trnder capitalism is dehu-
manizh~gin the sense that it starves higher huznm capacities and molds
humans Fn the image of machines.

Social Envir;onmenfa/ism
Although the self-developmental ideal looms large in both revisionist lib-
eral and socialist theories, in socialist theories it is very nearly always
complcme~~kd by a concreptio~~of M a n n a t m that lays great stress on
the ways in r/vhich our envimnmex~tshapes our pammfiities. A social m-
zilinjnmenfulist conception of human nat-ure stwsses that pcofle's charac-
ters are largely pmdttced by the c u l t m in which they live.51 a l e ' s cul-
ture provides the raies, categories, and symbols by which one defines
oneself and generates what we think of as "'personality." On this view,
peoplc are formed by their history and culture-the characteristics of
people in one country or epoch will differ fudammtally from those of
others. IThe personaljty of an nlnerican at the beginninfi~of the
h/verrty-first century will be radicallJr different from that of a Greek in the
third century sec,
Now, although socialists have emphasized the individual's capacity
for self-development, they have also put great stress on the makability
of h a a n nature?. Sociaiists have long maintained that the of
humans in capitatist society is the c ~ a t i o n
of capitajist society: a changed
society will produce radically different types of people with radically dif-
ferent concerns and nnotivatims. Thus, for exampk, Marx believed that
in a communist society that does abvay with private property and the
market, individuals will no longer see work as drudgery that they only
perform if rewarded.

In a higher phase of communist society, after the emlaving subordinaticm of

the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis be-
Ween mental and physical labor; has vanished; after labor has become not
only a meam of life but life's prime wmt; after the productive farces have
also increased with the all-rt~unddevelopment of the individual, and all the
springs of cooperative wealth FIow abtxndantty-only then can the narrow
horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on
its banner: From each according to his ability, to each according to his

Marx" point was that this transformation in our tmderstandkg of jus-

tice, m d the sort of people who would embrace this rrew conception of:
justice, would only arise &r the corrupting influences of ca~pitalistcul-
ture had been elisninated. 'Thus, lrhe antisocialist claim that people are too
sell-interested to mbrace commmist society fails to a p p ~ c i a t ethat self-
ishess is not a trait of humans as such, but of humans under capitalism.
Because sociitlism insists that many of the traits of "'capitalist mn" will
not be traits 01 "socialist mm:' it emphasizes the ways in kvhich our soci-
ety shapes our personality.
:Interestingly, on this point cor-rservatkestend to agme with socidists.
Conservatiries too see humans as essentially beings of a parti,cular time
and place, and so '"heir naturt." is to a large extent a product of swiety
and its tradition. m a t a person is deper-rdsvery much 0x1 her history, the
traditions in which she has been broul;ht up, her affections, and her at-
tachments. Simply put, humms are essentially historical creatznres: to be
a person is to he an Englishman of a certain locality at a cerlaisl time or an
hericar-r at the turn of the twer-rty-firstcenlury, but: it is not Sjmp1y to be
"a human." Far the conservative, our traditions constitute our nature:
what we are is to a large extent determined by our customs, traditional
ways of doing things, traditior-ral religious beliefs, traditior-ral political
arrmgements, and so on. To take these away-to embark on the rational-
ist project of startislg out from scratch-is to attack the "oasis of our per-
smiities. Oakeshott makes this point in an essity entitled 'Qn Being

Change is a threat to identity; and every change is an emblem of extinction.

But a man" identity (or that of a community.) is nothing more than an W-
broken rehearsal of contingencies, each at the mercy ctf circumtances and
each sipificant in prt~portionto its familiarity, It is not a fortress into which
we may retire, and the only means of defending it (that is, ourselves) against
hostile forces of change is in it-re open field of our experience; by throwing
our weight upon the foot which f t x the time being is most firmly placed, by
cleaving to whatever familiarities are not immediately t h ~ a t e n e dand thus
assihlating what is new without becoming unrecognizable to ctursejves.
The Masai, when they were moved frtlrn their old country to the present
Masai reserve in Kenya, took with them the names of their hills and plains
and rivers and gave them to the I-kIls and plains and rivers of the new crtun-
try. And it is by such subterhge of conservatism that every man or people
a>mpelledto suffer a notable change avoids the shame of extinction.53

T%us,the conservative view of humans as essentially constituted by their

history and tradition leads to the conservative" deep concern about
change: change undermines our very identity. MI are creafrures embed-
ded i17 a particdr time and a particula place, and that is why the con-
servative so stresses tradition m d locality
We are cmfrmkd with a puzzle, It would seem that the socialist is at-
tracted to a social ernivirox~mentalistview of h u r n a ~nature because she
supports and bvelcomes great chmges. Because she c m look forward to
new sorts of people in the new society, the motives and shortcomings of
people llr~derliberal capitdim need not carry over into socialist society.
But the conservative fears change just because our personalities are
shaped by our historical and cultural heritage. How can the same theory
of hunit1.1nahre be employed to welcome and discourage change? We
mtxst recall that whereas conservatives are antirationalist, socialists are
rationalist. Socialists have faith in our ability to control changes and
through reasoned plax~ingproduce the sort of soGiety that will creak de-
sirahle human beings. In gmeral, for the socialistf that our characrter is
shaped by our society is an opportunity to bring &out the right sort of
character in the right sort of society. We have seen, however, that conser-
vatives such as Oakeshott and Burke deny that we c m have such k ~ o w l -
edge illbout, and control of, our s0ciet.y and how it c m be altered. For the
conservative, gwat chmge is a leap into the dark, where we will becme,
in ways W c a ~ n oeven
t wess, differat sorts of people.

We saw that Mamim sacialism ( m d it is not at all unique in this regard)

contibjnes a se)f-developmentalwith a social mvim entalist view of hu-
man nature, Conservatives such as Burke combine social e~~viro~~mental-
ism with what c m be called m insl"inefiuistt l n e a ~of humm nature. Ac-
coding to one of the most farnous instinetiriist psychologists, 'The humm
mind has certain innate or Fnherited tendencies which are the essential
sgrhgmr motive powers of all thought m d action." And these h a t e ten-
dencies are the basis of the ""caharacter md -will of individuals and of na-
tions"'; thus the cbracteristics of peclf?lefrom one era to the next are largely
mchmg;ing, since thew hstistcts have a "stable mQmchmghg charac-
s , are kmate propensities far humans to behave in cer-
ter."%I n s ~ ~ c tthe^^,
tain way.;, propmsitics that are relitthew constant in all times and culhrres.
Although, as I have said, conservatism stresses the way in which hm-
mans are the product of their history and culture, it also has an instinc-
tivist strain. Conservatives such as Burke and Oakeshott insist that we
are hherently passionate creatures. Accordhg to Burke,

S~cietyrequires . . . that the passions of individuals should be subjected . . .

the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their wilt controlled,
their passions brought into subjection. This can ctnly be done by a pozuer out
ofthemselves; and not, in the exercise of its fwcticm, subject tc:, that will and
to those pas"ims which it is its offjce to bridie and subdue.5'
And to Oakeshott, a m m of conservative "disposition understands it to
be the bushess of gwernment not to inflame passion and give it new ob-
jects to feed upon, but to inject into the ilctivities of all-cady too passion-
ate rnen an ingredient of moderation; to reskaisl, to deflate, to pacify and
to recox~cile;not to stoke t-he fires of desim, hut to d m p them down."56
The tie betkveen consernative and Clhristim thlinking is evident in. their
shared conception of humans as passimate, flawed creatures, who can-
m t obtain p e r k d i m on this earth." Thus, in contrast to Lhe socii\list,
who envisages grand projects to reconstruct humans and society to
achieve a community in which all cooperate and thrive, for the conserva-
tive the possibilities of politics are much more limited. Arthough it
w u l d , no douht, be going too far to say that conservatives adopt Saint
A~tgustine'scharacterization of th.e political r d e as one of jailer to shful
cxatures, the inherently passionattz and flawed nature of human beings
puts severe constrai~litson what politics can achieve. These constraints
were emphasized by the psychologist Sigmtxnd Freud (18561939).Al-
though Fxud is not typically associated with conservatism, his book C k -
ilization and its Disccrrtfenfs---writtell late in his Me (1930)-paix~ts a
deeply pessilnistic picture of what c m be achieved by civilization, .I\s
F ~ u understood
d it, our death instinct-our destmctive and a g g ~ s s i v e
nature-is always threatening to undermir~ecivilizatior~,Thus, rather
than being devot.ed to the perfection of hurnms, poi,itics is properly fo-
cused on controllisrg their destructive urges,

:In Sectiox~2.1, we exan7inc.d one of Galiie's exmples of an essentially

conteskd concept: social justice. It will be called that Gallie arglted that
liberals and socidists advanced conceptions because they
have different ideas about the relation of individuals to society: liberals,
Galtie argued, favur an "'individualist" view, wherclas socialists uader-
stand society in a "col1eccti:vistic" way. Now, althougl"l,of course, this is
far too simple, and although political theorists have often meant very dif-
ferent thhgs by "individualism" and "'collectivism," Gdlie nevertheless
is right that debates about the proper interpretation of concepts such as
liberty, ewality, and justice inevitably involve &bates about persorls and
society, hdeed, according to Bemard Basanquet-m important revision-
ist: liberal-'The relation of the individual to society is the root of every
social proklem."M
A number of differat senses of individualism and collectivism c m be
disthguished.~~ W e hawe already c o n s i d a d one in our examination of
human nature: it;human personality largely the result of culkral and so-
cial influences (as the social environmentalist maintaiurs) ar the conse-
quence of factors arising out of individuals (as, for example, in the self-
interest or instinctivist views)? Two additional individualism/collec-
t-ivism disputes shodd be ibricfly merttiomed: (I) the metfurldologid dis-
pute about the hest way to understand hurnans-in-society, a d (2) the
mortal dispute &out the relative moral claims of tfne illdividual and

A metlnodological inctividualist believes that people" actions, social cus-

toms, and institutio~~s am ultimtely best explahed in terms of the char-
acteristics of individuals-their beliefs, desires, actions, and effects on
each other. In contrast, a methadological collectivist believes that not
only the workings of society and its institutions, but the beliefs, actions,
and other characteristics of i~~dividuals, are to be explained by the social
system in which people fhd themselves.@Often, this comes down to a
simpk question: what is more basic-the individual or sockty?
Jeremy Bentham (Section 2.3) had no doubts: "The commurGlry is a fic-
t-itious body, c o q a s e d of t-he hdividual persolls who are consi,derecf as
constituting as it were its menzbeus."" For m i~~dividualist such as B~II-
tham, Lhe ""community"'is simply a name we use to describe the actio~~s,
traits, and hteractions of indivici.uals,who are real, Any useful accomt of
social life has to start off from what is real-hdividuals, h ~ n the g nine-
t e e ~ ~cemry,
th however, a wide variety of political thirkers----including
many conservatives, socialists, and revisionist liberals-began to ques-
tjon this individdist understanding of society. Although a "first lookf'
may seem to m e a l independat indi\iiduals living next tru each other in
society' a deeper understandkg kvould show the extent to which hdivid-
u& are expressions of their swiety and their place in it.Q Followhg the
French political philosopher Jeit1.1-JacyllesRousseau (1712-1778), m a ~ of y
these pditical phjlosophers insisted that individuals in s0ciet.y share a
common life, culture, and will. hdividuals are a refiection of this com-
man life ard culturc: ""Every mind is a mirror or hpression of tlte whole
cmmunityf'@Individuals arc thus held to be reflections or exyressions
of the essence of their social order, They do not just live next to each
other-society is not simply an agg~gatioxtor "'heap of individuals."""
Rather, says the collectivist, a ""sitciety," "'"nation," or ""people" i s much
m r e than a grouy, of individuals: it has a culture and custom that shape
the inhiduals born into it. W h e ~ a as s ""at;gregationf9ssimpiy a cdec-
tion of parti,cdars, a society is a system of organized life. The coUectivist
believes that it is generally far more fruj.tfui to explaiyr facts about indi-
viduals by appeal to more basic facts about their society. If one wants to
explain the hope$ fears, amd dreams ori. the average American citizen, one
must first understand the nature of America and its life, customs, and

TOa moml arlk?cli.r-blst.,moraljty "consists in the social puvose working by

its own force on the individual wi1l."bWince individuals arc exyressims
of eheir societies, morality is the. expres"i"" of social pupox* inindid-
ual lives. Bernard Bosanquet, a revisionist liberal collectivist, explicitly
contrasted this "socialistic'konceptim of morality whi& fimly focuses
morality or7 social purposes and the sociai good, with ar.1 individualfst
comeptio~rof morafity that stresses oniy what is good for individuals.
Thus, as a moral collectivist, Bosmquet maintains that the indikridual's
Me expresses the c o m o n will of society and in e x t ~ m cases
e may have
to be sacrificed for the good of her socicty In cor~trast,moral individual-
ists such as S o h Rawls put at the very center of their political theory the
principle that "each person possesses an inviolhility founkd, on justice
that even, the welfare of the whole society c m ~ ooverridemff66
Of course, we are not cmfronttzd with simply the stark alternatives of
radical individualism (of either the methodological or moral sort) or rad-
ical co11ecti\rism (of either sort). Politicai lfieorists hawe sou@t to articu-
late jntermediate positions, giving weight to both individual and social
factors, Rather than two stark alternatives, it is more enlightening to
think of a continuum of positions, from radical individuaiism at one end
to radical collectivism at the other. Nevertheless, disputes between jndi-
vidualists and collectivists-whether individuals are or are not more ba-
sic than sociev, or r/vheeher individual person40 or do not have mord
priority over social purposes and the good of societ?,r-halre been at the
core of political theorizi~agfor the past two hundred years. As we shall
see in the io11owing chapters, sociaiists, and in general cor~servativestoo,
have been attmcted to positions toward the collectivist end of our contin-
uurn (though, as always, there arc exceptions-some socialists have em-
braced forms of hdividualjsm).~Typica'iy, conserva.eives as well as so-
cialists have been critical. of what has been described as '*liberal.f''
""caf)italisticI"or "boourgeojs" kindidualism. As Marx wrote,

The further back we ga into history, the more the individual, and, therefc~re,
the producing individual, seems to depend on and constitute a part of a
larger sociat whole, . . . It is but in the eighteenth century, in ""bourgeois saci-
etyr3hat the different fcjrms of sociat union confront the Individual as mere
means tct his private ends, as an oulward necessity. . . . Man is in the mast Xit-
eral sense of the word a zoon yolitikon [political animal] not only a social ani-
mal, but an animal that can only develop into a n individual in socliew. Pro-
duction by isolated.individuals outside ctf society . . . is as great an absurdity
as the idea of development of a language wilhrtut indirriduals living to-
gether and talking ta one another.(&

hteresthgly, a l t h o s h liberalism has often been equakd with individ-

ualism, ljherds tkmselves have been &@plydivided about the merit.s of
various forms of individualism and collectivism. Revisionist liberals ex-
piicitrly sought to bring collectivism-bo& methodological and moral---
into liberalism. As we saw above, liberals such as Basmquet insisted that
the dassical :liberals had an overly indkidualistic view of humans and
society, in both the metrhodologicat and moral senses. Silnce the nine-
tee1"tthcentury----andright up w"tCil todapthere have beer1 persiste~~t at-
tempts to move liberaljsm w a y from, stronger forms of individualirsm to
the middle of the individualist-collcctivist continuum, or even toward
the colrcctivist ernd.h9As Galtje incticaes, this has had significant impact
on the ways concepts such as jusMce are understood by, on the one hand,
classical liberals and, on the otherf more collectivist views such as social-
ism and much revisio~~ist liberalism,

The past two decades have witnessed a renewed hterest in collectivist

analyses of sociev-though the km "collectivist'?~ abjured in favor of
"cc,rnmur"titarian," Witing in 1985, Amy Gutmann observed, "We are
witnessing a revival of communitaian criticisms of liheral, political
theory. Like the critics of the 1960s, those of the 1980s fault liberalism for
being mistaker~lyand ir~parahlyirTdi\ridualisticIff7Q A number of critics
have insisted that liberalism is too individualistic; it puts too much
weight on individual choice, individual self-interest, and individud
m o d rights and pays too little attation to the ways in which inclividu-
als are members of a community and how group, cultural, and ethnic
identities shape individuals. d political doctrine-or rather, a loose
p o u p of diverse ipoliticd views----knowx"tas 'kcummunitaria~~isnn'" has
thus arisen as a challenge to what is seen as the overly hdividualist-ic na-
ture of li:beral political theory, Some observers maintajn that communi-
tarianism it; a distinct a"td important wiew, taking its place next to liberal-
ism, conservatism, and socialism as m endurkg political theory. Should
we add it as a fourth endurjng political theory?
I think not. Debaks about the relatio1"tsof individuals to their societies
are jndeed fmdamerrtal to political theory Mether irrdividual personali-
ties are in some basic way shaped by society, whether individual facts can
be best expkhed in terms of social facts, and whether the moral ciaims of
the community are jn some way superior to those of the hdivicfual are,
without doubt, enduring political questions. Alone, however, answers to
these questiclns do not col~stitutea politic& theory----they are simply one
type of issue with whieh a comprehensive political theory must deal.
Communitarian cmvictims in themselves have no clear political impli-
cations; only when ernbedded in a ystem of interlocking theories and in-
krpretations of poljsjcal concepts docls communitarianism yield a politi-
cal doctrine. Communitarianism as part of a socialistic rationalism,
d i c h stresses hummshability to plan and control their society and the
importmce of equality for a healthy community is vastly different from
conservative communitariarrisun, which. stresses tbe iYnportance of tradi-
tions and habits in the life of a commur-tity,a ~ the d way this e~~dorses an
inegalitarian socid order (see Sections 9.2, 9.3, 10.1, 10.4). Cornmunitxi-
anism illorre is no more of a po,jticd theory than is rali,onnlism alone or a
theory of human nature alone, WC shall see, however, that it is a crucial
eleme~~t of socialism m d co~~servatism (as well as much revisionist liber-
alism); it will thus loom large irt the analysis of this book.

In this chapter, 1have conside~dthree enduring political theories, liber-

alism fin both its classical and revisio~~ist versions), socialism, and con-
servatism. Of course, all three enduring political theories are complex
familics of doctrines; :l: have tried to draw attention to important differ-
ences within each. Nevertheless, these fmilies do have their h~temalre-
semblances trhat disthguish thern from the others. In %ction 2.1, we saw
that each has a disthctke conceptud structure; liberalism puts individ-
ual liherty in the pride of place, limi2;ing the importance of equality and
tyhg justice closely to the protection of liberty. Socialists, in, contrast, al-
most always insist that libesty and eyuality are consistent and mutually
reinforcinl;; justice is tied very closely to equality, and democracy is close
to the heart of most socialjsms. Conservatives are dcepiy skegticd of
eyuality, insisting that it is at odds with individual liberties; conservative
justice, we S h d see, tends to stress the ineyua1it)l of rights and &ties ~ IaI
well-ordered society. Political. authority is a core idea of mast conserva-
h e accomts of politics.
although our three cnduring politic& theories have different concep-
tual structures, their justifcations of these different structures depend
significantly on their positions in three enduring debates in political
theory: tl-te role of reasall in politics, human nature, and Lhe rntatio~~of in-
dividuals to society. h sctions 3.2 to 3.4, we examked these three de-
bates a d the positions on each that liberals, socidists, and coalserviltives
tend to take. Again, it it; important to he awm &at w i t h each tradition
there are disputes m d diversity. Because there is no essential core to lib-
eralism, socialism, or conservatism, we shall encounter versions of con-
servatism that ernbrace a type of rationalism, sociatisms that aclvocate in-
equality m d liberalisms that are collectivist. Nevertheless, in the course
of our analysis the family resemblance ( S c t i m 1.4)within each type of
theory should reveal itself.

This chapter draws on the work of John W. Chapman, "Political Theory: Logical
Structure and Enduring Types" in L"d4e de pfzilosuphie politiqzre: Antzales de philosn-
plli"(X,aris: Presses Universitaires de France, 3965), pp. 57-96.

1. Maurice Cranston, "%iberalism," in Pmuf Edwards, ed,, The Encyclopedl'a of

PFzifosoplzy (New York: MacmilXan and the Free Press, 1967).
2. See Michael)Freeden, Ideologies n~zdPolitical Tlieory (Oxfc~rd:Clarendctn Press,
1996), chaps. 4 and 5.
3. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, in John Gray, ed., On Libertjj mzd Otlzer E'says
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), chap. 1, para. 9.
4, John Stuart Mill, Augusfe Conzde and Positivisnz, in J, M. Robson, ed., The Cof-
Eected Works of Johtz Stuart Mill (Toronto: University ctf Torontct Press, 1963), vut.
10, p. 334.
5. E A. Hayek, Lam, Legislatio~xn ~ Liberty,
~ d vol. 3: The Political Order ofa Free Peo-
ple (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979),p. S.
6. Wilhelm van Hurnboldt, quoted in E A. Hayek, The Couzstifzrtion of Liberty
(Lc~ndon:Routledge and Kegan Paul, 196Q),p. 394.
7. L. T. Hobhouse, Liber~fisnz(New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), p, 87,
8. Ibid., p. 62..
4, Freeden, ideologies and Political Tfzeoy,p, 430.
10, Bernard Crick, Socialism (MiXton Keynes, UK: Open University Press, 1987),
p. 84,
11. Kai Nielsen, Eqliafity mzd Liberty: A Befelzse of Radical Egalitfiritz~lism( Totctwa,
MJ: Rclwman and AIlenheId, 1985), p. 201.
12, Richard Norman, Free n~zdEqual: A Phr'losqhicaf Examiittaiiiouz ofhlitiml V d -
ues ((Oxf a d : Oxford Universit_rsPress, 19817), p. 133.
13. Nog1 OTSuivan, Co?zservatism(Ltmdon: Dent, 19"i76),p. 12.
14. Edmund Burke, RePeetions on ffie Rez~olufioni~zFm~zce(Harmondtjworth,
UM: hnguin, 19681, p. 267.
15. Robert Nisbet, Corzservatism (Milton Meynes, UK: Open University Press,
1(386),p, 47. Compare Freeden, Idco,.alogicsatzd PoliiFic~ZTIzeo~y,p. 397.
16. See, for example, my essay on ""tiberafism," in EEdward N. Zafta, ed,, Tfze
S t ~ ~ ~ E~tcyclopedia
ord of PIzilosoplay [online at http:/ /plato.stanft>rd.edul.
17. This fist is given by Kirk F. Koerner in Liberalisurr n~zdits GP"itics(London:
Croom Helm, 2985), p. 272.
18. Michacl Oakeshott, htic~t~nlisrn in Politics, expanded ed. (Irrdianapalis, IN:
LJ1"bertyPress, 1992), pp. 5-42!.
19. Ibid., p, 12.
20, Xbid., p. 13,
21. Ibid., p, 15.
22. Xbid., p. 16.
23, Ibid.
24, Xbid., pp. 29-30,
25. See, for example, pp. 153,171,185,2317,244of Burke" Repections un the Rev-
olutk~ziz Fra~zce,
26. Xbid., p. 277.
27. Ibid., p, 183.
28. Ibid., p. 2%.
29, Frederick Engels, "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific," in Robert C. Tucker,
ed ., Tfze Mnrx-E~zgelsReader, 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 1978), p. 700.
30, R, N. Berki, Socialism (Londrm: Dent, 1475), pp. 27-28.
31. For more on the influence ctf the Enlightenment on liberal thinking, see
John Gray, Libeual&m (Mjlton Keynes, UK: Open University Press, 1984), chap. 3.
32, Mill, U E Liberty, chap, 3, para. 17,
33. Ludwig von Mises, Libemlism in the Classical Tradit-iol.2(San Francisco: Cob-
den Press, 1485), p. 7.
34. Stephen Holmes, The Atantomy of" Atztilibernlis~~i(Cambridge, M A : Harvard
University Press, 1993), p. 247.
35. This aspect ctf the fiberai tradition is stressed by D, J. Manning, Liberalism
(Londr3n: Dent, 19?4), pp,43-50.
36. Van Mises, Liberalkm in the Classical Tradifl'clrz,p. 7,
37. Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," in inhis Four Essays un Liberty (Ox-
ford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 167,
38. Xbid. pp. 168--169. Far a good account of the antirationalist roots of Berlin's
pluralism see John Gray, lsclinfl Berlin (Princetan: Prince-tan University Press,
1996), chap. 5.
39. Lord Robbins, Polificuf Econonzy: Past ~ n Present d (London: Macmillan,
197"7),p. 9.
40*Ei A. Hayek, Law, Legislatic~t~ and Liberty: A New State??zentq t f i e Liberal Priuci-
ples of Justice a d hlitical Economy, vol. 3: Xctztles n~zdOrder (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 29731, pp. 8-9.
41. Alan Ryan, "The Nature of Human Nature in Hobbes and Rousseau,'?n
Jonathan Benthat], ed., TfteLinzifs t.fFTt~ma-~zN~tzii.e( N e w k r k : E. P. Dtxtton, 19;74),
p, 4.
$2. David Hume, "Of the Independency of Parliament," h his Essays, Muml,
Political and Literary (Oxkjrd: Oxford University Press, 1%A), pp, 42-43.
43. Jeremy Rentham, lntrodzlction to tlte Priitzcip1es of Momls a d tegisl'atiarz, in
Alan Ryan, ed., Ulilitarknism and Other Essays (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin,
19871, p. 65.
$4. See Tames Buchanan, 7'hc Limits of Likrdy (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1975).
45. C. B. Maepherson, The I>oliticnl Tfzeory qf Possessive Ittdividualism (Qxfcjrd:
Clarendon Press, 14621,
$6. Hobhouse, Libemlism, p. 66;. 1 have explored this theor~lrin my iVEoden2 Lib-
eral T l ~ e o ojrvla~z
~y (New Vc>rk:St. Martin" Press, 1983).
47. See, for example, Tibor Machan, Xndiztidzrals and their Rigtlts (La Safle, XL:
Open Court, 1983).
48.4". H. Green, Pmlrgomena to Ethics, A. C. Bradfey, ed, (Oxfrjrd: Clarendon
Press, 1890), p, 210,
49, C, B, Macpherstsn, Democm tic Theory: Essays i1.t Refriez~al(Oxford: Clarendctn
Press, 4973), p. 33. See also his life and Tinzes ufkibeml Democraq (Oxfcjrd: Oxford
Universiq Press, 1977).
SO. Karl Marx, Econornz'c n ~ Philosophic
d Ma-lzuscwts of 1844, Martin Mllligan,
trans. (New York: International Publishers, 19641, p, 111. For an analysis of Mam's
theory of alienation, see BertiT OIZman, Alienniiitjn: Mnrxb Gonceptiotz of Mn-lz in
Cayitalisi" Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 197'1).
51. Tf-ris term derives from Maurice Mandelbaum, History, iGlarz n~xdReasouz
(Baltimore: Johns Pllopkins University Press, 19"i71),pp. 142ff.
52. Karl Marx, ""Critique of the Gotha Program," in the Mnm-Engels Refider,
p. 534.
53, Michaei Oakeshott, "On Being a Conservative,'>n his &tl;o-lznlism itz h l i -
tics, p. 4-10,
54. Williarn McDougalf, An Jlrtmdt~ctic?tzdo Social Psychofon (Lr3ndon: Methuen,
1934), pp. 1-7-18.
55. Burke, Reflectio?zson !lie Revolzitic~tzin Franw, p. 151,
56, Oakeshutt, ""On Being a Conser.vative," p. 4332.
57. On Christianity % doubts about perfection, see John Passmore, The Per-
fectibility $Man (Lctndon: Duckworth, 13470),chap. 4.
58..Bernard Bc->sanquet,The Plzilosophical Tlfeory f:)f the State, in Gerald E Gaus
and Will iam Sweet, eds., Ttte Philosopllictzl Ttteory I;1(the Sta te a~zdRerfated Essays (In-
dianapofis, IN: St-.Augustine Press, 200Q),p. 79.
59, For very useful overviews, see: j, Roland Pemctck, Dcnzocmlic lJllliticnl The-
ory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19792, chap. 3; St-evenLukes, I~diztidld-
alism (Oxford: Basil Bfackwelt, 1973).
66,For a useful introduction, see Son EXster, A11 Xntrod~cfiouzto EC12rl Mnrx (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, IldfJk), chap, 2,
61. Jeremy Bentham, Introdzacfiouz to tlte Principles ofhX~ralsmzd Legz'slatz'nuz,chap.
1, sect. 4.
62, Bosanquet, The Philosopl~icalTheory of the State, p. 166,
63. Ibid., p. 51.
M. See D, G. Ritchie, The Prilzcif?lesof S k t e I~teqerezce(tondrm: Gearge Allen,
1912), p. 13.
65. Bosanquet, "The Antithesis of Individ-ttafism and Socialism, Phifosophi-
caify Considered,'3in Tfze 1~hikosophicaITFl:t@ory 1;1( the State a~zdRellnted Essays, p. 329.
66, John Rawlt;, A 7"hcufy of justim (Cambridge, M A : Harvard University Press,
197"1),p. 3.See Sectirtn 1.4 above,
67. Ion Etster, for example, is a methodological individualist and a Marxist. But
his is a fairly n e y and somewhat unorthodox, socialist approach. Stie his Irztro-
Gbucfl;Ol"lCO F(iZrI Marx.
68. Kart Marx, Inkrt~"Cldctic~tz
to the Critique of Politicat Eeotlotny, quoted in D.EB.
Tucker, Marxisria and I ~ d i v i i (Oxford:
t Blackwelt, 1980), p. 2.
653. See Altan Qan, ""The Liberal Community," in Jahn W Chapman and Tan
Shapiro, eds., NOMOS X X X X V : D~enzocrakicConztnrrlzity ((New York: New York
Universiq Press, 19533),pp. 91-114.
70. Amy Gutmann, 'Tommunltarian Critics of Liberalism," Phitosopfly 6.Pzibfic
Afla;az';.s,vol. 34 (1985), p. 308.
Z *m- -79 T S % - M " ! " 9 W v---7- W , ? ^%W .
- -W l
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4.1 Negative Liberty:

Some Ordinary Language Considerations
Freedom as the Absence of Qbshcles
Let us begjn by focusing on a simple case:

fJllse 9: Btf is a political dissidex~tand has been jaifed by trhe govcm-

ment m d locked in a cell. He shakes the bars but cmnot get out.

:If we ask why AII is unfree, tt7e simplest answer is that he is locked in a
cell and cannot leave i t For mamas Mobbes (1588-1679), '%l,jberty is the
absence of . . . impediments to action," AS Hobbes w~derstoodit, some-
thing that is not p ~ v e n t e dfrom m o v i ~ ~
byg an exten~aiobstacle is free: if
something stops il:from moviclg it is ttnfree. .hball moves h e l y down a
hill until something stops it; AJf moves freely across his cell until the
locked cell door stops him.
We immediately come to a crucial question: do all exter~~al impedi-
ments to action or obstacles invalve a loss of freedom"?ansider the f o t
b w h g cases:

Cnsc 2: Alf is hiking across the Rocky Moluntains and encounters an

avalanche that bbcks his way. The avdmche occurred mturally.

Cnsc 3: Alf is hiking across the Rocky Moluntains and encounters an

avalanche that blocks his my, Betty wanted to get across first so she
used dynamite to cause the avalmche.

:In each case, Alf meets an Ohstacltl that prevents him from gojng fur-
ther, and so wouid seem unfree in Hcibbes's sense. Yet, many have been
reluctant to depict Case 2 as a limit.ilCion of Alf's liberty. According to
:Isaiah Berlb, one of the most famous of modern philosophers of free-
dom, "You lack political liberty or freedom only if you are prwezlited
from attaining a goal by other humm beings."Vh-tns, even though grav-
ity is an obstacle to your jumping higher than ten feet in the air, says
Berlin, that does not make you ul-tfree, since no human created the obsta-
cle. We may dispute this; after ali, it is not senseless to say that people are
not free to jump mofe than ten feet in the air. But insofar as our i n t e ~ sis t
political and morai discours those moral and political language
that focus on peoplefwomplaints and challe~ligesto orlie person creating
obstacles in the path of others-it does indeed seem that what Berlin calls
""plitical liherty" 'involves humanly created (or, perhaps, maintained)
obstacles. Thus, even modern followers of Hobbes are more Xikely to
adapt the view that "'bmilcfly s p e a h g , . . . a person is u n h e to do an ac-
tjon if, and only if, his doing that action is redered impossible by the ac-
ticrrz of another per so^^."^ Case 3 is clear: not only does Alf confront an ob-
stacle, but it is one that was created by another person, Eletty- What,
howeveq about

Case 4: Alf is h&kg across the Racky Mamtains m d encounters m

avalmche that blocks his way. The avalmche was accidentally caused
by Betty who was s g kli the higher reaches of the mountain.

Berlh, at least sometimes, indicates that Case 4 would not involve a

lack of f ~ e d o mTo
. collistitute a iirnitatio~liof freedoq Berlin suggests in
his famous essay, '*TwoConcepts of Liberty,'' the obstacle must not only
be created by humans, but it must be a ddeberate or intentional obstacle
to a person's activity. Liberty talk, on Berlin's view, is not simply about
one person accidentally getting in. the way of another, but deliberate in-
lerventions in an other"^ life, If someone gels in my w q I may point out
to her that she is blocking mef but I am not likely to complain that she is
limithg my freedom until 1see her as deliberately or h o w h g l y blockng
me. If someone accidentally parks her car in front of your driveway, it is
true that you are not free to drive away, but it woutd be smewhat odd to
appeal to the value of freedom in your complaint against your neighbor;
the most likely and appropriate cmplaint would be that she is inconsid-
erate or thoughtless.Wn the other hand, if she deliberately blocked yom
path, then a complaint about lirniting y o u freedom kvould be pmfectly
sensible m d not at all odd.
In anotrher essay, however, Berlin suggests a diff'ereM derstarlidirlig of
what sorts of obstacles are relevant to freedom. Here Berlin seems to
arguc that if ( 3 ) Alf is blocked by an obstatrle that (2) could be removed by
someozle (3) who fails to do so, then (4) Alf 'S freedom is limited.6 0 x 1 this
view, it kvould seem that All%freedom is limited in,

Cnsc 5: Alf is hiking across the Rocky Moluntains and encounters an

avalanche that blocks his way. The avalanche was natural and was
no one's fault. Bet$ however, sees hj,m stuck in the snow, but passes
by without helping.

On Berlin's alternative conception, Bet9 limits Alf 'S freedam in Case 5, If

we adopt this notion of kedorn, it seems that we are never really free,
after all, if enough money was spent, the obstacles that stop me f m go-
ing to the moon could be overcome (by supplying me with a spaceship).
So if my freedom is limited every time 1 confront an obstacle that cazatd
be remved by hurnans, my frecdom is ITOW dril~tiCitI1ylin7ited..If we
take a more moderate \4ew, and say that one" freedom is limited i-vher-
ever one conlronts m obstacle that could feasibly be removed by others,
things become more mamgeable, but now we confroz~tdeep problems
with explainhg what we mean by "'feasible."7 If other people did not
want BMWS and beach houses, the obstacle to me living the life of ease
ack ot:money-odd easily be ovcrrome: they could pay
for my pleasures. Does this mean that X am trnfree?

Coercion and the Ineligibility of Options

Thus far we have been exyloP-ing Hobbes's idea that one is free unless an
obstacle p ~ v e n t one
s from acting. Consider, though,

Cnsc 6: Alf is hiking through the Rwky Mountains m d comes upon

Betty, a thief who wants his new hiking boots. She says, 'Give me
your boots or 171 break your arm! But I" not a murderer; so that's
all 1% 10.You choose." AAlf likes the boots, but not that much, so he
hands them over*

Bet9 did not prevent Alf h n n walking by with his boots; he could tlaz~e
chosen to do that, though the cost would have been a broken arm. Since
she did not p ~ v e nAll
t from conlhuing, accordhg to Mobbes AIS is stifl.
free. After all, he can choose whethier to keep his boots or have a broken
arm, a ~ ifd he c m choose what to do, it would seem that he is free. As
Hobbes sees it, one is free trnless m obstacle renders the action impossible.
And since it is not impossible for Alf to keep his boots, be is free to do so
(though the cost wiff be a broken arm). Of course, it is z~owimpossihIe for
A1.f to perform, the complex action of continuing-waIkig-with-his-boots-

a.rzd-not-having-a-broken-am.8 Before B e y arrived, Alf had a possible

complcx a c t i o ~ ~ ~prekrrcd
his artion f keeping hit; boots and keeping
his arm in one piece- Betty has provided an obstacle that has rendered
that action impossible,
Still, it seems that: although Alf is not compLetely u ~ ~ f r etoe choose tru
keep his boots (md have a brokm arm)-it is, after all, possible to choose
that option-neither is he perfectb free to choose to keep his hoots, Most
of us would say that his freedom has been limited by Betty's threat. Most
philosophers have thus rejected Elabbes" claim that you are free to do
what no ohstacle prevents you from doing; ralher, most have argued that
ctwucion----threats to do you hwm----limit your freedom..As F. A. Hay&
says, '"Coertrion implies that 1 still choose but that n7y f i n d is made
someone" else's tool, becatrse the alternatives before me have been so
manipulated that the conduct: the cmcer wants me to choose becomes
for me the least p"inful one. Aithougb coerced, it is stiil 1 who decide
which is the least evil,under the circumstmces."~
We might .;ay that although coerciox~does not entirely black off an op-
tion (for example, '"Ali keeps his boots"), it makcs the option "less eligi-
ble" for choice-it renders an option not a real option by attaching a
severe penaIty (for example, Alfs arm is bmkatrm) to choosing it.10 Accord-
ing to &is izcligibillfy uiez~?of freedom, All's freedom is infrk~gcdif either
(If another person has intentionally httxkcd off an opeim or (2) mother
person has ernployed coercion against Alf to render an option ineligi-
ble." Althougf-1this seems to accord much better with, ordinary usage
than does Hobbes's simple impossibi,lity view, it raises mul-nber of addi-
tional prctblems. Most important, a threat that renders an optim ineligi-
ble to Alf may not have the same effect on Charlie. Considel; for hstance,

Casc 7: Betty is a mild-mamered bank robber. She passes Alf, the

teller, a note, "Give me all the money or 1 will caii. you a nasty
name!" Gilf hates to be called names, so concludes that Betty" threat
has rendered the option "don't turn over the mmey" ineligible for
choice---the costs we just too high. So he hand.; over the money.
W e n he explains what happened to Charlie the police officer, Char-
lie arrests Alf, insisting that the threat was not sufficiently great as to
r e ~ ~ dthe
e r optior.~inetigihle.

ALf may be telling the truth, in which case it does seem that perhaps his
frtiedom was limited. But ii we accept that co~~clusiun, we will not be able
to say when a person's freedom is limited without howing a great deal
about that person, such as what sorts of thillgs he realty fears. Advocates
of the ineligibility view h a w been reluctant to take this path a ~ gener-
aUy have argued that judgmeMs &out freedom should be graided by
how a normal or typical person would view the threat, and whether such a
normal or typiral person would see the thrc3at as sufficimtly severe as to
r e d e r the o p t i o ~ineligible.
~ It: is important to ohserve il.1 Case 7 that
everyone would agree that Betty" threat made the option ""dn't hand
over the money" "ss aftmctivc or k s eli'yiblc, hut s i q l y making an op-
tion somwhat less attracthe is not enough to rerlider you (as Hayck
says) "'someone else" tool" and so unfree.
There has been considerable debatc among philosophers whether oflcus
as well as flzreafs cali be coercive, and so limit freedom. Co~~sider ali ex-
ample horn J. G. Murphey:

Cusc 8: Suppose I own the only water well within a two-hundred-

mife radius of desert. A man, nearly dead from thirst, drags hhself
to my well m d begs for cvater. Realizhg (a) that the well is lawfully
owned by me and that I: m entitled to all its watel; and (b) that the
thirsty man's predicamenl: is no h d t of mine . . . I say " h i l l sell you
a glass of water d y if you s i p over to me illlyour worldly goods."a

326s is an offer. Unlike a threat-in which someone says that he is gohg

to jnflict pain on you, or take away somethiXlg that is yours, or somehow
make you worse off than you now ar-an offer gives you the opportu-
nity to get something you need or want. But many have believed that an
offer c m be coercive if (1)it allo~vsyou to get somethhg at a terribly high
cost, but because of your circumstance (2) you cannot afford to turn the
offer down. In such a case, many hawe believed that the option of reject
ing the offer is ineligible: "You have no chaice." On the other hand, it
seems hard to see how the offer resfricts your options: it seems that all of-
fers exyaszd your options. Even though it is not a desirable offer, it gives
you an additiond option. n o s e cvho believe that offers can be coercive
typically argue that they should be cownpa~dto the ""starrdard" options
that a person would normally expect in this situatio~~. In Case 8, a stan-
dard option might be that a person in desperate need can expect help
from others at no or rninirnal costs. If we accept t h i s as a standard.
option-part of the. normal hackgromd----wemight say that Lhe person
makhg the coercive offer not only is making an offer, hut at the same
h e i s blocking that standard option (""low-cost help"') offering instad
mly high-cost help, thus dec~asingour options.lTo apply this noticm of
freedom., howwer, we need an accoumt of what: are one's "standard op-
tj,ns," something that would seem to difkr by locality econornic pros-
perity cdtum, tastes, and so on.

Negative Freedom os on Opportvnity Concept

n u s far we have been considerhg ALIf mfree when he confronts an ob-
stack to what he w n t s to do or when someone rmders ineligible an

option of his. mis, then, is a negatiz~t.cofzccpfionof liberty: liberty consists

in the absex-tceof obstacles to, or h-tkrlerex-tcewith, actio1-t.But co~~sider,

Case 9: All is in jail. He is tied to the wall m d has duct tape over his
mouth so that he cannot talk. Alf, however, is a strmge klXow, He
thinks, "'What luck, this is what I've aiways wa~-tted!~'

Berlin, the preeminent theorist of negative liberty, would insist that Alf
is not free; freedom, he tells us, is "the absmce of obstacles to possible
choices m d activities-absence of obstructions on roads which a m m can
decide to walk."M Mf is not free to take mmy roads-there is not rwch
he mn do, though in fact he it; doini; everythil7g he wnlzts to do. He is con-
tented, but free. In this scnse, slaves, even happy, conlented, slaves
who cherish their chahs, are not free: there are mmy obstwles placed in
the path of possi:hie choices.
We may say, then, that negative liberty is m oppovtzanify concept: one's
freedom depends on what me has an opporkrnit)l to do, not what one
actually does.1" ppcsson w l o does little, but who has few paths ren-
dered ineligible by others, is free, even ilshe does little. Think about

fJllse 10: k t t y is not in jail. In fact, Betty really has no significant m-

straints on her. Well, there is one. Betty is a thrill seeker: she likes
driving witl?out a seat belt, Unfortunately, she lives in a state with
oxdy ox-te law: mndatory seat belts. Vou car1 do anything you wmt,
as long as you wear your seat belt. Alas, this prohibits the thing
Betty most wmts to do, fn fact, she dislikes this promition more
than any other one she c m hagine.

Proponenls of negative liberty such as Ber:lin maintaisl that Betty is much

freer than is AIf in Case 9, even Irhough in Case 9 Alf is doing what he
wmts to do, kvhereas in. Case IQBetty camot do what she really wmts to
do, As we are about to see, proponents of what has been called ""positive
" a much more intimate tie between Betty being free and
f ~ e d o m "seek
doixlg what she wants to do.

T. H. Green and Liber?. as Autonomy

In a famous lecture, "01-the
t Different %rises of 'Freedom' as Applied to
the Wll and the Moral Progress of :Man,"x the English libtral 'K H, Green
developed a conception of liberty that closely lillks beh-tg free to doing
what one truly desires..Green begins his famous lecture by achowltedg-
ing that, in a sense, the negative conception of political liberv is basic to
our understanding of freedom. As he says, "It must be of course admit
ted that every usage of the term [that isl frcledomj to express anythhg but
a social and palitical relation of onc man to another involves a metapbor.
. . . It always implies . . . some exemption from compuitiion by a~other.'"T
But Green wants to explore an extension of this usage, one that centers on
the idea of afret?"persarz.
We all agree that: an unfree person is one Mi'ho is in some sel-rse in
bondage: he is a slave m d c at do as he kvishes. Now, Green achowl-
edges &at this is certainly if others are p~ventinghim from acting,
and advocates of negatke liherty are right about Ehat. But Gree1-r wants to
explore another case: where one is unfree because one is subject to an im-
pdse or craving. A person who is str"nject to some irnptrlse or craving Ihat
he camot control, Green said, is "hthe condition of a bondsmm who is
carrying out the wifl of another; not his om."" Green is suggesting here
that th.e basic m d e l of negative liberty-the relation betwwn an actor
and someone trying to make h i ~ nor her a "toolM+an be applied witE\in
the individual psycho:iogy of a pertion. A s s m e t-hatwe idel-rtifya person's
basic personaiity-Lhe sort of things a person ljkes to do, f i a t she cares
for, her lmg-tern plans and goals, m d so on.NOW,further assume that a
person has an addictiol-r,say, to namotics, which ilnpeis her to satisfy her
craving regardless of the harm it does to alZ the other things she cares for.
s not free: she is a slave to her addiction. The real,
exgrc?ssitself: the foreign impulse takes over.
reen's proposal, suppose that a person c m some-
tjrncs be considered as being split into two parts, C)ne part is someljmes
called her "real seliU'---thosevalues, interests, and ptans that: really make
up this person. T%e second part can be an htrusive impulse or addiction
that sets itself up in opposition to the real self. Now if we view the self h
this way, we can cox-rsider the 'keal self'" as being e~wlavedby the im-
ptrtse. The person in such a condition is not really free: she is a slave ot
her impulse, A h e person, then, is one rolza does liotzaf.she really rl~antsta
do---what ber real self wmts-and so the free person does not wish to
give in to the impuSse. On this view, then, a free person is whal is d e n
called. m mtonrtnzot~sperson: someone who can decide for herself what to
do anrt is mt the slave of impulses, ignormce, error, past col-rditioning, or
addictiom. She is, Ijterdy, self (uzifct) d e d (nornos).l"
htrunomy can be Iimited both by internal and exfertzaf restraints or ob-
stacles. Atlvwtes of negative liberty are sensitive to the importan" of
external restrajwlts: yau c ot be your own master if others are interkr-
ing with your actions and restrainhg you. But &SO,you cannot be your
own master if there we internal restrair-rts:these too prever~tyou from be-
ing a free person-frm leading a self-directed or autonomous life. We

see here, then, that in conkast to negative liherty, which makes liberty an
opportwity concqt, the positive conceptiol~sees liberty as m exerciite
concept: one is free when one exercises one's capacities for self-control
and self-direction m d so does what one really wan& to do. Under the in-
Awnce of this way of thir~kir~g, the idea of hcedom moves awity from a
focus on jntergersanal relations-who is b l o c h g or contralhg whom?-
to a characw ideal. A free person is a self-controlled, self-di~ctedperson
r/vhu is not under the sway of external or internal compulsions.

Ofher Senses of Autonomy

Green provided a classic case for freedom as a self-ruled life. But in de-
veloping this general idea, philosophers have come to distinguish a num-
ber of different senses h which one can be self-mled; hdeed, even in
Green" writings we can discern OR than one notion of being scif-&d.

Auto~zomyas Dajelopnzent of Orze's Cnpcities. Green, we have seen, de-

scribed the life of freedom as one in which one%real self ruled over irn-
pulses and passions. h addition, he believed that, given human natznre,
lhis involved a life in which one developed one's capacities (Section 3.3).
I h e o1111ysatisfying life for humans is a life in Mi.hiclh one's distinctiy hu-
man capabiljtjes are develuped, m d so that is the only life a free persnn
will h e . .A person pursuing a life that cannot satisfy his capacities, wrote

is not free, because the objects tc3 which his actions are directed are objects in
which, according ta the law of his own being, satisfaction of himelf is not to
be found. His will to arrive at self-satisfaction not being adjusted to the law
which determines where this self-satisfactic~nis to be found, he may be con-
sidered in the ccmditicm of a bondsman who is carrying out the will of an-
other, not his own. From this bondage he emerges .into real freedom, not by
overcoming the Xaw ctf his being . . . but by making its fulfillment the ctbject
of his will; by seeking the satisfacticm of himself in objects in which he be-
lieves it sltould be found, and seeking it .in them because he believes i t shoutcl
be found in tlfiem.20

Arkto~~orny as a Self-Chosrurz I,#. Some abocrates of autonomy reject

Grtten's claim that only a life devoted to the ~ a l i z a t i m
of one's capacities
is truly free. Accordimg to Joseph Raz, r/vhereas ""self-~alizationconsists
in the development to their fullest extent of all, or all. the valuable capaci-
ties a person possesses . . . the aut~)nomous person is one who makes his
own life and he may chooscl the path of self-realizatior7 or reject it.91 The
basic thought is that according to the ideal of autonomy, it is not crucial
that a person develvs her capacities, but that she decides rul~etherto de-
velop her capacities and, more generaliy, how to live her life. 'The fully
autonomous person is one who leads a life of her olvn chaoshg-who
makes decisions about her life on the basis of the thirtgs to which she is
T%eworry about this notion of atrtonomy, however, is whether anyone
really ever chooses his life, Our personalities and choices are deeply in-
fluenced by our naturai taie~litsm d propensities, our culture and our up-
bringixlg. By the time a person reaches adulthood, many of his desires,
goals,cnnfs, and aims have been learned from parermb, fl-iends, and teach-
this, in what sellse can one say Ihat one creates oneself? Even if
ers. G i ~ e n
one decides to reject s m of ~ n e ' scultrural and intellectud heritse, one
will make that decision because of other things onc. believes imd values-
but those too h o s t surely have been learned from someone, If one is
raised a Cathok and rejects that life because of one's so
mmistic philosophy, kvhere did one get that humanistic commitment?
No matter where one turns, it seems one" deliberations and decisions
draw on aspects of onesell: that one did m t create.

O ~l,@ r?f Reason. Perihaps an autonomous person is not

A U ~ O FasI flze
necessarily oxlie Mrho c ~ a t e her
s life, values, and co itme~lits,but who
subjects all aspects of her life to critical scrutiny; m d always acts accord-
ing to her understanding of what she has the best reasons to do.22 Thus,
even if a person does not create her commitments, if she has &ought
through ali of them,, and deliberated about whjch seem, well, grounkd
and which ought to be rejected, and acts on those delfierrztions, her life is
ru:ied by rmson; she is not the slave of iglorance or past conditioning.

Ark f o~~ornyns a Second-Order Desire. Contemporary philosophers are

skptical &out Gree11"s ctailn that a person car1 be divirled into a "real
sell""-which concerns the person" true kvmts, goals, and so forth-md
a nonrctal, lower, or "actual">& that is ruled. by impulses, passions, and
ignorance (see Section 4.3). Although Green" idea is out of favor today,
many proponents of atrtonomy have adopted a surgrisbgly similar divi-
sion of the person, into "first-0rdfi.r" and "secod-order" &sires. A first-
order desire is a desire the object of which is m action or evmt: a person
desires to be rich or s k h y , to eat; or to win the Nobe1 Prize. All these are
first-order desires. A second-order desire is a desire the object of which is
a first-order desire. A desire not to have the desire to be skhxly is a sec-
ond-order desire, Nwv, sonzc advocarcjs of autonomy have ilrgued that
an autonomous person is m e who exercises her capacity to rehct on her
first-order desires in terms of her second-order desires, and rejects or
amends first-order desires in the light of her second-order desires"23

Thus, for example, a persm m y have a first-order d e s k to be skinny,

but aiso think that this desim is silly a ~ isdinkrkring wieh her Me. She is
a healthy weight and enjoys eating; although she kvimts to lose more
weight and become skinny, when shc reflects on this, she sees that the
best thing for her life would he to rid herself of the desire to be s k h ~ yIn
Green" terms, she is s e e h g satisfaction where she does not think it c m
be found, and so is not free. Thus, on this view, an autonomous person
seeks to make her first-order desires c o ~ ~ f otomher second-order desires.

Even this brief survey of differe~~t senses of autonomy demo~~strates the

relation between positive liberty and rationalism (Section 3.2): we can
only achieve true freedom if we am rational. When we are acthg on good.
reasoIIs and arc. mflective, are m t ruled by custom or t r a d i t i ~ and
~ ~ , are
not the subject of craving5 or impulses or arbitrary hterference; when
we refiect on our firstorder desires; when we use our reason to choose
our lives for ourselves, then we are trdy free. The life of h e d o m is the
life of reason.

4.3 Two Concepts of Liberty

Berlin3 Attack on Positive Liberty
In his famous essay, "Two Concepts of Liberty," baiah Berlin attacks pos-
itive liberty and argues that it is fundamentally opposed to negative lib-
erty Three cfainzs made by Berlin stmd out.

lli pursllif of positive liberty can lead to infri~~gir-lg

rzegative liberty.
:If we accept Green" view, it would seem that lfie ideal of positive liberty
as autonomy is simply m elaboration, or at most m extension, of the case
for negative liberty Berlin, however, wants to show that far from being
an cxtensiotz o f the case for r~egativeii$erty, the ideal of positive liberty
clashes with the ideal of negative liberty, This cllash comes out most
clearlq. on the issue of pater??alisnz, Legal paternalism involves the use of
legal sanctiox~sto make someone do what is good fir hiru or prevent him
from doing what is bacf fir him. Paternalism is, roughly, t~at-ingadults
:like children: it is forcing them to do things for their own good. That is just
the sort of intcrventio~~ that J o h Stuart MiKs H a m Princifle prohibited:
"The only purpose for kvhich power c m be rightfully exercised over any
member of a civilized c o r n u n i t y agahst his will, is to prevmt harm to
others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficie~litwar-
rant" (see Section 3,1).NOW,it woulca seem, that Green's view of positive
:liberty supports paternalism as a way to achieve fzlllcr freedom, If I act in
w y s that make me less autonomous---if I act in ways that will make me
ignorant or give into impulses-then if sameone renders these auton-
omy-haming options ineligible for me (that is, he interferes with my
negative liberty), this kterferexlce can promote my positive liberty 'f. H.
Green himself was deeply concerned with alcoholism among members of
the working class in late-nineteenth-century Britain. As he saw it, t h i s ad-
dictio~~ was impeding their freedom; t h y were slaves to alcohol. Green
would allow laws designed to limit or prohibit the consumption of alco-
hol, because doing so would promote positive h-eedom.
li-, Berlin, such paticr~~alismis a great despotism: the state is interferirlg
with your freedom to make you a better persol%.Other people are h p o s -
ing same bvay af Xiivhg on you; the liberal tradition from J o h Stuart Mill
onward has opposed paternalism because liberalism rejects the legiti-
macy of one person or a group "f pea* imposing their way of lking on
others. Moreover, Berlin argtres, not only does Green's notion of positive
freedom. allow paternalism that limits freedom, it adds insdt to injury by
callkg this interferexlice '"freedom"? Berlin depicts the argumex~tfor posi-
tive IibertJi,in the following way:

The dominant self is . . . identified with reason, with my "higher nature,"

with the self which calcutates and aims at what wiXI satis@ in the long run,
with my ""ray,""or "ideal," ar ""autonomous'helf, ctr with my self "'at its
bestU";hich is then contrasted with irrational impulse, uncantralled de-
sires, my ''l~ower'' nature, the pursuit of immediate pleasures. My "empiri-
cal" ctr ""hteronctmous" self, swept by every gust of desire and passion,
needlsf . . . ta be rigidly disciplined if it is ever ta rise to the full height of its
""real nature. . . . Once F take this view, 1 am in the position to ignore the ac-
tual wishes ctf men or societies, to bully, oppress, torture them in the name,
and on the behalf, of their "real'>sefves, in the secure knowledge that what-
ever is the true goal of man (happinem' performance of duty, wisdom, a just
society, self-fulfilllment)must be identical with his freedom-the free choice
of his ""true," albeit oAen submerged and inarticulate, seff.24

For one person to take charge of the life of alotkr, arguing that t%le other
is co~ltrolledby her own ""false'kor "low&>self hstead of her "hjg:herfF
self, attacks precisely the freedom that Berlin cherishes. And ta make
lhings worse, all this is done in the name of freedom!

12)Pt>siti.ilcliberty splits not nn(y itzdividzcnls blsl also sclciclJc?sitzfo the higher
and lazueE Berlin advances another criticism of positive liberty: its split
betweal the "'hil.;hermand the ""lower" self is often transferred to a divi-
sion in society between those who are enlightened m d those who are not:

The reason within me, if it is to triumph, must elidnate and suppress my

""lower" instjncts, my passions and desires, which render me a slave; sirni-
larly (the fatal transition from individual tc:, social concepts is alrntxt irnper-
ceptible) the higher elements in socliew-the better educated, the mare ra-
tional, those who " p ~ s s e s s the highest insight ctf their time and
peoplerr-may exercise compulkon to rationalize the irrational section of
socliew. For . . . by obeying the rational man we obey ourselves: not indeed
as we are, sunk in our ignorance and our passiom, weak creatures afRicted
by diseases that need a healer, wards who require a guardian, but as we
a>uldbe i f we were rational; as we could be nowt if we wotrXcl listen to the
rational element which is, ex tlypofltesi [by hypothesis] within every human
being who deserves the name.25

Ihus, being subjected to tlte aut.horityof another-the very essellce of be-

ing restrained-is, Berlin argues, conwerted into a sort of freedom (see
Sections 5.4, 10.5, 20.4). Because the '*otherf'-the King, the Great Dicta-
tor, or the People-mpresents what is higlzer and rational, whereas what
you wmt mmifests lfie lower m d irratio~~al, to obey the higher and con-
trol the lower is freedarn.

(3) The yclsitiw ctlnceptintz is lznt an a f e ~ ~ s i ooft zthe negatiw ctmccplirtr.r, hut
rrndermilzes it. Points (1)and (2) support Berlin's third, and in some
ways most basic, claim: those who depict positive liberty as simply m ex-
tensiczr~of negative Il:herty are wml~g.As (1) and (2) demo~~strate, Lhe
propoxlcnt of positive &be* entertains a cortception of liberty according
to which the most basic kature of negative :liberty---to be free from re-
straint in order to live your life as you see lit-is not ody ignord, but is
i g n o ~ din the n m e of liberty itself. Thus, Kerlil-t condudes, "'nese are
not two different intevretati.ons of a single concept, but two profoundly
$iwergmt and irrecolwilable attitudes to the emis of life.'"b Consicier
again Case 1 in %ction 4.2. C)n the negative mderstmding of freedarn,
being locked in jail is a core and Ohvious case of unfreedom; some of our
other cases may pose puzzles for nc.gati\re liberty, but not Case 1. But on
the positive conception, it may turn out that hCase 1All is being forced
to be h-perhaps he is in jail to stop him from getting drunk. Because
positive freedom takes a bask case of (negative) w~freedoma"td t ~ itm ~
into a possible (positivl.) freedom-enhancing condition, it s e e m that
these are two fundamentally opposed ways of looking at freedom.

Monism and Pluralism

Ib u ~ ~ d e r s t a why
~ l d Berlin insists on the func[amer.ltaloppositior.~be-
t-vveennegative m d positive freedom, we have to go back to the contrast
between monism and plzrralism (Section 3.2). b l u e pluralism, it will he re-
called, stresses the diversity of the ends of life. As a form of a~tirational-
ism, it insists that our reason cannot provide a single, agreed-trpon,
answer to the questim, "What is the best way to live?" There are imu-
merabie ways of living that appeal to each of us, but they c d i c t m d we
often camot decide among them. As Berlin says, "That we cmnot have
everything is a necessary, m t a contingat, truth."27 Monism, in conkast,
is a form of r&ionaiism: our =ason can be employed to reveal the
one type of life, or the set of good lives, that best suits everyone-per-
haps the one sort of life that combhes, in just the right measure, all good.
Berlin col1vincir7gly argues that a notion of positive liberty such as
'I: H. Green's is based on a rationalistic, monistic view of life: a devel-
oped, autononnous person is the true goal for everyone, Anyone who for-
sakes this goal ar~dwho lives a life that does not develop her capacity for
choice is not seeEng the one, true humm end. h contrast, says Bedin,
pluralism leads to mderstanding liberty as a n e g a t h concept. Guaran-
teeing each a measure of negative liberty is, Berlin aques, the most hu-
mane ideal, as it recognizes that ""hmm goals are mmy," and no one c m
make a choice that is right for all people.28 If you arc to avoid behg a
despot (that is, smeone who forces others to live their lives as you see fit),
you must grmt others freedom to make their own decisions. According
to the value pluralist, just because masm cannot reveal. what is the best
r/vay of living-just because there are so many h u m n gods, so m a ~ ~ y
things that are worth pursuing-it is necessary to ensure that no one
needlessly raises Obstacles to the possible choices of others.
Nthough I trhink RerliIl is correct in arguing that a rationalistic monisnt
informs the ideal of autonomy and, so, positive liberty, it is importmt not
to push the point too far, The ideal of autonomy is certainly less monistic
and ratiol~aiisticthan, for exmple, some religious understandings of the
good life- Basic to the ideal of autonomy is that one should choose the life
that fits one's capacities and talents; and because our capacities and tal-
ents differ, trhe ideal of a r ~auto~~omous life justihs each person living a
t of life, stressing different vallles m d interests. This is much
d i f f e ~ nsort
more accommodating to pluralism than,say, a ~ l i g i o u ideal s accordiislg
to whiCh everyolxe, regardless of his or her capa"tiies, m s t lead a specific
sort of lifec,stressing simplicity, otSler~lorldti,nesqand ilbso1ut.eobedience
to God." will. Such a conception of the good life is much less opm-ended
than the ideal of a u t m m y . There are certainly degrees of ratiol~alism
and monism. Nevertheless, the ideal of autonomy pohts toward an ideal
of a good. life that can identify a "red selff' that seeks the cultivation of its
capacities and is "w~free"when the lower self pursues a lffe incoz~sistent
with that ideal.

Berlin, then, believes that a commiment to mmism supports positive

liberty: those who e x e ~ i s etheir will in such a way as to lead the truly hu-
man life are free. On the other hand, a pluraljst, beiieving that there is no
uniquely or truly human manner of livhg, will stress the way in which
liberty provicjes opportclrTities for choice, and so be attracted to the nega-
tive concept. Many political theorists note Berlixl" distinction bet-vveen
negative and positive liberv, but faif to grasp his broader point: that
these two t;heories reflect opposi"$ politic& theories ar~dvkws of =ason
and values. One misses Berlin" message if one mderstmds him as sim-
ply arguing for a certain. negative conception of liberty. ITathcr, he is argu-
ing for a certain sort of po:iitical Irheory, one devoted to plwalism: if we
adopt this politic& theory Berlin believes, we will afso be comitted to
acceptkg the negative, and rejecting the positive, notion of liberty*

Liber?. and Human Nature: Mill as an Exemplar

Not only does it seem that positive liberty draws on what Berlin calls
ma~~ism, but it also is supporkd by what E deslrribed (Sectim 3.3) as fhe
'*self-.developmental"theory of human nature, As X noted earlier (Sec-
tjons 3.1,3,3), John Stuart Mill" case for individual liberty was based on
our capa"ty for grow& a l ~ dhvelopment. If each is guaranteed liberty to
make his or her own choices, Mill believed, each person would exercise
that freedom to find ways of life that suited his or ber unique ciiiyacities
and e11couragt.d his or her grow& and developme~~t. h On Liberty, Mitl
indicates that this supports negative freedom: he wished to show that we
should not place needess obstacles in the paths of others, as this may
limit their development. I also pointed out that classical liberals such as
E A. Mayek look back to Mill, as m exelnplar of Ihe case for negative lib-
erty (Section 3.1). But-consistent with the idea that Mill's On Liberty is
sornelhing &in to GaIliefs notion of an exemplar, accepted by propo-
nents of compethg conceptions of liberty (Section 3.1)-proponents of
positive liberty have also looked to Mill, as an inspiration. Mill" case for
liberty cJepel7dec.lon the desirability of autonomous people who &ought
for themselves and developed their natures and so were not ruled by
custom or prejudice. If the development of such people is indeed a
good thing, and if that is why negatiwe liberty is a good thir~g,then,
some pMosophers have concluded, posieive liberty must be a good
lhixlg too. Although Mill, may not have realjzed it, say sorne advocates of
po"itive liberv, not only was he prewnti~ligthe case for negative liber%
but he was lnyislg the foundatkns for devebpment of the positive con-
cept. If only M y developed people are free people, the positive concep-
tic)n of freedom can explain why this is so and, on that gm&, seems
Thusl according to one contemporary pfopment of positive :Liberty if
we why Mill vaiuecl ffeedom-why he thought it was someehing
to be prized and cherished-we will be led to embrace positive
freedom-freedom understood, as the ability to make choices that de-
v e l ol~e's
~ naturt3." To many advocate?;of positive hedom, Mlll's stress
on self-devt.lopmcnt and self-perfection supplies what is missing from
theorjes of negative liberty: an mswer to the questions, "Why do we
vaiue liberty?'" m d ""What sort of liberty is most importmt to us?'"""
T%us,it has been argued,

(l) If we want to understmd what freedom isr we have to under-

stilnd why it is imyortar~t.
(2) And Mill" answer to the q~~estion is, ""1E"eedomis important be-
cause it promotes choice m d self-development."
(3) But once we see that choice is at the heart of the value of free-
darn, then we will also see that negative freedom is not enough.
And some negative frecdoms, that is, those that interfere with
dmlopment or are not 17~?cessary for development, may not
even be very valuable.

So the answer Mill gives to the westior~,"Vtrhy is freedom important?" it

has been argued, leads his theory beyond negative freedom to a fuler,
positive ideal of freedom.

Liberty and Liberalisms

Liberty, I have said, is at the heart of ail li$eralisms (Section 3.1).We can
now see, though, that different conceptions of liberty can lead to diver-
gent understandings of liberalism. Classical liberalism is "oat on a nega-
tive conception of freedom." A person, on the negalive conception, is
free when others are not erecting obstacles in his path or rtraderhg some
of his options ineligible. J o h Loclke" Second Treatise of Goverpznzcrzt (l689)
in many ways remains Lf-reclearest statemmt of the classical liberd's $C-
votion to each individual" liberty (and property-see %ction 5.3). Ac-
cording t~ Locke, the orighal cmdition of humm beings is a "'Sfatc @per-
fect Fwedonz to order their Actiol~s,ar~ddispose of their Possessinns, and
Persons as they think fit, within the bomds of the Law of Natznre, with-
out asking leave, or depending upon the Wll of any other Man.""?" This
mtio1.1 of a persol13 naturai freedom or lihertp is fundamer~taito lfie &S-
sical liberal tradition. The natural condition of humans-in Lacke's case,
the condition in which God created humms-was one in which each has
a claim to act as he chooses without interference from others, so lol~g"as
he respects the freedom and property of others. An implim"tion of this

view is that social life, and life under government, is somehow artificial.
The orighal, natural state of humans, the state that does not stand in
need of m y justification, is a state in kvbich each is perfectly free to do as
he wishes as long as he does not interfere with the liberty of others, h d
if Che natural state is one of perkct freedorn, any departure from this nat-
ural state, any loss of freedom, requires special justifjcation.
The upshot of this is the d o c t h e that government is only legitimate if
it is consented to by ail citizens (Section 10.3). G o v e m e n t imposes obstu-
eles and restrktians in the forms of laws, the collllection of taxes, and so on.
Thus, it limits freedom (notice, then, that the classical liberal. sees free-
dom as the absence of restraints). But according to the classical liberal, no
one has the right to interfere with t-he natural freedom of allyone else,
and that ixlcludes government. Consequently, only if people consent to
the creation of governmen&that is, only if they agxe to its creation, can
g o v e m n t he legitimate. A gover~~mer~t that s o u e t to impose its will
on people without the consent of the people woz-tjd,be tyrannical. It
wodd invade the natural liberv of the people.
But if goven~mentis a limitation on naturai freedom, why would my-
one ever consent to it? Why voluntarily limi,t your own negative free-
dom? Locke" answer, and this has been the general classical liberal
answer; is that wc. accept the limits on freedom that government requires
for the sake of better protecting our freedom itself. In the absence of gov-
ernment, we are always in dmger of havit~gour freedom Zhited by oth-
ers. Even if others try to respect our freedom, disputes wifl arisef and un-
less same authority exists (see %clion 10.31, there will be no easy way to
resolve them. And of course, some people may not even try to respect the
frtiedom of others, arid so lrhey pose a real threat to everyone else. 'Thus,
the chief task of govemerrt, the job for wl.licb it was primarity designed,
is the prokctim of indkidual liber@ (and properv), To use the phrase of
Rohert Nozick, a conkmporary follower of Locke, the state is essaltially
a ""prateclion agency.''3
century, t-he "'new liberalism,'" or "" lib-
:In the late nineteex~t%r
erafism,'" arose to challe~~ge this mhimalist theory of gover~~ment, and
one of its pillars was T. H. Grc3en's positive conception of liberty T. H.
G m n was indeed himself active in the Liberal Party in the tinjted King-
dom, and that was the party (at the time) ure;ing reform. Now, it c m be
argued that those who m in e x t ~ m waM-those
e ttnable to gai.n the ba-
sic necessities of food, and shelter-are unfrce in the positive sense of
freedom. Under the burdexl of Lheir circumstance, lrhey are unahle to de-
velop into self-directing, atrtonomous individuals, being instead con-
stantly concerned with o b t a h i ~ ~the
g daily necessities of life. For similar
reasolls, Greexl was an educatiollaf reformer. If to he free people must be
autonomous, they mtxst be educated: education provides the basic tools
necessary for people to act rationally and develop and understand their
long-t"'m plans and goals. Liberal educatio~~, then, aims to develop au-
tonomous hdividuals-those capable of &inking for themselves and not
tied to custom or prejudice. If the lihcral stat the state devoted to lib-
erq-was tru do its job, it had tru provide citizens with the coz~ditior~s to
achieve autonomy, includhg at least a primary education. So those liber-
als who came to embrace Gree11" positive conception of freedom begm
to see t-he task of protecting freedom -as requiring wide-ranging positive
state action.
These revisionist liberals agree that the liberal state is devoted to the
p'ote"ian of liberty and that the great classical liberals such as John
b c k e and John Stuart Mill were quite right about that. But given their
more complicated notion of freedom, these revisionists insist that the
protection of liberty is a more complicattzd foh than the great early liber-
als t h o s h t . Yes, the liberal state must ensure na~~h~terfere~~ce,
but it also
must provide for the conditions necessary for the development of au-
tonomous people. T. H, Green and his fabwers thus could argue that
they wre true to the traditional liberal doctrine of the functions of the
state; the maixr job of government was to protect freedom. So in contrast
to socialists and Marxists, these revisionist liberals we= not advocating a
mdiberal a n s w r to lrhe question, "What is lrhe function of the state?'?n-
stead, they agreed with the classical.liberals that the main job of the state
was to protect freedom, but now that freedom is undastood in this posi-
tive, rather than a negative, way, the job of protecting freedom is a much
more demandkg one.
C)-nceagain, we need to be camful. I do not wish to imply that everyme
who embraces r~egativeliherty must be a classical liberal or all those
who embrace positive lfierty must embrace revisionist liberalism
and some notion of a welfare state. We can find some Marxists who
adopt negathe liberty and some classical liberitis who advocate a
sort of positive liberty,3"s I remarked earlier, constructing political
theories is a complex and creative matter for wkch there are no formu-
las (Sectioz~3.1). Never&elcss, (3) the endorsement of a self-developmen-
t d view of human nature, (2) a mux7it;Lic view of values, (3) posithe lib-
erty, and (4) a supportive welfare state has been a coherent enduring
political theory, and this has been the crux of the mo~~istic revisionist lib-
eral theories that arose in the United Kingdom and the United States at
the end of the nketeestth cent-ury In contrast, classical liberalism can be
uz~derstoodas an ellduring theory based on (1)a Lockean moral individ-
ualism, (2) a pluralist theory illbout the values people pursue, m d (3) a
negative conception of libervf all,helping to justjfy (4) a state the most es-
sential functiox~of which is to protect individuals from il7terfere~lceby

4.4 Quertioning the Positive/Negutive Distinction

The Triadic Analysis
Thus far, 1have followed Berlh, accepting that negative m&positive lib-
erty are two opposed w~derstmcJingsof freedom..Gerafd C. MacCallum
Jr., however, has q~~e"i~nl.d
the dislinction, insistkg that all, uses of lib-
erty conform to the same schema. According to r\AacCallum,

Whenever the freedom of some agent or agents is in question, it is always

freedom from some constraint or restriction on, interference with, or barrier
to dcting, not doing, becoming, or not becoming something. Such freedom is
thus always ofsomething (an agent or agents),fiotn something, fu do, not do,
become, or not become something. Taking the frjrmat "X is (is not) free From
y to dct (not do, become, not becorn) z " ranges
~ over agents, y ranges over
such "preventing conditictm" as ccmstraints, restricticms, interferences, and
barriers, and s ranges cwer actions or conditions of character OF circum-

To simplify, MacCallum" bask point is that dl ascriptions of freedom d-

ways refer to three different elements: (1) an actor (X), (2) some restraislt
(y), and (3) somc. action (zi. So, we can say, "Pason X is freehot free from
restrajrtt y to &/not do z."326s has been called a triadic malysis of free-
dom: any intelligible use of "ffreedoxn"' in political discourse always
refers, expli"tlly or implicitly, to these three elements. For instance,

Alf is free horn Betty" hhadcuffs to run away

Betty is free from the constraint of too little money to attend a uni-
Charlie is free from his addiction to develop his capacities.

As Maccallurn sees it, the debate between proponents of negative m d

positive liberty rests on a confusion. For example, 8crl.k tells us that neg-
ative liberty is 'Vreedom from"' restraints," a d this is to be cmrasted
with positive freedom that emphasizes "freedom to" do things or act in a
certajn rational way MacCaLIum says this is a mistake. All ascriptions of
freedom collcem a claim. that someolle isfree bnth fionz s m e t h h g m d to
do something.
Not only is it wrong, MacCallum argues, to say that "fseedom fronn"'
and "freedom to"' are distinct "col~cepts of liberty,'" but he holds fiat look-
ing at liberv through the negativelpositive distinction leads us to ignore
the really importu7t political issues. The fw~damentalquestions that sepa-
rate differe~ltpolitical theories are how the three variitbles are iden~fied.
m a t sorts of entities are ascribed liberty (X)? M a t sorts of restraints are
identified as po1i~call.ymost objectionable @,l? What sorts of actions does
a political theory indicate that we should be free to do (z)? Looking at
these differences, says MacC:a:ilurrr,witr reveal the real basic diiferences in
vlilrious defenses of liberty offered by polircical theories. He adds,

The distincticm between positive and negative freedom ha$ however, stood
in the way of this approach, It has encouraged US tt3 see differences in ac-
a>untsof freedom as resuiting from differences in a>nceptsof freedom. This
in turn has encouraged the wrong sorts of quesliom. We have been t-empted
ta ask such questions as ' ' w d who is right? Whose concept of freedom is
the correct one?" or ""Which kind of freedom do we really want after all?"
Such questiom will not help reveat the fundamental issues separating major
writers on freedrrrm from each other, no matter hour the various writers are
arranged into ""camps." It w d d be far better to insist that the same concept
of freedom is ctperating throughout, and that the differemes, rather than be-
ing about what freedonz is, are for example about what persons are, and
about what can count as an obstacle to or interference with the freedcjm of
persons so conceived.37

So MacCalIunr wants us to abiandoxz talk about ""negative" and "positive"

freedom and instead focus debate on the ways vasious theories identify
the eleme~~ts of the triadic relatio~~(X) yf z).
Berlin replies to MacCallum, insistkg that someone i-vhois chained
simply wants to he free from her chajns: ''A m m struggljng agaimt his
chains or a people against e~~slavement need not consciousfy aim at any
definite further state. A m m need not h o w haw he will use his freedom;
he just m t s to remove the yoke.""" As E understmd Berlin, though, his
main concen.1is not to provide an analysis of ordinary language and ana-
lyze the structure of freedom sentences. Berlin's crucial claim is that cer-
tain theories of liiCaerty which he identifies aa "positive" cconeptims, fa-
cus 0x1 the ~estior.1,""Who governs me? A ratior~alwill of an il-riltimai
passion?" k r l i n kvimts to impress on us that these are very different
questions from those that move proponents of negatke liiberty: "How
much am I governed? What do others stop me from doing?"" way to
understand Bel.lii,n is that a theory of humm m e r e that begjrns with tke
first question will, lead to policies and political program that will he re-
jected---or, at least, seen as liberty infringing-by a theory that stal-ts with
the second question. Although many have thought that the positive con-
ception is simply an extension of the negative conception, Berlisr tells us
that it is a very diffemnt approach to the analysis of liberty.

Bridging Negotiv~and Positiv~Liberty?

We have seen that those advocating positive liberty tie freedom very
close to reason; a free person must be a person who acts according to

reason rather than through impulse, superstition, or custom or out of ig-

mrance. In contrast, what harr; been catled pure negative liberty seems to
understand freedom without any ~ f e r e n c to
e what it i s r a h n a l for a per-
son to do: it does not concern itself at all with why a person acts, only
whether this act is obstructed." "Indeed, Ilobbes" sown account applies to
the movement of natural objects as well as peaple: whatever moves un-
obstructed is free. Yet, even those attracted. to negative freedom have
thought that freedo~ninvokes something more than mere mavement. In
Cln Liberty, John Stuart Mili writes,

11 either a public officer or anyone else saw a person attempting tc:, cross a
bridge which had been ascertained to be msafe, and there was no time to
warn him of his danger, they may seize hirn and turn hirn back, without any
reat infringement of his liberty; for liberty consists in doing what one de-
sires, and he does not desire to fall into the river.4~~

Accordbng to Mill, the man chose trhe action " c r m the bridge." He can-
not, however, perform that action: he is lacking crucial idormation that
would show the impossibility of that act. The action open to him is "try
to cross the bridge and,end up falling into the water," m d that is not an
action he has Chosen to perform. Shce you are not stopping him from
""crossing the bridge," you are not stopphg him from doing anything
that he has chosen to do. I(ou are only stqping him from "tryiulg to cross
the bridge and inskad i a l h g into the river," msometbir7g that he has not
chosen. Because stopping him from walking on the bridge does not stop
him from doing what he really wants to do, stopping him does not over-
ride any decision t-hat he has made.
A free act mtxst in some sense be chosen. To act freely, one must be ca-
pable of choice, or be a chooser, and one must exercise that capacity.
Thus, if a person is sleepwalking, we do not consider it an interfere~nce
with her liberty to stop her from crosshg a busy street, because she has
not chosen to cross the street. Free action, even in the ncgatke sense of
freedom, thus does, after all, presuppose the wrcise ofa capacity: the ca-
pacity far voluntary choice. To choose voluntarily ((I) the p e m n must
not be so subject to cravistgs that she is literally compelled to act; (2) she
must b o w what sbe is doing, bn the sense that sbe intends to perform
the act (for exilmplc, she is slcepwalkhg); (3) she must not so mjsmn-
derstand the context of her action that she does not h o w what she is re-
ally doing (as in Mill" bad bridge case); (4) she must not be so greatly in-
fluenced by drugs or psychological distmtions that she does not h o w
what she is doing or is unable to control hersclf; and (5) she must not
have been co~nditionedby others to the extexnt that what she thinks of as
her choices actually have been progmmmed into her (that is, she must
not be "brainwashedff).
T%ese are all complex conditions and I have dealt with them in. more
length elsewhere.42 The crucial point, though, is that insofar as negative
liberty p ~ " ~ " m p p ominh"lly
ew competent chooser, ~liegativeliberty be-
gins to move in the direction of positive liberty. T%us, observes an adva-
cate of positive :Liberty, Mitl's claim. that one does not infringe the libertlJ
of a person crossing lfie bridge bmause t-he persolli does not wish to fall
into the river is '*hgerm thc doctrine of the 'real witl."'" As soon as m
advocate of negative liberty acknowledges that a free person must he a
chooser, the pmponent of posithe frctcdom can insist that a better
chc-toser is freer than a worse chooser. Advocates of negativr. Iiberty of
course, do not accept this, T%ey deny that a free person is ~ e r e n t l ya
good choose%or one who follows her real, fully rational, will. A free per-
son is a cboser whose opportunities for actim are not made ineligible
by others. Nevertheless, insofar ils defenders of negative lirberty are con-
cerned about obstacles to choice, freedum cannot be understood purely in
terns about eder~lialrestraints. A person must have, if not a real will, a
mliu\imalIy effective will, allowing us to accurately describe what he does
as his own choice. As one contcmporar)r philosopher has put it, although
negative freedom is by rlio means to be equated Lyith autonomy it does
presuppose the exercise oC a more modest capacity, crtctavchy, the capacity
to choose.44

T%is chapter has focused on the distkction between negative m d posi-

tive li:berty*In Section 4.1, I considered, a series of examples and tried. to
develop a conception of freedom on the basis of ordinary w u a g e , Be-
girlining with the simple idea of freedom as movement that is m t
blocked, we saw that one's freecfom c m be limited when a possible
course of action has been made ineligible by thfeats, even if it is stil pos-
sible to perfom t-he actio~li.Not just force, but threats of force, limit free-
dam. I also considered whether offers c m be coercive and limit freedam.
Sction 4.2 t u m d to positive freedum, which 7: H, Green believed was
a development of the ~liotionof negative freedom. A free person, 01%this
view, is one guided by her real will-her settled aims, goals, m d desires..
For Green, such a perwn was necesmlily concerned with the dwelop-
merlit oi her capacities. Only a persm i;uided by rr,.at;m,on this view, can
be free. Thus, RIIhctugh extersrd obstades c m prevent one from being
guided by reason, so too can internal obstacles. This idea is central to Be
various notiorlis of mli autorliomous life that we examined.

%cti,;on4.3 then examined Isaiah Berlh" salysis of the difference un-

$er:iying positive and negative Ilherq Positive libaty, Berlin -argues, is
grounded on monism-the belief that all values ultimately are harma-
nious s d that a s i ~ ~ ganswer
le can be uncovered to the question, 'What
m a k s life worth living?" In ccontrast, Berlin believes that negative Iiberty
is supported by pluralism, a conviction that the ends in life are many m d
conflicting. Because there are many good things in life and we cannot
have them all, we must choose, but if does not Seem that any one choice
is demankd by reason. Mence the importance of negative lirberty. X ex-
tended Berlin" ppoint, showhg how positive liberty reacts rationalism
and ailegiance to a self-development& view of human nahnre. This com-
bination of rati.ol7alism and self-development views of h u n m 11ature
characterized much of the ""new liberalism" that arose at the beg;inning of
the Wentieth century thus helping to explah why new liberal theorists
tended to adopt positive conceptions of liberv- :In contrast, Che classical
liberal tradition has been far less prone to accept either rationalism or
self-developmental views of human nature, and has tended to stress
m o d indivitluafim and @ralism.
In %ction 4.4'1 examked two challenges to the stark contrast betkveerr
negative and positive liberty. Gerald MacCaliurn tries tcr show that all
frtiedom chims-~~egativeas well arr; podtiv ave a t%lree-partstruc-
ture; k hSjsts there is but 0111;' comept of liherty. Last, E argued that we
should be careful not to overstate the differences between negative and
po"tive liberty, since even adwocates of negative liberty must corlcen
fiemsclves with the internd conditions for genuine choice. Only
choosers c m be denied political liberty Nevertheless, although the dis-
tinrtion is not quite so stark as some have thought, it seems that- Berlin
has made out a powerful. case that the different interprcltntions of libere
am grounded. on different, indeed competing, understmdil-tgs of value,
reasall, a ~ human
d nahnre,

1. In this book, I foltc3w normal philosophical practice in treating "liberty" and

"freedom'hs synonyms, though they have slightly difkreltt uses in English, A
person, f t x instance, might be said to "take liberties" with the English language;
he would not be said to "take freedoms'hwith it.
2. Thornas Hobbes, "Of L1"bertyand Necessity," hSir WlIiarn Molesworth, ed.,
E~zglkhWo&s [of Thorms Hobbesl, vol. 4 (Londctn, 1840), p. 273,
3. Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty" in his Essnys un Libert'y (Ox-
ford: Oxford University Press, 1969), p, 122.
4. WiXlel Steinel; An Essay un R~~I'IGs (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 2994), p. C-;.
Emphasis added.
5. For different analyses ctf cases such as these, which link interfering with free-
dom to moral responsibility for obstacles, see David Miller, ""Constraints on
Freedom," "Ethics, vol. 94 (19831, pp. 66-86; Mristj6n Mristjiinsson, Social Fretadorn:
The Responsibility New (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946), chap. 2.
6. Isaiah Berlin, ""lltroductictn," in his Four Essays orz Liberty, pp. xxxix-xi.
7. See Krisl-jjdnsson,Social Freredorn, pp. 68-69; Williarn E. Connolly The Temgs of
hlitiml Disconrse, 2nd ed, (Princetctn: Princeton University Press, 19831, pp. 365ff.
8. See J. I). Day, "Threats, Offers, Law, Opinion and Liberty," America?$ Philo-
sophical Quurtcrty, vol. 14 (1977), p, 263.
9. F. A. Hayek, The GonsGitzltlon qfLiberf,y ((London:Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1%A), p, 133,
10, On the option view of freedom, see Joel Feinberg, Rights, Jzlstice and the
Bofrnds 0.f Liberty (Princeton: Princetan University Press, 1%0), p. 36.
11. See S. I. Benn and W. L. Weinstein, ""Bing Free to Act, and Being a Free
Man," Mil.zd, vol. 80 (1971), pp. 202-203; See KristjBnsson, Social Freedom, pp. 41 ff.
12, Quoted in Joef Feinberg, Ham to Self (New York: Oxftord University Press,
1986), p. 250.
13. Far a good discussion, see KristjBnsson, Sucinl Fredonz, pp. 51ff. For drrrubts
about the idea of coercive offers, see my Soclrnl Plzilosoplzy (Armonk, N Y M. E.
Sharpe, 1999), pp, 204-210.
14. Berlin, ""Xtroduction,""p, xxxix. Emphasis added,
15. See Charles Taylor, "What" Wrong with Negative Liberty," in inlan Qan,
ed., Tfze Idea of Freedom (Oxford: Ciarendon Press, 197!9), pp. 375-194,
16. This lecture has been reprinted in several places. For some useful selec-
tions, see John R. Rodman, ed ., 7: H,Green: PoliCimE Tfwoty (New Ycjrk: Appleton-
Centuly-Crofts, 1964). For the Pull lecture, see Paul Harris and John Morrow eds.,
Green's Leclzdres on the Principles of Political Obligakiorz (Cambridge: Cambridge
Universiv Press, 1986).My references are to the latter.
17. Green, ""On the Different %rises of Freedom," p 222.
18, Ibid., p. 228,
19. For different views on the relation of positive freedom and autonomy, see
Robert Ycfung, X3ers,i.onafAufiorzomy: Beyorjd Negntive nrjd hsitive Liberty (Lctndon:
Croom Helm, 1986); Woracio Spector' Aufonorny and Riglzfs: The Moral Foundations
oftiberalism (Oxford: Claredon Press, 19921, pp. 942.
20. Green, ""On the Different S n s e s of Freedom," p. 228.
21. Joseph Raz, T/w Morality ofFreedom (Oxfc3rd: Clarendon Press, 39861, p. 375,
22. See S. 1. Benn, A Theory qf Freedom (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1"38&),chap. 4; Thamas E. Hill Jr., Autolzonzy atzd Seq-Respect (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 3391), pp. 35ff. Susan Wolf distinguishes freedom as
following the real self from freedom as living acccrrrding to reasctn in her Freedom
FZritlzin Reasorz (Oxford: Oxford University f3ress, 3990).
23. See, for example, Gerald Dworkin, The TIfeury and Practice qf Azifonsmy
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 39881, chap. 1.
24. Berlin, "Two Concepts," pp, 3 32-233.
25. Ibid., p, 150,
26..Tbid ., p. 2 66.
27. Ibid., p, 170.

28, Xbid., p. 171,

29, Richard Norman, Free arzd Equal: A Pltilosophicnl Examination of Political Vaf-
ut2s(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3987), pp. 36-37,
30. See Taytor, "What's Wrong with Negative Liberty."
31. See Jan Nrzrveson, Libertarian Idea (Pl~iladelphia:Temple Uniriersity
Press, 2 9238).
32. John toske, Secouzd Treatke of Cozjemmelzt, in Peter taslett, ed., Two Eeatkes
of Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2 9601, sect. 4.
33, See Robert Nozick, Anarc/ty, State a~zdU t o p i ~(New York: Basic Books, 197'4),
Part 1, especially chap. 5.
34. See KristjBnsson, Social Freedom, p. 314; Spector, Autollotny and Rig121.s.
35, Gerald C, MacCatlum Jr., ""Negative and Positive Freedom," in Peter
Ladett, W, G, Runciman, and Quentin Skinner, eds., Pfzilosoph?~,Politics alzd Soci-
ety, 4th series (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 19721, p. 376.
36. Berlin, "Two Concepts," p. 127.
37, MacCallurn, ""Negative and Positive Freedom," p. 181.
p. xfiii, note.
38. Berlin, Four Essays 072 Libe~tj/~
39. See Richard E, Flathman, The Plzilosoplsy alzd Pofitics of Freedonz (Chicago:
Universiv of Chicagc:,Press, 1987), p. 32.
40. John Stuart Mill, Orx Liberty, in JohnGray; ed., O n Liberty land Ollzer Essays
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), chap. 5, para. 5.
41. I am following Joel Feinberg, I-farnz fu SeV (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1986), p. 315; Benn, A T11eory ofFreedam, chap. 8.
42. See my Social Philosopfzy, pp. 202-205.
43, Bernard Bosanquet, The Philosoplliml Tjleo~y1;1( f?te Slate, in Cerald E Gaus
and Wi11iam Sweet, eds., The Pfjilosop?ziml Theory offhe Slate and Related Essays (In-
dianapofis, IN: St. Augustine Press, 2000), p. 47.
$4. Benn, A TI-~oqj f:$ Freehrn, chap. 8.
5. I , Positive Freedom as Power to Act
Freedom as Being Able to Do What One Desires
The prc.vious chapter focused on the distincrtim between negative and
positive Illbere, the latter behg trnderstood as autonomous, rational, or
self-conkolled action. We now must consider a different cmception of
positive liberty---one that is often co~~fused with freedom as autol~omy-
which I call liberty us paw tn act. AIthough distinct, freedom as power to
act is conceptually tied to liberty as autonomy. 'f. H. Green (Section 4.2)
was concerned with one's piiwcr or ability to acf; someone under the infiu-
ence of alcohol did not have the power to act accodiing to her true prefer-
ences. At one poj,27f;G ~ e actually
n d e h e s mm's freedom as "the power
of acting according to his true will or prefcrence,"l Now, in Crc;.enfsmind
this idea is allvitys lirlked to the concept of freedom arr; autonomous ac-
tion, but later theorists develop a different conceplion of positive free-
dom, According to this second conception of positive freedom, someone
is free to perform act if sbe has the efictctiwe power to Q. By "effective
power,'' h e a n skills, resources, or whatever one needs to perform @.
This sort of positive fomulation of freedom locates freedom in not sim-
ply the absence of impedime~~ts to action, but the ability to perform the
actions a person's dc.sil-c.s.In short, a free person can do what she desires
to do. Or as the British swialist R. H. Tawrrey (1880-1962) put it, iiberty
implies "the ability to act.'"?
To see how freedom as power differs from negative liberty consider
the case of segregated, universities and colleges in the United States.
mrough the 195Os, and well into the 19hOs, universities and colleges in
many southern staes in the United States we= legrrlly segrt?grrt.ed:blacks
were legally barred, from atteding all-white universities. Such. segrega-
tion wits declared illegai by federal authorities and no longer is practiced
today. Many blacks are still trnable to attend these formerly all-white

universities, however, Family incomes are lower among blacks, so they

are less able to send their children to any university; a r ~ dbecause black
elernentar?, and secondary schools are often pomly funded cornpmd to
the scbols whites attend, blacrks are often less well. prepared for college.
Now OUT vestion is not- whether this is jusethat is a wider query that
is relevant to Chapters 8 and 9-b& w h e t k blacks art. asfree as whites to
attend universities. A liberal defcnder of negative fx-eedom. would agree
that prior to the desegregation of southern colleges and universities,
blacks wert. not free to attend schools like the Universjly of Mississippi
(Oxford). The option of attending was made ineligible; efforts by bhck
studex-ttsto attel-td would be, a r ~ dweR, blocked by *rests and force. The
cor-tcernsLhe present: are blacks BOW free to attend t-hese ul-tiver-
sities? Advocates of negative li,berty maintajn that as long as blaclc stu-
dents are not threatened for attending, or excluded by racist admissions
poliries, black students are free to attend these univerdics. To be sure,
poorer black st-udents-like poorer white students re nol"able fo use Illis
liberty, but that does not mean they do not have it. In conkast, a propo-
nent of freedom as power will insist &iallperson who is not able to go to
a tmiversity simply is not free to do so. A poor person, on this view, is not
free to go to a university, take the Concorde to Europe, or buy a Mer-
cedes. m a t one is not able to do, one is not- free to do.

Freedom and Material Well-Being

me debate between advocates of liberal, negative liberty and liberty as
p w e r ihhihlighted in the debate whether it makes sense to distinguish
a pawn%liberty from lfie worth or value of that liberty. Libaais -almost
always insist tha"r"overty and ignorance, and a lack of means gener-
ally" are not constraints that limit one's freedom, but affect ''the worth of
liberty."W~'ottoo surprising, socialist wrilers tend to reject this distimc-
tion.Voor the socialist, human emancipation is inherently linked to mate-
rial well-bring:

In contemporary society . . . the rnctst obvious example ctf the liberating

character of mat-erial conditit.ionsis monetary wealth. If X inherit a fortune ctr
win the pools or, less spectacularly, get a new job which will provide me
with a larger income, new opportunities become available tt>me which were
previously inaccessible: I can travel to different places, engage in difkrent
activities or pastimes-new worlds, geographically new or culturally new,
are opened up for me. The connection with freedom lies not in the greater
material comforts or enjoyments, but in the increase ctf possibilities-the
greater scope f ~ choice.'
To be free to do soxnethingpone needs both to be free from restraint and to
have the rwources to do the thing. Obviously; this c o n c q t i o ~of~liberty
tremendously hcreases the scope of state action req~riredto ensure free-
dom, The task of ensuring freedurn becomes the job of providing a multi-
tude of resources: income, health care, educatio~~, housing, and so on. rfi>
make citizens free, the state must provide them with the resources neces-
sary for action. So understood, the responsibilities of the freedom-
enhanci~~g state go far beyond even that of T. H. Greeds autonomy-
enhancing regime. For according to freedom as atrtonomy, a state
devoted, to freedom must provide thc conditions for autonomy; and al-
thou& this may include some provision of basic educatio~~al, cultural,
and welfare goods, it does not ixnply Ehat all resources increase freedom.
According to freedarn as power to act, however, every *crease in mate-
rial resources that increases your ability to pursue your desires necessar-
ily increases your freedom. Thus, t-he aixn oi equalizing freedom is inher-
ently linked to equalizing material resources (see Section 724). And
because capitalism leads to inequality of resources, on this view, it neces-
sarily involves w q u d freedom.
Liberal advocates of capitalism thus reject this conception of freedarn.
Writes F. A. Hayek,

This confusion of liberty as power with liberty in its original meaning in-
evitably leads to the identificatic~nof liberty with wealth; and this makes it
passible ta exploit all the appeal which the word "liberty" carries in the sup-
port of the demand Ear the =distribution of wealth. Yet, though freedom
and wealth are both good things which most of us desire and though we of-
ten need both to obtain what we wish, they still rernah different, Whether 1
am my own master and can follow my own choice and whether the possibil-
ities from which X must choose are many or few are two entirety different
questiom, The cclurtier living in the tap of luxury but at the beck and call of
his prince may be much less free than a poor peasant or artisan, less able to
five his ctwn life, and to chctose his own ctpportunities for usefulness.
. . . Liberty drrres not mean all good things or the absnce of all evils, It is
true that to be Free may mean freedom to starve, to make costiy mistakes, or
to run mortal risks. In the sense in which we use the term, the penniless
vagabond who lives precariously by constant improvisation is indeed freer
than the conscripted sotdier with a13 his security and relative cornfc3rt. But i f
liberty may not therefore be preferable to other goods, it is a distinctive good
that needs a distinctive name.(>

Nofrice that just as Isaiah Berlin appealed to plwalism (Seclrion 3.2) in his
$efense of negative liherty against ljberty as a u t o ~ ~ o m(Section
y 4.2),

Hayck too appeals to pluralism. Freedown is just one of the good things in
life; material wealth aid security art.others, and they too are important if
we are to achieve our aims and purposes. But Hayek, like Berlk, jnsists
that it is a mistake to include all these good things in the concept of l&-
erty; the pursuit of freedom and other good things can col~flict,and one
may have to choose, say, freedom over security, or freedam over material
well-being. Including all of these good things in the concept of liberty be-
lies a mollistic beiief that they all are part of the same ideal and we can
avoid the necessity of choosixlg ilrnollg &em.

Athough freedom as power is in m m y ways a m c h more straight-

foward notion of positive libery than that p ~ s e n t e dby "f: H. Green, it
has a serious prcrblem t-hat Green's lrheory does not. Grceds theory helps
us make sense of the ideal of a free person. Green c m argue that a libert-y-
enhmcing swial policy ought to aim at encou~agingthe dcrvelopment of
free, auto~lomous,people. According to freedom as effective power, how-
ever, the general idea of a free person becomes lost. What is a free per-
son? The proponent of ncgative liberty has an answer: someone who is
m t being restrained by others. Green has an awwer: someone who can
act atrtonomously, and so is not a slave to passions or prejudices. But the
proyonent of freedom as effective power does not have a clear answer: a
persol1 can be h e to do this or free to do fiat, but the ideal of a fret. perso??
appears to evaporate. Sbce freedom requires resources, m d since no one
will ever have all the resources to do everything she wants, people will
always be free to do some things and not others. The or~lyway to recon-
cile freedom as power with the idea of a free penon is to rely on a social
environmentalist theory of human nature (Section 3.3); according to
which people's wants are formed by their society. As m m y socialists
have argued, although peaple" svmts in, capitalist societies are endless-
no matter what we have we always want some2rlnhg more-it does not
follow that people living h a socialist socjety would be ""limitless con-
sumers." If, under socialism, people only wmted what they needed, or in,
some way their wmts were limited and modest, then everyone might
have the power to do everythil7g they war~tedto do, and then everyone
could be called a free person.
In the absence of such a radical change in the nature of people's
w n t s , however, lfie collception of frcredom as effective power switches
the focus of Ereedom discourse f r m th.e general value of freedom, to the
value of being able to do this thing (go to university) or do that thing
(take a vacation). That is, if we take this second coxlceptioxl of positiwe
freedam as basic, we will no longer be committed to the idea of a free
person, but must focus on particular sorts of freedom, Should you be
free to travel to the moon? Are we to w o r 7 if people are unfree in this
sense? Clearly same unfreedoms (that is, lack of powers) are not to be re-
gretted, and some frcedoms (that is, powers) arc not to be pursued. But
if that is so, then we need criteria to disthguish valuable freedoms from
silly freedams- Why are some powers essential and other pokvers unim-
portant? Somewhat surprising, developing such criteria is apt to lcad us
back to freedom arr; autonomy, or freedom as seli-realizatim (Sections
4.2,4.3). We can distinguish important from trivial liberties if, accepting
an ideal of self-realization or self-developmentlwe can distinguish those
liberties (powers) that are critical for achieving self-realization from
those t-hat do little to advar~ceit-indeed, perhaps even are impediments
to it. Suppose, for example, that great wealth is act-ually an obstacle to
self-development; it has been said that it distracts us and tempts us to
pmwe "If-indulgent, but ultimatczly not self-satisfying, lives. Equipped
with a theory about. which freedoms me innportmt, the advcxate of free-
dom as power could now say what types of freedom (abilities) are nec-
essary for a satisfying, free life. But: note that at this point k e d as~
pokver has collapsed into freedom as self-realization: the free life is a
self-realized or autonomous life, not simply a life rich with effective

5.2 Pewer and Freedam

"F)Ower to" and "Pawer averN
I h e noti011 of positive freedom as power to act has k d us into one of the
enduring disputes in flitical theory-the relation of freedom and
power, We cannot really understand freedown until we grasp its relation
to power. UrTforb~~ately like other important political cox~cepts,power
itself seems essentially contested (see Section 2.11.7 The discussion in Sec-
tion 5.1 relied on what might be called the Hobbesian conception of
power. kcording to Thomas Hobbes, "The power of a man . . . is his
present means, to obtain some f'trture or apparent good."%~ounderstood,
power b e h g s to a person if he has the means to achieve his goals, de-
sires, and so on. &e's power is ox?re"sa$iijty to do what one wishes. Such
poruer fo depends on one's natural capacities, information, m d resources..
All these could be employed by Rohinson Cmsoe alme on a desert is-
l a ~ dm. a t he couid not have w~tilanother person a p p e w d was powr
over. mother: Xf n person pos~(3sses""powerover" others, he can somehow
affect their interests and lives; he can typically make them do things they
w u l d not o&erwise have d m e or believe thir~gsthey would not have
otherwise b e l i e ~ e d . ~

It would seem that '"ower to" is the more general idea. A person can
have the power to do things for many differerzt reasons, olze of which is
that he has ""polver aver" others. Having power aver athers is one way,
but o d y one way, of being able to secure what one desires. Let us say,
then, that '"power overf"is a subset of '"power to." A persm who has
'*power aver" anather necessarily has "'poolver to" affect that person in,
certain ways, but one c m have the power to, say, buifd one" own house
w i t b u t having power over anyolze.

Cont.rof krsos Effect Theories of ""Power over"

Political theorists have long debated precisely what is involved in one
person having pawer over another. Skplifqri,g a cmplex debak, we can
distinguish two broad farnilies of theories. according to cuntml theories of
power over, to possess power over others evinces an ability to colztrol
fihern.l"lf is thus said to have power over Betty when Alf can control
some aspect of Betty" life, Alf has power over BetSy's dream if he can in
some m y corztrol her drems; he has powcsr over her desires if he can
control kvhich anes she adopts; he has power over her actions if he c m
control what she does. "Control" is to be distinguished from influencing
another through reasoning with her or exchange with her. W e n I try to
convhce you to join the American Civil 1,iberties Union, 1 do not control
you, even if you decide to join up; when I offer the car dealer $20,001),I do
m t control her, even if she takes up t-he offer. fn ~ z e i t k case
r do I have
power aver the other in the sense of control. But if I hfluence your deci-
sions by brainwashing you or by coercing you, then I do ext.rcise corrtsol,
and so have power over you. Some, however, have denied this. It has
been rxraintahed by Felix Oppeheim that control was exercised by Presi-
dent Eisenhower when he persuaded voters to ekct him by promising an
end to the Korean war." Although, to be sure, if &ere redly is such a
thhg as "'hidden persuasion" in the form af subliminal advertishg, that
wodd indeed be a type of contrd; but simply persuading vokrs that you
will do what they wazt you to do har$ly seems a way to control Ihem. If,
an the other hand, the president withheld crucial. information so as to
maniyulate the people, thm we may well see him as exercising control.
If we adopt the c o n t d view, it does not seem that Alf has power over
Betty just because he can affect her, even greatly affect her, in ways that
he cannot control. A bull in a china shop greatfy ahcrts the owners of the
shop, indeed in ways that go against their interests, but tt7e bull does not
exercise p w e r aver the owners. This is important, for we see that a per-
son may possess a great amomt of "power to"' do th-s that trcmen-
dousiy affect people, yet still not have ""power over"' t-hem in the selzse of
Cmtrol theories explajn the notion of power over in terns of one per-
son being subject to the will of another. They thus piace gm& stress on
the way in which power is tied to intentional or conscjous pttrposes. It
has been said that "power may be defined as the production of intended.
efiects."lTContrt,l of another =erns to imply that one wishes person A to
cfr, and because one has control one is able ta make it the case that per-
son A. perfoms action @. To be sure, one who has control, c m acciden-
tally use it-my daughter may accidental:iyhit the cox~trolbutton on her
video game and make it turn oK when she does not wmt it to. In that
case, her control of the game led to a resdt she did not intend or wish,
But unless you can g e ~ ~ e r dmake
l y lfie other do w:hat you wish, you do
not control her. And ur~lessyou haue control (can guide things to do
what you wmt them to do), you cannot lose i h n d cause an unhtended
Ma21y have disputed that for person A to hawe power over 13 with re-
gard to @, A must intend that N @. According to effect theories of poulcrv
over, the heart of power is the ahility to adversely affect the interttsts of
others, usually in a way t-hatbenefits the power holder*" Thus, according
to Steven L,trkes%famous account, "'A exercises power over B when A af-
fecb B in a manner contrary to B's interests."lVonsider, for example, the
following story p s e n t e d by William Connelly:

Suppose . . . as a white emplrsyer in control of important and xarce job op-

portunities, I fail through inattenticm and habit tc3 consider candidates for
employment other than lower-class white mates. 1 could do cltherwise .if X
were to attend carefully to the consequences ctf my actions, but X don?, con-
tributing thereby tt3 the high unemplrsymcnt of minorities.1"

li-, ihe advocate of Ihe control t h e q , this looks morc like a bull in a china
shop that an exercrise of control over people. The employer has great
power to do things, m d his exercise of this "'pawer to" has effects on oth-
ers, brat it is hard to see how in any way it exhibib a conk01 of them. h
one way, of course, lrhe owller is clearly d i f f e ~ nfrom
t the hutl in the & h a
shop: he is respmsible for his actiOns, m d could have done olherwise. For
sorne, this is cmcial: if person A. is responsible for m Obstacle confronting
B, some insist that he is exemising power over her." To many, what is also
salient in. this case is that because the white employer holds a ""srrategic
poktion with regad to empioyment chances," he can reasonably be said
to "'exercise power over them.'"l7 The core idea is that the mployer's ac-
tions have a systematic, adverse e&ct on the interests of the blilcks, m d
that is why he holds power over them, On this effect view of power over,
permn A has power over person B if person A (systematically) acts in
ways Chat ildverseiy a:fect the interest of B while advancing his own.
1 08 ~ ~ B E R TAND

What is not irnportartt to effect Ulieories is that the power holder controls
peofle in the sellse of making them do what he wants them to do.
Which conception of "'power over" a theorist thinks best will, as is the
case with my essentirslly contested concept, turn on the rest of his politi-
cal theory. Wi& respect to theories of power, an especially important con-
sideration will be the jvldividualist ar collectivist commitments of the the-
ory. AS we saw in Sction 3.4, a methodological, collectivist believes that
the beliefs, actions, ar~di n t e ~ s t of
s individuals are to be explained by the
social system jvl which they find them,selves. In expla;ming a person's life
and its conditions, then, the colkctivist insists on the prirnary importance
of one%piace i17 the swiill system, not lfie aims, desires,
individuai agents. Such collectivism, then, inclines strongly to effect thee
ries of "'power over." To use Connolly" term, it is the ""srategic positionrr
in the overall social m d economic system t h t gives one persm power
over another. We locate power not in one agent's abiljty to make ar~other
da what he wishes, but in, the way the social system systematically disad-
vimtagesome interests aver others, allowjng some people to thrive m d
others to be dominated. Political theories that: combine a collectivist
melhod imd a view of sockty t h t stresses codicts of jvlterest thus tend to
place effect theories of "power over" dose to their core. Not surprising,
then, socidist analyses of capitalist society are apt to m& t-he most of
this collception of power*For example, accordhg to Marold. Laski, one of
the twentieth century" foremost socialist political theorists, socialism

is not a movement the summary ctf which is simple. There go tct its making
ideas derived from the most disparate sources. But it is not, X think, inaccu-
rate tc:, say that the essence of its attack [on liberalism] derived from the real-
ization that the liberal idea secured to the middle-dass its Full share of privi-
lege, while it left the proletariat in chains,l"

The core of socialjtjm's criticism of liberal capitalist societfi is that its basic
arrangements leave some welI off vvhile others are impoverished; in this
seme the workers are in "chains,"' ar~dtt7e owning classes have power
over them. Of course, Laski daes not mean either that: the workers are lit-
erally in chahs or even that they are consciously controlled by capitalists:
he is pointing to their place in the ecorlomic system ar~dhow it disadvan-
tages them.
In contrast, classical liberaiis adopt s o m version of methodological in-
dividuaiism. They mderstand society in terms of the beliefs, artions, and
desires of individuals and the relations between them. Consequently;
when malyzing what is involved in one person having power over oth-
ers, liberal indivicfualistsidentify relatio~~sin LVhiCh one person is able to,
or actually does, control the belliefs, desires, and actions of anather jndi-
vidual. Although classical liberals arc? likely to achowledge that rules
and institutions are usually employed in this p o w r r&tior-r, the core
case of *'power overrfis one person intentionally controlling mother.'"

Liber?: Power, and Competition

Mic began the chapter by examin-ting the conception of positive liberty ac-
cordir-rg to vhJhich freedom is eyuakd with "power to.'Te are now in a
position to appreciate one of the kvorries raised by such conceptions:
because one f o m of "power b" do something is to have "power over"
others, if to have freedom is to possess power; one's freedom may be en-
h n c e d by havir~gpower over others. Exercising power over anotherd
however, inherttntly limits that person's liberty;" If, saqi, 1 cmtrol you,
then your artions respond to my wishes; should you want to do other-
wise, you could not, or could only do so at co11sider;llale costs. It would
not, 1 think, make much sense to say that 1 controlled you, but you were
perfectly h e to act against my wishes-h what sense do 1 then control
you? Kecail that for Haycsk (Section $.I), cwrcrior-r lirnits your liherty be-
cause it makes you "sameone% else" tool." That too is the right
metaphor for being controlled by mother: if you exercise power over me
I am to some extel-rtyour tool, and so not free.
NOW,if one way to have polver is to have polver over others, and if
ALFs having power over B e y implies that Bey's liberty is limited, then
according to freedom arr; power to act, or-reperson's liberty irherel-rtlylim-
its mother person's. If Alf h s power over Bet@ he is free, but her free-
dom is limited. If Alf does not have power over Betty, her hedown shows
that his power idimited; but if freedom is power, then Butty's freedom
necessarily limits Mf's freedonn. Insofar as fmcdom invotves having
power over others, freedom thus becomes an inhex~ztlycunzptifz'uegc~od.
We c m distinguish three vpewf ggods. Let us call a good a cnmmcllz good
if ollc person's shart? of it cmnot detract from other people's share-it is
""not diminished by sharirrg."21 Listel-rhg to a concert together is such a
good; my liste~lingdoes not diminish the amour-rtof concert open to you
to hear. And if I get mare of the good-the performer does an encore,
say-you also get more of the good. A partinlly eompetitivc good is one
that, in some cases, both Aif and Betty car1 gain m m of at the same time,
whereas in other cases Alf gains more by diminishing Eletty" share.
Weal& is such a good, In productive m t e ~ r i s e sthe
, coopesating partks
both increase their weal&; pluderers, however, gain through taking the
wealth of others. Last, an hherently competitive good is one in. which the
only way for you to increase your amount is to decrtlase the m o u n t of
someone else. The good of '(being bestf"on a team is such a g o d ; tfie
only way you cm get it is to take it away from someone else-

Insofar as freedom is sought through power over others, it is inher-

ently competitive. The only way E can achieve such freedom is by limit-
ing your liberty (that is, power) to da as you please. If, then, we under-
stand freedom as "power over"' others, we camot even contemplate the
ideal of a society of free peopk. We can no more imgine a society in
which everyone is free (in the sense of havbg power) than we c m imag-
ine a society in which everyant. is the best basdaX1 playtlr. Freedom thus
mderstood can be r e d i s t r i t e m o v e d from person to person-but its
at be *creased." It is certahly trol.ibling for a concep-
t it seems to undernine the very ideal of a free sock@
Ef, however, we restrict freedom as power to the notio~?~ of "power to,"
where this does not imply "power overfUt k pursuit of freedom is m t in-
herently competitive. It is then a good like wealth (indeed, freedom be-
comes very closely lhked to wealth). We can all simultaneously increase
our wealth (or freedom), but I also c m increase my wealth (or freedom)
by takixlg some of your wealth (freedom qua power to).
Is it possibZt. to understand freedom as a common good-one that is not
dimhished by sharing? Negative liberty seems to render fmedom non-
compet.itive insofar as my share of freedom does not in itself diminish
yours, Alf is negatively free insofar as no one acts in such a way as tr, ren-
der o p t i m h e i b l e for him; Belly it; free hsofar as no one r e ~ ~ d eop-
tions ineligible for h a (Section 4.1). The absence of obstacles t~ n l f in no
way necessitates obstacles for Betty; his ""sare" of nonintemention does
not initself decrease her share. The problern, -as classical liberals have long
recognized, is that although there is no ~ e r mcodict t beween Alf m d
Betty's negative freedom, as sow as they ernplop their freedom to do
fhil~gs,they may end up limiting earh other's freedom. Should Bet-ty use
her freedom to capttxre Alf, or to block his path when walking down the
street, she lirnits his freedom. As soon as we begin to use our negative free-
dom, it is very hard not to, as it w r e , bump into each other hways that
limit each other" negative freedom. Thus, liberals have argued, a condl-
tiomz in which each was free to use her freedom in m y way she wished-a
"sta;te of 17abre"-would he characterized by cro~~flict and illsecurity (Sec-
tions 43,8.2), Classical liiberals have clfen insisted that to ensure a gener-
ally free sociely, we must give up the liberty to "b p into each other" in
crertab~ways-say by attacking each other, ?'his suggests that as a practi-
cal matter, even negative freedom is a partially competitive good.

5.3 Freedom, Power, and Property

Liber?. and Pn'vofe Proper?.: Classical Liberal Views
Irzstrzrmcnluli,sf Defenses of Freedom. Since ill least the seventeenth cen-
tury liberals have not only upheld liberty as their core value, they have
insisted that private property is necessary for liberty. Liberals, however,
have p~sentecltwo marhdly difkrexlt accounts of this relation. Accord-
ing to what we mi,ght call liberty-prot-ecfitzgcasesfor pmperfy, private prop-
erty is justified because it supplies individmls with the power they need
to cou~~teract the power of goven~ment.Mthou$h, as we have just seen,
liberais recognize that government. is necessary to protest us horn each
other, they also insist that the power of governmcnt is the chief threat to
liberty. "fb exercise. power is to limit someaxle else's freedom; since gov-
ernment is the mast pokverful shgle actor in society, it poses the greatest
lhreat to freedom. Consequentlyr liberals have insisted that only an eco-
mmic system based on private property disperses power and ~sourccs,
ensuring that private people have the ~ s o w c eto s oppose the state. Prop-
erty provides individuals with the power to resist government. As Hayek
argues, "There can "o no freedom of press if the instmrnenb of printing
are ur~dergover~~ment control, 110 freedOm of assennhly if the needed
rooms are so controlled, no freedom of movement if the means of trims-
port are a government monopoly.'"2 Another; skitar cJefense of properv
insists ody tfiose with property have lfie i n d e p e ~ ~ d enecessary
~~ce for a
free socievt because they do not depend an the state ar others for their
:livelihood., they can afford to speak their mind and oppose those who
w u l d use thejr power to dominate society+2"jibc.rty-pr~te~ting dekmses
of property, then, see property as irtvolving " p o m to": if I have prop-
erty E have the power to act orz my desires, including desires that the
None of this constitutes a dt.nial that Alf's property limjts Betty's free-
dom, ff P is AXf% property, he has a "bundle of rights" ~rcgardingit, most
important of which are

(1) Right Of Use: Alf has a right to use that is,

(a) It is not wrozlg for Mf to use 1D, a d
(b) It is wrong for others to interfere with Al,ffs ushg P.
(2) Right L?~EXGILCSZ(IIZ:
Others (including B e y ) map use P i f and only
if Aff e~x~sex~ts,
that is,
(a) If Alf consents, it is, other things being equal, not wrong for
others (irtrludir~gBetty) to use P;
(h) If Alf does not consex~t,it is, other trhings being equal, wrong
for athers to use P.
(3) Right C?f:Tratzsfer:
Alf may permanently t-t.anskrthe rights in rules
(1)ar~d(2) to specific persms by conse1lt.2"

Ihe right of exlusion---(2)-clearly limits Rcrlty'ui Iiberty: Mf's prop-

erty right to P limits Betty's liberty to use it. Liberal defrtnses of private
property do not deny that All" property limits Bet.ty% freedam to use P.
After all, all 0fAlf"s rights limit the f ~ e d o m
of others: Alf's Sight not to he

mugged limits the freedom of others to mug him (see Section 8.1).26 But,
says the classical liberal, that Alf has property does not imply that he ex-
ercises "power over" Betty, even if Alf has a great deal of property and
Betty has little. Everything depends on precisely how Alf employs his
property. If Alf uses his property to hire thugs to intimidate his neighbors
and get them to do what he wants, then his property clearly is the basis
of his power over them. He uses his property to control them by making
some options ineligible. Consider a different case: Al£is a rich entrepre-
neur who offers Betty a low-wage job. Classical liberals would insist that
he is not exercising power over her, because he is not controlling her. He
is not limiting her options: indeed, as we have seen, since offers expand
one's options, many liberals insist that they can never render options in-
eligible (Section 4.1). This being so, although Betty agrees to obey Alf's
instructions, he does not exercise power over her: he has increased her
choices. Since she is free to not obey him and to quit her job, she is not
controlled by Alf. After all, when you order a hamburger at McDonaldfs,
you do not exercise power over the person behind the counter, even
though he does what you want him to do-he gives you a Big Mac. Be-
cause it is a free exchange, the classical liberal insists that neither party
controls the other-exercises power over the other-and so neither limits
the other's freedom.
For classical liberals, then, a private property market order is ab-
solutely necessary for a free society. More than that, in the eyes of classi-
cal liberals, the market has the unique virtue of producing (1)an orderly
system of social cooperation (2) among people with diverse ends while
(3) respecting their freedom. It is easy to see how two of these can be
combined; the trick is accommodating all three. It is relatively easy, for
example, to produce a system of cooperation that respects freedom if we
all happen to value the same thing, for then we will voluntarily cooper-
ate to attain the thing we all desire. And it is relatively easy to respect
freedom while allowing for a diversity of ends if we do not care about so-
cial cooperation and are content to live in a condition of anarchy (see Sec-
tion 8.2). And of course, we can produce order even with a diversity of
ends if we do not care about freedom: an authoritarian can take charge
and command us to cooperate (see Section 10.4). The market order, in-
sists the classical liberal, allows for all three. It requires a diversity of
ends or goals; it is only because we want different things that exchange is
possible. If everyone wanted the same things-if we all valued every-
thing in the same way-exchange could not occur. People enter market
transactions, they trade, in order to obtain those goods and services that
will better allow them to pursue their aims. And because our aims differ,
we pursue different things. The market thus allows free, that is, nonco-
erced, cooperative behavior without any agreement on ultimate ends.
The market thus coheres with classical liberalism" pluralism (SecCion
3.2) and its self-interested view of humm nahnre (Section 3.3). When you
go to McDonatdk and ask for a Big Mac, a possibility of exchange occurs
because you and McDonald" have different values: they would prekr
h a m g your money to keeping their burger, a d you would p ~ f e hav- r
ing the burger to keeping your money. As Hayek sees it, the great accom-
plishment of the market is that it allows peogle pursuing a tremendous
diversity of aims to cooperate in such a way &at they assist each other in
their pursuits dovithout havbg any intention of doing so. T%us, as Adam
Smith (1723-1790) put it, each person '"intrmzds only his own gairz, and he
is hthis, as in many other cases, led by an invisible har"td to promote an
end which was no part of h3s inte1"ttion.~~27
According to the liberty-prokcting defcnses of property then, (I)your
proyerty rights do necessarily limit the freedom of others insofilr as they
exclude others from using your property. (2) Property, uniike freedom,
gives one "'power to" do dovhat one wants, Property is necessary for a free
society because it is essential that private citizens have the p w e r to do
things wi&out a s h g the approval of government. (3) The use of prop-
erty does not inberclnlly iwoJve the exercrise of "power over" others. As a
resource giving one power to do what m e wmts, it can be used to ac-
quire power over others, but such power is not the norm in free ex-
chmge. fndeed, for the classical liberat the markct order is the only way
for people to freely coordinate their actions,

Property as Freedom. 1,iberals have not only insisted that property is a

rnems to pseserving liberty, they have often conceived of it as an embod-
ime2"tt of liberty, or as a type of liberty, or indeed as identical to libertp,
This view is popular among many contemporary classical liberals. Jan
Narvesm, for instmce, bluntly aaserts, "Liberty is Property."" There are,
once again, a nunber of variatims on this clain.'Vhe main idea,
though, is that one's freedom is a "zone" or "space" hwhich one c m act
without interference fmm others. Property defines this zone: a person
who has property can do what she war~tswith it, and others cannot inter-
fere. So, the zone defined by one% property is simply a manifestation
of one" ffrcedom. 7i,be free is just to be free to use what is yours-your
Although advocates of this view typically see thennsehes as advocat-
ing negalive libcrm their argumcnt seems to confuse negative liberty and
liberty as power (Sectiom 4.1, 5.1). A person With properv is a permn
with the resourc-es to t r d a t e her d e s i ~ jclto
s ~alirty.If that is a sort of
freedom, it is just the sort of positive freedom that classkd liberaiis such
as Haycsk stmngly and explicitly reject; -as I arped, it seems much more
at home in soci&st political, theories.
~ ~ B E R TAND

Privafe Propery and Power: Sociolisf Views

P~imteP Y O ~ Cand ~ 'Ilmngfer of ''Poruer lit.'3oci&sts have long in-
Y ~ fhe
sisted that capitalist private property inevitably and crucially involves
power ~ l a t i m hetwem
s the owners a r ~ dworkers. Foll0win.g Karl l:Marx,
socialists have often trnderstood private propere as a mechanism that aX-
:lows capitalists to extract the productive powers of the worlcers and use
them for the benefit of t-he capiCalist class. Under capitatism, it is argued,
those with private prapert-y systematically employ the pmductive paw-
ers of the workers to enrich themselves; consequently, m tbis view, the
r/vh& point of privak p r ~ e r t p it; to tra~sfer""power to" from the pro-
ducers (workers) to owners. according to C. B. Macphersol~,

Mtsst simply, what is transferred, from the non-owner tc:, the owner of the
means of labour (i.e., of the land and capital), is the non-owner's ability tc3
labour, .i.e., his use his own capacities productively; during the time
contracted for. The ctwner purchases that ability for a certain time and puts it
ta work, The ability, the labour-yozuer, is transferred. The actual work is per-
fornged by the non-owner. But in a very real sense the actual work is owlzed by
the owner of the capital. He, having purchased the other's abiliq tt.o labour,
has the rights of ownership in the labour that is actually performed. . . . He
also owns the product, including the value added to the materials of the
work. . . .
What is transferred, then, is both the ability tt3 work and the ownership of
work itself.?"

n u s , whereas the liberal sees private pmperty rights as providing every

property owner with the power to do as she wishes, Marxists such as
fvXacpherson insist that because capitalism is based on the sale of liabor
power by the workers to t-he owners, capitalism is a systematic redistribu
tion of '*"p'~verto" fr,m workers to capilalists.

Prr,pr.rfy and "Power OWT." A core t-heme of socialist writings has been
that private propere constitutes the capitalists"+"power over" the work-
ing class. Some socialists such as R. H. Tawney employed the narrower
mtio11 of *'power over" as 'kcontml" to make this point:

For the characteristic of modern industry, and of ithe financial arrangements

associated with it, is not only that it increases, by its technological triumphs,
man" power over nature, but that, in the absence of deliberate restraints im-
posed by society, it heightem that ctf some men over ctthers, by ctrganizing
and concentrating it. It concentrates it because it normally involves the ccm-
centration of ownership, and therefow of the rights which ownership con-
fers; because its method is mass-productictn, and mass-production involves
the control of large armies ctf workers, who execute, by small groups, who
direct and plan; because it makes all, or nearly all, types of eccmomic activity
interdependent, so that those who control a key service can impose their
t e r m on it-re rernainder.5"

Capitalists have power over workers because they c m direct the workers
according to their plans. Ihus, hthe eyes of Tawne)i arr; well as rwision-
ist liberals such as fa,T. Hobhouse, protecting the ljberty of the cvorkers
r c q u i ~ dconstrainhg the power of employers. "mere is no intrinsic and
inevitable conflict betwcsen liberty and compulsion,""since coercive re-
straints in the form of gove ent regulation~orcerning,say, workh~g
hours, factory conditions, m d wages-are necessary to protect the work-
ers from the power of capitalism*s3
T%e contemporary socialist philosopher Kai Nielsen employs m effect
account of powes in his critjcism of capitalism, In commenting on the
power of the farnous capitalist John I),Rockekller (2839-1937), Nielsen,
in col~trastto Tawi~ey,does not m a k much of the way in which Rocke-
feller's "'eapitaljst property rights" alllowetit him to intent.ionally conkol,
his workers or consumers, Instead, Nielsen stresses how Rockcfeller's
decisio~lsp d u c e d "unintended" pbIic cor7seyuc.r.rcc.t;for the entire SO-
ciet).:" Capitalism, a socialist mitght say constitutes a p w e r stmture in-
sofar as the holders of property rights systematically act in ways that ad-
vance their i n t e ~ s t swhile adversely affecting Lhe interests of workers
and other non-property-owning classes, This second criticism of the
power inherent in capitalist pmperty relations goes much deeper than
Tawney". The power of a capitalist such as Rackdeller is not locakd in
his abitity to control m d manipulate his workers or goverrnrnent officds,
but his ability to act on his interests in a way that, whether intended or
~ ~ " t i r ~ t e ~has
~ dfar-rearhing
ed, effects throughout the econorny that work
to the disadvantage of the working class. And because the capitalist's
p w e r runs so much deeper, controlling it reyuises much more radical ac-
tion. hsofnr as t-he capi.t.alistfs" p w e r over'kthers col~sistsin his power
to consciously control his workers, legislation that protects workers c m
check the power of cont.01. But if &e power of capitalism resides in the
tremendous effect of owners' decisions on the entire economy, o ~ ~the ly
elimination of the capitalist system will free the workers by eliminathg
this power over them.
I h e reader mi\y have noticed that not only do the liberal defensc. of pri-
vate property m d the socialist criticism clash on the nature of power, they
also deeply disagree m how markets are to be understood. To the classi-
cal liberal, markets are r e a h s of freedom and mubal benefit; to the so-
cialist they are arenas of intense competition and conflict. Sacialists, for

instance, almost always see profits as deriving from exploitation of the

wrkers: that the capitalist gains mans that others lose. And that is why
socialists jvlsist that the capitalist system must rest on power, since it takes
from some to give to others. In contrast, defenders of liberal capitalism in-
sist that profits are the result of muhnally beneficial activity Because both
owners m d workers gab from their market relations, there is no need to
assume that the cm~l.eedifice rests on pawer rather Ulim free choice.35

5.4 Freeclon?, P ~ w r and

, fhe Law
Negative Liber?. and the Low: A Basic View
Recall from Section 5.3 that according to a lypical classical liberal argu-
m e ~ ~ift each
, was free to use her negative fiberty in any way whatsoever,
people would, as I put it, ""btrmp" into each other in ways that would
limit each other's freedom. h short, we would often use our freedom to
construct obstacles that limit thc freedom of others, To prevent us from
linliting each other% frtiedom in this w q , we re+rc_. a system of laws
that protect the freedom imd property of each (see Section R.Z),Of comse,
in creating a system of laws, we construct a power over us: the govern-
ment can control: us by thl-eater~i~~g us with coercim unless we obey.
T%us, to check the power of other people, we create the power of govern-
ment. But of course, governxnent chrcks not o q the libesv of others, it
checrks your a r ~ dmy liberty too.
Because government uses its power to constmct obstacles to our action,
most classical liberals have held that each lawf at least insofar as it threat-
ens us with coercrion (see Sectim 4.l)-lhat is, pufiishme~~t-is itself a
limitation of our liberty Thus, we accept some coercion by the state, and
the limits m liberty it implies, in order to protect ourselves against the co-
ercion of private individuals." Law is thus t-kvo-edged:it pratccts us ft-om
coercion by coercion, it protects our liberty by taking some of it away.
Law provides scczlrif!/ for m s t of our freedom bp linniting some of it. Peo-
pie wish their freedom to be secure from attaCk; to provide that securiy
we institute a power that c m block those who would limit our liberty*But
the pluralism of classkal liberals (Section 3.2) indines them to insist that
although security is a good, it is not the same good -as fnzwdom. h d -as
the flufalist tells us is usually the case, to gain the good of secrnrily we
must give up some of another good-in this case, some of our freedom.37

Freedom, Low, and Morality: Kmt's Liberal Rotiono/ist View

hma11ue:i Kant (1724-1804) agreed &at rat-ional, moral people w u l d
abandon the "wild, lawless" heedom of the state of nature-in kvhieh
one person can use her freedom to harm others-and agree to live under
laws of justice (Sction 8.2). Kmlit, though refuscld to see this as b o l v i n g
any loss of freedom, however:

Any oppogition that cowters the hindrance- of an effect promotes that effect
and is ccmsistent with it. Now, everything that is mjust is a hindrance- to
freedom according to universal laws. Coercion, however, is a hindrance or
opposition tct freedom. Consequently, if a certain use of freedctm i s itself a
hindrance to freedom according tt3 mivcrsal laws (that is, it is unjust), then
the use of coerci~~nto a)unteract it, inasmucb a s it is the prevention of a hin-
drance to freedom, i s consistent with freedom according to universal laws;
in other words, this use of coercion is just.38

Kitllitfsargument seems to be that

(1) If a person employs his freedom in a way that coerces others

(2) h d which cannot be justified by universal laws of justice, then
(3) 'That perwrlifmseof his; f ~ e d o m
is itself unjust.
(4) T%eprevention af such a hindrance to freedom is consistent with
heedam according to rdes of justice, that is, just freedom.
(S) merefom, acts uphotding universal justice are not opposed to

Although law does indeed restrict ""wild"freedom, it is essential for

""just" fscledom, Thus, argtEes Kant, when we enter society we give up our
wild lawless freedom. and accept a rational frcedm, under the rules of
just laws. Note the ratiorlialist claim (Sectiorlis 3.2,4.3): true freedom must
confom to the dictates oC reason, wt-rich teits us to live according to just
:laws that protect the h e d m of everyone. Properk unkrstood., them is
no corliflict betwee11law, freedom, alid reasolli.

Freedom as An tipower
Alf 'S exercise af power over Betty hherently limits her freedom. But what
of Alf's mme ppasscssiorl of power over her? A person can possess power
w i t b u t actuai:ly using it; to have power is to have the ahilifcy to control or
affect others, but not everyone who has m ability actually uses that abif-
ity f: have the ability to count to 1,000, but have never done so; someone
who has thousands of loyal followers may have great power; Si17ce "ozdd
she tell her followers to do somethhg, they would. But she may not tell
them-that is, she may not exercise that power.
&coding to most liberal advocates of negative liberty, a person is free
i f she is not. being interfered cvith by others. Consequently that others

possess great power does not in itself limit yom freedown*Recently, Philip
Pettit has criticized t-his understar~dingof freedom. As Pettit sees it, Betty
is not free if, althoue;h as a milller of fact she is left alone, at any moment
Alf could constrain her choices if he wished to. Perhaps she merely is
lucky that so far ALf has not mticed her; or p e r h a p ~ h eingratiates her-
sell with Alf to protect krself from his pokver. But none of this, says Set-
tit, makes her free, for she lives under the constant possibility that Alf
may decide to tirnit her liberty. Thus, for Pettit, "the employer who can
fire his employees as kvhim inclines him" "possesses power that limits the
hberty of his employees, even if he should never choose to use that
Pet-tit argues for m alternative view: freedom as "antipower," If All has
power over Betty inone kvay but she had power over A:l in anothel; their
mutual power might nullify the power of either to interkre. Each can re-
sist the power of the other; each the11 it; trdy free, for not o17Iy is each not
interfered with, but both are secure from having power exercised over
them by the other. Unlike classical liberals, Pettit does not believe that the
law takes away some of our k e d o m to better protect other part" rather,
like Kant, Pettit jnsists that the rule of law jn no way detracts from our
freedom.because it provides citizens with mtiipower, The law says Pettit,
neulralizes the power possessed by some citizens that, if left w~checkd,
would limit th.e freednm, of their fellows. Specit"ical,1Cy,Pettit: q u e s that
the law promotes antipower in three ways:

(1) T%e crimjnal law deters hdividuals with power from jnterfering
with others,
(2) The iaw regulates the way in which ihe powerful may employ
their resources. Thus, for example, regulation of economic deci-
siom by corporations protects the liberty of employees and
(3) Government provision of transportation, education, and other
opportunities empowers ordinary citizens, making them less
vuherable to t-he mare powerfui members of sociev.

Petrcit insists that his view is distinct from liberal, socialist, and conser-
vative conceptio~~s of freedom. Accordimg to thit; "republican'"tt7eory of
government; nonarbitrary legislation does not limit the freedom of citi-
zens." Because being subject to arbitraly interfere~~ce is t-he m r k of an
unfree life, systems of nonarbitrary law making-systems based on
widespread participation by citizens in the creation of general laws that
apply to all-do not constitute limih on freedom. Thus, in the republican
tradition, freedom is closely bound with popular participation in legisla-
tion and the prevention of the arbitrary use of power, h this respect, the
republican h-adition embraces Kantfs ralionalism: arbih-ar)r interference
is hostile to freedom because it is not based on rules of justice and reason.
This idea was central to the French political philosopher Jean-Jacques
Rousseau. Rousseau, like Mmt and the republican tradition, emphasizes
the differe~~trebetween beil'lg sukject to lfie will of specific people a r ~ dbe-
ing subject to ilnpersonill laws. His great work, The Social Confmct,
stresses the way in which a system of law secures each citizen agajnst
perwnd dependence on tt7e wills of others. The theme of paw11"l de-
pendence runs very deep in fCousseatt's writings. m e crucial sort of un-
freedom for Rousscau is when you are foxed to &ey the will of mother
individual: when ar~otherhas control over you. For Rousseau, and the re-
publican and to some extent the socialist traditio~~s, such personal depen-
dency is avoided by makhg each person subject only to the laws he had
a part in making. This, saps Rousseau, is the only sort of freedom that can
be had by humal~s-ir.l-society(as opposed t-he wild and lawless frctedom
af people in a ""sate of natureM")freedarn trnder the rule of Xiabv. Without
the rule of general laws, there would only be persmal dependency and
so siavery (see Section 10.4).

f i e General Wll: taw and Positive Freehrn

Perhaps the most radical pmposal for reconciling labv and freedom has
been proposed by those upholding the ideal of the "general wilf.." Al-
though Rousseau is lfie most important theorist of the general will, the
idea was mast completely developed by later political philosophers such
as Bernard, Bosmquet. .Abstracting from the specifics of their particdar
treatme~~ts, the basic q u m e n t can be broken into four claims:
(If Sey-imposed restrailrts do not limit f r ~ d o m .According to Rosanquet
and others, restraints that you irnpose on yourself do not b i t your free-
dom. This idea of freedom is a version of freedom -as autonomy (Section
4.2). A person is free w h n she c m do what she really wants to do: if she
imposes a restraint on herself-if she kcides that she does not want to
$O s~mc"f:hi~-----Ihe restraint does not interfere with her freedom. Self-
imposed restrajwlts, then, are not a limitation af one's autonomy, as ane
desires to act on them*So those who really will a law who wish to have
the law, do not have their freedom limited by it: they remain free. f r ~a
democracy; Rousseatr believed, all citizens deliberate and vote on the
laws, and the laws apply to all. In a democracy, then, laws seem to be a
f o m of seti-imposed restraints.
(2) Tlze milzorify arr.fiee if Cflqj loo can som&ow "wifl'9fhelart? The prob-
lem is the dissenthg minority, that is, those who vote against the law. C3tn
the face of it, the law seems to genuinely rest.rict lrheir frcredom, since it is
not a self-imposed restraht: they voted agakst it. And if so, i"could

seem that the law limits their autonomy But if there was some way in
which the minority could emhmce the majority's verdict as t-heir own-if
they could come to will the result-then they too would be free.
(3) hros that express the genernl will am ~uilledby ewyone. The minority
codd will the laws (that they voted against) if the laws were really in the
interests of all cilizem. m a t is, we might distir-rgwishtwo types of law: (a)
Some laws favor the m 4 o ~ t y at the expense of the minority, and so could
never be embraced by the minority. fh) Other laws, however, apply to all
citizens equally and serve the common interests of all citizens. Even if the
minority voted agaimt such laws, as members of the community dcsising
the cornmall good they achally do will ehe h s insofar as they promote
the generd good. Recall again T. H. Grt;er.lfsdisthction betweell a per-
sods **realum d "actual" will (%ction 4.2); a person's red will consists of
the things he rc;aliy cares about-his long-term aims, interests, and
goals---whereas a person's "aceslal'kwill is distorted by irnpulses and er-
rors. Now to the extent. that the minority will the common good, if: the
law promotes the common good, then that is what the minority =ally
will, even if they do not know it.
(4) Since the nlinorify will fhc ~ W Sf ,h q arefrcf men zut~enf h q a r e f i l ~ e dto
o b q them, If being free is to do what you mally want to do, and if the mi-
nority really want to act on the general will, t-hen t-he minority act freely
when they act on the general will. True, they voted against the law be-
cause they believed that the law did not express the ge~~eral will; but if
the majority are c o r ~ cthat
t the law articulates the gemral will, the mi-
nmity should accept the majority's judgment.

When a law is proposed in the people" assembly what is asked of them is

not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but
whether it is in confc~rmityto the general will which is theirs; each by giving
his vote gives his opinion on this question, and the counting of votes yields
a declaration of the general wiX1. When, therefore, the opinion contrary to
mine prevails, this proves ctnIy that 1 have made a mistake, and what X be-
lieved tc3 be the general will was not so. 11 my particular opinion had pre-
vailed against the general will, X should have done something other than
what X had willed, and then 1 shauld not have been iFree.41

Once the general w i l has been revealed by the majority those who con-
tinue to oppose it are captives of their particular wills. Recall here
Green" analysis of freedom: those who act on their '"actual will" rather
than their "real will" are unfree. Rousseau agrees. According to
Rousseau, compelling someme to submit to the gerraal will "means
nothhg other thm that he shall be forced to be free; for this is the neces-
sary condition which . . . secures him agahst all personal dependenceef'd2
Bosmquet apparently approves of "busseau% observation (Social Crm-
fmct, Book Itr: chap, ii, n.) that the convicts in &c galleys at Genoa had
"iberty-tamped on their chairts- The fetters of the bad self are the sym-
bol of freedom.'f4"gagain, we confront Ber1in"s worry about positive lib-
erty: forcirzg a person to act on his "real will" c m itself he a way of mak-
ing him free.
The doctrine of the general will reconciles law and positive freedom by
presupposing a collectivist theory of society (Section 3.4). Rousseau him-
self expljcitly embraces such a corrception. In The Social Contract, he in-
sists that society is more than an '%aggregationu-it is an "ass~ciation"
with a real unity a d shares a genuine "commo~~ good.""" ":lf indi\riduirls
are memhers of m association in w:hich the good of each it; bound to the
common good, m d in. kvhich each thus wills the cornman good as a cru-
cial constituent of her own good, it is possit;lle to claim that each mally
wills t-he generai will, and so is aulonomous when acting on it. Hence
Rousseau" ksistence that a society is a ""people" "rather than a collltection
of individuals. For if all we have is a collection of individuals, it seems
dubious indeed &at all share a gex~eralwill, ar~dare free when they fol-
low it.

Conservatism and Legal Liberties

In concluding our analysis of :liberty and the law we should note a m r e
modest proposal, characteristic of much conscrwtiwe thought. As I
stressed in. Section 3.2, conservative antirationalism leads to valzlb~gtra-
ditions, as embodying the accumulated practical knowledge of a political
culhrre. Rather & a seeking
~ to develop ar.2 i\bsh.act iheary of freedom---
as da liberals and socialists-conservati\~es are wont to stress that our
understanding of what ljberties art. h d a m e n h l to political life is deter-
mined by our political traditiolls, fn his Reflectiarzs orz fhe Xez)ofzlCinlzi l z
Frunce, Burke criticized the liberal doctrine of trniversal mural rights to
:liber@.Instead, Burke argued that the ljherties of the English were an
'"ir7herita1ce derived to us from our forefathers, a ~ to d be transmitted to
our posterity-as an estate specially belonging to the peaple of this king-
dom, wilf-tout any reference whatever to any other more general or prior
right.-s Mo~over,Burkc., hawing on a typical comepvaf-i~(~1 themy of
human nature, stressed the dangers of human passions for politicd soci-
ety (Section 3.3). Burke maintained,

Society requires nctt ctnly that the passictns of individuals should be sub-
jected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the
inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and
their passions brought into subjection. This can only be done by a poiucr ouf

of tfter~tsel~s,
and not, in the exercise ctf its function, subject to that will and
to those passions which it is its office tct bridle and subdue, In this sense the
restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their
rights. But as the liberties and the restrictions vary with times and circum-
stances and admit to infinite modifications, they cannot be settled upctn
any abstract rule; and nothing is so foolish as tc:, discuss them upon that

Thus, for Burke, the law-"'a polver out of themselcres"-is needed to

identify specific liberties of, and put restrictions on, too-passionate peo-
ple. No ger~erallaw or prhcipie can be laid out in advance, specifying
inheritance oi a people's political
precisely what t-hese will be; they arc. a r ~
and legal traditions-
Burke's account is resolutely antiralionaljst, in m y ways far more so
than even Berlin" dcfefense of negative liberty (Section4.3). No philosoph-
ical theory of liherty in general is sound. Specific li:berties, such as free-
dam of the press and freedom of association are the oukomes of a c m -
piex legal traditio1.1; wbat liberties are importar~t,and what such liberties
imply, is not a matter for a phjlosopt7icd theory of liberty but a historical
and legal study of a complex political community. For Burke and conser-
vatives who f d o w him, although there are no "human rights""or ""rights
of man," "ere are rights more precious and important: "the rights of
Englishmen . . . as a patrimony derived from their forefathers."" Indeed,
the conservative is sure to criticize the liberal e ~ ~ d o r s e mof
e ~freedom
~t in
gemral as destrt~ctiveof social traditi.ons, Tlnd ult-imately to heedom it-
self. Altt-tough some freedoms are central to our traditions, others are not;
and liberalism" constant attack 01.1 limits to freedom-its ""lberationist""
proposals-destroys social custams and paves the way for authoritarim

Where the liberal sees a probable increase in freedom and creativeness the
result of these liberations, it-re conservative is more likely to see, or at least
fear, insecurity and alienation.
The chief accusation made against liberalism by conxrvatives is . . . that
liberalism is a kind of Judas goat for totalitarianism. By its incessant Xibera-
ticmist work on the traditional authorities and rotes in society, liberalism, it
is argued, weakens the social structure, encourages the mtrltipjfication of
"mass-types" of human beings and thus beckons in its way to waiting total-
itarian masters. "By destrclying the social habits of the people," wrote Elliot,
"by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual
constituents. . . . Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its sown

It is interesting to observe here the reply of liberal theorists. "Liberty,"

says Hayek, "is one. Liberties appear only when liberty is lacking; they
are special privileges and exemptions that groups and individuals may
acquire while the rest are more or less unfree."49
Conservatism displays a cleavage about the relative importance of eco-
nomic freedoms. Burke himself harshly criticized the Fmch revolutionar-
ies for praising moneymaking--success in the marketplace---rather than
landed property. Landed property, as he saw it, represented society's tradi-
tions, whereas the marketplace undermined them. John Gray, a contempo-
rary conservative, continues this tradition; he has been increasingly critical
of "market capitalism" and the way that it undermines cultural and nat-
ural values.50 Although these latterday Burkeans are not opponents of pri-
vate property and the market, they stress the way that it can undermine
traditional institutions, and so are willing to limit economic liberties to pro-
tect cultural traditions. In contrast, what are sometimes called "new right"
conservatives-most notably, Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minis-
ter of the United Kingdom-put great stress on the importance of eco-
nomic liberty, as necessary to promote the traditional virtues of self-re-
liance, prudence, hard work, and care for one's family (see Section 9.3).
This difference, then, stems from competing interpretations of the relation
of economic liberty to traditional liberties and values-does it undermine
them, protect them, or form a part of them?

5.5 Summary
This chapter considered the relation of freedom to power. I began in Sec-
tion 5.1 by examining a conception of positive liberty that identifies free-
dom with the power to act on one's desires. Manifestly, this view of
freedom greatly expands the task of a "freedom-valuing state": to protect
and promote the freedom of citizens requires supplying them with the
resources necessary to achieve their aims. Section 5.2 examined in more
detail the notion of power and its relation to freedom; we distinguished
''power over" and "power to." Whereas power to can be seen as enhanc-
ing freedom, it seems that one person's power over another inherently
limits the freedom of the person over whom he exercises that power. Like
freedom, power, especially "power over," is a contested concept; we ex-
amined the debate between a liberal-individualist analysis emphasizing
control and a socialist conception stressing systematic adverse effects on
the interests of some while benefiting others. The debate between liberals
and socialists carried over into Section 5.3, which examined differing
views of the relation of property and freedom. Drawing together liberal
analyses of power and freedom, we saw how liberals argue that property
1 24 ~ ~ B E R TAND

is necessary to protect freedom while insisting it does not necessarily in-

volve power mer others, w:hereas socialists insist &at it inbermtly in-
volves liberty-limiting power. In Section 5.4, the relation of liberty and
law was examined. Stasthg with the basic classical liberal claim that all
law, qua cocrcjve restraint, h i t s iiberty, we went or1 to examine several
proposals that seek to show how, properly mderstaod, general justified
:legal restraints do not :linnit civil freedom. Finally, we briefly examined
Burke" co~~scrvative, antirationalist view, w:hich abjures a generai a ~ a l y -
sis of freedom, localifig the important lherties of a people in their hjstor-
ical-legall tradition.

1. T. H. Green, ""On the Different S n s e s CIF Freedom' As Applied to the Will

and the Moral Progress of Man," in Paul Harris and Jtlh Marrow eds,, Crt3~?riS
Lecizims on flze I"rz'nc@i~s
ufl""olz'ticnlOLtligalz't~n(Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1486), p, 235,
2. R. H. T a m e y Equality ((New York: Harcc~urt,Brace, 19311, p. 221.
3. J o h Rawts, A Tlteory of jzrstice (Cambridge, MA: Elarvard University Press,
1971), p. 204,
4, See, ftx example, Kai Nietsen, Eqzinlify and Liberty: A Defcnse of Rndimt Egali-
tnria~iism(Totowa, MJ:Rctwman and Ailanheid, 19851, p. M,
5. Richard Norman, Fret?n~tdEqual: A Pltilosoplzical ExnmhaCion ufhlz'timl Values
(Oxford: Oxfc~rdUniversity Press, 1987), p. 44.
6. F. A. Hayek, The GottsEil.zifionofLiberty (London: Routledge, 1960), pp. 17-18.
7. %3e Skven Lukes, Power: A Radical View (tondcm: Macmillan, 1974).
8. Thornas Hubbes, Leviadha~z,Michael Oakeshott, ed., (Oxford: Blackwell,
1(348),p, 56 (Book 1, chap. 10).
9, See S. X. Bern, ""Power," in Paul Edwards, ed ., The E~tcyclopt~dia of Philosoplly
(New York: Macmillan and the Free Press, 1965).
16, See here Felix Oppenheirn, Bimensio;ansof Fre~dorn(New Yctrk: St. Martin's,
Press, 196'11,
11. Ibid., pp. 82-83.
12. Bertrand RusseEil, bwer (Lc~ndon:Unwin Books, 1960), p. 25.
13. See Christian Bay, The Structzire of Frecdanz (New York: Atheneurn, 1"355),
p. 257; Williarn E. Connolly, The Terms f:)fI"olidr'cnlDiscozirse, 2nd ed. (Princeton:
Princetan University Press, 19831, chap, 3,
14. Lu kes, Power: A &dial Viezu, p. 34.
15. Comolly, The Rnns ofPolr'tical LZisco~krs&p. 106,
16, See Mristjhn KristjBnsson, Social The Resyorzsibility View (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 150ff.
17, Connolly, The Terms of Political Bisconrse, p. 106.
18. Harold J. Laski, 7 % Rise
~ of E~uropealzLiberi~lknr(London: George AI3en and
Unwin, 1936), p. 239.
19. Again, we need to stress that political theories are aImplex, and can exern-
plify different sorts of comectiom, See Kristjbnsson, Socinl Freedonz, chap. 6.
20, See ibid.
21. See Bernard Bosanquet, The Plzilnsoplziclal irhleory of lfte State, in Gctrald F.
Caus and William Sweet, eds., The Philosophical "l"heoryof ifhe Stndc a d Related
Essays (Indianapolis, IN: St. Augustine Press, 2000), p, 46.
22. This claim is disputed by C, B. Macpherson, Democmtic Tfzmry: Essays in Re-
trieval (Oxfcjrd: Clarendon Press, 19732, pp. 40ff.
23. E A. Hayek, "%LiberaXism," in his New Stz-ldks itz Philosophy, Politics, Ecouzorn-
i c and
~ the Hisimy f:)fldc.las(London: Routledge and Kegan Paut, 1978), p. 149.
24. See AZan Qan, Property (Mifton Keynet;, UK: Open University Press, 3987).
25. I am following here Frank Snare, "The Concept of Property," Anrlrricnlz
PIziIosophical Qlrarterly, vol. 9 (April 1972), pp, 208--206.1 have sipificantfy altered
some ctf these conditions. See also Lawrence C, Becker, Prqerty Rights (Lcmdon:
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977), pp. 18-14,
26. This claim i s argued for in Cerald F. Gaus and Loren E, Lomasky; ""re
Property Rights Problematic"' The Munisd, vol. 173 (October, 1990), pp. 483-503.
27, Adam Smith, APZ. Itzquiq into the Natzire mid Caztses ";lf the Wealth ";1(Nations.
R. W. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, eds. (Indianapolis, IN: LiberCy Fund, 19811, p. 456.
28, Jan Narveson, Tlze Libertarl'att fdea (Philadelphia: Temple University Press,
1988), p. 66.
29, f have considered these in detail in "Property, Rights and Freedom," "cial
Pfzr'losoyhy 6 hlicy, vol. 11 (Summer 1994), pp. 209-240.
30, Narveson, The Libcrt~riaslfdetz, p. 64,
31. Macpherson, Denlocrafic Tlzeory, pp. 64-65. For Marx's views on the sate of
labor power, see Capital, in Robert C. Tuckex; ed., The ~ C / I R ~ X -Reader,
E M ~ ~2nd
~ Sed.
(New York: W. W. Norton, 19782, pp. 351ff. See Section 9.1 below.
32. T a m e y Equality#p. 214.
33, L. T. Hobhause, Libemlisnz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964
[1911l), p. 78.
34. Nielsen, Equality and Liberty, pp, 234-235.
35. For an examination ctf proA"Es an essentially contested concept, see James
W. Child, "Profit: The Concept and Its Moral Features,;,"3ocintPhilosclylly & h l i q ,
vol. 35 (Summer 1998), pp. 243-2132,
36. See Hayek, The Consiiitztdio-rzufLibertcyfp. 21.
37, S63e Bertrand de Jouvenel, 0 1 2 Z-sozoer (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962), chap.17,
38. Irnmanuel Kant, The Mefapltysical Elernenfs ojJzisticc~,John Il,add, trans. (Tndi-
anapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 39651, p. 36.
39. Philip Pettit, "Freedom As Antipowe~""Ethics, vol. 106 (April 1996), p. 581.
40, See Pet tit's R e y blicnt~isnz:
~ A Theory of Freedom alzd Guverntncn t (Oxford:
CXarendvn Press, 2 997).
41. Jean-Jacques R o u ~ e a u Tlzc
, Socinl Go~ltract,Maurice Cranston, trans. (ton-
don: Penguin Books, 1968 [17622), Bctok 4, chap. 2.
$2. Ibid., Book 1, chap. 17.
43, Bosanquet, The PJtilosopl~icaitTheory of the Stnte, p. 150.
$4. Rousseau, The Social Conlmcd, Book 1, chap. 5.
45. Edmund Burke, Xefiectiorzs on the Xezwlzativrz in Fralzce (Harmondsworth,
UK: Penguin, 1968), p. 119.
46- Ibid., p, 1%.
47, Xbid., p. 138,
48. Robert Nisbet, Gorlsert~ntisism(Mitton Keynes, LJK: Open University Press,
1986), p. 50.
t i o t z p. 19.
44. Hayek, The G ~ ? ~ s t i f ~ ~ofLibertyr
50. See, for example, John Gray, Beyond the New Right: firkt*ts, Got?emmerztn~zd
Ct>mjuionEnvironment (London: Routledge, 1993).
6.1 Equality and the Grounds for Equal Treatment
In contrast to libere, equality seems a simple idea. We all h o w , for ex-
ample, what is meant by saying, "Alf and Betty are of equal height" or
""Charlie" and Doxisk weights are equal." h these contexts, there is a
scale of m e a s u ~ m e ~and
~ t ,both people have the same score on the scale.
Let us call this the tied scclru cctncqfiol-r ofeqrialify. mings are equal when
they are tied: they have the same score. Other standard uses of equalitr,
however, are less precise. If X say, for example, that I like chocolate and
coffee ice cream equally well, I am probably not saykg anything so pre-
cise as "on my scoring system for ice cream, chocolate and coffee h v o r s
have the same score." 7b he sure, if one did have a scoring system for ice
cream, then indeed the tied score conception would be appropriate- We
typicdly do not have scoring systems, yet we often ernploy the idea of
equality. fn the ice cream case, I am probably saying that I do not prefer
chocolate to coffee and X do not prefer coffee to chocolirte,"n this sense,
"A and B are eyual" means "neither is to "o prefclrred to the other." Let us
call this the nonpreferrnfinf concepFinlz of qualify.This is a broader co~cep-
ti~n thm the tied score noti,on: one reason far not plr~lferrhgA to N or N to
A is that they have a tied score, but we mi&t have less numerical, reasons
as well.
As a political ideal, equality has most aften expressed something akin
to the nonpreferential conception. Throughout the history of political
thought, advoc&es of equality have been oppane~~ts of political ar~deco-
nomic systems in. which one person or group af peoplfe is given prefer-
ence over others, Thus, as the English socialist R. H. Tawney observed,
the egalitarian program of the eighteenth century opposed legal priv-
ileges that gave a select group of citizens legal rights wjthheld from In legal matters, insisted these early egalitarians, one class of
ci.tizens (for exmplc, aristocrats) is not to be preferred to another (for ex-
ample, commoners). Later egalitarians extended their apposition to
inequality, attacking the econoInic privileges that accompallied property
ownerskip as well as the infomai social privileges (for example, those
st-cmming from having attended priv&c schools, bejng a member of Ule
""rght" eethl~icgroup, having a high-status wcupation, and so on). As a
political itled, then, ewaiity hirs usudly impiied a criticism of prekren-
1preferring one person or class to another. C)f course, as
we shall see, other understandings of equality, such as the tied score con-
ceptio~~, have also been advanced; we would do well to begin, &ough, by
focuskg on the nonpreferential conception.
Mie can immediately appreciate the core prOhlem of equality: equality
does not dwitys seem a good thing, a d iwyuality is not &ways to be
3voidc.d. In many contexts, it is totally unokjectionable to prefer one per-
son to another. Many people, for instance, believe that it is right and
proper-hdeed, detnanded by justice-to give pseference (in the distri-
butio21 of mmey) to the hardwc,rE~gover the lazy, (in the distribution of
hel2J) to our mighbors over distmt &rangers, (hthe distribu-lion of pun-
ishment) to the guilty over the imocent, (in the distribution of love) to our
family over skangers, ad (in the distributiox~of assistance) to the needy
over tfte wd-off (see %ct.ion 3.3). Aristotle farnously &served that justice
demands treatkg those who are equals k~m equal way alld trr;atjng those
who arc? w~equal-say in writ-in an uncrquirl way.%s Aristotle noted, it
"is the origist of quarrels m d complahts-when either equals have mQare
awardied uneyual sharrs, or unequals equal shares."4 7b be surcl, some ui-
traradical egalitarians have wished to &dish all ways in which or~eperson
is to be preferred to mother, Accordhg to the followers of the radicd egal-
itarian Fransois-NoEl Babeuf (1760--17971, " m y price" should be ppaid to
achieve ""te equality"'; so deeply dicl Babeui hate m y privilege or prefer-
ence between people that in the hterests of nrraisltaislb~gequality; he was
willfing tr, restrrain those who wodd work extra hard to prtzvent them from
having a claim to additional rewarcls.5 For BabeuC and his bllowers, e q d -
ity was essentially sammxess: the more we are alike, the mare equal we are.
:Few#however, arc. wil1iixg to go so far down the egalilarian road, Devotion
to the political ideal of equality is almost -always an hsistence that in so~~ze
irmportarrt ways people shodd be treated as e ~ a 1 e i l -somei irnportalnt
matters one person should not be preferred tr, mother although, of course,
in other ways prefere~~ce and diseil~ctio~~
are mtkely accqtabk.
A case fos eqalir"iy,then, must (1.) specify the ways in which people are
to be ttreakd cqually, and (2) provide the grounds, or justjfying reasons,
for equal t ~ a t m e n int that way Ir-r what ways should we be treated
equallyfmQwhy should we be treated equally? tiV1-.ry is it so importmt to
treat people equally-that is, not to prefer s o m to others? The main task
of EInis chapter is to get clearer about the grounds for equality and the
types of eqz~srltreatment that political theorists have thought importmt.
:In Sections 6.2 and 6.3,I consider different g r o u d s for cqual treatment;
in Sectior~6.4, I examine propasills &out the ways in which it is impor-
tant not to treat some people better than others.

6.2 Why Equality? External Arguments for

the importance of Equcrliv
Utilitarian Egalitarian ism
Our first cmcem is why many politic& theorists have insisted that people
must be treated equally m a t I shall call extcrrznl argzlnze~rfs fbr quality
main&* that equal trcatmex~tis desirabie because it advances some other
good thing or important goal. T%e best-hown example of an external ar-
gument for equality is utilitarian. As we saw earlier (Sctim 1.4), the utili-
tarim traditio~~ in social and pouical philosophy has insisted that the one,
supreme, proper goal of political institut.ions is to promote the greatest
hayphess of the greatest number. Accordiing to Jcremy Benthm, the "fa-
ther" of modem utilitarianism, a c t i o ~is~""confomahle to the principle
of utility, or for shartness>ake, to utility (meaning wifi respect to the
community at large) When the krrdency it has to augment the happiness
of the community is w a t e r than it has to diminish it.% The ttt.ilitarian
seeks to maxirnize the overall net Izaypillcss for society as a whole. Suppose
that m e is a Berltharnite utilitarian, seeking to maximize pleasure and
minhize pain. TOdo this, one must he able to compare the pleasures and
pains of different people. 'That is, suppose that the Ben&amite ut-ilitarim
is trying to decide whefier policy X ur 2/ is required by morality in a
three-persm~smiety composed of Alf, Betty, and Charlie; his question is,
roughly, whether X or V will lead to the greater surplus of pleasure over
pak, So for each policy he needs to calculate the billowing: ( M ' s plea-
sure) + (Betty's pleasure) + (Cll?ariiefspleasure) - (AIfrspain) - (Bettfs
pain) - (Chartie's pain) = overall net pleasure or happiness. The Ben-
thamite's aixn is to maximize net pleasure or happiness.
Now many utiiita~anshave a r p e d that if a society is distributhg a
good such as money, food, or houshg it will usually maximize net happi-
ness to distribute the good eqtmlly. This argument rests on the assump-
tion of marginal decrtrusiytg ufilifyof these goods, a r ~ example of which is il-
lustrated in Figwe 6-1. In this case, Betty presently has $100 m d Alf
presently has $ 6 0 . Onc hundred additimal dollars are to be distributed.
If our ox~lygod is to gex~erakthe most possible "utiiity'" for happiness),
how should we divide up the money? As Figure 6.1, shows, if we give the
additional $100 to Alf, it will move his overall utility level from Alf, to
Alf,; if we give it to Betty it will move her utility from Betty, to Betty,. We
can see that giving Betty the $100 yields a much greater gain in utility


FIGURE 6 ,l Decreasing Marginal Utility

than givhg it to Alf. This is because of the slope of the zrtilifyfinnrtictr2;the

m r e one already has, the less extra happjness an additional unit of the
good gives you. More formally, we c m say that lrhe rr+l unit of any good
always yields less utility than ctid the nth unit, It is important to stress
that more of the good always yields some additional utility: in Figure 6.1
Alf does gain some utility by moving from Alf, to Alf,, but, on this as-
sumption, utility increases at a dinzirzishirtg rate.
Now, argues the egalitarian utilitarian, given the d e c ~ a s i n gmarginal
utility of goods such as mowy, because it a f w a y s yields more utility to
distrihute a good to those lower on the ueility fmctim than to those fur-
ther up m it (119 o w case, to Betty rather than Alf), the distributions of
goads that will maxirnize utility will &ays be that w h i c l p m m t e s
equality: we should keep on giving to those who have less (sisrce, as it
were, they get more utility per dollar than do those who are richer), until.
evayoxle is at exact[y trhe s m e point 0x1 trhe utifity function. a c e every-
one is at the same pojint, we will distribute money equally, because, once
again, that would maximize overall utility. Note that this argument does
not depend 017 the intril7sic desirability c>f the value of equality. The value
being promoted is not itsejf egalirtrtrim: it is the moral collectivist aim of
maximization of utility in society (see Section 3.4). It just so happens that
given the assumgtion of decreashlg marginal utility, Lhe best way to pro-
mote utility is to promote equality*
FIGURE 6.2 Different Utility Functions: Healthy and Handicapped

Just because the utilitarim case far equality daes not depend an the h-
t-rinsic desjl.ilbility of equality, if we vary the asslamptions a bit, or add ad-
ditional considerations, the utilitasian c m become a strong defender of
inequality. Crucial to the uLilitariar1 egditarian argument is that every-
one's utility function-t:hc rate at whjch they get utility from a good-is
the same. But consider Figure 6.2, which depicts the utility functions of a
healtfny and a handicapped person.7 Notice that at m y level of income,
the hmdieapped person receives less utiliq thm does the healthy person.
Given her hmdicap, it takes much more money to rake her to the same
level of utility; in fact, it is often impossible for her to reach t-he same level
of: utility as the healthy person. Add to this that it often takes a lot of
money to raise the handicapped persods utility even a little hit: she
needs expensive help to even get small increases of utility. 7his is de-
picted by the flatness of the handicapped person's utility functisn. Even
at the move from m o u n t $X to $X+?, the healthy person gets more mar-
@al utility than does the handicapped person. Thus, if Fipre 6.2 accu-
rately describes the ueifjty (happiness m d so on) that d i f f e ~ npeoy,le
t re-
ceive from different amounts of money the utilitarian -will advocate m
w~equaldistribution,givifgg nzolzq to the healthy pesm rutller f h a flte ~ handl
icapped persorz. The utilitarian case for equallq is thus highly sensitive to
the assumptions made about the rate at whi& people turn money and
goods into happinc?ss (or utility).

Some political theorists have held that we should endorse equalit-y be-
cause it expresses a truly impartial or objmtive view of our ~ l a t i m with
others. EaCtn of us is tempted to lrhjnk that his or her own life is special.
After all, yom Xjfe is special lu ytl: you directly experience your ocvn life,
and the trials and triumphs of your own life are, to you, of immense im-
portar~ce,But, argues the "impartialkt egditaria-r,"'that your own life is
in some way more important to you does not show that it is, or shouid
be, especially important to others. More than that, from the ""objective
point of view"' we can see that each persods life is, in itself, no more or
less important than anyol-reelse's. From the objective point of view, Alffs
life i s na more important &an Betty", m d Betty's i s na more important
than Alf's. As was proclaimed in the famous debate at h k y in 1647-
1649, ""'Thepoorest he that is in England has a life to live as the grc;atest.'"g
From the impartial viewpoint, the life of neither the poorest nor the
greatest is to be pseferred. But, argues Thornas Nagel,

if everyone matters just as much as everyone else, it i s appalling that the

most effective social systems we have been able to devise permit so many
people tc3 be born into conditions of harsh deprivation which crush their
pro~ectdcc)rleading a decent life, while many others are well provided for
from birth, come tct control substantial resources, and are free tct enjcly ad-
vantages vastly beyond the conditions of mere decency."

As Nagel sees it, if we take an impartiaf perspective and so corn to value

equ"lity, we cannot condone the vastly unequal disrribution of goods
and life chances that results from our economic hstitut.ians. Thtrs, contin-
ues Nagel, "impartiality generates a greater interest in benefiting the
w r s e off than in benefiting tl?e better off-a kind of priority to the. fur-
mer over the latter,"lQFor Nagel, then, a commitrncnt to impartiality m d
equality leads us to favor those with less over those with mox.
011reflectiol-r, it is doubthl that a c t m e ~to
~ tthe abstract ideal of
impartiality so qt~icklyleads to social p es that favar less well off over
better-off For dthough m objective attitude may well incticate
that goye should not be partial toward some citize~~s or classes
(for example, government policies should not favor the rich just because
they are rich), it is manifest that governments should be partid in some
w y s : in many cox~textsthey should favor the innocent over the guilty
and perkaps the hardworking over the lazy. To be ohjeclionatzbly parfial-
partial in a way that mmifests a lack of Objectivity-is to favor some over
others without good rr.asc,w. It appears that rather than leading directly
to egalitarian social policies, a devotion to impartiality justifies a prhci-
ple of '"formal equality," which asserts "the presumption in favor of

Frrr~nalEqunEify: Any discriminatory act-any action that provides

differential advantages or bur&ns-stands in need of justification;
any u~~justiiieddiscriminatory act is wrorlg.

Fomal equality asserts a "omket moral premmption in favor of equal-

ity. If, say somc.or?rew i s k s to he partial to Alf over Charfie, she must
show that she has good reasons for this partiality. If she has good rea-
sons, then slne is still acting from the objective point of view, She is not fa-
voring A:lf just becauscl he is Alf (that would be ohjectiollably pmtiai), but
for good reasons. Formal eqrrality "'requirc3s that if two people are being
treated, or are treattzd, differently there should he some relevant differ-
ence betrwern them.'"" As S t d e y Rcnn and R. S. Peters put it, ""None held to have a claim to better treatment than another, hadvmce
of good grounds being produced."= They cor-tth~ue,

Understood in this way, the principle of equality does not prescribe pc&-
tively that all humans be treated alike; it is a presumption against treating
them differently, in any respect, until grounds for distinction have been
shewn [sic]. It does not assume, therefare, a c(tra1it-y which all men have to
the same degree, which is the ground of the presumption, for to say that
there is a presumption means that no grounds need be shewn. The onus of
justifica tion rests on whoever would rna ke distinctions.
. . . Presume equality until there is a reason to presume olherwise.1"
As Benn claimed in a latter essay, "Discrimination in treatment between
persons r c q u i ~ moral
s justification: it is not cnough sirnply to psefer one
to anot-fnersince that involves regarding a ~ ~ o t hperson
er from the poh~tof
view of one's own satisfaction; respect far a person involves a right to be
considered from his own standpoint."l4
In itself, for~xalequality does not justify egalitarian social policies of
the sort Nagel has in mir'rd (that favor the poor over the better off in the
distribution of resources, advantages, and opyorhnities). Formal equal-
ity simpiy requires that any differential treatmer-ttbe jlastified. But it takes
on a much more strongly egalitarian character when it is combined with
a second principle, asserting the moral arbitrariness of natural endow-
mer~ts,such as a person's innate skills and abilities. It has been argued-
by revisionist liberals and socialists-that inequalities that stem from the
"natural lottery" of birth, in which people get nahral and social advan-
tage?;that they do not deserve, are unjust: "A11 Iwequalities of birth con-
stitute undeserved discrirninations.""'Vecause these hequalities c
be justified, argue some egalitarians, an impartial government must "re-
dress'" them by giving additional resources to those who have lost out in
the lottery of birth: 'Without such special justification all persons,
whether equal or unequal, ought to have equal shms."" The crucial
claim here is that these advantages am u~~deserved, and so w~~ustified.
Taken together, then, (l)the principle of formd equafity m d (2) the claim
that advantages and liabiliSiczs based on natural gifts and socid advan-
tage?;cmnot be justified lead to (3)the sort of egalitarian-redistrihtio~~ist
policks t-hat Nagel adwocates.
Mether this argtrment is persuasive largely turns on whether we be-
lieve that advantages flowing from one's natural gifts and social position
are morally arbitrary and so carnot be justified. Some, such as the lead-
ing revisionist liberal, John &&, are admant that one does not deserve
one's talents-they are the result of a natural lottery, in h i c h sorne peo-
pie are wimers (they have extensive talents that arc? in &mmd) and oth-
ers lose (they have few special talents, or k w tdents in high demand),
Thus, frm Rawls" pperspective, whether one is talented or not is inele-
var~tto an impartial evaluation of principle of justice. According to
Rabvls, the best principles of justice would represent " m agreement to re-
gard the distribution of natural talents as a common asset and to share in
the benefits of this distribution whatever it turns out to be. Those Mrho
have been favored by nature, whoever they are, may gain from their
good fortune o q on terms that improve the situalion of those who have
lost out.""' Indeed, it would seem that for Rawls even the extent to which
one makes m effort m d tries to succeed is largely a matter of luck, being
dependcz~~t on on& being born into a "happy family and social circrum-
sta~ces."MThis is a matter of deep dispute. Although, to be sure, one
daes not deserve one's talents, it does not follow that one daes not de-
serve the fruits of those talents, Indeed, a widely shared belief about dis-
tributi\re justice is t-hat a producer of a good has a special claim over what
she has produced-t:hc fmits of her labot: Axld it is widely believed that
those who work hard deserve greater rewards thm those who do not. WC
shall turn to this dispute &out justice a d desert in Sectior~s8.2 and

Incommensurobili~and Equality
Mic have thus far considered two types of arguments supparting the h-
portance of equality, and in particular equal distributio~~s of the good
things in life: the utilitarim argument that such distributions maximize
overall happiness, and the argumcnt f r m impartiality, Many have been
perwuaded by a differe~~t case for ewality, csihich maintains that people
should be treated eqtlalty just because each person is a m@e individual
and camot be cmpared to, or r a n k d above or below, others.
:If I calz say whether A is better than B or vice versa, the11 they m com-
mensurable; 1can compare and rank them. And in most cases we cm, at
least roughly, make such comparisons. When I go to the malt shop, I rank
a chocolate malt above a strawberry malt and so I choose lrhe chocolate
over th.e strawberry Indeed, wh.enc.ver one makes a reasoned chice-for
example, every time you buy sosnething at the store, or decide to turn
down one date a ~ accept d another-you are making m impiicit rankil7g,
and so are comparhg two differexnt optioxns or valuable things, We make
such comparisons with more or less effort, but we make them constantl.y.
Sometimes, though, we cannot compare two things. 7il say that two
things, A and B, we i~~n,mmrr.tszrrnbIe is to say that they cannot be r a ~ k e d
in terms of "'better than" and "worse than." h the novel Sophie3 CFzoice,
the Nazis offer a Polish mother a choice: she can choose which of her chit-
dren will live and which will dir.lVophie is unable to make the choice;
she cmnot compare thc importance of the lives of her children-lfiey are
literally incommensurable,
Some think that all individuals are incommensurable: each h~dividtlal
is unique and c a ~ n o be t rmked as, overall, above or belokv others. Of
course, proponents of the view readily admit, we can rank people for
specilic purposes: teachers rmk students in terms of academic merit, stu-
dents rank teachers in terns of their teaching perhmance or poputizrily,
CSJ,vmpicofficials rank athletcrs according to their performances, and so
on. But although "it is of the esselrce of merit . . . to be a grading concqt
. . . there is no bvay of gradkg individuals as such. We c m grade them
with respect to lheir qualities, hence only bp abstracthg from. their indi-
vidudity."'" We c m rank peoplc in terms of their possession of certair?
features (for example, academic talents, teaching ability; pop~xlarity,
speed), but any such ranking abstracb from their full indkiduality and
miguer~ess,focusing 011 some specific attributes. m a t we canr~otdo, on
this view, is rantc i~di~jidrrulsas ssti:h, for each indivicfual is a zznique com-
bkation of traits, abilities, and so on. This is often what is meant by the
clairn that each individual is of "i~nfh~ite" worth: we ca~xnotrank individ-
uals on some overall scale, because each individual is tmique. And as we
saw in Section 6.1, according to the nonprefcrential. conception of equal-
ity this is precisely what is memt by equality: A is not preferred to B, and
B is not preferred to A.
Although the argurnent from incommensurability shows why claims to
rank hdividuais can he rc.jected, it is not e~~tirely clear how it shows that
peope slsorrld be trrrated eqz~ally.After all, il A and K cannot be compmd,
then we cannot say that they are equal. The claim to equality is itself a
compaison. In mathematics, if A is not greater than RI and if B is not
greater than A, it follows that A m d B are equal. But according to the in-
comensurabi1i"ry argument, we cmnot say '"A is not gmatcr than R"' or
"B is not greater ihm A," because we cannot make any sensible compari-
son of A arrd B. If so, then we also cannot say that A imd 13 are equal. If:
the value of Sophie" chi1dren was incommensurable, her problem was
m t that she valued them equally, hut that she wits totally unable to make
any comparisons at all. She was unable to choose because there was no
way to compare their value. This points to a basic worry about the very
idea of nonpreferential cox-rception of equaiity: to claim that neiCher per-
son should be p r e k r ~ dto the oehcr does not necessarily show t-hat tl-tey
are equals. It may sholv simply we are tmable to make my comparisons
The nonprrlfel-ential notion is d y egaiitarian on ihe supposition that
if we are not to prefer one permn to amCher, we should treat them
equally: if A > B, and B k A, then A = R. It is here that an egalitarian
may well resort to the psurnption in fmor of equaritry ihat we exam-
ined above. If a presumption in favor of "Ieating people as equals is our
"default" or "baseline" assumption, then if A is not better than B, and if
B is not better than A, we will have a good reason to treat A and B
equally If, then, we accept the presumption in favor of equality the ar-
gument from incommnsurability does generate a case for treating peo-
ple equally.

6.3 Why Equality? Arguments from

Fundamental Human Equality
External Grounds Versus Argomenh from Fundamental Human Equality
Thus far, we have been examhhg arguments that endorse equal treat-
ment because such treatment is called for by some other value or consid-
eration. Thus, for the utifitarian egaiitaria-r, to maximize overall zli-Zlity
we oughC to distriibute goodr; equally; for the imparLiaijst, to treat people
impartially and Objectively we must treat them equally. The propment of
incomme~-rsurahility maintai~listhat given our inability to compare Lhe
vdue of individuals, the ralional thjng to do is to prefer no one, and so
treat people equally, "External" (or mixed) arguments for equality are
thus of the fom: ginerr mlue or principle X , wlzere X is not itseyubouf.the im-
portance crfeqricizlify,we shotlld trelzi:people cqulzlly.
Let us contrast such external cases for equal treatment to what I shall
call argumex-rts from f ~ t z d a m e ~ t uhumal?
f equality, which have the form:
people shaalu' be IreafcIZ ilqrktzlly becurrse they art. ill some important orfgnda-
nlerztal rcrspect equal. Equals, Aristotk said, shouln be treated equally If in
s m e important respect people really are equitl, the11 Aristotle" s i c k m
indicates that we should treat them equal2y in some relevant cvay A
number of argullnents in favor of equal treatment thus have been de-
fenses of the ways in which h u a w are basically eyuai. Of cowse, to
show that people should be treated equally, it is not enough to show that
in some way WC are e v a l : that a l m s t everyone has an equal number of
fingers does not help much in showing that everyone should be treakd
equally.. An argument from fundamental human equality must establish
three claims: (1.) that in some respect, R, humans am equal: (2) that R is
important; and (3)that X is relevant to lrhc case for equd treatment.

Shored Humon Nature: The Theological Foundations

Perhaps the most important egalitarian argument has called attention to
our shart.d humm nature, or our shared nature as h m m kings: all, of
us are humans, and equally so, As f. R. Lucas has pointed out, however,
this seems to rely on fallacious reasoning.2"

All humans are human;

, All humans are equally human;
... A13 humans are equal.
But, Z,ucas points out, this camot be a valid argument; an argument of
exactly the same form is

A13 numbers are numbers;

... A13 numbers are equally numbers;
:. All numbers are equal,
Never'thekss, it seems wrong to sirnply dismiss arg ents for equal tmat-
ment grounded on the idea that humans are basically equal. The Ameri-
c a L>crcliarnfian
~ $bzdependence declares it to be self-evident that ""all men
are cseakd equal." This famous claim :rctm the Declnvutictn pokts to an irn-
portant tie between egalitarianism and Christian If we are all
God's child re^^, and if hc loves aif his childre11 eqmaliy, then we are equal
in our most important trait-being loved by Gad. Any inequalities be-
Ween people almost vanish when compared to this crucial ecjuality of hu-
man heirrgs. Since God loves the poorcst as much as the richest of his chil-
dren, the welfare of each is eqt~allyimportant; shce the poor are in. greater
need, the Christian-egalitadan response is to devote special attention to
their wellarc a11d problems. 111 the words of the Vivcyilzia Declarafinn
Rights, it: is '*the mutunl duty of all to practise [sic] Christian fotbewance,
love, and charity toward each orcher."Z "alitarian thought has been
mu& more deeply influer~cedby Christian ideals than hns thinking
about liberty. This hauence cont-inuesright up to the present day: the lib-
eration theology of the Catholic Church and "social justice" movements
in Protestant denominations place g ~ a stress
t on the %rot%rert-rood'"of
all humms, m d so their basic claim to be treated as equals. Indeed, the
socialism of :R. H, Tawney-who was a guiding intellectual force in the
Labour Party of the United Kingdowwas pre"iw"dx~ &it; Christian
ideal of equality.23

Fundamental Equolify and Ordinary Language

An argument from f"tmdamenta1equality, then, mahtains that because
we really are equal, we should he treated. as equals. As we have just seen,
one way to defend filndamex~talhuman equality is to reiy 017 theologicai
claims about God's equal. love for each of us; m s t egalitarians, though,
insist on a purely secular defense of fundamental evality, The problem
with such defenses, arr; Benlard WiUims, a contemporary philosopher,
has observed, is that ""P say that all men are equal b all those character-
istics in respect of which it makes sense to say that all m m are equal or
w q u d , it; a patent faisehood; and even if some more restricted selection
is made of these characteristics, the statement does not look much bet-
ter,"% Cox-rhoxltedwith the obvious ways in whiCh we are unequal, many
egatitarimls resort: to what might be called the we& argument for funda-
mental equality ""On this bterpretatian," says Williams, "we should not
seek some special characteristics in respect of which all men are e q u d
but merely remind ourselves that we are all me~~."ZWilliams believes
that this remkder is morcj powerful than one might think:

That all men are human is, if a tautology a useful one, serving as a reminder
that those who belong anattlmicalliy to the species honrs sapiens and can
speak a language, use tools, Xitie in societies, can interbreed despite racial
differences, etc. are also alike in certain respects more likely tt3 be fc)rgatten,
These respects are notably the capacity to feel pain, both frcjrn immediate
physical causes and from. various situations represnted in perception and
thought; and the capacity to feel affection for others.26

:Is this acknowledgment of our similarity really importa~~t? Suppose

some cruel dictator achowledges this fact of human similarity, but in-
sists that this tells her nothing &out what she shouI,C1d ~MOW
, can a mere
fact about the ways in which people are similar tell us how we o q h t to
treat them? How c m facts about human beings lead me to wEue equality?
Williams, follawirrg Wittgenstein (Section 1.31, mahtains that facts and
values are not two disthct realm, but are intermixed in our language
and the form of life in which our language is embodied. ':lb be a speaker
of a language is to be committed to certain forms of discourse; jn particu-
lar, to use a language, Williams, believes, is to accept severe constraints
on what c m cow~tas a reason for dohg somethir-rg.Cox-rsider,for exam-
ple, someone who denies racial equality; insisting that black people's
welfare siwnply does not mtter,

Few can be fcjund who explain their practice [of discrimination] merely by
saying "But they're black; and it is my principle to treat black men differ-
ently than ctthers.'yf any reasons are given at all, they will be reasons that
seek to conflate the fact of blackness with certain other characteristics which
are at least candidates for relevance to the question of how a man should be
treated: such as insensitivity, brute stupidity, ineducable irresponsibility!

Williams, of course, realizes that such c h a ~ e are

s false rationalizaf;io~~s;
his point is that a defender of myud tmatmerrt sees lfie need to give
some relevmt reasons for discrimhation, and our lmguage does not al-
:low the m r e fact of skin color as a relevant reason for, say, denying med-
ical c m or educatio~~ to a person. A deknder of discrimii7atior-r must try
to advance some relevmt reason for his actions. And, Williams argues,
what constitutes a relevant reason for doing something is drastjcally con-
strained by our la-rt_yuage.
Williams believes that this insight shows that the recognition of our
common humanity giv"ws strong reasons to treat people equally Con-
sider, for instance, Lf-re distributim of medical care in the light of our
common humanity. What constitutes a relevmt reason for distrilbuthg
medical care? To Williams, the answer is clear: medical care should go to
those who are in ill health. 'Xeavh~gaside prevel-rtativemedicine," he ar-
gues, "the proper g m m d of dllstribllition of medical c m is ill-health: this
is a necessary tmth.""" His poi~liti s that our mderstanding of medicai
care and health, embedded in our form of life, greatly constrains what
reasons c m be relevant in, distributkg medical care. Given that we are all
husnan, and so display basic human needs, we have rc.asom.l to msure that
those who need medical care receive it. Of course, this arwmer-rtdoes not
directly show that medical needs shoulcf be e ~ d satisfied,
y but it does
sugge" that those who are equally needy have m evally strong claim to
medical care.
Cln this view, our basic human equalit-y derives from our basic sirnilar-
ity: we have a common nature, which gives rise to cornmost needs, Basic
human ewality is, at bottom, lrhe basic samel-ressof people: we share the
same nature, kvhictrr gives rise to common needs. rlis treat people equally
is to recognize that in their essential charactehstic they are the same and
so there is no reason to prefer one to the other. Note here tfne way in
whjch e ~ d i t as y sajncness is said to give rise to equality as ncl~prflercnlid
treatment: because we are basically the same, no one should "o ppreferred
to others (see Section ci.l), It is important to stress Irhal:although the basic
ground for our equnljty is our similarity, the treatment that is argued for
is not that everyone be treated exactly the s m e , but that needs be met in
a nonprefe~xlitialway, That we share a commoxli hrtmarli nature that givcs
rise to common needs does not imply that at every moment each person
has the same needs: at m y given time some may r c q u i ~medical care,
others education, and so on. What is crucial is that these comma11 needs
be eyually satisfied. AS Tawny pointed out, '"quality of provision is not
idenli,ty clf provision. It: is to be acbieved, not by treating different needs
in the same w q but by devctthg equd c m to ensuring b t they are met
in the differexlit w y s most appropriak to thern."'Z"
Miilliams, then, believes that our language provides a secular basis for
showing that our shared hummity gives us reason to help the needy. The
diffiicuity with Williamsfsargt;ume~~t is revealed if we recall the analysis of
conceptual disputes in Chapter 2. Our lmgmage is remarkably open-tex-
tuxd m d allows people to smsil>ly employ terns in opposing ways. It
was Gililie" hsight that Lhe smsible use of language is consistent with
great differences &out the best interpretahn of our pol,tical concepts.
The same lesson applies to notions like ""medical care," It is simply
wro~ligto say that an advocate of the free m r k e t who claims that "Alf
should get good medical care because he c m pay for it" i s misusing 1m-
guage. One d g h t disagree with him and try to provide an argument
that, when distributing medical care, needs are more important than abil-
ity to pay. R e issue, though, cmnot be settled by proclaimhg that since
"it is a matter of Xo@c that particular sorts of weds constitute a rcason for
receiving pmtimlar sorts of goods,""" the advoc&c of the free market is
simply misushg language-

Two Eews of Human Essence: Mcrrx and Kanf

I h e strength of Williams3 pproosal is that he does not make m y contro-
versial claims &out the way in which we are equal (for example, that we
are all equally loved by God). M m y secular proponents of fundamental
equality, howevex; have been preyaf-cld to identify soxne core, shared hu-
m m characteristic that defhlies the ""hmm essexlice," Karl Marx, far ex-
ample, argued for the basic equality of humans insofar as all humans
sham a common humm nat-ure (Sction 3.3) or essence, which generates
similar needs. According to Marx, h u m s need to ""l,bjectifyMthem-
selves.32 To objectify oneself is to turn one" thoughts and plans into
something objective by chmging the world, In short, it is tl.ansfoming
the world in such a way arr; to rcflect ox?re"saims and htentiox~s.That, -as
Marx sees it, is what makes the works of htxmans so special; they are
ways in which hurnans have changed the world to conform with their
aims. We11 humar~sact on the world, their actio11 is conscious: they are
seeking to shape the world in, accordance with their conscious purposes..
:In more familiar language, we might say &at we are planners m d doers;
our lalhar is the way in which our pimaare e x p ~ s s e din doing. A~Gmals
are doers, but not, Marx thbks, conscious plamers. Thtrs, our essenc
our distinctively human feature-shows that we have basically the same
needs: to create and produce, Because, Marx il7sisted, capitafist sockty
stifles this creative ilnyulse for alnlost everyone, it dehuma~izesus (see
Section 9.l).
anuel Mant, in contrast, mahtain that our fmdamen-
tal humm characteristic is our ability to act morally. b r Kant, it will be
recalled, freedom, never conflicts with jusli,ce (Section 5-4): to act freely is
to act in accordance with rules of jusljce. To Mant, OUT dignity and wmtih
stem from our ability to ~ s t r a j nour impulses and act autonomously
(Section 4.2) on prkci_plesof justice. This ability to restrajn. our impulses
and inslead do the right thing is our moml personality: it is the feature that
enables us to h e morally and to respect the moral rights oi others. If we
did not possess such a moral personillity, there wodd be no poirtt in hav-
ing rights or rules or justice, for no one would pay attention to them
h e n they clashed with her passiox~sor impulses. ally because we have
the ability to put aside our impulses m d act according to reason, Kmt ar-
gues, does morality make any difference to us. Thus, for Kant, our funna-
mental human equality is our shared ratiox~alnature (Section 3.2). tXlr
equal rationality, hparticular our equal capacity for moral personality is
our fundamatal. humm equaliv.32 h d it is this equaLity of moral per-
sonality that gives us an entitlement to eyual justicc.33
The problem is that we do not seem to have an equal moral personal-
ity if this means an equal capacity to restrak our irnpulses an$ desires
and to instead act 0x1 rules oi lustice. Some people seem to have precious
little capacity to do so-they have an extremely h a d time resisting temp-
tation-whereas other people are able to resist almost any temptation.
Some people are always getting into tr-ouhlc, w h e ~ a others
s hardly ever
break moral rules or act mjustly In what sense, then, c m it be claimed
that we are equalIy rational or have an equal.cayaciw for moral personai-
ity? This is actualty a general problem for most clairns &out fur~da-
mental equality. No matter what characteristic cve identify as a c o r n o n ,
fundamental human characteristic, it will almost surely be open to some
variation m o n g humms. People possess d i f f e ~ ndegmes
t of ratiomlity
difkrent capacities and desires to "ohjectify" th.emselves, differenl needs,
and so on. WC do not all have "tied scores" orz rationality, moral person-
ality or capabity for objectilcication. If wt. are never all really equal, can ar-
guments from ftmcdamental equaiity ever succeed?
h interesting response to this problem is to chazrge continuous con-
cepts into threshoM conceptsMFor example, cox~sidera continuous con-
cept such as "'ageM-we have a continuous scale (years old), and score
each person on the scale, 'Mie find, of course, that many peoptc beat out
others----they have higher ages. To tfne extrnt equality requires a tied
score (Section 6.l), mast people are unequal on this continuous concept.
mreshold concepts hold out the possibility for a huge nurnber of ties,
however. Cor~sider,for ertample, the concept "'ofd enough to drive."
Someone who is fourtee11 years old is ranked below (that is, "too yow~g'")
someone who is twenty (who is ""od enough"") But those who are
Iwenly, thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty are equal: they get the same scor-
"old enough.'" Thus, even though trtvtznty-, thirv-, forty-, fifty- and sixty-
year-old peaple are mequal in ages, they are equal in satisfying the crite-
rion of bejng old enough to drive. The thirty-year-old person does not
better satisfy the criterion than does the twlmty-year-old. We can apply
this snme idea to a fundannmtal equality claim. Mthough we do not illl
possess equal moral personality (inthe sense of an equal ability to con-
trol our impulses ar~dact on rewox~),we may all be equally capable of
mkirnal moral personality: we are able to usually follow the basic rules
of morality, Perhaps a few dD not even meet this minimum criterion, but
such people really mighL be special cases wbo are not-on par with the rest
of us (for exmple, small children and psychopaths). The great majority
of function@ adults am indeed equal insofar as they meet the minimurn
conditions for moral pmonillity and thus have a "tied score" 0x1 that
threshold trait.

Equal Freedom
The V"igi~ziaDeclaration of Rights of l V 6 w h l c h in many ways was the
model for the Deckvukiv~zof Ilzdlyerzdet?ce-proclaims Fn its first article,
"That all men are by nature equally free and independent."" 5 The Sec-
ond Treatise on Civil Gtlvermulzt, one of the most important works in lib-
eral political theory, John Lock (1632-1704), makes a very similar claim
about the condition ""all men are naturally h."It is a condition not only
of liherty (Section 4.3) but

also of equaliq, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one
having more than another; there being nothing mare evident, than that crea-
tures of the same species and rank, prsmiscuously born to all the same ad-
vantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal
one amangst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord
and master ctf them all should, by any manifest declaration ctf his will, set
one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment,
an undc~ubtedright to dominion and sovereignty36

For ZJocke-and the entire liberal tradition in political theory-the h d a -

mental human cqualjv is the absence of any natural rmkistg of iL7dividu-
als into those Who command and those who obey. We are not born under
any natural authority (except, Locke would add, God"). Thus, given the
nonp~ferentidconception of equality/ since no one is to be rmked above
or bebw any one else in terns of autfnority, we am natclrally equal. 'Thus,
by nature, peogsrie have equal freedom..This fundamental equality, argues
Locke, shows that ~ustifiedpoliitical authority cmnot be derived from, the
natural stabs of some as rulers over others, but must: be based on the
consat of all citizens. We will hrPn to the relation of equality and author-
ity in Chapter 10; for p ~ s e n purposes
t c h a t i s crucial i s t h t , in liberal
political. theory, She fundaxnenhl equality is an qzlnlify c~ffieed~~m.

Two Worries about Arguments from Fundamental E q u a l i ~

Thus far, I have been assuming that arguments from h d a m e ~ ~ tequal-
ity are the key egalitarian arguments. But Joseph Raz, a contemporary
political phifctsophes, gives us reason to wonder whether arguxnmts
from fudamenlal equality are redly egalitarian a r g m n t s at all!" Fol-
lowirrg Raz, let us consider a version of what X have called the argument
from fundamental equality (HE):

FE: Afl whct are equally F are equally entitled to G,

T%us, as mmy egalitarians have argued, those who are equally needy are
equally entitled to have their needs met, Now, it seems that we can
rephrase HE along the lines of

FE": If Gs are being distributed solely ctn the basis of feature F, then thase
whct are equaly F are equally entitled to Gs.

Thus, again, if we are distributing health care simply on the basis of

need, then those who have equd needs have equal claim to healtl? care.
On reflection, h0wevc.r; FE* is not an egaiitarian principle at all-it is a
principle of nonarbitrary distribution. Xf we are really distributing Gs
simply on the criterion of possession of F; and if two people are equally F,
to say that one person has a stronger claim to C m s t imply one of two
(1)It may show that possession of F was not really the sole grounds for
distributing G. For example, suppose a teacher says that a 90 on t-he final
exam, is the complett. gromds for itwading an .A in the course, and that
two students receive 90 on the final, but only m e gets an A, If the two
s t u d e ~ ~receive
ts dilferent find grades for the course, it may be that, after
all, the teacher is ushg two criteria rather than one- Perhaps, in, addition
to performmce on the h a l exam, the teacber is taking into account class
pmticipation, c d it factm E. In t-hat case, all those who arc? equally F and
equally E should receive equal grades. (2) Alternatively the teacher may
assign, the grades arbitrarily: he randomly assigns grades regardless of
one's xore on the find exam. 11%this case, we would not expect those
with equal Fs to ~ c t t j v eyud
e Gs.
But if the teacher is not being arbitrary, and if: the teacher has specified
all, the criteria, for giving grades, then those vvho score the same on the
criteria have equal claims to an A, and will both recri\ie an A. 'This will
not be because the teacher is an egalitarim: it is because the teacher is
distributing the good on the basis of the stated, criterion, This seems to
meal that the fundmental egaiital-ian argument does not really depcnd
on any commitment to the value of equalityf but simply to nonarbitrary
rational distribution of the goods at stake,
It may well be a r p e d , however, t-hat FE is not tt7e best statcme~~t
of the
argument f s m fmdamental equality More in the spirit of egali,tarianism,
seems to be

TrueFE: All thctse whct are equally F are to receive equal shares of G,

RuePE is distinct from, FE. Whereas as FE generates q z l a l claims lo G,

True FE endorses clnirns to eqztal amoztnts of G. We can rclilnterp~etTmeFE

TrueFE*: If Gs are being distributed safety ctn the basis ctf feature F, then
thase who are equally F are entitled to equal amounts of G,

In most cases, the same general paint holds for TmeFE as for FE, In our
case of the teacher, TrueFE tells the ttzacher to give equal grades to those
who have equal F-scores. As Aristotle put it, Lhe teacrher is treating
e q u d y (giving equal Gs to) those who are equals (have eqz~alsFs), m$
&eating unequally (giving different Gs to) those who are u n q u a l (have
differe~~t Fs). 'IiueFE is, thnugh, a true egaiitarian principle-it is m m
than a mere statement of nonarbitrary distrihtlCion of G. Consider, for in-
stance, a case in which we have nixle indivisible units of G and five peo-
ple to distribute them to, all of whom are equally F'. :lf W -are to give
those who are equally F equal Gs, and we carnot give fra~tionsof Gs,
then TrueHE reyuires us to give each person m e G. This leaves four Gs
wsted, but there is no w q to equally distribute them, so TrueFE re-
quires that they must be left mdistributed, This is important: although
one way to promote evality is to give more to those with less, mother
m y is simpiy to take away from those with m m until everyoxle has the
snme amount. fndeed, often it is impossible to raise everyone to the high-
est standard, and the only way to satisfy TrueHE is to lower s o m people,
For exarrrple, if all who hawe equal health care needs are to have equal
health care, m d if we c ot a h r d some very expensive treatment for
everyone (say, dialysis machines), then it satisfies TrueFE if no one R-
ceives the health care.
Raz, then, concludes t-hat pkciples such as FE arc? reasonable princi-
ples, but are not really egalitarian. On the other hand, TrueFE, which
seems most truly egalitarian, may he very waskhl and that appears un-

6.4 Equaliv of What?

T%us far, our maixr focus has been on arguments in, favor of equality In
Section 6.2, we examined attempts to ground the case for eyual trcattnent
on utitity impartialiq, and incommensurability; Sectior~6.3 focused on
argumentHchat we should be t-reated equnlly because we are, in some
fundamental respect, really equal. Throughout, we have considered vari-
ous ways people can be t ~ a t e dequally-goods can be distributed
equally, needs c m be fulfilled equally, people c m have equal liberty Not
only do political theorists offer very different reasons why we should
treat people eqmlly, they cJeeply disagree 0x1 the. ways in whjch people
should he treated eqz~ally~ T%e aim of this section is to brieny =view the
different ways in which it has been said people should, or should not, he
treated eyaifEi.

Equal Welfare
It is platrsible to suppose that if we want to tmly treat everyone as equals,
we should seek to make everyone" life go cqually weif.." AAfr all, is not
the real paint of giwi"g people goods, such as money or educatior~,to
make their lives go betterKonsider an "equal" "distribution of a good
such as music compact disks (CDs): everyme in society gets a certain
number of CDs every year. S o w of these peopie, Irhough, arc. tone deaf,
or entirely deaf, and have no use for CDs. It hardly seems that we are
treating equals equally if we give C B to everyone, including the deaf. I f
W wish to treat the deaf eqmlly, it seems that we shouid give them
something that they want just as mtrch as a music lover kvimts a CD.
More generalw, if some people have psessing needs-say, they are h d i -
capped and require additional assistance to lead a n o m d life-it may
seem that givhg them the same income as a healthy person is not really
to treat &em equally, If they are to lead a life that is equal.@ satisfying,
they will require additional funds (sec F i g m 6.2 above).
Folilobving a standard view in economics m d political theory; let us de-
fine a person" wwelfare as the satisfaction of her wmts or "preferences."
Suppow each person ranks her p~ferences-hel- desires or wmts-from
those things that she wants most to what she wmts the least. We can then
say that a person's welfare (or ratility) level is a function of the number of
her prefmex~cesthat arc? satisfied and how higbly these preferexlees are
ral7ked.B SoSo, someonc who gets her top p~ferencesat.isfied has a hjgher
level of cvelfare than someone cvho gets only her forty-fifth prefe~nce
satisfied. If we adopt the view that to treat people equally is to ensure
that they have an equdity of welfare, we will equally satisfy cveryo12efs
Equality of welfare, however, is open to at least two dbjc~tions,"~ (l)Al-
though most peoplgs preferences concerxl how their own liwes go----
preferences for nicer housesf cars, good heal&, and so on-all of us s o m
of the time, and some of us most of the time, have pseferences about how
other people% lives go. Indeed, we often encourage this: we teach our
children not to thhk only of themselkres, but to wmt to help others. We
can say then, that people entertain "extct-nal'"references-preferences
about other people getting thcir prefc.rex~cessatisfied. Alf, for instance,
might have a preference that Betty gets what she wants-this cvould be
an external prekrence, External preferences raise problems for the egali-
tarian. For mthing, lrhcy may he nasty: if one of my prefere~~ces is to see
you fail to get wh& you want, the pursuit of equal sati,sfactionof welfare
must admit that the very thing that satisks your preference stiRes my
prekrex~ce,You getting "hat you want makes my life worse. So, pahaps
you ought not to get ir. But even "nice" external preferences cawe prob-
lems for the egalitarian. If ALf has a prekrermce that Betty gets what she
walits, Betty's preferenws will in a selrse be "'double-counted"":giving it
to her will satisfy her preference and Alf's too, thus mnbcing two people's
:lives better off. Perhaps this is not a decisive problem, since ALf is gettjng
smething he wants: the satisfaction of Betty's prefe~nce.It will, how-
ever, be likely to have the consequence that selfish peopt" will receive
m r e goods in an egalitarian system, A11 the selfish persods preferences
will be about her receiving goods; but the unselfish (altruistic) people
will have split: preferences-ome of their prefclrences w i l be &out their
receiving goads, and some will be about otZner people, includislg presum-
ably selfish people, receiving goods. If so, Irhcx~Lhe equal satisfaction of
preferences will lead to adcttitiond g o o h for selfi,skpeople, some to sat-
isfy the preferences of the selfish people and some to satisfy the external
prefererlees of the altruistic peogslIe.
A more serious objection to equaliq of welfare is that we choose many
of our preferences, and some people choose very expenshe ones, Some
people want a life of luxury filled with e x t ~ m e l yexpensive things; oth-
ers arc! more modest. Now, the equal satisfaction of pscrlerences would
l e d to giving more goods to those who have expensive tastes, since it
takes so much more to satisfy tt7e preferences of such people. We thus are
faced with the possibility of m "egalitarim state" that supportsome in a
life of luxury. The case of the persm with expensive tasks, it should be
noted, is very simitar to the handicapped person we considered above
(see Figure 6.2). The handicapped person needs more goods to give ber
the same level of preference satisfaction as that obtahed by the healthy
person; the person with expensive tastes is in a similar position. If we
think there is an important difference between the cases, it is because we
think that the person with luxurious tastes is responsible for having
expensive tastes whereas the handicapped person did not choose her ex-
per~sivepreferer~wsIt seems, then, that a plausible cJefense of equal wel-
fare must develop an ilccount of "freely chosen expensive tastes" and
"nnovohntary expenske preferences." Altbough in some cases this dis-
tinrtior~will seem clear, it will raise intractable problems in a host of 0th-
e r s Compare, for example, someow who, for as long as she can Emem-
ber, has had an overwheiming desire to be a political leader, and a persm
who has suffered paraiysis in a car accidex~t.Can we say that lfie first per-
son somehow is respmsible for h a costly p~ferenceswhertras th.e sec-
ond person did not voiuntarily choose his now-expensive preferences?
But the paralyzed persorl chose to drive in cars, ar~dso run tt7e risk of in-
jury whereas our would-be leader cmnat recall ever making any choice
to desperately want to lead others, m a t does equality of welfare instruct
us to do?

Equal Safisfaction of Needs

One way to avoid these problems is to adopt a needs-based conception of
welfare. Instead of understanding a person" wwelfare in terms of what she
walks ar~dwhetkr she gets it, we may characterize a person's welfare in
terms of the satisfaction of her basic rreeds. The noli,on of a "'need'" points
to standard conditions or goods that are required by everyone," Thus,
for example, one political philosopher had advanced the following list of
""curse-of-life needs":

(1) The need to have life-supporting re1af;ior.lto the environmcnt

(2) T%e need for food and \vater
(3) The need to excrete
(4) The need for exercise
(5) T%eneed for periodic rest, ixlcludhg sleep
(6) The need (beyond what is covered by the preceding needs) for
r/vhatewer is indispensable for preserving the body intact in irn-
portmt respects
(7) The need for companionship
(8) The need for educatio~~
(9) T%eneed for social.stcceptmce and recognition
(10)The need for sexual activity
(11)The need ta be free from harassme~~t, h~cludhgnot beirrg ~011th-
ually frightened
(12) T%eneed for recogni"con42

Such needs do not depend on preferences: on a needs-based account: of

well'arcr, these are the things that people need, regardless of what they
W&, Equal treatment, then, wouln entail the equal satisfaction of these
basic needs.43 T%us, said Mam, the ultimate achievement of a communist
society kvould be to distribute "".L each accordhg to his needs" (see Sec-
tions 3,3,9,1),
?b the extent necds-based accounts inc[icate that a person's overall
welfare does not depend on her own view of what she kvmts, they are
controversial. Suppose, for example, that a person has no inkrest in corn-
panio~~ship, wishing to live (as did Wittge~~stein for a period) as a hermit.
It s e e m content.ious indeed to say that we arc? furthering her weifare by
providw her wi2.h cmpanionshiy (need 7 above), something for which
she has 110 desire. Needs-based accour~tsof welfare am typicaliy lir~kedto
theories of human nature, such as Marx's, that depict humans as having
an essence that we must fulfil1 if we are to lead satisfied lives (Sections
3.3, 6.3). Such a theory @ e m basis for deemhg some lhillgs (such as
cornpanjonshipf a true need, but othtlrs (such as doing philosoplhy) a
mere desire, Gtne of the attractions-as well, ultimately, as one of the
drar/v$acks---of the p~ference-basedaccow~tof welfare is that it makes
each individual atrthoritative in deciding kvhat her welfare is; needs-
based accounts make authoritative a h o r y of hurnm nature, or a ratio-
nalist insight into the true proper life for humans (Sectims 3.2,3.3).

Equal Resources
T%eproblems with equal welfare ixlterpreetions of equal treatment have
led mmy egalitaians to defend an equal resource view44 "fu treat people
equaily is to give them equal resomes. Having rrtceived their equal
share of the resources, it is up to each person whlfnes he or she wilt use
lhem wisely to help construct a satisfy* life or waste them in the par-
suit of empty pleasures. 'Thus, a person wbo cdtivates expensive tastes
will have to use her e ~ a s lh m of the resources to satisfy them; given
how expensive they are, she will pfobabb not be able to satisfy many of
them, and so her welfare level will be lower than someolle with mare
modest tastes..
Equal resource theories must identify what is a resource. It seems clear
that money is a resourcre, but what about eyes? If a resource is someehing
that is jnstrumental to achieving your purposes, then having eyes is a
crucial resource. There would thus seem a case for an equal distribution
of eyes, perhaps justifying t a h g a1eye from some to transplmt into the
blind. Some resource theorists have been arnbivalmt r/vheeher body parts
and personal traits are to be viewed as resources..Although J o h Rawls,
for example, is explicit that body parts are not to be distributed, he also
believes that a just society treats everyone's natural tde~ltsas a ""cokc-
t-ive asset" that should work to the advantage of the poolr." Although
Rawls seems somewhat attracted to such an expansive view of resources,
he ultimately advoc&es a list of ""primarygoods," which am -all-purpose
resources that everyane must have to pursue their ajms in lile. Thus, says
Rawls, we require liberty, income, opportunities, and the social basis of
self-respect, *atever our plan of life is; t-he distributior.~of Rsources, for
Rawis, is the distributjon of these goods.
We may well query however, whether an equal share of such goods
constituks an adequate interpretation of equal treament. Some people
may not: be Ale to use their goods or may require a great deal of addi-
tjonal goods for an akquate life. Amartya Sen draws our attention to the
har~dicappedpersorl, who would not receive any additional.goods under
a simple equal resource view: shc. would get her share, m d only hclr
share, even though she can do comparatively little with it. Sen suggests
that such a view suffers from a "pods; fetish""36-its only concern is
goods, but goods are only a means, not an end. T%e end or goal is that
people" lives go well. In response to problems raised by the handi-
capped and the ill, equal resowce views have developed c0rnplt.x insur-
ance schemes, which try to accommodate extra assistmce for some in. m
equal resource distribution.47

Basic Capability Equoliv and Needs

Sen's own pmposal is to focus on equal capabilities, rather than either
welfare or resources:

It is arguable that what is missing in all this . . . is some notion of ""basic ca-
pabilities"": person being able to d o certain basic things. The ability to
move about is relevant here, but one can consider ctthers, e.g. the ability tto
meet one" nutritional requirements, the wherewithal tct be clothed and shet-
tered, the pawer to participate in social life of the community. . . . [bwls's
idea of] primary goods suffers from the fetish handicap in being concerned
with gmods . . . rather than what these gclod things do to human beings. Ulil-
ity [i.e., preference- satisfaction welfarismj, on the other hand, is concerned
with what these things do to human beings, but uses a metric that foctrsses
not ctn the person" capabilities but on his mental reaction. There i s still
samething missing in the cclmbined list of primary goods and utilities.48

Or~ceagain citing the case of the handicapped person, 5er.l concludes that
what is reyuired by the egalitarian it; an '"interptation oi r~eecjsin the
form of capabilities."@ Note here that Sen himself sees his account as a
versim of needs theory. Rather than conceiving of needs aa more-or-less
pwkive resource requiremmts, Sen understands them as active powers
or aibilities-apabilities or "'functionings" that one must posess to lead
an adequate life. Although we carnulot go into th.details of Sen's account
here, it should be manifest that insofar as his accow~tis needs based, it
has the general rationalist trait of such accounts of presupposing a nation
of an adequately or properk functioning person.

Bt:L of the modes of equal treatment thus far examined have employed an
extremely wide conception of "'trealmeat." Having one's tife go well,
having resources, having needs satisfied, or possessing capabilities are all
see11 as ways that people can he tmated. To u d e r s t a d '%reatmmtMh
this way presupposes that almost all of one's life constitutes a "treat-
ment" of you by your society or government, Thus, if your life has not
go11e a w d as other people%, some seem kmpted to say that you thus
have not been treat& as 4; if you have Icss rclsources than others, you
thus have been treated uwqualiy. Wnderstandhg treat~nemltin this way
would seem more at home in collectivist accounts of individuals-in-
society (Sctian 3.4), which trnderstand mast attributes of the jndividual
in terms of collective or social facts. It thus shouln come as no surprise
that the political lrheorists discusscld thus far in Section 6.4 embrace either
socialism or revisionist liberalism.
A more modest understanding of "treatunentH-md one that is more
cor~siste~~twith classid liberalism's individuatist analysis of individu-
als-h-society (Sctians Z.f,,3.4)-focuses on cases in whjeh s m e individ-
uals (officials of the state) are explicitly meting out treatments such as
pul7ishments, rewards, and positior~sto others (citizens). According to
the notion of civic eqaljt_y,when treatkg people in these ways puhlic of-
ficials are not to sixnply prefer some group of citizens to others, but must
employ general, public criteria for any difference in treament. If alf have
equal status as citizens, no group of citizens, just becatrse of their group
membership, will be preferred to others, nor will any group be ranked
lower than others. Hence they witl he treated ewaily in the sense of the
nonpreferential conception.
One aspect of this equality of civil status is ~"quditybefore fhc law, In
meting out kgal pu~~ishment, gover~~ment officials arc to be concerned
only with a person" legal rights, not extralegal considerations such as
class, race, sex, or ethnic background. Of course, dikrent people have
different legal rights-the law creates differenl: classes of pevle, such -as
lm~dlordsand t e ~ ~ a ~doctors
t s , a d patients, public officiais and private
persons. The ideal of equality before the law is that when being treated
by the law, one" treatment is determilled solely by one" legal stabs (as
determined by one%rights and duties), not by one's no~~legal social sta-
tus. In itself, equality before the lnw is consistenf: with gi,ving some
groups legal privikges; &us aristocrats may have legal ri@s denkd to
commoIlers. A stronger conceptior7 of civic equality and one that has
been at the heart of Ule li:beral tradition, is qzld basic riglzfs of all citizens,
and a general opposition to legal distixzctims based on class, sex, or race.
An ideal of equal citizenship is expressed by the Fourteenth a d Fif-
teenth. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

AMENDMENT XIV. . . . No state shall make or enfcjrce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or irnmunities of citizens of the United States; nor
shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, withaut due
process of taw; nor deny to any person within its juridiction the equal pro-
tection of the laws.

AMENDMENT XV: . . . The right of citizens of the United States tt3 vote shall
not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of
race, color, or previous condition of semituude,

The Fifteenth Amendment outl-ight prohibits legal distinctions based on

race in matters of voting. The Fourteenth Amendment holns that no citi-
zen is to be $enied "equal protection of the law,""In interpreting this
clause, the Supreme Court has developed a doctrke of ""suspicious clas-
sifications," which include race and national origin, and at times has
been illterpreted to incllade status as m dien and as poor, and might
plausibly be extended to include homosexuals and women. X n evaluathg
whether the Fourteenth Amendment has been violated, the Supreune
Court looks especially hard at any laws that: emplny any of trhe "suspi-
ciaus classifications." E a law invokes such a classification, it mtrst be
shown that (I)the law serves a legitimate public goal of considerable im-
partarlee, and (2) using the ciassificatio~~fits the public goal perkctly-it
is precisely the classia'ieation Chat is required if the g o d is to he
achieved51 Thus, for example, race might be used as a classificatim in a
desegregation law, since it wodd be necessary to achieve the goal of the
law, but in most cases th.e court would prohibit use of the &ssifieali.on as
a k n i a l of equal citizenship. Some, however, have opy osed any laws that
allot different treatmmt to citize17.s01%the basis of such ' * s ~ ~ p j C i cate-
gories," arguhg that all such laws tmdermine equal citizenship.

Polificol and Social Equality

Advocates of democracy-and the Fifkenth Amendment-have argued
that equal citizenship e~~dnrses politicat equality, according to which each
citizen has an equal say in elections. The ideal of one perso1.1, one vote, is
an expression of political equntjty: each citizen is the political equal of
any other insofar as the vote of each counts equally, O&er interpretations
have been much more expmgve; to one socialist, political equality "'is
the demmd to be equally involved in the auehorizati~nof a total way of
Me, and it is the fundamental demmd of democracy.'"2 Chapter 9, in
our exmk~ationof social justice, we will retun1 to the socialist notioz~of
political equality.
Some egalitarians have insisted that the ultirnate expression of the
value of equality is social equality, in whiCh all citizens; have lrhc same so-
cial statzns and perhaps the same power. Social. equality is usually taken
to r e q u i ~both economic e v a l i t y (say, in the form of cqudity of re-
sources) and palilical equatity, but it goes beyond those. It has sometims
been called ""socialdemocracy"-a way of life chacrc!ria,ed by the ilb-
sence of social and occupational hierarclhies. Thus, to advocates of social
equality, it is necessary to refom the "division of labor itself. . . the way
that people sort themselcres out (or are sorted out) to accomplish their
goals of production and distribution,"" F~coplemust not be sorted out
according to occupationill status hierarchies or into groups of owwrs
and workers, bosses Tlnd bossed, Citrried to i t s extpcme, the pursuit nf so-
cial equality can lead to ~gujatiosrsconcerning dress and consumption,
for both of these are ways in which some people display their higher sta-
tus over others. Thus, in Maoist China uniform st-yles of dress were man-
dated; on a smaller scale, social egalitarians often favor school unifoms.
Social equality thus seems to lead to equality as sameness (Section 6.1).
On =fleckion, o w e v e t it seems impossible ts really eliminate social hi-
erarchies: although in Maoist China leaders and the led dressed alike, no
one was in dt>ukt about who the leaders were, or t-heir praogatives. In-
deed, it seems impossible to educate without creating a hierarchy of educa-
tit,nal att;airzments, impossible to entgage in sport?;wi&out creating a&letic
hiermhic.5 fsta~dit~gs), hpossible to have art wi&out producing artistic
inequalities. A h o s t evesy field of erndeavor creates r m h g of Phose who
are better or worse, more or less praiwwozfi~and so m. In response to
this inevitabiliQ of social r m h g s , Michael Walzer; a co~~temporav egdi-
tanm, has advocated "'complex equali@."%By this, Walzer mews that isl a
socially egalitarian societFT,the rmkings from one field of endeavor will not
trmslate into an overall social hierarchy. Being better at sports will give
one high statzns in sports, but will not trmsliate into better medical care,
higher wealth, m d overall high status; being a scholar will give one high
academic stahls, but, again, not more political status or better medical care.
For Walzer, rather t h a ~ elhinating social hierarchies, e p a l treatme17.t re-
quires that they be contajned. As he is a socialist, his deepest worry is
about economir cqualitks; alt%lou@he allows that they are necessary for
production, he wishes to contain their h~flwnce,so that high economic sta-
t-us does not automatically brhg high political status, the best education,
and the best medical care, Like Williams fsction 6,3),W h e r believes that
we share socidly agreed upon understa~cfingsof what the distributive cri-
teria should be for digerent parts of social life-academic fame should go
to great scholars, m d mdical care shoulid go to the sirk. Walzer" proposal
thus raises a very simitar problem to that we c o n s i d e ~ din relation to
Williiams" salysis of humm eqt~ality:the diversiv of our lmguage and
culkre leads to sensible disagreements about the nature of the practjces of
medicine or educatioz~,and so disagreements about just what are the cor-
rect criteria far dist-ributing their goods.

An important aspect of civic equiality concerns competition for public po-

sitions: in competing for public offices, citizens are not to be discrrimi-
nated against on the grounds of race, national origh, or sex. Understood
in this way, cq~itrlif_zlof opportznnify rcquircs nonpreferential tseatment in
competition for goven~mentpositions. The development of modem civil
services is an expression of this ideal, in which appointments are made
on the basis of criteria relevant to the performance of the posit.jon, The
ideal has been expanded in more recent times to include the treatme~~t of
citizens by nongovernmental orgmizations such as busixless corporations
and private unkersities. One g r o d for this extension is an expanded.
view of what comtitutes a puhlic organizatio~~. Rather than restricting the
ideal of equal citizenship to public qua governmental organizations,
there has been a movement in kgislatiorl to include '"private" organka-
tions that we open to t-he public or serw lfie public. :Elence, according to
the Unjted Kingdom Race Relations Act of 1968, it is "'unl,awful,for any
person concerned with the provision to the public . . . of any goods, facil-
ities or services to discrimhate'kon the grounds of color, race, ethnic or
national origka55
The ideal of equaliv of oyportunity as open competition, barring pmf-
e ~ n l i a treatment
t except on grow~dsrelevant to the performance of fhe
task in question, is distkct from a more encompasshg ideal af equality
of opportunity, sometimes called "eequaljty of fair opportunity."" The
care of this latter idea is that social factors such as class, race, a ~ sex
should not affect one% chances to obtain desired pasitions in society.
Those equally endowed should have equal chances of success, It is im-
portar~tto note that not even equaiity of fair opportunity seeks to guaran-
tee equal success: to have a r ~opportu~~ity is to hawe some obstacles to
success-such as being a women or being poor-elimhatedl, not to be
guaranteed success, if only because the positions "okg competed for are
scarce.S7 Mereas the arighal ideal sabv each competition for each posi-
tion as a differenl compeljtion chat should bc conducted f;zirly, equality
of fair opportunity extends this idea of a fair cmpetition to life prospects
as a whole. Is it fair, ask the pmponents of ewality of fair opportu~liity,
that the competent poor child stands less af a chance af eventually get-
ling favored positions in our society than does the cqually competent
rich chilcl? Is fiat treating ewals eyudly? Note that if we embrace this
concept-i;onof equality of fair opportunity, we are again taking m encom-
passkg m d abstract view of '~reatnrtent"-socz'et.y is,u people un-
equally because some are born in positions that do not allow them to ef-
fectively compete with others who are no more competent thm they..

:In this chapter, :I have explored two groups of questions, (1)Why is

equaiity to be valued or pursued? (2) In what witys me people to be
t-reated equally? In answerkg the first question, 1distkgwished "external
arguments" for equality, which endorse equality because it prmotes or
expresses some other value, a r d arguments from h d a m e n t a l eytnality
which hold that we aught to treat people equally because in some deep
sense we really are equal. Section 6.2 considered three external argu-
m e ~ ~for
t s equality: that based on p r ~ m o t h goverall utility that based on
impartiality, m d that based an incommensurability. %clion 6.3 examined
arguments maintajnkg that we are fundamenhl1.y equal because we are
all human, because we share a co on human essex-tce, and because we
are equally naturally free- Section 6.3 closed by considerkg some con-
cerns about arguments from fundamental equahty, most importantly
r/vheeher they really are egalitarian at ail. Section 6.4 t u r ~ ~ etodmodes of
equal treament. People c m be treated equally in an almost limitless vari-
ety of ways; only a saxnple of the main proposds were discussed. Exam-
ined were a r p m e ~ ~in t sfavor of (f) equal w e l f n ~ (2)
, equal satisfaction
af needs, (3) equal resources, (4) equal capabilities, (5) equal civic statzns,
(6) politicat and social equal*, and (7) eguality of ~ p o r t u n i w .

1. See here J. R. L,ucas, The Principl~sof hlitics (Oxford: Cfarendcjn Press, 196&),
pp, 243K
2. R, H. T a m e y Equality ((New York: Harcc~urt,Brace, 1931), pp. 110--.111.
3. Aristotle, The IJlllifics, in Richard. McKetm, ed., The Basic Works of Aristotle
(New York: Random House, 1941), Book 3 [1280~1281a).
4, Arititcltfe, Micotnerehe~tzEklzics, W. D. Ross, trans. (Oxford: Oxford University
Press), Book 5,s [1131.16-1132a2].
5. Franlois-Noel Babeuf and Slpain Marechal, "The Manifesto of Equality," in
Lcctuis I? Pcl)man and Rubert Westmarland, eds., Equality (Oxford: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1 987),pp, 49-52.
6. Jererny Bentl~arn,I~ztrudzlcfionto the Princif?les of Murals alzd Legislation, in
AZan Ryan, ed., U l r ' l i t a r i i alzd Other Essays (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin,
1987") chap. 1.
7". This is an alteration of a case given by Amartya Sen, " T ~ q a l i cct
qf What"??n
Sterling McMurrin, ed., Liberty, Equalif!{ ~ n the d Law (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 1987), pp. 145ff. See Section 6.4.
8. Quoted in Bernard Crick, Soczlnlistn (Milton Keynes, UK: Open University
Press, 1987), p. 8.
9. Thornas Nagel, Equality and Partllality (New York: Oxford University Press,
1WI), p, 64.
10. Ibid., p. 66.
11, J. R. tucas, "Against Equality," h Hwao A, Bedau, ed., lustice and Etliialiky
(Engtewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971), p, 139.
12, S. 1. Benn and R. S, Peters, Social Priuciples a d the Denzocratic State (London:
Ceorge AltIen and Unwin, 19591, p. 110.
13. Ibid., p. 111.
14. Stanley X. Benn, "Human Rights-for Whcctrn and for Wlrrat?'"n Eugene
Karnenka and Alice Erh-Soon Tay eds,, Flxxrnn~tRiglzls (New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1978>,p. 67,
15. Herbert Spiegelberg, "A Aefense of Human Equalit&" E~ifosoplzicalRer?iew,
vaf. 53 (March 19441, p, 114,
16. %id.
17. See Rawls, A Tfjeoy of jrastice (Cambridge, M A : Harvard University Press,
1971), p. 101,
18. Ibid., p. 174.
19. William Styrun, Soplliek Choice (New York: Vintage Books, 1992).
20. See Cregory Vtastos, "Justice and Equality;" in R, B. Brandt, ed., Social Jt'lrs-
fice (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Halt, 1962).
21. Lucas, The Principltrs.ufpolifics, p. 251.
22. Online at http://www.constituticlnnorg/bcp/\~irgRdur.htm.
23, See Tawney, Equality. See Also Sanford A. takclff, ""Christianity and Equal-
ity'% J, Roland Pemosk and J o h W. Chapman, eds., NOMOS IX: Eqziality (New
York: Atherton, 19671, pp. 115-133. For an argument that the idea of equal human
worth is essentially reli@ous, see Louis P. hjman, "On Equal Human Wtrth: A
Critique of Contemporary Egalitarianism," h Pllojrnan and Westmurland, eds.,
Eqliafity, pp. 282-299.
24. Bernard Wlliams, 'The Idea of Equality;" in his Problems f:f the Self (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 230.
25. Ibid.
26, Ibid., p, 232.
27, Ibid., p. 233,
28, Ibid.
29, kwney; Eyualif?~~ p. xx. See also Uavid Braybrooke, iCleeting Needs (J3rince-
ton: Princeton University Press, 198T), pp. 14-4145.
30. Braybrooke, nifeeting 1Vlseds, pp. 241-242.
31. See here John Plamenatz, K ~ v MarxSl Ptzilosophy of Mazz (Bxfcjrd: Oxford
University Press, 1"35), p, 115. See also jcln Elster, An Infroduction do Karb m m
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986),pp. 44%
32. See Amy Gutmann, Liber~lEqzialify (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
19801, pp. 27-41.
33. Rawls, A Thmy t$jzrstice, p. 505.
34. See here Alan Gewirth, Reason n ~ Momlity
~ d (Chicago: Universiq of Chiicagct
Press, 2 9781, pp. 121-1 22.
35. Online at http:/ /www.constituticlnnorg/bcp/\~irgRdur.htm.
36. john Locke, Second EeaCisc f:$ Covenzmenf, in Peter Z,aslett, ed., Two Reatises
of Goztlrmnzen (Cadridge: Cambridge University Press, 1(360),sect. 4.
37. The fclllowing discussion Is drawn from Joseph Raz, The niloralifyf:$Freedorn
(Oxford: Ctarendttn Press, 1486), chap. 4,
38, 'fhis view is endorsed by Mai Nielsen, Equality n~xdLiberty (Totuwa, NJ:
Rowman and Alleheld, 1485), for example, p. 7.
39, This is a very basic view, which requires modifkatirtn. I consider the idea of
preference satisfaction in mure depth in my Social Pizilusopirzy (Armontc, W M-.E.
Sharpe, 19991, pp. 5@58.
$C)-. Much of what J say here is drawn Prom Ronald Dworkin, "What 1s Equal-
ity? Part 1: Equality of Welfare," PPhilusoplzy & Public Agaz'rs, vol. 10 (Summer
1981), pp. 185-246; and Eric Rakowski, Equal J~lsfl'k'e (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1(391),pp, 23ff. 1 leave aside here serious objections ti:, the very idea of comparing
the degree to which different people have had their preferernes satisfied; 1 dis-
cuss these problems in Social Pkilosupfry, chap. 4.
41. Fur a somewhat different view, see James Griffin" notion of well-being as
based on certain ""prudential values" that are held to be rialuable by everyone.
Well-being: Ifs ~neaz~ittg~
Measuvemerz Mnmf Iunyurta~ce(Oxford: Oxford Uni-
versi ty Press, 2 986).
42. Braybrc~oke,Meetit18N e d s , p. 36.
43.For ct-tmpl-ications,see ibid., pp. 238ff.
44, See Ronald Dworkin, ""What Xs Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resc~urces,"
PIziIosoph~jt 3 Pz-i.blicAflaim, vol. 10 (Fall 1981), pp. 283-345; Eric Rakowski, Equal
45. Rawls, A T h m y t$jzrstice, p, 101.
46. Sen, ""Equality of What?"". 160.
47. See Dworkin, 'What Is EqtraliQ'? Part 2: Equaliv of Resc~urces."
48. Sen, "Quality of What?" p. 160.
49. Ibid. See also Amartya %n, ItteqrfaliCy Reexamined (Cambridge: Warvard
University Pressf 11992).
SO. See Benn and Peters, Social Pn?zciplfssalzd flze Detnocrgtic State, pp. 122-123.
51. For an excellent analysis, see John Hart Ely, Denzocracy alzd Distrust (Cam-
bridge: f-farvard University Press, 19801, pp. l45ff.
52, Philip Green, Xetrieving Denrocmcy: ln Smmh of Civic Equnliky (London:
Methuen, 1985), p. 5.
53. Ibid., p. 9.
54. Michael Miafzer, Splreres oflusticr;. (New York: Basic Books, 1983).
55. For a discussion uC this act, see S. I. Benn and G. E Gaw, "The Il,iberal Con-
ception of the Public and Private," in in. 1, Bern and G, E Gaus, eds., Public mzd
Prkpate in Social L f i (New York: St. Martin", 19831, pp. 3638.
51;. See Rawls, A Tfzeolyjof justice, pp. 65ff.
57, See Peter Westin, "'The Concept ctf Equal Opportunity;" "Ells, vol. 95 (July
1(385),pp, 837-8511,
7.1 Do Liberty and Equulify Conflicf?
:In The Sociul Cont~act,Jean-Jacques Rousseau tells us,

If we enquire wherein lies precisely the greatest gcmd ctf all, which ought to
be the guai of every system ctf law, we shall find that it c o r n s to two main
objects, freeclem and equality: freedom, because any individual dependence
means that much strength taken from the body of the state, and equality; be-
cause freedctm carnot exist without it.1

For Rousseau, not only are liberty and equality the two chief components
of the common good, but eyuality supports liberty-there is no clash be-
tween the purstrit of ljherty and ewality. In co~~trast, J. Roland Pennock,
a leadlin.g theorist of democracy, insisted that lherty and eqz~alityare, at
best, in "tension" with each other; we need to somehow accommodate
both, even though they tend to p d l us in opposite directions.2 More
radically, many have believed that "'liberty Tm$ equality are in essence
From the malyses of Chapters 4 to 6, one reason for these radically dif-
fercnt. views about the ~latiorrof ljberty a d equality slnodd be obvious.
Both. "liberty" and "equality" can mean m y different things; depend-
ing 01%what view is taken of liberty what grounds for equal treament
are endorsed, and what type of equal treatment is advocated, a mtxltitude
of different relations between liberty and equality c m result. A lheorist
who adopts a negative c o n c q t i o ~of~liberty and see?;eyuality arr; "'social
equ"lity" will have a differclnt view of the relation of liberty and equality
from a political lheorist who adopts a positive conception of :liberty and
mderstands equi-tiityin Lcrrns of "'czylldity before the law." This, though,
is only part of the story, This long-standing debate in. political theory can-

not be reduced to a bunch of confused peoyle thinking that they are hav-
ing an argument about whether freedom and eyuality confict, whe~nac-
wally they are not having m y argument at all, since they are trshg the
words "freedom" and "epality" h very different ways, Recall agairt
Gallic." notiorn of essentially contctsted concept (Section 2.1); each side is
not si~xplyemployhg particular understmdhgs of freedom and equal-
ity but maintaining that their inkrl~retationsof the concepts are the hest
interpretations; and so their view of the relatioln between freedom and
equality is the mast enlightenhg. To understand the debate between lib-
erals, socialists, and conservatives about the relation between freedom
and ewality, we rneed to grasp not only the different conceptions of free-
dom and ewality they errrploy but why t-hey empioy these conceptior.ns
and why they claim that these are the preferred conceptions-

7.2 Classical Liberalism: Liberty and Basic Equoliv

Social Confract Theory: An Example of
Classical Liberal Egalitarianism
Although, as; we shall see, classical liherals me apt to insist on the many
ways in which liberty and equality clash, itis clearly wrong to under-
stand classical liberalism as devoted simply to libert-y with no concern
whatsoever for m y sort of equalityWmt important, libcrals have typi-
cally asserted the furndamental equality of each person hsofar as; each
person has natural liberty As J o h Locke said, humms are naturally in a
''State of perfect Freedom to order their actions . . . as they think fit . . .
w i t b u t asking leave, or depe~ndirngon lfie Will of any other Man"q1Sec-
tion 4.3). T%us, Locke argued, because each person is by nature equally
free, and not u n k r the authoriv of any person, politicd authority can
only be justified by the consent of each free and eyual persorn (see Sec-
tions 6.3,10.3).

Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no
one can be put out OF this estate, and subjected to the political power of an-
other, without his own consent. The ctnly way whereby any one divests him-
self of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of civil society, is by agree-
ing with other men to join and mite into a a>mmtmityfar their ec-tmfurtable,
safe, and peaceable living one amongst anctther, in a secure enjoyment of
their properties, and a greater security against any, that are not of it.6

Now given that legitimate politic& authority must be based 0x1 the con-
sent of all equally free persons, it follows that only if the authority it; im-
partial (Section 6.2) will everyone agree to it. Any political system that
favorcd some citizens over others would be rejected by those who are
disfavored: only an impartial political authority upholding a system of
equd rights, could possibly be accept& by all equally free people. T%us,
fundamental to social contract theory is that our status as equally free
justifies a politic& order that is egalitarim insofar as it trcats all citize~~s
impartially: no citisn is to be privileged in relation to any ather.
:In classical liberal theory, this fundmental equality requires a regime
that warantees the equd citizenst-rip (Section 6.4) of each person. Classi-
cal liberal,equal citizenship has three core elements: (1)It requires that all
citizens possess e"9"al rights to negative liberty and equal rights to ac-
quire properv m d have their property protected. We have already seen
hOw their individualjst and plurdist commitments lead classical liberals
to favor negative liberty (Section 4.1); importantly; we have also seen
how fmdamental to classical liberalism is the claim that liber@ is only
secure when accompanied by privak property (Section 5.3). Classical lib-
erals thus posit a word of cssentialiy seg-interested indhiduals, whose
main concern is leading their own lives, while disagreeing fundarnen-
tally on what is good or what makes life worth living (Sections 3.3,4.3).
Thus, all are concer~~ed to protect their own ""eves, 1,iberties and Es-
tates.'" ((2) 7b eniorce these rights, hdivitluals quire a syskm of settled
law, the e x t e ~ of
~ t their rights, and ilnpartial judges, to fairly
decide disputes, with the power to enforce their verdicts (see Sections 5.4,
10-3).Equal citizenship thus requires equality before the law: the iunpar-
tial resolution of disputes is the defini~ligfeaturn of the ctassical liberal
state, and this can only be achieved if government officials treat individu-
als strictly according to their legal rights, treating equally those With
equal legal rights. 'This idea of equatity befme the law applies not only to
criminal mat-t.ers,but to all the admkistrative ftznctions of the state, m a t
has been called the Recl-zfsstmt is the "Xegal statef'' in administra-
tive as well as criminal functions express equality under the law."(3)
Last, the hdl application of the rule of law to the state requires that its of-
fices be filled on terms that are imparljal and do not h-eat some p u p s of
citizens as; privileged over others. Thus, eytnaliv of opportunity, applied
to public positiom, is a development of the ideal of the rule of law.

Mill, Individuality, Utilitarianism, and Classical Liberalism

As 1 have stressed throughout this hook, political theories arc complex
and diverse. There is more t h a one
~ form of elas~icalliberalism and mare
than one classical liberal argument for civic equality*T%e mast important
a1ternati-t.eto the social contract argument is advmced by the classical
liberal utilitariar~s.Although mitI.7.ycor~temporaryutititarians adopt some
form of revisionist liberalism, the early utilitarians (and many econo-

mists today) employ utilitarian reasorring to endorse classical liberal

equal citizenship.
J o h Stuart Mill pmvided a utilitarian case for equal libert-y rights (Sec-
tion 4.3). It will be recaliied that accoriiing to Mill, each person seeks to
develop h a owr~capa"ties each thus =wires freedom to make her own
choices about what sort of life best suits her. T%us, says Millr the proper
role of coercive legal rules "is to enforce upon everyone the conduct nec-
essary to give all other persons their fair chance: conduct which chiefly
consists in not d o h g them harm, and not impeding them in anything
which wiihout haming others does good to tlremselves."Us we saw
earlier (Section 3.1), Mill argues that a society that er~forcresonly these
minimum requireme~~ts will spur the developmer~tof human nature
(Sections 3.3, 4.3): once human nature is prevented from growing in
"noxious" directions by respecting the basic ljberty rights of others, it
will "'expand itself in useful ones.'""""us, given humm nature, g m t i n g
people libere rights produces overati happiness and developmenl. As-
suming that this establishes a case for liberty, does it Lead to eqtml liberty?
Why not give more liberty to those more capable of development and
less liberty to those who, in, m y case, are not really capable of much? Mill
certahly does not belicve that everyone is capable of equal development:
s m e peoyie excel at many tfiil7gs a r ~ ds m e find it very dil'iicult to do
mtxch of mything. kVhy should libert-y be distributed equally? Mill relies
here on another developmental argumnt based m his theory of human
natur,. In chirpter 3 of On Libertyf he explicitly considers what to do
about those whose development mi&t seem held back by in,sistin,g on m
equal liberty for all, Mitl mswcss,

As much compression as is necessary tct prevent the stronger specimens of

human nature frr3m encroaching ctn the rights of ather%cannctt be dispensed
with; but far this there is ample compensation even in the point of view of
human development. The means of development which the individual loses
by being prevented from gratifying his inclinations to the injury ctf others,
are chiefly at the expense of the development of other people. And even tc3
himself there is a full equivalent in the better development of the social part
of his nature, rendered possible by the restraint upon the selfish part. To be
held to rigid rules of justice for the sake of others, develops the feelings and
capacities which have the good of others for their clbject.1"

Mill thus advances two arguments for restraking the "'stronger speci-
mens of humm nature." First, controlling them, aids the development of
the '"eaker specimens" whose lives they would encroach on. But sec-
ond, a r ~ dI think mctrt-. interestingly, Mill thinks that Lhe "stro~~ger
mens" so restraiwd receive a "full eq2tivaleMr":whatever opportunities
for individual development am closed oM to them, the dcvelopmcnt of
their social 11ature is enhanced by a system that secure?;equal rights for
The argument based m t%ie devehpment of human natum is, 1 think,
the core of On Libeey, a ~ dseed,
, of J o h Stuart Mill's whole politic&
philosophy .And Mill mmikstly thirtks it is a utilitarian argument: those
who develop their capacities lead rich, fulfilled, and satisfying lives,
? ; lethargic and un-
h e r e a s Lhose who fail to clevelop their r ~ a t u ~are
happy- But about midway th.rt>rrghclapter 3, Mill pauses and reflects,

Having said that Individuality is the same thing with development, and that
it is only the cuf tivation of individuality which prc~duces,;,or can prc~duce,
well-developed human beings, T might here close the argument: for what
more ctr better can be said of any crtnditictn of human affairs, than that it
brings human beings themselves nearer tc:, the best they can be? Or what
worse can be said of any clbstruction to good, than that it prevents thjs?iz

Nevertheless, Mill thinks that the argument based on human nature

might not be enough. Those who most need convincing, Mill says, are
not those who cherish the ideal of development, but hose who do not
much care about the ideal. So, after giving all these inspirfng arguments
about the development of human naturc? and making each pcsson the
best beillg she can be, Mll t-umto a more mmdane issue: what good arc3
developed people to hose who are uncox~cernedwith development?
Mill's m s w r focuses on the idea of progress. Smgress irt societies, he
maintains, depends on allowing freedom so that p e ~ l of e genius can
grow. :Mill paints a pickre of the e x c e p t i ~ ~hdi\ridual
~al versus the collec-
tive mass. "Ihe mass of s o c i e ~ accordirrg
, to Mill, is a "'collective medioc-
rity": it is composed of people who tend to eonfomz and arcr not intcrestcd
~IInew ideas. Mill hsists, however, that even this collective mass ber~efits
frrctm allokvhg people of gmius to develop in an atmosphere of freedom.
The few who do thhk and, inzvent are "the salt of the earth: wi&out them,
human lifu would beome a stagna~tpool."" As Mill sees it, "The jnitia-
t-ion of all wise or nohle things, comes and must come from irtdividtlals,
generally at first from some one ind.ividual."lWILlf writing in 1859,
pointed to China as -an example of a civiiizatio~~ that had managed to root
out irrdividuality h d hChka, he thought, pmgress had halted. The km-
dermining of individuality bad thus resulted in, the development of a
stagnirnt sociel)r, The u p s b t of Mili's account Ihen, is that for a society to
advmce-to increase material abmdance m d the comforts of life, as well
as intdlectual improvemen&-at the very least the elite needs freedom.
The questim, however, is whether Mill's argumer~testablishes the
need for specialized freedom applyirtg only to the elite or freedom for the

society as a whole, According to Mill, it is the latter, He says, "Genius c m

only b ~ a t h efreely in a r ~ufmosphrrc-:of frcredom.'"rs Q ~ l ya general hee-
darn-a society in rvhich there is a kvide-ranging freedom for citizens to
act as they choos-will genius prosper, So, although this case for liber@
stresses the role of lrhe exceptional indhidual in spurring progress, Mill
advocates equal liberty for ait. Only such a general kecdonz, he thinks,
will lead to progrc2ss; and even those who are not inte~steztin liberty or
dewelopmex~twill benefit from materiai progress.

Liberty Versos Equality: The Dangers of Social Equaliy

Implicit in. Mill" argument for equal liberty is a concern that social equal-
ity is a danger to individuality Mill was greatb influenced by Alexis de
Tocyueville" Dmmocraey u i a America. TwqueviXie (1805-1859) was con-
vinced that cour~triessuch as France were developing toward grc'akr p u
litical and socjal, equality; he saw the United States as the country that
had g m e furthest down this egalitarian road. He kavcled to America
in 1831 to study this new regime of social equality His findings we=
anzbivalent; he rep0rtc.d' "I am full of apprehmsions and of hopes. I per-
ceive mighty dangers which it is possible to ward off, mlghty evils which
may be avoided or alleviated.'"b Toci-fuevillebdieved that the progress of
political m d social equality led to a society of "'a countless mtxltitude of
beings, shaped in each other" likeness, amid whom nothing rises and
mthjng falls.'"" He &served an America with tremendous pressures to
coxlform-for each to be like his or her neigt?bor. The spirit of social
equality favored sameness (Section 6A); no one wished to stand out as
exceptional, defying fhe democratic mass:

As the conditions of men bect3me equal among a people, individuals seem

of less and society of greater importance; or rather every citizen, being as-
similated in the rest, is lost in a cn?wd, and nothing stands conspicuous but
the great and imposing image ctf the people at large, This naturally gives the
man of democratic periods a lofty opinion of the privileges of society and a
very humble notion of the rights of individuals; they are ready to admit that
the interests of the former are everything and those ctf the latter nothing.1"

This becomes a fundamental theme in classical liberal thou&t: social

equality is understood as allied to a moral collectivism, which counts the
g o d of the collecthe as "'everything"" and that of the indiwidual as
"nothing."lWqquality thus understood is in conaict with Millian individ-
uiality and his case for negative liberty,
lhis is not to say, howwer, that: eitber Tocq?levilleor Mill opposed the
movement toward greater equality As Tocquevillie put i& '% state of
equality is perhaps less elevated, but it is more just, . . . [However) No
mar1 0x1 the earth car7 as yet affirm, i\bsolukly m d general:(y that the 11ew
state of the world is better than its [hegalitarian] forlner one."2V~rMill,
the spirit of equality and democracy cm, under some cmdjtions, protect
frtiedom, w:hereas under others it can destroy it: "Quality may be equal
freedom ar equal, servitude."X If eq~~ality is understood as equal libert-y
for each to :live his own life as he pleases, m d equal citizenship, classical
liberais see no danger in it. But following ':lbcqueville"s andysis, if the
spirit af equality leads to elevation of "the people" aver the jndividual,
and to conformity over indkiduality, then liberty and cqualiv are in in-
herent cox~flicrt.7i,cquwil:le cox~cludedDe71ztrcrac.y in Anzrrica by observ-
ing, "The natiox~sof our time cannot prevent the conditiox~sof men fmm
becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the prkci_ple
of equality is to lead them to servituk or freedom, to :knowledge or har-
barism, to prosperiiy or w ~ t c h e d n e s s . ' ~ ~ ~

Liber?. Versus Economic Equalip

I',qu"ljty is in confiict with liberty and indivictuality insofar ils it takes the
form of social equaliSi, which is both mora1l.y collectkist (Section 3.4) and
conformist. Classicai liberds also insist that the pursuit of economic
equality is at adds with indi~ridualliberty Or as it is sometimes put, peo-
ple's liberty upsets the pattern of income and wealth that economic
equality strives after. Ihis position has been upheld by a contemporar)i
classical liberal, Robett Nozick. To make his point, N'ozick tells the fol-
lowhg story about Wilt Chmberlain, a star basketball player who is in
gre& demand. Living is a Mly egaijtarian society Wilt decides on a way
to improve hjs salary: Me will d y ilgrcc to play if a box is put outside
the arena with ""For Wilt, 25g" "written on it and each spectator pays the
extra twenty-fie cents. If oxw milliox~people go to hame games, Wilt
ends up with $250,6300 more than he was allotted jn the egalitarian distri-
bution. Now, it would appear that to sustaill the equd dish.ibution the
govermmt mu" ti"terffc-?re with free transactiom between Wilt and his
fans: the governmcnt must stop the fans from givir-rg hixn the additional
quarter of a million dollars. So, Nozick argues, any attempt to cmsure eco-
mmic equdity will require interfering with the liberty of citizens to do as
they wish, and this makes the pursuit of economic egalitarianism objec-
Some object that that an egalitarim taxation system does not hterfere
with people's liberty, it simply taxes them-it alters the relation betkveen
their gross and net incmes. But, say these critics, that hardly cmstitutes
a limitation of freedom. No one is forcing you to act against your will.
Nozick has a strong (and controversial) reply :he mahtains that such tax-

ation is essentially the same thing as forced labor-that is, slavery. He

reasons that since a person must w r k extra to pay the egalitarian tax,
some proportion of her kvorkkg day is devoted to payhg the tax, that is,
working so that others will benefit, But to be forced to work to benefit
others is p e c i ~ l ywhat is meant by foxed 1a:hor. One concern &out
Nozick"s argument is that it appears to prove too mtxch: it kvould seem to
show that all taxation is forced labor. But all classical liberals endorse
s m e g o v e r ~ ~ m e ~activities,
~tal so all endorse same form of taxatio~~; but if
taxation is forced labar, all classical liberals endorse forced labar, hardly
an inviting cmclusion. Nozick" s a h point, however, can be less cmtro-
versially put. Insafar as ecmomic egalitarianism requirtzs coercive trans-
fers of fur~ds.from some to others, egalitarimism il7trinsicaily limits lib-
erty To be sure, this ctws not show that it is t~njustified,for all laws linlit
:liberty. It does, though, indicate that the pursuit of ecmornic equalily in-
evitahly clashes with negative Iiherty w:hich is the crucid point of Noz-
ick's tale about Wilt Chamberlain. Moreover, because classical liberals
have insisted that property rights have a fundmental role in protecthg
indiwidual liberty (Section 5.4), coercive impo"tions that redistribute
property are especially hostile to a system of negative liberty
This classical liberal argument against any sort of economic equdity
depend" on two claims:
(1)Economic equality requires a certairr patter11 of property holdings;
(2) The natural ~ s doft ~~egative liberty is to upset such a pattern.
C l a h (2) is crucial,.As E A. Hayek, argues, "From the fact that peaple
am very different it follows that if we treat them e ~ a 1 l . yEthat is, prima^
ily by ensurir~gthat all have equal liberty], the. result rmst be inequality
in their actual positim."24 Ludwig von Mises, mother great classical lib-
eral of the twentieth century is even mare adamant:

Nothing . . . is as ill-founded as the assertion of the alleged equality of all

members of the human race. Men are altogether unequal, Even between
brothers there exists the most marked differences in physical and mental at-
tributes. Mature never repeats itself in its creations: it produces nothing by
the dozen, nor are its products standardized. Each man who leaves her
workshop bears the imprint of the individual, the unique never-to-recur.
Men are not e q ~ a I . 2 ~

Thus, if we seek to ensure equal results-an equal distribution of re-

sources or welfare, for example-we c m only da so by ixlterferhg with
equal l i k r v : some people must be restrained, or granted additional fa-
vors dellied to others, if we are to llbtain equal results. So, the natural dif-
ferences in human nature, coupled with equal liberty according to the
classical liherd, translate into inequalities in property holdi*rgs; to equd-
ize propertp holdings requircs that some people's libertp he rwtricted. C)f
course, as socialists have noted, this prc!supposes a liberill tkory oC htx-
man nature (Section 3.3): it supposes that in the light of the human differ-
ences, people will wish to pursue their own aims and a c t u a l a t e re-
sources rather than seek to aid each other and maintail? an egalitarian
distribution.'"f people were thoroughly cooperative, the pursuit of
equality need not co~~flict with individuaf fiberty.

Liberal Egalitarianism: Liberty Reduced to Equality

We have seen that: classical liberalim has a sigrific.ant egalitarian ele-
ment. Only a system of labvs that is impartial, and thus enshrhes equal
:liberty and equal civic status, would he agreed to by cqually free persons.
A nurnber of contemporary liberal philosophers have sought to make
equaiity and impartiality f i e very heart of liberalism. According to
Ronald Dworkin, for example, "'a certain, concept-i;onof equality,'' which
he calls "the liberal conception of equality . . . is the nerve of liberal-
ism.'"z7Dworkin q u e s that at the k a r t of Iiheralism is a comilmenl. to
treat all individuals equally-cvith equd concern and respect. For
Dworkin, this equality derives from pluralism (Section 3.2) and the fun-
$irmc.ntai requiremer~tof being impartial between competir~gconcep-
tions of the good life (Sctiion.6.2):

Eqtraliv supposes that political decisions must be, so far as possible, inde-
pendent of any particular conception of the good life, or whatever gives
value to life. Since the citizens differ in their conceptions, the guvernmrsnt
does not treat them as equals if it prefers one ccmception tc:, another, either
because the clffjcials believe that one is intrinsically superior, or because one
is held by the more numerous ctr powerful gruup.W

Thus far, most classical liberals would concuz But- for Dworkiur and his
followers, this generates a case not simply for equal civic status, but for
equality of resources and opportunities. As Uvvorkin sees it, for trhe polit-
ical system to distribute resources on any other basis would be to "'as-
sume either that the fate of some people should be of greater concern
than that of others, or that the ambitions and talents of some are more
worthy, m d so should be supported mare generously on that ac~ount."2~
VVhat is of particulal- interest in Zaworkin" pprposal, howwer, is not
simply that he bases a r ~arpmernt for equal resources and opportunities
on impartiali"iy,but that he &n grouncds inditridud liberty rights on irn-

partiality Uworkin is critical of a hybrid view of liberalism, which con-

ceives of liberdim as devoted to both libery and equillity as indepen-
dent values. On the hybrid view, ljherds cizrc-.deeply for liberty, but give
eyuality an importmt, though limited, role, h o r k i n suggests that those
who adopt this hybrid cox-rceptionare apt to contrast liberalism to conser-
vatism and socialism, arguing that conservatism gives greater kveight to
liberty and less to eyuality than does liberalism, whereas socialism gives
equality a m m dominant role than does liberalism. b o r t i i n , however,
understands liberalism in a monistic way: its core value is equality, not
:liberty. Indeed, he believes that the very idea of a general right to liber@
is cox-rfused.There is, he insists, no general ""commodity'" liberty that we
always value, On the traditional classical liberal view (Sections 4.3, 5,4),
liberty is itself always a good thing; of course, we may give trp some of it
to secure other goods such as security from altack, but, in itself, it is ai-
w y s better to hawe liberty than lose it. Uworkin disapes. The liherty to
drive on the left side of the street is of no value at all in, the United States,
he maintains, and m sane person thinkti she loses something by giving it
up. fn place of the general cox-rcept of liherty then, Dworkir-r f u k w s the
traditional conservative route of identifyhg a list of basic liberties (Sec-
tion 5.4). M a t is important is nut lihert.y, hut certain civil liberties.""
m a t makes Dworkin" version of liberalism so radical is that he not
only dismisses the general concept of liberty but mahtahs that the im-
portant civil liberties are grouded in evality. According to his egalitar-
ian liberatism, Ilberties such as freedom of speech -and association al.e
ways to achjeve equal concern and respect. The equal distributjon of lib-
ertics is m instance of the general case fur m equd diskibution of re-
sources and opportmities. The special stabs attributed to these basic lib-
erties in herd thought does not dcrive h m , the ttnique importmce of
freedom, "out from our commitment to evaX concern and respect and the
need to protect people from the external prefe~ncesof others (Section
6.4). External preferences, it will be recalled, are a person's preferences
that other people act in the way he wants; if you are a Catholic, you
might have an cxten-ralpr&rex-rce that everyox-rebe Catholic. To m& m
confom to your external preferences, presurnahly, wotrld not be to treat
me with cqual concern and respect; freedom of religion ensures me pro-
tection from your external prefere~~ces.
Egalitarian liberalism, then, avoids conflicts betkveen liberty and equal-
ity by putting equality on center stage and entirely baIlishing liberty in
gemral. :It must be wodered wheeher liberalism is rex-rdered more piau-
sibk by, first, almost entirely removbg its traditional core and, second,
deyicthg it as expressing simply one valu+and a value that has tradi-
tionally t-rad a complex and difficult place in liberal theory." fn m y event,
it seems clear that egalitarian Ijberaljsm is a narrow understandjng of
:liberalism: liberalism is depicted. as a theory about how a distributor of
good things should distribute them. It takes the perspective of a distribu-
tor of treatments for a society as a whole-hr e x q l e , the distcributjon
of resources, rights, or oppartunities-and provaes an impartial crite-
rion for all these distributions: distribute them in a way that accords with
equal concern and respect. The theory, then, assumes that liberalism is es-
sentially a theory to guide m organization that distributes benefits. Inter-
estingly, the theory does not adequately q l a i n why an hdividual de-
mands that the distributor-government respect her choices about how
she is to live her life, To the egalitarian liberal, the individual's demand
for respect stems from her right to be treated as equal to others: her
objection to r~onrespectfutstate interference is that it fails to treat her
equally with others, But it is at best dubious that the hdividual's real
complaint here is that she is not being keated as an equal; much more
plausible, f think, is lfie s h p l e r idea that she just wisfrles to live her life as
she sees fit-she seeks to be free to pursue a vision of the good life with-
out undue interferctnce by others. Liberdism cerhislly psesupposes that
individuitls are free and equal; it is much more doubtful that it claim we
are equal, m d so mtxst in some ways be treated as free.

HobhouseHevisionist Liberalism:
Self-Determination, the Common Good, and Equal;@
l h u s far, we have seen that classicaf Iiherals endorse a basic requirement
of equal treatment-equal civic status-while stressing the ways in
which social and economic equality confljct with liberty and individual-
ity Dworkin" segditariar.2 liberalism seeks to overcom t-he clash betwen
libert-y and eq~~allityby groundkg liberalism, hcluding its basic liberty
rights, purely on equaljty. The "new liberal'' theory of L. 7:Hobhouse of-
fers a different way to reconcile liberty and equality within the liberal tra-
dition. Lmlike D w o r b , Hobhouse never denies that libert-y is the heart
of liberalism, Following T, H. Green (Section 4.21, though, Hobhouse
advocates a positive accour~tof freedom: a free person is "self-
determin,edM-we might say autonomou+in. that her self constitutes a
""harmonious whole.""" Hobhouse believes, however, that such internal
"moral" freedom needs to be supplemnkd by social freedom-the free-
dam of "man in, society." Now, social freedom, as liberals generally rec-
opize, requires constraints; if people are to be self-determined in sociely,
there must he limits on what others may do to them and what they may
da to others. h a state of natznre or anarchy, people c m constantly inter-
fere with my sell-determhalion by coercing and restraining me (Sections
4.3,8.2). Thus, argues Hobhouse, social freedom presupposes a system of

social restraints, Unlike classical liberals, who see law as a system of re-
straints that takes awity some of our liberly so as to better protect the rest,
Hobhause sees na clash bet-vveen law and freedom (Section 5-4):

11 Liberq involves restraint, it may be asked whether its pursuit is not itlu-
sory. What is gained from the point of view of tiberq by substituting one
system of restraints [that is, law] for another [that isf restraint by other indi-
viduafs]"r'an we find a system of restraints which is consistent with liberty;
while others are inconsistent?s"

Hobhouse3 answer is that the "the liberly of earh . . .must, on the princi-
pie of the common good, be limited by the rights of all.'"" Basic to I-lob-
house's argument is a strongly monistic view (sctian 3.2) that the good
of the kdividual and the c o r n o n good of society necessarily are harmu-
17i0us. bllowh~gGrecr~,Hohhouse believes that the good for individuais
is to develop their personalities, but that such development is only possi-
ble in a society of developed individuals (see Section 3.3). For both H&-
house m d Gree* there is no ultimte cor~flictbetwen one perso11's &-
velopment and the development of others: all persons cm only realize
what is best in themsel:ves by parljcipating in a swial life with other de-
veloped pezsmalities. A free person follows his ratioml will, and a ratio-
nal person kvills the common good. A free persort "'eomes to reafizo that
his true good not in s m e course dictated by self-will but in a modifica-
tion of that course r/vhich open"o him a life compatible with and con-
tribratkg to the life of societyerr33
Ihe common good, Hobhouse maintah~s,requirtrs equal rigltts for all,
so that everyorle may develop his or her persol~alityEqud rights, then, in
no way detmct horn the hdividual's good or his true (positive) I.iberty;
indeed, equal rights are required by true liberty. O n Hobhouse" view,
equal rights to coxltribute to the cornmm good, i~~cluding not or~lytLte
traditional liberal liberties but "equal satisfaction of equal needs"% ((Sec-
tion 6.4)"are implied by liberty. It is fi4i.riy obvious how the plausibility of
this reconciljation of liberty and equdiy cjepends on accepting a rational-
istic m d monistic view of liberty m d a collectivist view of society; Libere
is rationalistk (Section 4.3) insofar as true freedom requires a self-deter-
mined will that pursuctti its true good; the theory is mor~istic(Swtion 3.2)
insofar as the true good for one person necessarily involves and supports
the true good for other people. In contrast to Ber:lin%ppluralism (Sections
of corrrpeting conceptions of the good
3.7, 4.3), there it; no tragic co~~fl.ict
life in Mobhouse's theory Last, as Hnhhouse ki,mself was apt to point out,
the theory is co:llectiviatic (Section 3.4): it supposes that the good for one
perm11 is intimately bound up with the commof.1good oi his socicty,
Pluralism, Liberty, and Equoliv
There is a much simpler route from classical liberalism to a revisionist
liberalism that seeks to advance economic equality. A pluralist liberal
might insist that although negative liberty is a crucial social value in a
world in which people must choose what values to pursue (Section 4.3)' a
pluralist political theory need not always choose liberty aver equali.ty. In-
deed, Isaiah Berlin, the most prominent expo~~ent of pluraijsm and nega-
tive lihertJii is very clear &out this:

1do not wish to say that individual freedrrrm is, even in the most liberal saci-
eties, the sole, or even the drrrminant, criterion of social action. We compel
children to be educated, and we forbid public executions. These are cer-
tainly curbs to freedctm, We justify thern on the ground that ignorance, or a
barbarian upbringing, or cruel pleasures and excitements are worse for us
than the amount of restraint needed to repress thern.. . .
The extent of a man's, ctr a pectpfe", liberty to choose to five as they desire
must be weighed against the cbirns of many other values, of which equality,
or justice, or happiness, or security or public order are perhaps the must ob-
victus examples.37

That liberty and eguality clash-that we camot have all of both, and so
we must weigh them and choose between IhemAoes not itself imply
that we must -always choose liberv Because classic& liherals arc. devoted
to hdividuals and their ends, m d see most for~xsof equality as a threat
to individuality, they typically oppose equality. But pluralism itself does
m t lead to this t;tror.lgranking of liberty over equalit_y,Some revisiox~ist
liberals view the madern welfare state as a balancing of the demands of
:liberty and cqualjty: civil liberties such as f ~ e d o m
of speech, association,
the press, and religi01.1 take p~cedenceover equality but once those lib-
erties have been secured, the pursuit of economic equality is justified.38
Thus, at the heart of much revisio~~ist liberal thix~ki~~g is the claim that
economic fiberties to buy, to sell, and to advertise are less important than
civil liberties and more easily overridden for the sake ol economic and
sociai equality

7.4 A Socialist Reconciliation Proposal

As I pointed out in Section 3.1, almost all socialist theories agree in claim-
ing that, pmperly understoocf, liberty and equali,ty do nut connict (in this
respect, Hobhouse" revisionist liberalism concurs). A very nice example
of a socialist case for the harmony of liberty and equality is prese~~ted by

Rchard Norman in his "o& Free nlzd Eqzml, in which he explicitly CM-
lenges the claim that liberty and eyuality are at odds.

Norman on Effecfive Choice and Liber?.

Let us begin by briefly considering Norman" views on liberty, which
combi~~e a view of litsert;y as a self-chosen life (Sction 4.2) with freedom
as p o w r (Section 5.1). Accortling to Norman, "h are free in so far -as
you are in a position to make choicesrr:

In maintaining that freedom consists in being able tt3 make choices, we must
add that the degree of freedom is determined not by the sheer number of
choices available, but by the range of meaningful choice. And here the
phrase ""range of meaninghf choice" must refer both to the areas ctf people's
lives in which they can make choices and the options from which they can

Norman argues that in addition to noninterkrence, effective choice re-

quires (1)political, (2) material, and (3) cult-ural conditions- m e puEitbE
colrdifiotzs concern one" ability to participate in collective decision-
maki~~g. "It seems p:lausihle,'" he wites, "to suppose that institutio~~al
arrmgements whi& give me some degree of political power will, to that
extemzt, increase my capady to make choices about the affairs of the soci-
ety in vhJhicfi I h e , m d tltereforc. &out my own life. In other words, an
increase in democracy would seem to be m hcrease in freedom.""" As we
have already seen (Section 5.1), it is clear how mnterinl conditio~rsir;tcrease
one" effective choice,

11 I inherit a fortme or win the pools or, less spectacularIy, get a new job
which will provide me with a larger income, new opportunities became
available to me which were previously inaccessible: J can travel to different
places, engage in different activities ctr pastime-new worlds, geographi-
cally new or culturally new, are opened up far me. The comecticm with free-
dom lies not in the greater material cornfc3rts or enjoyments, but in the in-
crease of possibilities-the greater scope for choice.41

N o m m 3 third condition for freedom concerns education and other cul-

tttral opprfznzitics. As we saw in Sectim 4.3, for the advocate of positive
frtiedom educatio~nis fiberating: it adds to freedom by expandilng the op-
tions available, Education also adds to freedom becatrse it seeks to make
people into better choosers, prmoting the critical capacities necessary
for an autonomous life.

Cooperation and Equoliv

Fundamental to almost all socialist theories is a cooperative view of un-
cormpted husnan nature and &e ideal society. Competitive individud-
ism, socialists typically argue, is a pathhgical psyrrhologicai state pro-
duced by capitalist productive relations, which give some polver over
others (Sect-ion 5.3). Humans are, by nature, social creatures, more in-
clined to cooperalion than conflict. '9'0 enter into co-operathe relatiorrs
with otl-rers," writes Norman, is "'to commjt onesela' to the point of view
of a shared project, it is to replace the question, 'What will benefit me?'
with the questio~~ 'Whd will benefit us?'""32If people adopt this collec-
tivist view of our nalure and our projects, two things follow:

First, this will affect the way they make decisiom, It will be a joint decision,
not one imposed by some of thern on others. Everyone wit1 be able tc:, have
their say. If possible, they will try to agree on a decision acceptable to thern
all. If they cannot reach an agreement, they will at any rate make sure that
everyone" view is taken into account. . . .
[The seam4 thing that fc3llows from a commitment to a>-operationis that
the] set of arrangements which is adopted by the group must be one which
can be justified to each of its members, If a co-operative group is one in
which each person has an equal say, then each o f thern can make an equal
claim on it-re group; those claims, therefore, can properly be satisfied only by
a state of affairs in which all benefit equally 0veralt.4"

I h e coopcratiwe socky, thfhen, will =quire, first, political equality. Norman

is dear that potitical equaiity requirt.5 more thar~just equal voting rights:
'*It rc?q~iresa shift of the balarlce of power between electors and elected.
It requires that political representatives should be more answerable to
those whom they r e p ~ s e n tso, that gex~uinepower lies with the latter."""
Nomm also thinks equd power r e q u k s economic democracy (Sction
9.21, according to which the grlinciples of majority rule should be applied
to the mar~agementof the firm, such that the workers, through represen-
tatives, manage the firm for t-fiemselkres. N o r ~ x mthus believes that this
cooperative social life is incompatible with capitalism, in which the own-
ers manage the firm and instmct the workers what to do. Et requirtrs a so-
cial ownership of industry that allows the kvorkers to democratically
manage their own firms.
Normal also cndorses resource eyzlttlitly in the cooperative socic..t>i.He
does not mem by this that everyone is to have precisely the same goods,
or that those with special needs are not to be arcordied more. Rather, he
argwdthat "'everyone &odd benefit equally overall from their participa-
tion in a co-operative communityW43There should be ""free communal.

The Corzditio~zsfclrEflective Clzaz'clr The Cu-lgdilk?zsforCuopemtlve Eqzrrality

l. Political Power 3. Equal PoTiticaZ Power
2. Material Resources f t x 2, Equal Material Benefits from
De?~elopment Cooperation
3. Cultural Resources 3. Equal Cultural &sources

FIGURE 7.1 Conditions for Effective Choice and Coaperative Equality

provision of goods to satisfy basic needs, and, beyond that, the distri-
bution of wealth in such a way that everyone "nenefits equal:iy overall
from Lhe work of the commu~lityon the co~~dition that, if they arc. able to,
they participate in such work.""" N o m a n thus appears to allow that
those who have special burdens or who work at hard jobs require extra
compensation, He sees this as Aecting a more basic equality. They re-
ceive extra rewards to cancel out the extra work they did: in the end
everyone should receive something like equal, overall benef ts,
Last, Norman maintains that lfie cooperative socialist society will pm-
vide eqzral czllfzdrul opporZzdzifies. Educational equality, he says, is espe-
cially important in producing m egalitarian society. What is particularly
important is the equal opportwity ctl each child to develoy, his or her ca-
pacities. Norman, of course, does not accept the libetd idcd of equal op-
portunity as the equal opportunity to compete for the best jobs and so
climb to the top of society (he c a b this the "ladder"" notio~lof equillity of
opportun.ity). hsteacf, he argues that each person, regardless of his or her
capacities, should have the opportunity to develop *ern.

The Convergence of he Demands for Liber?. and E q u a l i ~

:It now should be clear why Norman thi~likshis notion of positive liberty
is rrot ir.1 conflict with the demnnds of equality. As F i g m 7.1 shows, the
conditions for cooperative eyuali.ty are simply the equalization of the
col~ditio~~s for freedom as effective choice!
It is worth emphasizing again in what way Norlxan" theory is monis-
tic. Like T. H . Green-whom kexplicitly f ollows-Norman believes that
them is a true goal for each of us: to devel')p into good choosers with de-
veloped capacities. He thus adopts a positive notion of freedom: to be a
free person is to he such a developed chooser, riiomm" ccooperative so-
ciety gives everyone the ihings he or she needs to become such a chooser:
because we aII have the s m e general goal, cve illIneed these =sources if
we are to do what we desire. Moreover, Norman" effort to show that no
conflict exists betweell freedom and equality is itself monistic: it mani-
fests a conviction that, properly understood, the valt~esworth having
1 74 E a u ~ ~AND

must go together. Vu'e cannot be faced with choice between two desirable
values, havirtg to sacrifice some of one to achieve more of the other.

7.5 The Conservative Crih'que of Equality

There is no principle more basic in the conservative philosophy than that of

the inherent and absolute incompatibility beween liberty and equality Such
incompatibility springs from the contrary objectives ctf it-re two values. The
abiding purpose of liberty is its protection of individual and family prop-
erty-a word used in its widest. sense to include the immaterial as well as
the material in life, The iherent ctbjective of equality, on the ctther hand, is
that of some kind of redistribution or leveling of the unequatty shared mate-
rial and immaterial values of a communiv. Moreover, individual strengths
of mind and body being different from birth, all efforts to compensate
through law and government for this diversity of strength can only cripple
the liberties of those intiolved; especially the liberties of tlne strongest and
the most brilliant, This is, in brief, the view which conservative philosophers
have unfailingly taken, from Burke on, on the relation between liberty and
equali v.47

We can trace the conservative hostility to eqt~allityto its theory of humm

nature, its antirationalism, m d its theory of society.

Human Nature and inequolip

"Men are by nahnrc unequaf. It is vain, therefore, to treat them as if they
were equaI."4"K~orethan even the classical libcsal, the conservative is
struck by the basic and *eradicable h~eq~~alities between people, It is not
sod.ety, but nat-ure, that makes peopl" uneyual, and it makes them un-
equai in cvery possible dimensio~~ of iife. ?'hey are unequalty moral;
m q u a l i y patriotic; unequal in physically abilities; mequnlly fit for lead-
ership; unequally intellectually talented; unequally good at being fathers,
or mothers, or teachers; and so on. Hobhouse fSectio116.3) once insiskd
that despite the many bvays in which people were different; their com-
mon human nature "lies far deeper than all the differences between
them."49 NO so for a conservative. What is c o r n o n is 1ase;ely overshd-
owed by our differences.
:In light of this, calls for equiality are apt to be seen not only as vain but
as motivated by pride and envy. Those who are too proud to &it that
others are their betters are cmstanlfy insisting on the equality of every-

one. "All men are equal," the consermlive suspects, is motivated by a

boastful convictio~~ that ""no one is better than me'"itl"~d it is a h o s t cer-
tainly false. AlterrtaCively, eequaiit-y may be motivakd by mvy and spite;
seeing others more successful, seeing their high status and their wealth,
those without it w a ~it;t a ~ ifdthey camat have it, they will h~sistthat no
one has it. &call that equali,ty can be sat.isfed by denykg goo& to s m e ,
as well as providiIlg them to everyone (Section 6.3).Thus, Nisbet worrics
that calls for eyualiv are attarks on the briliimt and talented, for it is of-
ten they who have what others want. In this regard, the conservative
might point m t that in Australia, a distinctly egalitarian country when a
public figure or bushess person is disgraced or suffers a social or eco-
mmic fall, people often conte~~tedly remark 01%the &sirability of cutth~g
"tall poppiesf'-those who have stood out and grown too high require
cutthg down to size,""

Antirationalism and Social Complexity

Because people we so different and unegual, and because societies de-
velop over long periods of time m d are thus not plamed, all human soci-
eties are characterized by numerous institutions and associations that
$isplease egalitarim. The economy is divided into those who have
wedth and those who do not. Ttne instjllation of the family produces eco-
nomic incqualivf because the children of good parents as a rule are more
successful t h a ~the childre11 of pwental failures; within the family, par-
ents have i7tr"cErorit.yover children, and to the exasperation of egalitarians,
the farnily continues to di:vid.e tasks on sexual lines. The Catholic Church
is offirially sexist, universities we intellectually elitist, atbletic clubs dis-
fmor the physically hancdicapped, and so on. As a conservative sees it,
these institutiorms, some of which are vooluntar)r and some not, have func-
tions hsociety, althoul;h no one can give a complete accounl: of m y com-
plex instituiiion and its functions. Given the complexity of humm society,
no singlet person or group of people can fulIy understand its workings.
What we call a '%ocieVfYisthe complex sytitm of these institutio~~s: take
away business corporations, the family universities, schaols, churches,
and the rest,and there would be nothing left of American society
I h e co~~servative Chargedhat because each of these is in
some way a s o m e of inequalit5 egaljtarian socialists drmm of
each and every one of them acceding to m egalitafian plan. But, says the
conservathe, this ratio~~alist project is doomed to faiture, since societies
are far too complex to be guided by any rational plan or t.l?eory. Further-
more, to produce social and economic equality reyuires a pim backed by
a political authoriy with treme~~dous power (see hrther Section 10.4). Of
such colectivism, Michael Oakeshatt observes,
The opposition of collectik~ismto freedctm appears first in it-re collective re-
jection ctf the whole notion of the diffusion of power and of a society orga-
nized by a means of a multitude of genuinely vtlluntary associations . . .
The organization to be imposed upon sociev springs from the minds of
those who compcjse the government. It is a comprehensive ctrganization.
. . . And great power is required f ~ the r over-all control of this organizaticm,
. . . Having discouraged all other means of social and industrial regulation, a
collectivist government must enforce its imposed order or allow society to
relapse into chaos. . . . All this is, clearly, an impediment tc3 freedom; but
there is mure to f~jI10w.In addition to the rule of law, and often in place of it,
collectivism depends far its working upon a lavish use ctf discretionary au-
thority. The organizaticm it imposes on society is without any inner momen-
turn: it must keep going by p r r ) m i ~ e ~ oday-to-day
u~, interventions-con-
trots of prices, licenses to buy and sell, the perpetual readjustment ctf rations,
and the distribution of privileges and exemption-by the exercise, in short,
of the kind of power most subject to misuse and a>rruption.
Collectivism i s indifferent to all elements of our freedom and the enemy
of s ~ ? m e * ~ l

:It is importar~tto remember that that the first great conservative work,
Burke" Reflections on the RenoEzkficltz in France, was a criticism of the first
great egalitarian revolution, the French Revolution of 1789. T%e revolu-
tjonaries were willing to sweep away those parts of French political cul-
ture that did 110t correspond to their abstract ideas in order to bring about
thoroughgoing civic m d social equality Burke kvarned that such a ratio-
nalist project could only end in clisastec

Egalifcrrion Co!/ectivism, Conservative Organicism,

and Liberal Individualism
Conservatives, then, join liberals such as Mill (Section 7.2) in heeding
Tocqwvitle's warning that social egalimianism is apt to lead to a moral
p e r ~ w t i w ethat counts the good of the collective as "'everythingf' ar~d
that of the individual as "'nothing." Milliain lj_kseralsand conservatives
have diffemnt objections to such a collectivism, bowevex: Millian liberals,
as we SW, see it as a threat to individuality and free choice. Of course, it
is not the only such threat: Mill was equally critical. of custom, whi& led
to the servitude of women and ofien discouraged individuakty. Conserv-
atives, in contrast, arc? defenders oi custom: it reflects pradkal r/visdom
that has been slowly accurntxlated over generations m d provides a much
better guide to action than a rationalist defense of liberty such as that of-
fered by Mill. Many conservatives object to egalitarian collectivism, not
because it favors sociev over the hdividtral, but becatrse it is based an a

confused understanding of society. Egalitarian colrecti:vism, charges a

certaill sort of conservative, sees society as a machine that: c m be de-
signed to work just the way we want it to, m d jndeed a very simple ma-
chine, composed of almost identical, equal parts. Indeed, the conserva-
tive is apt to suggest that there is an odd sort of individualism at the core
of socialist egaljtarianism., sjnce it sees the cdlective as composed of a
mass of thoroughIy equal individual units. Important to the conservative
tradition has been the idea that society is better ur-tderstood as an organ-
ism or a c o q l e x aninnd. horganism, such as a m m m d is composed of:
a variety of different parts with different and unequal functions. Most are
mcessary, but some are not. B n d some have controlling fur-tctions,
r/vhereas others, ai*ough importmt, must obey if they are to fulfiil their
functions (Section 20.1). Moreover, na one really. c m explain exactly how
such an o ~ a n i s mworks; we certainly c ot: alter it to conform to our
piar-ts &out what ideal ar1ima1s shouid look me. If society is to be under-
stood ir-r this sort of "orgatlic" way, a true cdlectivism will remgnize the
importance of custom, the insli-tutions of a sock@, and will be wary of
anyme's claim to be able to plar-t and drasticaily reform t-he nahre of the

Conservatism and Liberal Egolifaricmism

In s m , the typical conservative case against social and economic e q d -
ity is Lhat (l) people are naturally uwyual in a variety of ways, (2) soci-
eties develop institutions and priactices that rclffc.ct this deep inequizlity,
and so these practices lhemsclves are inegalitarian, (3) the project of es-
tablishh-tg social and ecor~orrricequality must t-herefore invoive a radicai
restructuring of society m d so (4) must give great power to g o v e m n t .
But (5)because equality can only he achieved by rooting out prac-
tices a-td negating natural te~~dex-tcies, this power constantty will be used
to int.crfere with, tracfiti.onnl liberties; (6) because nn such plan call possi-
bly cope with the full cmplexity of society, it will inevitably fail, lhough
the eiforts to save it may lead to long periocf" of repssion. Classical lih-
erals such as t-layek m d van Mises would agree with essentially all of
this. Classical liberals and conservatives, then, join in rejecting egalitarim
projects. M a t do cmservatives ta-td to say about liberal egalitarianism?
Consematives, like liberals and socialists, have differhg views about the
p q e r extent of equality. As a =asonable gmerali.zatim, however, we c m
say that cmservathes favor a more limited h t e ~ r e t a t i oof~civic
~ equaiiCy
than liberals ilnd are mart? skeptical of equality of opportmity and political
equality Conservatives in the Arrglo-Americm tradition have overwheh-
in& el-tdorsed eyuality before lrhe law, w:hirh has been fundi-tme~~tal to
British law fttr cmtu:u,sic.s." Oakeshon, in particulal; has been insistent that
1 78 E a u ~ ~AND

only a society fomded on the mle of law can secwe freedom m d avoid
collectivim. 'That said, fiough, co~~servafives have been mu& more reluc-
t a t to embrace the idea of civic equality understood as istcluding not s h -
ply equality before the law, "out ewality of :legal rigbts between classes,
sexes, a ~ so d OIT.John Stuart Mill, for example, was a s t r o ~ ~
g of
equal legal rights for women, and he was quite prepared to tmdermine
c u s t o m a ~notions of the family and mamiage to xhieve such civic equal-
ity. Writing in 1869, Mill proclaimed &at "'the pkciple Mihich re~1atc.sthe
existing social relat;ions between sexes-tlne legal subordkation of one sex
to mother-is wrong k~itself, and is rtow one of the chief impedhenb to
human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principie of
perfed ew&fit, admittll~gno p o w r or privikge on the one side, nor dis-
abi1if.y on the 0ther~~5-3 Conservatives, not surprishgly have h g upheld
the importmce of diffe~ntiatedroles, including diffe~ntir-ltedsexual roles,
and conceive of liberal efforts to equalke rights as deskuctive to smiai sta-
ibility So too have conserv&ivcs been critical of equal opportnnity; al-
Ihough, advocathg faimess m d effjciencyin selection processes, the idea
that opportunitiescanbe equalkcd arrro~~g ci-tizensof diverse backgmunds
is dismissed as mother rationalist dellusion.34
More generdly, conservatit;es have expressed resemations about the
egaiitarian and r&ionalist tendmcies of alt legislation. As Elie I-faI4vy
(1878--4937)noted, all laws are egalitarian and hdividualist because they
tend to treat each person as a distinct, abstract, legal individual on par
with ail the rest. In his discussion of Rentham's liberalism, Halkvy points
out that gcneral legislation is also inhert?ntl,yrationalist. As will be re-
called from Section. 32,

The rationalist is inclined to neglect the particular in ctrder to confine him-

self tto the consideration of the general. The existence of ""general facts'bpro-
vides him with a ccmvenient meam of distinguishing, in a rowdabout way,
the necessary from the accidental. Granted the existence of individuals, he
finds it convenient to admit, first ctf all, that individuals can be considered
. . . ecquat.'"
Ihis is not to say that co~~servatives are opposed to lcgislaliorr, but it does
indicate a cautious attitude &out wickly resorting to legislation to re-
spond to the diSIiculties of social life, for it cmnot take ac-corn of the par-
tjcularity m d context that often are crucial to an adequate response (see
Section 5,4).,

7.6 Summary
My unah aim in this book is to show holv m d why the maixr enduring
political theories have interpsekd poliSical concepts differentSy. Follow-

ing on the consideration of the concept of equality in Chapter 6, this

chapter examined, first, why classical iiberals, revisionist liberals, sxial-
ists, m d conservatives endorse different types of equal treatment; and,
second, :how their differing intevretations of the concepts of liberty and
equally lead them to competing positions on one of the central questio~~s
of poljtical theory: do liberty and equalirty c d j c t ?
Sction 7.2 argued that classical liberals, starting from their assumption
of equal freedom and the need for impartial political authority, endorse
equdity before t%le law and civic equality. They are firm critics of social
and economic equality, however, which they see as threats to the core
concept of negative tihery*In general, ctassical tiberals insist that ihe pro-
tection of negative liberty is incompatible with the pursuit of most f o m s
of ewnljty. Sections 7.3 and 7.4 considescld attem,pts to reconcile lihcrty
and equiality Section 7.3 analyzed liberal proposais. I first ex-
arnined Uworkin"s argume~~t that liberalism is based 01%equaiity and ba-
sic liberties are derived from m ideal of equal .treatment, a view of liber-
alism about which Z expressed s o m skepticism. Chser to the mvisimist
liberalism of T. H. Green is Hobhouse's claim that true, positive liberty
requires a self-determined will directed to the common goad, and be-
cause the common good requires an equaliw of rights, true tiberty is nec-
essarily consistent with, in fact requires, an equality of rights, hcluding
rights to have needs satisfied. In Section 7.4, 1 considered a positive lib-
erty argument more typical of socialism than revisjonist liberalism-
Noman's sanalysis &at equates freedom with the conditio~~s for effective
choice. 15 to be free is to have material, political, and cultural =sources
necessary for efft-.ctit.echoice, and if a cooperative society ~ q u i r c equal-
ity of mterial, political, and culturai resources, equal lihertp simply is an
egditarian distribtttioln of resowrces. Finally Section 7.5 examhed con-
servative c r i t i ~ e of
s both socialist and liberal notions of equality.

1.Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tfze S~~cial C o ~ t m c fMaurice

, Cranston, trans, (Lon-
don: Penguin Books, 2968 [lT62[f),Book 2, chap. 21. Emphasis in clriginal.
2. J. Roland Pemcttk, Democmtic 130litical 71jze"ory((Princeton:T7rinceton Univer-
sity Press, 2979), p. 16.
3, Erik von Kuehnelt-Ledbib, Liberty or E'qz-lalidy:TIze Chalfenge of Our Ti~nc
(Lclndon: Ffotlis and Carter; 2952).
4, See Wilt Kymticka, Gol~te~npomry Political Philosoyhy: At1 I~trodnctioll(Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 5,
5. John Lock@,Secolzd peat is^ ufC"overnnzet~1~in Peter Laslett, ed., Ttuo Ecratises of
Gozjenzmezit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), sect. 4.
6. Ibid., sect. 95.
7". bid., sect. 324.

8. For a survey of developments in understanding the Rechfsstaaf in relation to

classical liberal ideals, see F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (London: Rout-
ledge and Kegan Paul, 1960), chap. 13.
9. John Stuart Mill, Auguste Comfeand Positivism, in J. M . Robson, ed., The Col-
lected Wwks of John Sfuart Mill (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963), vol.
10, p. 339.
10. Ibid.
11. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, in John Gray, ed., On Liberty and Other Essays
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), chap. 3, para. 9.
12. Ibid., chap. 3, para. 10.
13. Ibid., chap. 3, para. 11.
14. Ibid., chap. 3, para. 13.
15. Ibid., chap. 3, para. 11. Emphasis in original.
16. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. Henry Reeve, trans. (New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946), vol. 2, p. 334.
17. Ibid., p. 332
18. Ibid., p. 290.
19. See, for example, Pemock, Democratic Political Theoy, chaps. 2 and 3.
20. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2, p. 333.
21. John Stuart Mill, "Democracy in America," in his Dissertations and Discus-
sions (New York: Haskell House, 1973), vol. 2, p. 8.
22. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2, p. 334.
23. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974),
p. 161. For a sustained socialist criticism, see G. A. Cohen, Self-Owr~ership,Freedom
and Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chap. 1.
24. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 87.
25. Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism in the Classical Tradition (San Francisco: Cob-
den Press, 1985), p. 26.
26. See Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality, p. 29.
27. Ronald Dworkin, "Liberalism," in Stuart Hampshire, ed., Public and Private
Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), p. 115.
28. Ibid., p. 127.
29. Ibid., p. 129.
30. See Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (Cambridge, MA: Haward
University Press, 1978), chap. 12.
31. See further, Michael Freeden, Ideologies and Polifical Theory: A Conceptual Ap-
proach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 241.
32. L. T. Hobhouse, The Elements of Social Justice (London: George Allen and
Unwin, 1922), pp. 55-57.
33. Ibid., p. 59.
34. Ibid., p. 62.
35. Ibid., p. 70.
36. Ibid., p. 111.
37. Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," in his Four Essays on Liberty (Ox-
ford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 169-170.
38. See, for example, John Rawls, A Theory ofJustice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1971), p. 106. James P. Sterba characterizes "welfare liberalism"

as a ""lend of liberty and equality'3in his jzkstil7e: Altenznfive Politic~fPerspectiztes,

2nd ed. (Belmcmt, CA: Wadsworth, 1492), p, 4,
39, IGchard Norman, Free nrzd Eqltal: A P1)lrilosqhicafExamiitzafZ'Onof hlitiml VnI-
E ~ C (Qxford:
S Oxford Universiy Press, 1987), pp. 34,38,
40. Ibid., p. 41.
$I. Ibid., p. 44.
42. Ibid ., p. 78.
$3. Ibid., p. 170.
44. Ibid., p, 108,
$5. Ibid., p. 113.
46, Ibid., p, 114,
47. Robert Nisbet, Corzservatism (Millon Meynes, UK: Open University Press,
1(386),p. 47'.
48. farnes Anthany Froude (181&-1894), "Tarty Politics," in ins Slzort Strtdies ouz
Crmf Szlbjects , 4 vols., (London: Longmans, Green, 11305-3906).
~ p. 95.
49. Hobhouse, 736 El'ements of Social J U S icef
SO. "Tnl ppupp: very important perscin; influential person; person with status-
often held in contempt by others, who try ta bring about this person" downfall
or ruin." k n i e Johansen, The Iliizklrm Dz'ctiona~>/(Rinpood, Victoria: Ctaremont
Books, 1997), p, 414,
51, Michaef Oakeshott, Ratiorzalism iitz 13oliCies nrjd Other Essays, expanded ed.
(Indianapofis, IN: Liberty Press, 1941), p, 401.
52, On the French and German traditions, see No61 O'SzxlXivan, Currserzr?atism
(Lc~ndon:J. M . Dent, 197&),chaps. 3 and 4.
of Wofnerz,in Alice S. Rossie, ed., Essays ouz
53, 'John Stuart Mill, The Sltfbjectio~.~
Sex Eqlaalz'ty (Chicago:University. of Chicago Press, 1970), p. 125.
54, Sec, for example, Lincoln Allison, Xiglzt Priuciples: A Coizsc~rzantivcPhilosclylty
of hlitics (Qxfc3rrrdt: BlackweIl, 1984), pp. 80-84.
55. Etie P-Ialkvy, TIzc Gru'zuZI~of Philosophical Xadicnlisnz, Mary Morris, trans.
(London: Farfaer and Farber, 2.9281, p. 52. %e atso Nisbet, Corzserztntl;sm,p. 53.

Mill's Five Aspects of Justice

In this chapter, we return to the question with which we began the book-
"'at is justice?" U~dikePlato, however, we know that we should not be
asswing there is a defkition or a core featurc. that is shared by ail notions
of justice a d that only characterizes jusljce (see 9cti.m 1.I).This is an h-
portant lesson, for the search for the "coxnmon attribute" has dornhated.
investigation of justice. 11%11561----overtwo thousand years after Plato
wrote-Job Stuart Mii,l was still searchjng for ""thedistlinguishing charac-
k r of justice." As was typical with Mill, however, he was more cautious
than most, ach%owlt.dgk%g &:hatit wits a questiol~to be investigakd, rat-her
than a certairt assumption, whether ""all modes of conduct" "designated as
just or unjust share the same quality. To answer this question, Mill begins
in a sensible way: he tries to get a rough feel for the conceptual terrain of
our uses of justice-our main uses of ""-just" m d "'unjust." Only once we
understmd thc main features of the concept of justice, can we try to
arrange &em on a concephal map f%ctio112.3).
Mill icaentifies five ""mdes of action and arran8enzcnl.s of humm af-
fairs, which art. classed, by universal or widely spsead opinion, as just or
as u11just."?(1) "hthe first place,'' says Mill, "'it is mostly considered un-
just to deprive any one of his personal. liberty, his property, or m y other
thhg which belongs to him by law. Here, therefore, is one instance of the
applicatiol~of tfne terms just and unjust in a perfectly defhite sense,
namely, that it is just to respect, tmjust to violate, the legal rights of any
one," The cmcept of justice, then, has especia11y close ties to the law, and
in partimlar the l a w of tt7e country one is in. It would, for example, be
unjust to punish m A m a i c a n for not voting in a U.S. p~sictentidelec-
tion, because she has a right to abstaiiz; but it w o d d not seem unjust to
pu"itih an Austraiiar~for failing to vote in an Australian parliamer~tary
election, since he does have a duty to vote. The same c m be said for a

variety of laws; if there is a law giving one a right, then, as a rule, it

w u l d "n u ~ ~ j uto
s tdeny one that right.
Mill, h o w e l ~ r immediately
, recognizes that (2) "the legal rights of
which he is dep-rivedi, may be rights nlhich ought not to have &longed to
him; in other words, Lhe law which confers on him these rights, m y be a
bad law. W e n it is so, or when (which is the same thing for our purpose)
it is suppoxed to be so, opinions will differ as to the justice or injustjce of
infrint;ing it." Accodhg to tl-te Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, slaweskown-
ers had a right to have their fugitive slaves returned ta them. Private
slave catchers we= employed to assist them in securing their legal rightt;.
In one case, slave catchers seized a black man who had worked for nine-
teen years as a taitor in Pougbkeepsie, New k r k , a r ~ drekrr~edhim to his
owner in South Cardina. h 1850, residents of Boston set trp a "'vigilimce
committee" to idcntify m d harass these "man-stealers." They put one
hul71-ed black couple, t-he Crafts, on a ship to Eqland. Preside~~t Fillmart_.
threatened to send in federal troops to trphold the law (and property
rights).Wid lrhc vigilance co ittee act unjrastly? Mmy insist that a law
that assigns an immoral claim cannot yield a genuine right, a d so violat-
ing such a rule is no ir-rjustice at all. hdeed, the *justice was suffered by
the Crafts, who were hunted down in violation of their moral rights. As
Mill observed, when

a law is thought to be unjust, it seems always tt3 be regarded as being so in

the same way in which a breach of law is unjust, namely, by infringing
somebody's right; which, a s it cannot in this case be a legal right, receives a
different appellation, and is called a mtlrai right. We may say, therefore, that
a second case of injustice camists in taking or withholding from any person
that to which he has a moral right.

Features (1)and (2) point to one of the most perplexhg aspects of our
t h i n h g about justice- Although in some ways our notions of what is just
and laPlfust arc closely tied to our legal and judicial s y s t e ~ f e itn is
called ""the justice systemfJ----hother w a p jwtice cliearjy tranxends ihat
system and can be used as a way to criticize our current laws and the
ways they are applied, lt is Qmpting to simply say that these are just two
ofs justice-what might be called legal justice and idmI
differex~tn o t i o ~ ~
justice- mat, however, would fail to appreciate the intimate relations be-
Ween the two; as we saw in the case of the Fugitive Slave Law, if legal
justice departs in a radical way from ideal justice, it seems to lose clairn to
being justice at all. Our t h k h g about justice seems torn bet-vveen the ac-
tual and the ideal.3
(3) "mirdly," observes Mill, "it is universally considered just that each
person should obtnin that (whc.ther good or evil) whi& he deserves; and

unjust that he should obtain a good, or be made to undergo an evil,

r/vhich he does not deserve. This is, perhaps, the clearest ar~dmost em-
phatic form in which the idea of justice is conceived by the general
mind." One can deserve both good m d evil; criminal.justice is somethes
mderstood as giving criminals their "just deserts,'-that isf punishment.
Of course, people can also deserve rewards. hdeed, to one prominent
political theorist, '"~esert . . . says 'mank you."'4 Claims about what a
perm"" deserves are usually of the form: "Persa~~ P deserves some treat-
ment T nolv because of some act @ that she performed in the past." "at
is, in most cases of desert one deserves some sort of treatment now be-
cause of something that one has already done. A sturfent might he said to
deserve a good grade because she worked so hard; or a worker might be
said to deserve morcj pay becatrse he has produced so much. T%ese two
examples point to the two most common grounds for desert claims: effort
and production.5 In th.e case of the studenl, the ground of the desert claim
(what act she has performed that makes her deservhg) was that she put
in so much effort; in the case of the worker, the desert claim was
gmunded on how rwch he pmhced.
(4) ""Fo~rthly,'~as Mill says, "it is confessedly unjust to break faith with
any one: to violate m engagement, either express or implied, or disap-
poir~texpectations raised by our conduct, at least if we have raised those
expectations bowingly and voluntarilyffheaking promises and con-
tracts is quintessentially unfust behavior, Of course, as Mill says, few
think that it is always u ~ ~ j uto s t lie or to break a contract: there can be
overriding considerations, For example, suppox that a professional
killer is looking for his victim and calls you on the phone to ask you
wheeher you h ~ o wwhere the victim is. You do, hut you tell him that you
do not. It then occurs to him that you migf-tt have caller IF), and so h o w
who he is; he asks you to promise him not to call the police and give
them his n a m a ~ number.
d You reasox1 that he will be more likely to flee
if you tell h h that you wilt call the pojice, so you promise him that you
will. not, As soon as he hangs up, you call the police and give them his
mme and 11urnht.r. Few think that you have acted unjustly in breakh~g
your promise, Immanuel. Kant, though, disagreed. h a similar case
(tE.\oughnot involving caller El)), Kant insisted that you were r,bliti;ated to
tell the truth to the killer. "R be truthful fhor~est) in all your deliberations
. . . is a sacred duty m d hsolutely commmdhg decree of reason, limited
by no expediency.""&
(5) "Fifthly," Mill maintains, "it is, by universal admission, inconsistent
with justice to be par(i;al,; to show favour or p~ferenceto one person over
another, in matters to vvhich favom and preference do not properly ap-
fly," Recall that according to Aristotle, justice is t ~ a t i n ge ~ equally
and ullcquals uneqrrally (Sction a).. This czften-cited definition captures

a great deal of what we mean by justice. To act justly is certajnly to act

impartially; it is to treat relevantly similar cases equally and to distin-
guish between those who have tmequal merits or claims (Section 6.2).
Thus, a judge who sentaces black defendmts to dea& but gives whites
for the same crime is unjust, as is a teacher who gives
a lighter se~a-t-rtence
higher grades to attractive st-udents just because they are attractive*But
although the ideal of impartial treatment captures m c h of justice, it
leaves much u~~accounted for. AS Mill recog~~iZed, and as I stressed in
Section 6.1, we do not always have to be impartial:

Favour and preference are not always censurable, and indeed the cases in
which they are condemed are rather the excepticm than the rule. A person
would be more likely to be blamed than applauded for gjving his family or
friends no superioriq in gclod ctffices over strangers, when he could do so
without violating any other duty; and no one thinks it unjust to seek one
perwn in preference to another a s a friend, connection, or companion. 1m-
partiality where rights are concerned is of course obligatory, but this is in-
volved in the more general obligation of giving tt3 every one his right. A tri-
bunal, for example, must be impartial, because it is bound to award, without
regard tct any other cornideration, a disputed ctbject to the one of two parties
who has the right ta it.

50, although one should certainly give each person what she has a right
to-and so should treat eyually those with equal rights-in much of life
you shortM be partkl to your friends m d family.
As Aristotle" famous dirtuvn suggests, and as MX i X achowledges, "al-
lied to the idea of impmtiality is that of equaiity; w:hich often er~tersas a
component part bath into the conception of justice and h t o the practice
of it, and, in the eyes of many persons, constiLutes its essence," "Mil . him-
self seems skeptical; as he saw it, people think that equality is fundamen-
tal to justice except when they thirrk inequality is called for! Neverthe-
less, it is clear that to some exSent, the cowepts of justice and equality

Whot is o Right? Hohfeld's Classic Analysis

Justice concerns aur rights and aur duties. T%ere is, however, almost as
much diversity in theories of rights as there is about justice in general.
The m s t famous amlysis of leg& rights was acfvanced by Wesley
Hohfeld (1879-4918). To Hohfeld, the concept of "a right" hvo1olves sev-
eral different ideas, each of which is related to the others, Figure 8.1
sketches part of tlohkld" sa-t-ralysis:sin* lines with an arrow at each
end represent what Hah1el.d cdled ""opposites" or c o n t r a d c t r i e (Iegal

[l]Alf has a liberty with 4 L21 Berry has no claim

~ s p e cto
t Betty to ct, against Alf that AIE not

F31AIE has a duty tc3 [4] Betty has a cfairn against

Betty not to tl, Alf that All not cf,

FlGURE 8.1 Wohfeld's Analysis of liberties and Claims

statuses that are jnconsistent), whereas lines with sizlgle arrows represent
""correlatives" "tatznses that imply or entail each other).?
For Hohfeld, then, Alf has ([l1 in Figure 8.1) a l i h ~ v f yto engage in act
(D if and o~lilyif ( 2 ) Bctty has no daim agaimt Aif that A:if not <DifiIt: also
fallows from Figure 8.1 that if (2) Betty has no claim that Alf refrain
from G-ing, then ( 3 ) he has no duty to Bctty to not Q. E"or Hohfcld,
when we talk about a person having a right to do something, we some-
lilnes mean that he is at liberty to do so; he has no duty to refrain. But
merely to have a liherty to do something does not irnply that you have
a claim that others not interfel-e. The classic example is the liberty of
two pedestrians to pick trp a dollar bill lying on the sidekvalk. Neither
has a duty to refrain from picking it up, but neither has a claim on the
othcrr ta stand aside and let her pick it up. Such ""naked lihertiesf"often
characterize competitions; people have the Ij_berty to win, but no one
has a claim to win. h contrast, Betty has a (4) clninz rkhf that Alf not (D
if and only if (3) Alf has a duty not to Q, and so he is not (1)at liberty to
(I,. In, contrast to liber(ies, claim rigbts imply duties on the part of oth-
ers not to hterfere; we rnight call them rights in the strict sense. Unlike
liberties, daim rights limit the freedom of others. :lf you a r ~ dI both have
a liberty to Q, neither of us has a duty to refrain from 'P-ing; our liber-
ties represent an absence of duties, and therefore an absence of restric-
tions an our freedom. To have a claim right, however, is ta be able ta de-
mand that others respect your claim: they have a duty to respect i&and
so are not at liberty to ignore it, Your claims, then, concern what is
owed to you, and so what people are m t free to declirlie givi~ligyou.
(Recall here Polemarchtxs%conception of justice as giving each man his
due; Sect-ion 1.1.)
Claim rights can he either negafiue or positiw. If Betty has a claim that
A1.f refrain from doing somethkg (say, breaking into her o w e ) , she has a

[5] Congress has a [6] Citizens have a

power over citizens with b liability to Congress with
respect to Q respect to Q

[7] Congress has a [g] Citizens have an immunity

disability with respect to against Congress with
citizens regarding @ respect to Q
FIGURE 8.2 Hohfeld's Analysis of Powers and lmmunities

negative claim right. Alf has a duty not to perform the action "breaking
into Betty's house." A negative claim right corresponds to a duty on
someone else's part not to perform an action; it implies that he or she is
not at liberty to perform the action. In contrast, if Betty has a positive
claim right against Alf (for example, to help when she is in need), Alf has
a duty to perform an action. He is thus not at liberty to abstain from per-
forming the required action.
Hohfeld also distinguished between two other legal statuses that are
sometimes called "rights."s Someone has a power if he or she can alter
other people's liberties, claim rights, and duties. For example, that Con-
gress has the right to make laws means that ([5]in Figure 8.2) Congress
has the legal power to alter the liberties, duties, and claim rights of Amer-
ican citizens. It can create new duties, rights, and liberties or abolish old
ones. If Congress has the power to make such changes, citizens have (6) a
liability-their claim rights, liberties, and duties are subject to alteration
by Congress. The opposite of a power is (8) an immunity. If citizens have
an immunity over some area, then Congress does not have the power to
alter some liberties, rights, or duties; Hohfeld would describe this as (7) a
disability on the part of Congress to alter these liberties, claim rights, or
duties. An example of a right qua immunity is the U.S. Constitution's
First Amendment right of freedom of religion. The First Amendment ac-
tually ensures citizens an immunity (8): it bars Congress from enacting
laws establishing a religion, thus providing citizens with an immunity
from legislation. According to Hohfeld, this immunity held by citizens
corresponds to (7) a disability (a lack of power) on the part of Congress to
pass such laws; that is, the crux of the right to freedom of religion as spec-
ified by the First Amendment is an inability or lack of a power on the part
of Congress to pass laws establishing a religion. Alternatively, to say that

Congress has the right to make laws regulathg intclrstate commerce is to

say that it has the polcnr to enact laws that alter the legat rights and duties
of citizens-

Organizing the Elements of Justice

:In different ways, Mill and Hohkld point out some of the main fcatures
of our cor~ceptof justice. Mill ide11tifit.s some of lrhe main uses of the no-
tion of justice. Most uses of lustice involve the idea of honoring a person's
rights, be they legal rights, moral rights, rights to what she deserves, or
what you have been pron.lised. The term '"right'" itself, though, is used in
differe17.twitys: as Ilclhfeld shows, when we say that a person has a right
to a>, we might mem (1)she is at liberty to @-he has no duty not to Q---
(2) she has a daim on others not to intedere with her @-ingor she has a
claim on otEters to assist her in cD-ing; (3) she has ilnmunity rtttatfng to CD,
that is, no one has the power to alter her libertylclaim right to @; or (4)
she has a power regatdhg cD that involves the legal ability to alter the lib-
erty and duties of others.
To sketch out the main aspects of our nation of justice and rights,
however, is only the beginning. We need to organize the aspects into a
coherent conceptior~,explahing why various parts are important and
h w they retale to each other. A fheouy ofjustice seeks to orgamize, justify,
and explain the various aspects of our concept of justice, Zn many ways,
the history of poliLical theory has been &out cornpetillg theories of jus-
tice; we certainly cannot even begin to analyze them all here*In the re-
mainder of this chapter, 1 will brieay survey some of the main theories
popowd by clilssical and revisionist liberals; in the next chapter I exam-
ine socialist and conservative approaches to justice- Throughout, I em-
phasize how each type of political theory advances a theory of justice
that coheres with its unrterstal7dir"tgsof liberty a d equdity as well as its
positions on the three endurkg issues in. political theory that we identi-
fied in Chapter 3.

8.2 Classkcrl Liberalism: Rules for Equally Free People

f i e Hobbesian Sfafe of Nabre
Classical liberalism, it will be recalled, is biased on tlne presupposition
that we are equally free (Sectio~~s 6.3, 7.21, with freedom being under-
stood as nega.tive liberty. 'l"fiomas E-fohbes presented a classic, tl-tough
controversial, depicirim of life among equally free people witrbout rules
of justice. Mobbes depids a "state of nature,'" cconditio~~ of anarchy in
which each permn is free to do cvhatever advances her int.crc3sts. Accord-

ing to Hobbes,; in the state of nature have a right to do any-

thing. :Note t-hatby "right'" Hobbes must meal something very much like
HahEe1cf"s '*Xiberty'"%ction 8,l);to say cve have a right to do anythhg is
sirnpiy to say that we have nit duties to not do things. We have no clairns
on each other in the state of nature (E21 in F i ~ r &.l),
e hence we have un-
limited liberlies ([I]in Figure 8.3.). Not only is this a condi,fiun of absolm.te
freedom, but it is also one of equality No one is under the aulltority of
anyme else; mre than that, each person is equal insofnr arr; each is vul-
nerable to attack by others. Or as Hobbes mare coSorfully puts it, we are
equal because myone can kiH anyone else. Hobbes achowledged that it
may be "fhought there was never such a time, nor co~~cfition of war, as
this'"; il7deed Hobbes himelf bdieved that "it was rlever gewrdly so,
over all. the world," though he did thhk that same non-European pea-
ples lived in such a state. More important, Hobbes tells us that amlyzing
life in this state of nahre allows us to understand "what malxler of: life
there wozkEd be'' if equally free people lived in anarchy.9 Hobbes argues
that in such a condition equal liherty would lead us into conflict. Each
perm"" is arr; hopefill as the next of htaining her goals, because no one
considers herself the inkrior of others. Consequently, if two peope both
want smethirtg, neither is apt to give n " a and
~ so they arc apt to hecme
enernies. Habbes's description of life in such a cox~ditionis b o a s :

In such a ccmdition, there is no place for industry; becaus the fruit thereof is
uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigaticm, nor use
of the cornmudities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building;
no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force;
no howledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters;
no soclieQ; and which is worst of all, continual fear' and the danger of vio-
lent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.10

Hobbes is especially clear that in such a condition there would be no no-

tjon of justire or injustice: "The notions of right and w r o q , justice and
injustice, have there m place. W e r e there is rlo cornmon p w r Ythere is
no law; where no taw, no injustice. Force, m d fraud, are in, war the two
cardinal virtues."ll
Hobbes" solution to the anarchy of the state of nature is a social con-
tract (Sections 4.3,7',2). The problem underlying the state of nature is the
absence of a distrinction between "mine and thinew-there are no claim
rights that limit your lihery to use somethhg. Without such claim rights,
people might seek to use mything that X possess, jncluding my bady Ely
instituting a system of claim, rights, we can create things that are
"mineu-things that 1have a claim right to use, and so you are not at .lib-
erty to use them-and thhgs that are " " E k ' w h i h you have a claim

right to use, and nlhich I am not at liberv to use, Justice is thus about the
creation of pmperty in the very bl-oadest sense: the distinction between
wh& I have a ciajm right to imd what you have a clairn right to.
Hobbes believes that equally free people in the state of nature wodd
rexlounce their unlirnited liberties ar~dapee to obey a "'sovereip," a gov-
ernment with unlimited powers to determine the rights of its subjects.
The crux of Hobbes" social contract i s that subjects claim no immunities
against the government; to claim that lfie goverrlment was disabled from
making some laws would lead to mdless disputes about these limits m d
that, Hobbes thought, would drive us right back into the state of nabre.
Hobbesfssovereign can do no injustice: he has sole autbrity to establish
laws ar~dcJetemil.~et-he rules of pmperty and so doing set tt7e l h i t s to
the liberty oP his subjects.12 Mow, obviously there i s nothing at all liberal
about this social contract; indeed, it i s a re~narkablyauthoritarian con-
tract, il7soiar as free and equal people create a gove ent with the un-
limited right to legislaCe-it has no disabilities ('71 in, Figure 8.2). But it is
easy to misunderstand I-lobbes here. He does not advocate a political sys-
tem that denies freedom in the sellse of denying subjects claim rights to
act; indeed, Hobbes thinks that only the sort of sovereign he advocates
can institute an effective system of claim rights. Hobbes's proposed gov-
ernmcnt is authoritarian, then, in the sellse that sulnjects have no immu-
nities against their so\*reign; the sovereign has the right (qua power, Fig-
ure 8.2) to legislate anything it wishes, In sum, Hobbes argues that we
must give up our rights F a untimited Hohfeldian liberties to act and
give the government rights qwa unlimited Hofifeldian powers if we are
lo have m effective syskm of claim rights.
Because of this, the Wobhesian conception comes close to ide~ltifyil7g
justice with the requirenzcnts of the existir-tg legal system (see Mill"s first
point, Section 8.1). The somreign determines what i s just. But not even
Hobbes marlages to simply identify justice with a society's body of laws.
Hllbbes acknowledges that- no one can be bound to give up her life; thus
even if the suvereign were to commmd you to kill yourself or to let him
kill you, you are at liberty to disobey (and thus do not have a duty to
obey). Even Hobbes-who seeks to equate justice to whatever system of
:laws the sovereign creates--recogni.zc?s some notion of "ideal justice"
that is indepcndex~tof the law (see Mill's ppoit [21,%ction 8.3).

Neo-Hobbesion Theory: lustice os Rules far Mutual Benefit

Cantemporary philosophers inspired by Hobbes have made great ad-
vances in fomally modekg the problems in Hobbes" state of nature, as
well as what sorts of agreements ratiox~alagellts would make to extract
themselvm horn it. The point of departure for formal Hobbesian analyses
i s the now-tarnous 'prisoner's dilemma." In this dilemma, two suspects,

ALf and Betty, have been anested by the police. The police have enough
evidence to convict them both on a ~iativelyminor charge-say, they
wert. caught shoplifting a bag to cmry their loot in, If convicted of this
charg-and the police can obtaiR a convictiondrrch will get a year in
prisa~~.The police, however, suspect that t-hey acted togetrhcr to puII off: a
really big bank job; unfortunately, the poljce have no eviderrce of this, but
they hope to get confessions. So this is what they do. fnterviewing each
separately, they make the f~l:/awing offer to Alf (the same offer is -also
made to Betty).

""Atf, turn state" evidence agaimt Bet@ and we% let you go free; we% de-
mand the maximum penalty f t Betty, ~ so she'll get ten years. Of ctlurs, if
Betty confesses too, we're not going to let you both (>FE: you'll each get seven
years. But if you keep quiet and she confesses, we'll let her go free, and
youY be the one ta get ten years. We'll be honest with you: if neither of you
a>nfessto the bank job, we won? have enough evidence to prosecute. Then
we'll proceed with the shctpfifting charge, and you% each get ctne year,'"

Their choices can be schematically displayed as in Figure 8.3.

Alf reasons: if Betty conftrsses, and J keep quiet, I get ten years; if B e y
confesses and I confess too, I get seven years. So I know one thhgr if
Betty confesses, I had better confess too. M a t if Betty keeps quiet? All
reasons: If Betty keeps quiet and I: keep quiet too, I get a year; if Betty
keeps qujet ar~d:I co~~fess, I go free. So if Retty keeps quiet, I do best by
confessing. But now ,Aff has shown that confessing is the dumi~antsirat-
eCW:no matter what Betty does, he does best if he confesses. And BettlJ
will reason in a parallel way; she will conclude t-hat no matter what Alf
does, she does best by confessing. S s they will bath confess, and get
seven years,
In some sense, they seem to have ouLsrnarted themselves: by each dob~g
what is ixldividually the best, they both end up with their third option:
seven Fars injail, There i s a clear sense in which it would have been het-
ter for both of them to keep quiet, receiving ody one year in jd. Yet, they

Keep Qsr iet Ct~nfess

FIGURE 8.3 %he Prisoner" Diiernma


will not do that, for being ralional individuals they will see that if the
other keeps quiet, they wifl do best by confessing. They will thus ""dekct"'
or "cheat" on the cooperative policy of keeping quiet. Both. Alf m d Betty
would benefit iff somehow the option of confessing were not eligibl
it could he excluded b m the set of actions they were at liberty to per-
form, If they could bath be convinced that confesshg was not a real op-
tion for them, they would end up cooperating and b o a "onefit. The les-
sor.~it; clear: like the parties in Hohbes" state of nakre, each would gain
from a system of reskaint that mimdaed certain actions (fur example, "'T>o
not conksd"). Tnstituting such a systern is therefore mutuaZly beneficial.
Contemporay foltowers of Hobhes m a i x ~ t a ithat ~ ~ the prisoner's
dilemma models a wide raxge of social intcractio~~s under conditio~~sof
unconstrained liberty: those who are equaUy free are often urrable to
achieve the fmits of social cooperation. FIence, to better advance their in-
terests ratior~alagents woutd give up some of their liberty and embrace
rules of justice, wtltnout rules of justice, we are caught in prisoner's
dilemmas, in which each person3 attempt to ac)"rievehis or her ends
lead.; to a ur~productiveconflict. Thus, cmtemporary classical Ilberals
such as David Gauthier and James Bznchanan'haintain that rational
agents wodd agree to rules of justice that protect liberty and property
rights. These liberals, then, reject Hohbes" claim that free and rational
people kvould create a government with the unlimited right to legislate
and deternine the content of justice, To live logether inpeace and to gain
the benefits of cooperative social life, insist these recent foilowers of
Hobbes, we require negative claim rights pmtecting our liberty (dairns
against others that they do not interfere with our actions) and claim
rights to acquire and enJoyproperty.
The classical liberal analyses of hzrmm nature as self-kterested (Sec-
lion 3.3) negalive liberty (Section 4.11, the relation of liberty and properly
(Sectiox~5.4), and the fundamental importmce of our stabs as equally
free (Sections 6.3,7.2) thus set the stage for the Hohbesian-inspired classi-
cal liberal theory of justice. To live together in peacel respecting each
other's stratus as equafly free people, we require negative claim rights
protecting our liberty (claims against others that they d a not interfere
with our actiom) and claim rights to have our property protected. We
must add to these two basic aspects of justice a third---clairns over our
bodies m d protection from hnrm, for unless we m proteded fi-on,beiag
harmed by others, we cannot bet securr; in either our liberty or use of our
properv (Sectio~~ 5.4)*14

In contrast to Habbesim theories of justice, which seek to derive justice

from a rational bargaixl m m g essentidly equal, free, and self-interested

agerrts, Lockean-inspired theories insist that legitimate contracb specify:

ing systems of rrrubal ac-fvitntqe and just goverl~me~~ts are constrained
by the prior moral rights of hdividuals. As John L,ocke says, we have nat-
ural rights to "Lives, Librtrty and Estates."l5 These rights are what Mill
called '"mord rights" ((point 121, Section 8.1) and so their jusliiicatiorr does
not depend-as they do in Hobbes's theory-on being a part: of the estnln-
:lished legal system, Indeed, for Lockeans, to be just, a legal or political
system must respect these basic moral rights to life, liberv, m d property.
Even in the state of nature, ZJocke argued, peaple would recognize that
each had a claim. right to his or her life, liberty and property. Locke thus
disagrees with Hobbes; the state of nature was a "%Cafe qf Liherfy," but
'"nota Stntc r?fLice~zt;c,"'because each would recopize that he was not free
to attack the "Life, the CJiberty, Health, Limb or Goods of ilnother."I6
These naturd rights are basic elcmcnts of ideal justice: wntd politrical
arral~gemerrtsmust respect them.
Equal claim rights to noninkrfereme Tlnd prolecticrn of one's body m d
proyerty are the core of Lockean-inspired classical liberal justjce. Classi-
cal liberal justice also lays great strcss on the role of pmmising and con-
tracts injustice (Mill's point [ill, Sction 8.1).The concepeion of justice in-
herent in the classical :Liberat market swiety is, essentially, the justice of
keepir~gone's agreements witfnin the bour~dsof basic mgatiwe clailn
rights to liberty and the rights involved in private property. The classic
liberal, then, tends to thhk that Cephalus was basically right in saying
that justice is a matter of telling the tmtrh and paying your d&ts (Section
l.%), as long as we remember that this takes place against equal basic
rights to liberty and property This explains the central place of commu-
tative justice in classical liberalism (Section 2.1). Once again, we can see
that the classical liberal justice is shaped by the pivotal role of negative
:liberty and individualism. Justice is by and large a characteristic of rela-
tions between ewaily free individuals; it is not about whett-rer t-he social
whole concducts its affairs in a just or appropriate mmner.

Classical libera/ism"smmbafence b w r d Desert Claims

Classical liberals are mbivalent about the idea of desert (hilays point p],
Sectio~~ 8.1). III some ways, desert is centml to their theory of justice. &er-
all, and in, general, cbssical liberals have believed that one of the virtues
of private property a d the market syskrn is that they tend to reward the
industrious. As J o h Stuart
~ Mill said, "'Private property, in every deknse
of it, is supposed to mean tbe guarantee to inctividuals of the frujts of their
own labour m d ab~thence.~'fl 7 e deserves the fruits of one's OWII labor,
and it is generally seen as a real virtue oi private property m a r k t systems
that producers me rekvardeci for their produclive efforts. Nevertheless,
classical liberals have been wary about transfoming t h i s Observation

about the generaii kndencks of markets based on private property into a

strict criterion of justice-in-holdings.lVor tt7e mast part, classical liberals
have not maktahed that a person" property holdings are just if and
only if she deserves those holdhgs, Any such crjl.erion of justice, they
have insisted, is incompatible wittl a strong cJefense of negative 1i:berty If
a person is to be free to dispose of her property as she sees fit, she wiit be
free to give it to undeserving others, such as her children, If no one is to
have ur~deservedproperty, the freedom of people to dispose of their
property as they see fit must be greatly limited. Moreover, cfassical tiber-
als wodd almost always insist that theories endeavoring to reward, peo-
ple accor$ing to their overall d e s e r v h p e s are overly rationaiist. In a
well-defir~edco~~text, such as a matrhcmatict;competitio~~, we may be able
to say cvhn deserves the prize, but it is innpossjble to determke a per-
son" overall deservhgness, or even overall economic dessrvimgness, 1s a
doctor more or less deserving than a computer programmer? Is a great
artist more or less deserving than a second-rate air traffic controller? Be-
cause, says the classical liberal, there is no way to make such determina-
tion~,the attempt to apply desert to an indivicaual's overall ecmrrric
standing leads to incessanf: meddling cvith the market with no ckar
idea of what should result, Success in the market is determined by a
comhiniltim of skill and luck, and "while, as in a g m e , we are right in
insisting that it be fair and that nobody cheat [see Mill's point (S)], it
would be nonsensical to demand that the results for the different players
be justeff19

8.3 Manistic Revisionist Liberalism:

Social Justice and Carrfributians to the Common Good
Desert, Social Gontribufions, and Distribufive Jusfice
Claims about desert have played a much larger role in the revisionist lib-
erafim inspired by "f: H. G ~ e and n L. 'I:Hobhouse, the so-called 'kew
liheral.ismfl of the first part of the mentie* centwy. kVith its much
stronger rationalist m d e ~ b i x l g sthis
, version of revisionist liberalism
has been at the forefront of theories of distributive justice that seek to re-
ward peoyie according to their deserts or merits. 7b many revisio~~ist lib-
erals, a cornpetititre m a r k t society c m be just only if its competition E-
wards the &serving-those who produce or at least make the effort to
produce.2Utthough marry contemporary advocates of the welfare state
associate it with an egalitarian needs-based distribution (Sections 6.4,7.3,
9.1), its early proponents tried to show how the equal provision of needs
was cor~siste~~t with people getting w:bat they deserve. Htbhouse, for ex-
ample, argues,

The principle ctf distribution by needs would be generally recognized as

broadly a principle of equality. We have now to consider it-re ground ctf dif-
ferentiation. Differences arise in a system in which all have a part, and a
claim to equal consideration, frorn the necessities frorn the system itself. For
example, captain and sailors have an equal interest in the safety of the ship,
but for the sake of that safety differences must be recognized as wilt ensure
that the captain" orders will be carried out. In general terms, the common
good is maintained by the xrvices of its members, . . . Every one ctf whom a
function is required may claim on his side the ccmditions necessary to its
performance, e.g. if he has a certain political responsibility he must be Eur-
nished with adequate powers, if he has to do hard and muscular work, he
must have ft3t3d and rest in proporticm. If he is a brain-worker he needs air
and exercise to keep him fit. . . .
We may then define Distributive Justice as equal satisfaction of equal
needs, subject to the adequate maintenance of ur;cEul functions,zl

We see here I-lobhouse's moral collecti\iism m d his tende~~cy tru tie justice
OIT good (Sections 1.4,3.4). m a t one needs depends on one's
social function, and so the equal satisfaction of needs must be adjzrsted to
what one must have to effectively contribute to society. Thus far, the
argun7ent is cast entirely il.1 terms of what one needs in order to con-
trib~rteto s0ciet.y; not what one deserves..Hobhouse, however, wishes to
recmcile social justice as needs provisim with social justice as desert. In
advocating a "civic minimumm----annirtimw level of resources-Hob-
house was jnsistent that this was not charity but the workhg class" just
re'iuards fC?r ~ontrthz~fi~zg
to the filmmm g130d; consequently, he teXl us that
the ciwic minixnurn paid to a contributing m m b e r of the c o r n u n i t y
must be his "true and full property with unlimited right of disposal."
Hobhouse explicitly contrasts such conthbutors to "&pndentsm-"the
helpless, thc. defective, the idler'" cor.~tributorshave a claim based on
desert for a decent existence f i e r e a s dependcnts "'art? a charge upon trhe
humanity of the community" and are pmvided with an allowance "for
the speciiic purpose of meelting their needs."""' In thc history of the devel-
opment of the welfare state, this was a critical. argument. The first ele-
men& of the modem welfare state, old-age pensions (such as the Social
Secwity system) and w~employmerntinsurmce, were often advocated on
the grounds that they were the just rewards of those who had previously
contributed to thCS common good. Old-age pensions and unemployment
insurance were 11ot charity: they were the just deserts of workers who
had made socid contributions. That the provi,sions of the welfare? state
were deserved rewards was especially important in its expansion
in the United I(ingdom and the United States after the Scco~tdWorld
War; educational. and housing assistance were viewed as deserved

compensations for those who had contributed, to the c o m m good by

fighthg fascism.
Underlyixng the new liberal" desert-based conception of social justice
is not only a rationalist suppo&tion that the government can reliably de-
temine lrhe deservhgness of ir~dividuals,but a monistic notion of what
is valuable and a collectivist conviction that there is a common gaod and
those who contribute to it are especialfy daerving. To =ward a person
for doing s o m e t h g presupposes that what he does is a good or valuable
thhg. For desert to be the guiding principle of social justice, then, we
must have a socially recognjzed notion of what is valuable. To s o m ,
w h a t is valuable is simply productio~~.But of course, not -all productior~is
valued by everyone: many insist that the productior.~of p~n~ography,
large cars, \vater jets, or moder11 art is not valuable at all, Hayek dis-
misses the very idea of social justire as rewardhg desert for just this rea-
son, emphasizil-rg the classical liberal plwalist position that there is no
such thing as "'value to society.'' '*%rvices call only have value to parti,cu-
h r people (or an organization), and any particularr service will have dif-
ferent value to differen.t: members of the same society.""" For a society to
adopt a notion of social jusMce as the systematic rewarding of people ac-
cordjng to their deserts, there must be a socially sanctioned idea of what
is valuable. Typicailyf those who employ desert-based ideas of socid jus-
tice appeal to what is of value to society or what promotes the social or
common good. New liberals were usually very clear that in contrast to
the inditridualim of classical liberaiism, their poli"es were based on the
good of the "sncial orgTmism as a whole" or the inCcrc3sts of "'crrganized
society as a wholle.'"24

Development, Liber?: and Welfare

'Thus far, I have stressed the collectivism of the new liberal accow~tof so-
cial justice: justice mandates that one should receive what one needs to
contribute to the common good and be rewarded according to one" ccon-
tributio~~ to the cornmon good. This gives tt7e impressior~that the irtdi-
viduall's rights and duties are totally subservient to the gaod of society*
But Hohhouse's collecthisrn is moderated by his conception of the com-
mon good asthe harmonious developwnt of human I7atul.e. The good of
the inc2ividual (her self-developmat) is thus in harmony with the good
of sociely (the self-development of e v e ~ o n e )indeed,
; we have seen (%c-
tion 7.3) that for Hohhouse one can ox~lydevelop one" sown nahnre in a
society whclrc other people arc? d s o developing their personalities.
the monistic harmony between individuai and socid good, and ideas of
self-development and positive liberty, are at the core of his new liberal
t.S7eory of social justice (see Section 4.3). Mobhouse argued that if we are

to assist each other in dweloping our capacitks, we need to provide the

conciitions necessary for development for everyone. Social justice, as
Hllbhouse sees it, concem the equal pmvision of the conditiom for the
growth of all citizens.
7he f i s t condition for growth is claim rights to basic liberties. Rut,
Hobhause emphasized, liberty is not the sole condition for development.
Because, Hobhouse argued, we should understand sociev as a coopera-
tive elldewor, we &odd cooperate to assist each other in devdaping our
personalities, This, then, =inforces the necessily of the "civic mini-
mumu-a rninirnal level of income necessary i f a persopl is to develop, A
society devoted to the. development of all its citize~~t; would also guaran-
tee all citiztms have adequate health c m : those who are sick are unable
to develop their potential, Education also becomes a major concern of the
state (Section 4.3). :Notice that in this theory of liberal justice, negative
claim r i e t s to nonillterfercnce do not have the c m positio~~ that they oc-
cupy iz7t classical lilberal theory The very aim of nourishing development
and true freedom requises a complex of negalivc claim rights to noninkr-
ference a r ~ dpositive claim rights to income, education, and so on. Al-
though the new liberals do not reject classical liberalism" devotion to
negative freedom, they stress that much more is required to promote de-
velopmmt t h a sirnply
~ e~~suringeach citizen her negative liberty.

Civil Justice and Facilitofory Social Justice

Justice as giving people what they deserve is related to justice as award-
ing positions on the basis of merit, They are not the same idea, however.
Ib clairn you deserve somthir"tg is typicatly to focus on some past n c c m -
piilisl~menfof yours: a person who has given a lot of effort in a good cause
desemes some recompense, At least in the most clear-cut cases, desert
says "thank you" for sorne past action. But to select on the basis of merit
is typicallyfirzl~urdIrtctkirzg: the selection aims to pick the person who will,
in the future, do the best job, G'tf course, if someone has worked very hard
to prepare herself, say, by diligently practicing to make the hascball team,
we rnjght say she deserves a dance; but if w e m selecting on the basis of
merit we will consider only her competency to play baseball-how well
she will do as a member of the team.
For J o h Passmore, selection according to competency is the heart of
"civil justice," acccording to which "except by way of pmishcnent or a re-
sult of kapacity, no perso11 ought to be excluded from participaeicrr~in any
form of desirabe activi9 tmless there is, of mcessity, com,petition for en-
& m e to it, when thf.m r e competent ought always to be prefemed to the
less campetent." E This i s a strongly mcritocrufic conception of: justice; it
conceives of socic.9 as a vast mass of competitions, each of which should

be run such that the most connpetent win. Although such meritocratic
ideals are often associated wieh classical liberalism, this seems a mist&,
To be sure, classical liberals have supported selection accordhg to merit in
relation to campetition for government or public positions, as required by
the equality of opportunity (Sectio~~ 6.4). But ai&ough selection according
to merit has its place in public irrstitutions with specifi,cd e h e d puqoses
m d goals, classical liberals have insisti?d that it cmazot be qplied to swi-
ety as a h o l e , for socieq as a whole does not share commorl notions of
deskirable activities or what constitutes excellence in perfoming them. h d
again, say the classical liheralsf aIly attempt to apply a me~tocraticnogon
of justice t-hrou$uut socie'ry is bow~dto require large-scale interkre~~ces
with the liberty a ~ property
d of citizens. Consider, for example, the status
of religions scl?ools. Xs it unjust for Ca(Jldic sehoots to hire a malh .teacher
just becmse she is Catholic, even though a Baptist candidate mitght be a
better math kacher? According to the idea of civil justice, it seems that the
Cat.holic hiring authorities mtrst show that, in some way, the CalXnolic math
leacher is really more competent. But if the schools are the property of the
Catholic Chur& ant[ it funds its o m schools, LVhy shC)ULLf not the Catholic
Church be free to spend its money as it sees fit?
Passmrds ideal of civil justire is allied to rationalism insofar as it un-
d e r s t d s all of sociey in terns of bureaucratic orl;.anizatio~~s that pos-
sess goals they seek to achieve, and so possess standat-ds of coqekrrcy
measured by ability to meet those goals. C)sr the face of it, civil justire ap-
pears to be hostile to egalitarian social justice (see Sections 6.4, 8.4, 9.1):
civil justice stwsses the distinction bet.ween the more m d less competent
and allows that, justly, there will he losers in fair competitions. Propo-
nents of egditarian social justice, i17 co~~trast, typically seek to assist the
'*losc;.rs"or worst-off mentbers ol society. On closer inspectiom, however,
we can see that civil justice easily endorses a mokrately egalitarian no-
tion of social justice. Passmore observes,

In its most moderate form-let us call it facititatc~rysocial justice-the advo-

cates of social justice do not reject outright the leading assumptions of civil
justice. They dc:, not deny either that some forms of activity are particularly
desirable or that when a process of selection is inevitable, competence is it-re
proper criterion. But they go beyond civil justice by demanding that a saci-
ety should take positive steps tofacl'fifate the wider participation of its mem-
bers in desirable activities and the selection of the potentially most compe-
tent persons in any competitive situation. Such facilitaticm takes the ft>rmof
so modifying the socio-economiccircumstances which disadvantage partic-
ular individuals that those circumstances no longer act as a shackle.zfi

To see how civil justice can give rise to facilitatory social justice, think
about the common metaphor of life as a race. If life is a race, or a series of

races, then civil justice demands that the winnes be the best entrants-
those who are best at r u m h g . But if some peopk are unable to train for
the race becatrse they are too poor to take time off of work or camot af-
ford good running shoes, then we might question vvhether the best are
really being selectd. Perhaps the person best suited to the job IIever re-
ceived adequate trajwling. If we limit ourselves to those who have had the
opportunity to train, c m we say that we have selected the best? Should
m t a fair competilior~eyuirlly prepare the eyuaily talented? This gives
rise to a notion of socriaI.jwstice that em,phasizes a thoroughgoil-rgequality
of fair opportunity (Sections 6.4, 8.4). Government provision of equal
educatknal opportuxGties, child care, and head start programs all be-
come part of the expanded ideal of rewading people accordhi; to their
Although Passmre accepts that the ideal of civil justice can be ex-
tended to include facilitatary social justice and its attendant ideal of
equality of fair opportmity, he argtres that civil justice is opposed to the
use of quotas in awardhg scarce positions. The propment of civil just-ife
can "protest agab~stany attempt to rule out blacks, or women, as b~com-
petent en, masse to enter any particular occupation." But he will reject the
idea that justice requires that social groups must be ""rtlp~sentedin pro-
portim to their numbers in any form of desirable activity.'"2 For, Pass-
more hsists, we s k p l y da not b o w whether, say, mathematical abilities
are equally disthbuted be?t-w.eenmen and women or between Asims and
Europeans. There is, Pasmore says, no reason why ail talents must be
equally distributed among all social groups-whether they are or are not
is a matter to be investigated. Giwn this, we camot infer that just be-
cause the praportio~~s of, say, men and wornell in a certain occupation am
not the same as their proportion in the general population, there must be
an unjust competition. h l y if one h e w that the competencies for all oc-
cupations were equafly distributed amor~gall social gmups coutcl one in-
fer that an instance of ""under-" or representation is, ipso facto, a
case of civil injustire. Passmore is not enough of a ratior~aiistto claim that
he can make such a strong claim to kl~owledge,hence he rejects quotas as
a violation of civil. justice.

8.4 Pluralisfie Revisionisf Iliberalhnn; A Revised Secial

Confract Among Free and Equal People
Pluralistic Disfinguished from Monisfic Revisionist Liberalism
mroughout this book, I have contrasted classical and revisionist liberal-.
ism. The type of revisimist liberalism on which I m i n l y have been fo-
cusing might be calied mclnisfic rez?isioni~Iliberalism. At the h e a t ol this
type of mvisimist liberalism is a monistic doctrine that the good. of each

person is to fully develop her capacities, be guided bp her real will, or

realize her true self. This versiol~of monism allows that each permnfs
true good may be somewhat different, and crucially depend on her
choices-my developed personality will not be the same as yours, and it
will reflect my choices. Nwertheless, this type of rwisionkt liberdim
presupposes that there is a good life for humans, which only a liberal so-
ciety can achieve. It is this monistic ideal that is the foundation of posi-
tive freedom (Sectio~~ 4.31, as well as lfie claim that, properly ur~derstood,
equaliv (qua equal rights) is harmonious with freedom (Section 7.3).
Monistic revisionist Iiberalism also tends to be far more collectivist in its
mderstanding of moraiity a ~ society d than classicai liberalism. Thus, for
instance, ;:l: H:. Grt3e11, perhaps lfie greakst revisionist liberal of this sort,
advocated a collectivist theory of justice accordhg to which "a right is a
p w e r claimed and rrtcowized as contributory to a common g o d . " b r
Green, a right is a recognized power that we need in order to contribut-e
to the social. good, not an hdividual claim that c m block social projects
that seek to promote the common good. Thus for Green 'k aright against
society as such, is impossihlct.'""~The h a r t of the liberalism of Green,
Hobhause, Bosmquet, and others was this ideal of the common good. As
we have just seen, this type of ~viaionistliberalism understands justice
in terns of what one needs to contribute to the cornmon good, and what
contributors deserve and merit.
Another type of revisionist liberalism has dminated palitical theory
in the past thirty years. This pf~kralisfi~ reui~iottisf.liberalism-most fa-
mously advanced by John Rawts in A Theory ofl~istice(7.971,)-has closer
ties to the class-ical doctlxine. Rawls" revisionist liberalism is both more
individualistic and more pluralistic than the versiol~advanced by Green
and Hobhouse. Like the classical liberals (Section 8-22),Rawls starts from
the supposition that we are f i e and eqztal. We are eqzlal in that we are
owed "eyual col~siderationand respect."29 We are free in the sense that
each person is capable of chooshg her goals in life and formivrg plans to
achieve them. RawLs accepts a versim of pluralism (Section 3.2), holding
that reasodlct people have various, a ~ sometimes d competing, notiol~s
about what is goad-what is kvorth pursuing in life. Different people,
that is, have different goals in life, different plans t h y wish to pursue.
Rawis typically illsists that there is r ~ single
o goal-such as the. pursuit of
pleasure, nobility or kvhatever-that every reasonable person must pur-
sue. Rawls also endorses a strong version of moml individrtlalism (Sction
3.4). :Not only must we recognize that each us pursues his or her own vi-
sion of what makes life worth living, but we also must recognize that
"each. person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the
welfnrt-.of society as a whole cannot override.""""'For Racvls, prhcQles of
justice defke the rights of hdividuals, rights that are so importmt m d

strong that even corlsideratiom based on pmmoting the overall sociail

welfare or common good are unable to override them.
Again, we confront the complexity of political theory*The "'new lib-
eral" followers of Green and Hobhouse sought to construct a welfare
state 0x1 foundations that were strikingly differex~tfrom the classical lib-
erals m d which borrowed much from socialism. Hobhouse in. England,
and J&xr Dewey in Ammica, explicitly sought to move liberalism closer
to socialism-x~ot simply in its support of goverx~mer~t policies to help the
poor, but in its mderstanding of individuals, society, and morality." 2x1
contrast, Rawlsian, pluralistic revisionism stays much closer to the classi-
cal li;bed's c o m i m e x ~ t to
s moral indi\iidualism and pluralism: its aim
is to show that, p r ~ e r l yunderstood, these commitments lead to a com-
prehensive wel.fare state along the lines acjvocated by Hobhouse and
Dewey The contrast should, not he pushed too far: the writing of Rawls
and his f ollowers displays mitI.7.yof the self -devetopmex~talcommitne~~ts
that were at the heart of monistic revisionism: the idea that the state
should, actively assist in the development of our distinche human ca-
pacities is a dominant t-heme in R a d s as well as Gree11.X N~evertheless,
whereas Green m d Hobhouse believed that a wholesale reconstmction
of liberal theor~swas requlscd to show this, Rawls begins from prennises
that have much more in common with classical liberals such as Berlin
and Hayek,

Rawls, then, supposes that (l)we have different goals, and (2) we are not
part of a collective er~tity"'society,'?o whose interests we can he sacri-
ficed. M a t , then, is the nature of social life? Rawls's s s w e r is that social
relations are partly cooperative and partly cmpetitive. They arc?cooper-
ative because we all benefit from social ir~teraction.Goods are prclduced
and services obtained that would never exist without social cooperation.
To a large extent; then, Hobbes was right (Section 8.2): society is an en-
dewor for mutual adwantage and we all can gain thl.ough living together
in peace. But as Hobbes also stressed, social relations are also competi-
tive: each of us would Itke the resources-the goods and services-that
are produced so that we c m achicve our most Cherished goals. Betty
wmts resources so that she c m write the Great Americm Novel, kvhereas
ALf wants to explore Australia, j"Jot everyone can have all he or she
walits. So, we have competing claim for t-he resources that are prduced
by social cooperation.
Because of all this, Rawls says, we ~equircwhat he calls a "public con-
ceptio~ of~justiceff-some standard by which we c m resolve our compet-
ing claims. Ulthately, we have a choice: we c m resolve our competing

claims through force or by a public conception of justice that we all can

accept. f r a~ h o s t all-perhaps all-societies that have ever existed, force
has been used. Those with the necessary force-the rulers-hrtve c m -
pelled others to live according to the l w s set down by the rulers. In such
societies, the cor~flictbetwee11 citize~~s over the distributio~~of resources
has been resolved by force. The alternative is a society that c m agree on a
moral code to adjudicate cornpetjng claims. In such a society, no one is
likely to receive all she wm~ts,but she can see that the rules that deter-
m k e wh.& she gets are fair in the sense that they arc? innpartial (see Mill's
point [S], Section 8.1) and so could be accepted by everyone,
Probably the most striking feature of Rawls" col~tracteheory is that the
parties to the social contract decicfe on a set of moral pri'7ciple" the
"crl:igjn,alposition" behjnd a "veil of ignorance."' Tlis means that they do
not h o w certain facts about themselves, such as their (l)place in socieq;
(2) naturaf talents (for example, intefigence); (3) "conception of the
goodM";and (4) societ.ytscircumstances, such as its level of economic de-
velopment, They do, however, know general facts, such as the laws of
economics and psyclhology. The aim of the exclusions is to rule out spe-
ciSic in,formation. If we are meeting to determine cvbat arc! the best pritlci-
ples of justire, Rawls tells us, some things are irrelevmtl that is, informa-
tion that would allow a person to propose p'incip1e"Ihrt Eavor her.
Justice is impartial; it does not favor some sorts of peopk over others-the
veil of ignorance is meant to express this. An agxement under the veil of
ignorance would thus be fair. Because people do not k ~ o w specific facts
about themselves, they are not in, a position to hold out for m agreement
that provaes them with extra benefits-how could they, since they do
m t h o w INho they are? Rawls realizes, of course, that no one ever met
under these conditions, m d we c of really forget who we are; he is try-
ing to impress on us that if we are really interested injustice and fairness,
then we must ehil7k about what sort of morality everyone could accept,
and so we must think about: what cve wodd accept behind the veil of ig-
norance, where bias in one's own favor is impossible.
One featurrt of the veil of ig~orancethat merits special emphasis is
Rawls's exclusion of bawledge about natural talents. Our natural tall-
ents, Rawls says, are morally arbibary; no one deserves greater intelli-
geme or nakral skills. Justice, then, should not achowledge that those
with greater natural talents deserve greater resources. Thus, the veil of
ignorance restricts our howledge of our own talents: as h w l s sees
them, they we arbitrary Erom a moral point of view (Retrai:i here from
Section 6.2 the egalilnrian argument that inequalities that stern from the
"nnatu.ra1 lottery" of birth, in which people receive mtural and social ad-
vitntages that they do not deserve, are unjust, and cait for redress.) This
leads Rawls away from a desert-based theory of social justice. For most

of the claims a person might make to he specially deserving-her contri-

butim ws m r c important, she provided a ill7ique service, she was a
high producer-stem from her natural talents or her lucky social, posi-
tion. Shce Rawls wishes to exclude claims based on such talentr;, cayaci-
ties, and circumsta~ces,he excludes col~sideratiox~s of deservinpess and
merit from his theory of justice. Thus, whereas our first version of revi-
sionist liberalism (Section 8.3) is characterized by monism m d collec-
tivism and stresses desert and selectiox~according to merit, Rawls" lib-
em1 theory of social justice is pluralist and indivicfualist and excludcs
desert al~nostentire+
Rawls tells us that when evduating each proposed set of prhciples, a
rational contractor will cor~sidereach possible position that she may oc-
cupy in a society. She witl. ask, "Ef this set of principies is chosen, haw
well will X fare if I am the worst-off person in the sociely?" So, Rawls sug-
gests &at indeliberating &out principles of justice, one witr be most con-
cerned with the westion, "'How does the bottom of sociev fare under
each gmposal?" R w l s calls this strategy "maximin"qou muxlmize the
vlirzimum you might receiw. Eor ar~ysocial arrangemer~t,the minilnum
you might receive is what you will get if you end up at the bottom of that
society; you maximjze the minimurn if you select the society in which the
bottom or worst-off class gets m m than does the bottom or worst-off
class in m y alternative society. Rawls argues that you will thus select the
principles of justice that result in a society with. the "highest bottomf'-
that in which the least well off do as well -as possible. Thus, as a first ap-
proximation, IZawis holcts that the parti,es to the original position would
accept his "General Conception of JusticeH":%ll social values-liberty
and opportunity, income m d weal&, and the basis of sdf-respect-are to
be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any; or all, of
these values is to everyone" advantageeP'33

:Rawis%lfieory of justice is a variation on the a r g m n t for eyuality from

impartiality that we examined in %ction 6.2, combined with an argu-
ment that equal treatment requires a type of resource equality (Section
6-41. If we are to treat people equaily in trhe sense of impartially (see Mill's
poi,nt 151 abovef-if our trrratment of them is not to depend on afcidents
of birth m d other inelcrvant cmsideralions-justiee d c m d s an approx-
imation to equality of resources. We observe here a common phenome-
non: roughly the same political arrangement c m be advocated trnder the
concept of justice or under equali@,3"~awls% veil of ignormce under-
mines all possible argumex~tsfor diffe~ntialtreatmernt based on spwiat
talents, competencies, or past accomplishments..Consequently, by ab-

skacting away all our individual characteristics, all that remahs is our
basic equality; under these collditions to be impartial must lead to equal
treatment. It is this strong egalitarim element in. Rawls" revisionist liber-
alism that led Dworkin to depict Rawls" liberalism-mdi, apparently by
exte~~sion, arl true tiberdism-as based on equality rather than liberty
(Section 7.3).
In two respects, however, Rawls" theory departs from resource egali-
tarianism, f l) b w l s ailows inegualities of resourcres if those ineyuditks
work to the advmtage to the least well off. If we are distributing a fixed
amomt of resources-for example, dividing a cak then m ecj~taldistri-
bution will always be selected by the muinnin. h an equal cJivisio~~, the
"smallest'" piece is as large as the '%"biggestwpiece, since all pieces are the
same size. Eeanamies are, holvever, dynamic. People in the orighal posi-
lion are deliberating not only how to divide a fixed stock of resources,
but in what way, and to what degree, the stock of resourcres will grow. It
seems quite certain that the stock of reclsources will not significantly grow
under a strict egalitarian distribution. 'To induce the more talented to
work hard, to undertake long trainingJ to perform unpieasant tasks, and
so on, it will be necessary to pay them more, Thus, it would seem that al-
:low% some inequality of wealth and income is necessaq to promote
the overall illcrease in wealth, which is bex-teficial to the least well off,
Consequenlly, RawIs allows inequality of holdings if the inequality
works to the long-tern advantage of the least well off. When an increase
in inequaiity no longer results in gabs to those at t-he bottom of sociew
Rawls deems it to be unjust.
The above argument supposes an individualist view of burnan nabre
(Section 3.9:the better off will not work hard-or hard enough-for the
sake of the commzlmity or because thcy are committed to justice. Only if:
the more talented will benefit from the use of their talents will they de-
velop &em and work. Some sociatist egalitarians have criticized Rawis
on just this ground; if: we suppose that people reaXiy are devoted to jws-
tice these additional incentive payrrrents to work will not he necessav.35
CrttciaUy,then, Rawls's liberal, individualist conception of human nat-ure
draws hirn back from endorsing a thoroughly egali,Carim distribution of
resources, Nevertheless, Rawls" theory is sufficiently egaljtarian to jus-
tify wasting resources to achieve equality (see Section 6.3). Suppose par-
ties in the origkal position are faced with two possible distributions of
resources, as in Figure 8.4.
Rawis% "'Cmeral Conception of Justice" selects Distrihutiol~(1) over
Distribution (2), sirnce the greater bequalities in (2) do not result b addi-
tjonal advantages to the worst ofE.36 This implies, however, that alt%lough
society could have the addifioml resources in (2), Rawlsfsegalitarianism
would prefer the overall p o m r society cor~spondingto DjstribtlCion (I).

FIGURE 8.4 Two Passible Distribulions of income

(2) The Iiberaj, as opposed to the resource egalital-iar~,

aspect of Rawlsfs
theory comes to t%re fore in what he calls the "Special Conceptio~~ of Jus-
tice." According to the General Conception, all primary goods-ix\c2uding
liberty and opporbnity-are to be distril>u&de y ~ a i f yunless an unequal
distributio~~ maximally adva~tagesthe least well off. But Rawls adds,

If the parties assume that their basic liberties can be effectively exercised,
they will not exchange a lesser liberq for an improvement in economic wel l-
being. It .is only when social conditions do not allow the effective establish-
ment of these rights that one can concede their limitation; and these restric-
ticms can be granted only t~:,the extent that they are necessary to prepare the
way for a free society The denial of liberty can be defended onXy if it is nec-
essary to raise the level of civilization so that in due course these freedoms
can be enjoycd.37

Rawls insists that

Beyond some point it becomes and then remains irrational from the stand-
point uf the original position to acknowledge a lesser liberty for the sake of
greater material means and amenities of office. Let US note why this should
be so. First of all, as the general level of well-being rises (as indicated by the
index ctf primary goods the least fitvored can expect) only the less urgent
wants remain tc3 be met by further advances. . . . At the same time the obsta-
cles to the exercise of the equal liberties decline and a growing insistence
upon the right tct pursue our spiritual and cultural interests asserts itself. Xn-
creasngly it becomes more important to secure the free internal life of the
various communities of interests in which persons and groupweek to
achieve, in modes ctf social unictn consistent with equal liberty, the ends and
excellences to which they are drawn.3"

Rawis a r p e s that except if one finds onesdf han impoverished society

(in which case s o m sacrike of fiherty for ccronodc advitr~cementmay
be justified), one will insist on equal liberties and appartuni"ces. This

leads to the Specid Cmceptjon of Justice, which specifies his farnous two
principles of justice:

First Prkciple: "'Each person is to have m equal right to the mast ex-
knsive s y s t m of cqual h s i c liberties compatihie with a siJnilar
system of Liberty for all.
%cond Prjnciple: "%cial and economic hequalities are to be
arranged so that they are both
of the least advmtaged . . .
(a) tro the g ~ a t e sbex~efit
(h) attached to offices amd positions open to all under
conditions of fair equality of o p p o r t m ~ . " ~ ~

Rawls holds that the first, liberty, principXe is "lexical@ prior" to the
second, egalitarian, principle: the first must be met before the second
comes into play. But Rawls's notion of freedom does not include eco-
nomic liberty or private property; these core elements of classical liberal-
ism are unprotected in his liberal theory of justire. Indeed, Rawls does
m t endorse freedom hgewral, advocating instead the traditional list of
specss liberal freedom (Sections 5,4, 7.3). Within the egalifarian second
principle, the principle of fair equality of opportunity (Section 6.4) is sim-
ilarly prbr to clause (a), the egalitarian distribution of resomes. Rawls's
theory of jctsti.cc3, then, combines (in order of priority) equal lirberty, equal
fair opporhnity, and (qualified)equal resources.

8.5 Summary
:Ibegan in Section 8.7 by skctchhg t-he terrain of justic
portmt elements of our practiee of ~usticethat a theory otjzrstice must or-
ganize and explain. I focused on, two well-known sketches of the ele-
ments of justice: Mill's five aspects of justice (legalitypmoral r%hts,
desert, het. agreement, and imparti,ality)and Mohfeld's analysis of the re-
latims between liberties, claims, duties, powers, liabilities, irnmunities,
and disabilities. Sectio11 8.2 analyzecl classical liberaf theories of justice,
which place equal negative claim rights to liberty, claim rights to prop-
erty and contracts at the heart of justice, giving desert a somewhat am-
biguous mle. Underlying this theory of justice is the classical liberal's
core value of negative liberty and its supposition of equal freedom, as
w e l as its cmmitment to individualism, pluralism, and skepticism
about our -nbi:lity to know what people really deserve. Section 8.3 ana-
lyzed a monistic revjsionist liberal conception of justiee, which puts
much greater stress on collectivism and rationalism. Crucial to this un-
derstar~dingof social justice is that those who contrihutre to the common
good deserve rewards and that people should be given what they need to

be effective contribubrs. The allied ideas of civil justice and facilitatory

social justice werc? also examhed. I s t ~ s s e dthat although a lheory of jus-
tice emphasizbg merit is often associated with classical liberalism, and
although selection of civil service positions by merit has been edorsed
by cfassical iiberals, the ge~~eralizr-ttion
of selection by merit to all social
positions presupposes a view of society that is much closer to Hob-
house" revisionist liberalism than to Hayek" classical liberalism. Con-
trasted to Hobhouse" ccoilectivist desert theory is Raw:is% pplralist
egalitarian revisionist lilberal conception of justice (Section 8.4). For
Rawls-md here he follows the classical liberal.t-radition-justice is com-
p""w"doi the rulus that free and equal people woulcl accept. But in
:Rawls"s versior~of the social contract, the equality rather than t-he free-
dom of the parties is salient; h a w i n g nothing about their specific na-
tures, values, or way of life, they select p~nciplesthat stress their equal-
ity, especially in the distributior~of wealth, incorne, a r ~ dopporhnnities.
We now turn, to exambing some leads rronliberal theories of justice.

1. John Stuart Milt, Utififariajtisnr,in John Gray, ed., OIILiberty @and'Other Essays
(New York: Oxfcjrd University Press, 29(a1)lchap. S, para. 4. All the quotes frorn
Mill in %ction 8.1 are frorn Utilitnritzr-zlzr'snz,chap. 5, paras. 5-10.
2. See Jarnes M-.McPherrion, The iF3atClc. Cry 9f Frcedonr (New York: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1988),pp. 8&82,
3,See Hamah Pitkin, Wittgerzsteirz mid Justice (krkefey: University of Caiifor-
nia Press, 19721, chap. 8.
4. J. R. Lucas, On fastice (Oxford: CXarendon Press, 19801, p. 209.
S. See Michael Slote, "Desert, Consent and Justite,'T/zilos~pilzyand Pzlblr'c Af~~irs,
vol. 2 (Summer 3973), pp. 323-,%7, David Miller considers a third principle, "'corn-
penmation,'bccording to which a "man" reward should depend on the costs
which he incurs in his work activity." "cinl fztstice (Qxford: Clarendon Press,
197&),p. 103. Compare Norman's view of ""equal benefitsr' in %etion 7.3.For a
very good analysis of theories of distributive justice that pays attention to princi-
ples ctf desert, see julian Lamont, "Distrjibutive Justice,'" Edward N. Zaita, ed.,
Starqord Etzcycloi?edzi;zof PI2ifusuyIzy [nnliineat http: / /plato.stanford,eduj.
6. Zmmanuel Kant quoted in lames Racheis, The Elelnezits of Moral Philosophy,
3rd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999),p. 127.
7". For Hohfeld's classic analysis, see his "5ome Fundamental Legal Concep-
tions As Applied in Judicial Reasoning," Yale Law Reviere vol. 23 (39131, pp.
16-59, I am drawing here on L, W. Sumer, TIzc Moral Fozdndatic~tzsofXi2y;lhl.s(Ox-
ford: Oxfcjrd University Press, 1987), p. 27'. For helpful explications of Hc>hfe1dJs
analysis, see R, E. Robimon, S, C. Coval, and 5, C. Smith, 'T11e Logic of Rights,"
U~zE't?rrsifyof 7l0rofztoLaw Reaiew, vol. 33 (19831, pp. 267-278; M-ichaef Freeden,
Rights (Mimeapolis: Universiv of Minnesota Press, 19911, chap. 1.
8. 1 am again fc~llowingSumer, The Marat Fozindatiovzs ctf" Rights, p. 30.

9, Thomas f-iobbes, Le.iliatl~ar.r,

Michael Oakeslhcttt, ed., (Oxford: Basil Blackwell,
1948 fl65lj), chap. 13, Emphasis added.
16, Ibid., chap. 33, para. 9,
11, Ibid., chap. 13, para. 13.
12, Xbid., chap. 38,
13. David Gauthier, Mt~mlsby Agreenrenf (Oxfcjrd: Clarendon Press, 1986); see
James Suchanan, The Limits cl( Liberfy (Chicago: Unirrersity ctf Chicagct Press,
19755).X consider Neo-Hobbesian a>ntractualismin more depth in my Soci~lPhi-
losophy (Armonk, NY M . E. Sharpe, 39991, chap. 5,
14. On the idea of harm, see my Social Philosoplz,yl cchp. C-;.
15. John Loclse, Second Em tkc of Covenltnenf, in Peter Laslett, ed., Tzoo Pen tises
ofGot?enztlzc~zf(Cambridge: Cambridge tinik~ersityPress, 1960 [1689]),sect, 123.
16. Ibid., sect. 6.
17. John Stuart Mill, Principles ";tf Polifical Ecorromy, Sir Williarn Ashtey, ed.,
(Fairfield, MJ:Augustus M. Kelley, 1976 [1C-;71]),p. 209 (Book 2, chap, 1, sect. 3).
18, Compare here Caliie's comments on commutative justice in Section 2.1,
19. E A. Hayek, Law, Legisindion and Liberttyt vol. 2: The M i r n ~uf Soci~lJtrstz'ce
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1474), p, "17%
20, See David NjlXer" snow-classic study of social justice, where he maintains
that desert-based theories of justice are especially approprhte to market societies:
Social Jusf ice.
21. Hobhouset The Eltvnlcn ts of Social jzrstice (London: George Allen and Zlnwin,
1922), pp. 110--111.
22. Ibid., pp. 1-38-139.
23, F-fayek, Law, Legislntl;o~znrjd Libertyf vol. 2: TfzeMirage ";1(Socktaf Justicr;: p. 75.
24. The first quote Is Prom J. A. Hobson, TIze Science f:f WmElh, 4th ed., revised
ed. R. E Harrcjd (London: Oxford University Press, 1950), pp, 168-169, The sec-
ond is from John Maynard Keynes, " m e End of L,aissez-Fajre," in his Essays irz
Persuers-iotz (London: Macmillan, 19721, p, 2'75. For a fuller treatment, see: Gerald E
Caus, "Public and Private Interests in Liberal Political Economy, Old and New."
in S. I. Benn and G. E Gaus, eds. Pzrbfic ~ n Private d ilz Socint (New Uc2rk: St.
Martin" Press, 1983),pp. 1 95ff.
25. See J. A. Passmore, ""Civil Justice and Its Rivals, " in inugene Kamenka and
Alice Erh-Soon k y , eds., Jzlrstl're (Londctn: Edward Amold, 1979), p. 26.
26..Xbid., p. 36.
27. Ibid., p, 46.
28. See T. H. Green, Lecfztres un the Pritzcz'ples f:$ hlifical Obligation n~zdOf1zer
Writittgs, Paul Harris and John Morrow, e d ~(Cambridge:
. Cambridge University
Press, l986), pp. 79,110.
29. See Joim Rawls, ""A Kantian Concepticm of EqualiQ," hinobert M. Stewart,
ed., Readilzgs iz Socitzl' a ~d Pat itickzf Philasopfly (Oxford: Uxford University Press,
1986), p. 1-88.See Section 7.2.
30, Rawfs, A T;l;zeoryof fzlsfice (Cambridge, MA: f-iarrrard University Press,
1971), p. 3.
33. See my ""Lberatism at the End of the Centuryf'' "~zirz~al of Pctlitiml Idmtc~gies,
vol. 5 (2800),pp. 45-65.

32. X comider the similarities of Rawis to these earlier theorists in The Modenz
Ll'ber~lT!$eojyjof Malz (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983).
33, Rawls, A Tf~eary of Jusiiice, p. 303,
34. As Elnbhouse observed, "Justice is a name ta which every knee will bow,
Equality is a word which many fear and detest, Yet the just was rightly declared
by Aristotle is be a farm of the equal." The Elvrnenfs 0fSoczit.l Jusriice,p. 94.
35. See C. A. Cohen, ""Te Pareto Argument for Inequality" h EEtlen Frankel
Paul, Fred Miller Jr., and jeMrey Paul, eds., Gotttecrmporay I>uliliml nnd Suc;itrl Pljilus-
ophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1495) pp. 160-185; and ""Incen-
tives, Xnequaliq and Community," Tanner LecCzircs on Hrrllgalz VoIues (Salt Lake
City: Univergty of Utah Press, 1992).
36, The issue is more complex than indicated here. For complicaticlns, see
RawEs, A Theoy oflustice, pp, 65ff.
37, Xbid., pp. 542-543.
38. Ibid.
39, Xbid ., pp. 302-303.
9,11 Marx on Societies and Their Justice
Socialism and Justice
Socialist justice is often equated with egalitarianism, especially the equal
distribution of resources, welfare, or the satisf~tionof needs, based on a
claim &at hurnans are fw-rdamntaly equal.1 Our discussions of equality
in Chapter h ar-rd Section 7.3 have covered most of the. ground of '"social-
ist justice." h its conceptual structure, equality, not justice, is the core
idea. Insofar as socialists endorse theories of justice, these are typically
dwelapments or extensions of revisiox-rist .liberal theorks. Particularly
striking is the way in which many socialists have come to embrace
:RawIspst k o r y of social justice, although perhaps putting more emphasis
s criticizing the ways &at Rawls illlows in-
on the egalitarian f e a t u ~ and
equality." discussims of social justjce, the line between egaktarim re-
visionist liberal and moderate socialist views is often murky indeed, al-
rnost nor~exis tent.
One of the m a h aims of this chapter is to explain why socialism ac-
cords a less prominent place to justice in its conceptual shucture. Now,
one obvious a-rd plausible explan"tior7 is the tremendous il7Ruence exer-
cised by Karl Marx in socialist thinkhg. nlthowgh Marx was, of course, a
vehement critic of capitalism, it is ul-tckar whelher he was prepared to
employ the cox-rcept of justice ir-r criticizing capitalism or whether he ad-
vanced a socialist conception of justj.ce. '*DoesMarx have a theory of jus-
tice?"' Let us exanthe three competing mswers.

The Scientific Socialism Answer: The Study of Power Relations

The first a~swer-which is short and sweet-takes very sel-lously Marxfs
daim that i s theory of socialism is "scientific'%d not moralistic. Ac-
cording to this (fairb standard) view, Marx was a social scientist investi-
gating b w capitalism malaged to tr;msic.r productive power from the
working class to the capitalists. It will be recalled from %ction 5.3 that, in,
the language of C. B, Macpherson, capitahst private property rights
tl-ansfw the "labour power'kf the workers to the owners. In capitalist
systems of procfuction, the owrrer purchases the worker's labor p o w r
for a certain period of time-thc owner of private property pays the
wrkers a wage, and in return for the wage, everything that the worker
produces becomes the property of the capitalist. The olvner ptrrchases
&at abiZity for a certain time and p u b it to work, "The ability, the labour-
pororl; is tralsfemd. The actual work is ye$om-rcd by the n011-owner, But
in a very real sense t-he actual work is i w ~ e dby the owner of capital.'""
Marx c a k d this process ""expl"'itatim.wThe key to understandlrrg capi-
talism, Marx argued, was that the worker" labor power creates more
value than the worker receives .from the capitalist in wages. The wage
contract gives the capitalist all the value that the worker produces in a
day, but the worker only gets a part of that back in wages; the difference
betweal what the worker produces and what he gets paid is the surjullads
zilalae. Capilalism "'expbits" the workers because the surplus value goes
to the capitalist, not the worker. "The time during which the labourer
r/vorks,'Wrote Marx, "is the time durhg d i c h the capitiilist consums
the labour polver he has purchased of It--rim."4
(_ln this '%scientif"icsocialism" reading, Marx's theory is an analysis of
the power reiations i n h e ~ ri~ n capi.tatism
t and their economic, social, and
political effects. The concept of power, not that of justice, is crucial*Ac-
cording to this interpfetatim, Marx is not concerned with the "morals'" of
capitalism: he is concerned, very simply, with a scientific alalysis of it. ':To
be sure, he believes that it will be overthrown by the kvorkers, m d Marx
no doubt is happy about this, but what Marx likes or clislikes is not part
of his theory.
Suppod fm this view desives from Marx's owll ctaim that his theory
was scientific as well as his criticism of earlier socialists. h the Cornmzi~zz'st
Mnlzfestn, Marx and Engels criticized what they called ""utopianf\socil-
ists, who "'want to improve the condition of every member of snckty,
even the most favored.. Hence, they habitually appeal to suciety at large,
withoul distinctiorl of dass; nay, by preference, to the ruling dass. For
how can people, when they once understand their system, fait to see in it
the best possi:ble plm for the best possible state of sociely?"Vhis idea---
that -all mord people will favor socialist pr~posaisonce they understand
their jnherent j ustic is not treated khdly by Marx and Engels. Revoltr-
tion and socialism, they repeatedly insist, wilf be created by the objective
conditinns of thc working class, not by moralistic socialist preaching. In
an essay of his own, Engels explicitly contrasts "'utopim socialism" to the
"sciet.ltific socialism" that he and Marx devised. Consider what Engels
says of three non-Marxist socialists-C1aude Ele~~ri $c Rouvroy Comte
de Saint-Simon (1768-2825), Charles Fourier (2772-1837), and Robert
Owen (1771-1858):

One thing is common to a13 three. Not one of them appearwas a representa-
tive of the interests of that proletariat which historical development had, in
the meantime, produced. . . . They do not claim to emancipate a particular
class to begin with, but aft humanity at once. . . . They wish tc3 bring in the
kingdom of reason and eternal justice. . . . For' to our three social refc?rmers,
the bourgeois world, based upon the principles ctf these philosophers, is
quite irrational and unjust. . . . If pure reason and justice have not hitherto
ruled the world, this has been the case only because men have not rightly
understood thern.6

Engels is echoing Marx" s a n d his argument in the Marzfcsto (but, as is

Wical, p u t t i ~ ~itgin a somewbt cruder way), criticizing the very idea of
a soGialism based on claims of "'injustice.'%~s Eng& sees it, with Marxfs
work "sacialism became a science"7(Section 3.2.). And in a science,
w o ~ e about
s justice have no place; scjence is about facts, not values (see
Sectio~~ 1.2).
This interpretation of Marx, although by no means the last word,
draws on three fundamental commitments of Marxism: (1) its rational-
ism (Section 3.21,( 2 ) its ""social envirox~me~~talist"view of h u m a ~
(Section 3,3),and (3)its colfectivist analysis of pcrsons-in-society (%clion
3.4). If a persods nature is essentially shaped by her society, and we are
to explain individual facts in terns of social facts, the sGientific explana-
tion af human behavior should focus on a person's place in. the overall
social systern. How a person acts will not be detclmined by her abstract
views of justice-whih, as Marx said, arc? suppawd to appeal to the op-
pressor as we(t as the oppressed. If the oppressor-the capitalist-was
actuially iTlfluenced by such, appeals, his behavior would not be deter-
mined by his role in the social system, but by his h~dividualco~~science or
will. Marx is so critical af ""utopian," socialists just because they assume
that appeals to what is right or just actually can make a political differ-
ence. "Utopian socialism" employs a iiberal-lfke appeal to an individ-
ual's sense of right m d wrong; as we have seen throughout this book, lib-
eralism puts great stress on individual choice and autonomy. Far the
liberal, what moves a perso11 to act largely depends 0x1 her own choices.
Hence for the liberal, to convince others that sonzcthing is ttnjllst can be
politically effective. For scientific sodalists following Mam, this is en-
tirely wr011g: it is too individualistic, a r ~ dsupposes &at people's actio~ls
are to be explahed by their individual choices m d values, not by their
overall role m the social system. Thus, m enduring strand in sod.alist
thought is suspicious of all appeals to individual conscie~~ce,
and so of
appeals to justice.

The Reiafivity of Justice

AccordiIlg to the first interpretation, then, Marx has no concern (or, it
w u l d seem, patknee) with the idea of justice. In "The Critique of the
Gatha Program," "ough, Marx appears to advocate a different posi-
tjon-that "right cm never be higher than the economic structure of soci-
ety and its culturaf developmnt conditioned thereby."'" This idea has
been developed by Aller1 Wood, who argues that Mam hetd a c o ~ ~ c e p t i o ~ ~
of justice according to wfiich each mode of production has a notion of
justice appropriate to it. h Capital, for instance, Marx says,

The justice of transactions which go ctn behiveen agents ctf production rests
on the fact that these transactions arise out of the producticln relations as
their natural consequence. The juristic ft3rms in which these eccmomic trans-
actions appear as rioluntary actions of the participants, as expressions of
their common will or as contracts that may be enfc~rcedby it-re state against a
single party, cannot, being mere Er~rms,determine this ccmtent. They only
express it. This content is just whenever it corresponds to the rnude of pro-
duction, is adequate tct it, Xi- is unjust whenever it ccontradicts it."

Marx" point seems to he that a trazssaction is just when it is appropriate

to the prevailing "mode of productionH-the cument syskm of power re-
lations, pmperty rights, and pocfuctive technotogy. A ""just""action or
policy "harmonizes with and perfor~xsa function relative to it. An m u s t
action, by cmtrast, is one whieh 'conkadicts' the prevailirrg mode, which
clashes with it or is dysfctnctional dative to it.'"lW/?ilthoughWood hin-
self resists cdling this a relativist conception of justice, it: is indeed d a -
tive in the sense that what is just in a particulirlr society is relative to the
mode of production of that socieq. If this is Marx" sddersbnding of jrrs-
t-ice, what would he say about:the exploitation of the workers under cap-
italism? Codd that be just? Surprisingly enough, at m e place Marx sug-
gests pre&i"elythat: "What is a "just distributir,n'? Do not the boure;eois
assert that thc present distribution is just? h d isn't it in fact the only &S-
kibution based on the present mode of production?"'I"o, it would seem
that the conceptio~~ of justice a p p r ~ r i a t to
e capitalism---a capitalist con-
ception of justice-kvould hold that exploitation is just. And within the
capitalist mode uf psoduction, it zuould he jlrst.
Despite initial appearmliees, this interpretatio~~ of Marx is not a radical
depature from, the first. Both stress Che importance of the collectivist
supposition that before one can understand an elernent of a system, one
must understand the hmctioning of the ovaall sociaf and economic sys-
tem. t-he w o r h g s of the whole is prior to mderstamding
the individual unit. Thus, if we are to understand qpeals to justice, we
must see how a certain co~lceptionof justice f m c t i o ~ ~ within
s ar.1 eco-
nomic system. We will then see haw the capitalist conception of justice
fits into the capitaljst system and plays a role init. Note how this analysis
of justice ties justice very ciosclly to legality (see Mill's first point Section
8.7),or wj-tat might be cailed "offidaf,state justice." The legal system witl
expfess the n o t h of justice that is appropriate to the mode of produc-
tim. On the other hand, this interpretation cJismisses "idea:i justice"'
(Mill's second point, Sc.ctio118.l) in its "concept-ual mapff3ecausesuch
idealizhg suggests the liberal hdividualist ~4ewthat a person's actions
can be determhed by notions about what is right or wrong that do not
reflect his actual social positio~~ or sociely"s co~~ception of justice.12

Marx's Theory of Justice?

In response to Woad" hterpre"ltion, it has been argued that Marx was
satirizjng capitalism in the above passage, and so it is not to be taken at
face va1ue.n A number of other contemporary politicill and moral
philosophers have argued that Marx did hdeed present an "ideal" the-
ory of justice,
Marxfstheory of trxploitation, and much of the rest of his work, is filled
with a moral fervor and outrage. As one Marxist philosopher, Jon Elster,
points ouk

Quite generally almost any page of Capital, opened at random, crtnveys the
strong impression that Marx is arguing the case in moral terms. More specif-
ically, he frequently refers tt3 capitalist extraction of surplus value as theft,
embezzlement, robbery, and stealing. These are terms that immediately im-
ply that an injustice is being committed. Moreover, the sense in which it is
an injustice camot be the relativistic one, Marx insists that, with respect tc3
capitalist conceptions of justice, exploitation, unlike cheating and fraud, is
fair: "The sense in which extraction ctf surplus value is unfair must refer tct a
nonrelativistic, transhistc3rical ccmcepticm, This argument is one important
piece of evidence that Marx thought capitalism to be unjust. . . . Capitalism
is an unjust system because some get more and others less than they have

As Elster sees it, Marxfscoz~ceptof exploitation it-;a moral notio~~,

ism is unjust because it extracts from t;he worker what the worker has pro-
duced, And it is hdeed difficult to read Cupifal wjthout sensillg Mam's
moral outrage at such m llnjust economic order. Chl this readin; the injut;-
tice of capitalism is its transfcl. of powers (Sectim 5.31, resulting in the
t-ransfer of the fruits of ehe worker's lilbor to the capitnljst. Note that this is
essen~all).a desert-based crificism of cqitalism: workers do not receive the
fruits of their productive activities. The lirborer produces the product
(whi& has value), but the capitalist receives the product; consequently#the
worker does not receive the fuld product (or value) that he has produced.15
50, it seems that Marx has a theory of i~justiceinsofar as he advances a
variety of criticisms agajnst capitalism, all of whjch have the poht that
under capitalism the w o r k r does not get what is properly his; and so
capitalism is Must. To a large exte~~t, Marx's "theory of justice'3s a the-
ory about Ihe i~zjrasticcof capitalism..Some po:iitical theorists have main-
tained that we miss a great deal by lookkg only at the positive ideal of
justice. h fact, we might have a much better feel for injustic-for identi-
fying victims a r ~ dunfairnes~~eha3.1 for develqint; a posilivc idea of jus- this seems the case with Marx, in particulal; and socialism, in
germeral: its strength is its account of perceived in_ju.stjcesof capitalism, As
Marx" theory of exploitation makes clear, the most basic sociaiist criti-
cism of the ca@talj,st m a r k t order is that it is fmdmentalty unfair. Cap-
italism, runs tlne criticism, is a system in which h s e Lvho actually pro-
duce and labor receive extremly meager rewards, whereas tfne g ~ a t
benefits accrue to those-the owners-who do not actually pmvide any
useful labor. The capitalist, thcn, makes his living by extracting labor
from the wokers: the w o r k r recttjves a wage, but the capitalist keeps the
bulk of what has been produced. As we have obser~red,this indicates that
capitalism is unjust because workers do not get what t h y deserve.
Marx-ar~d again he is joined by contemporary socialists-arwes that,
under capitalism, the basic human needs of workers go unfulfilled
whereas capitalists have incredible wealth to satisfy their slightest
whims. Thus, on both the cI..ikerio~~ of desert a r ~ dthat of need, Marx and
socialists in gewral insist that capitalism is unjust. We s h o d d s o recall
that the socialist insistrs that it fails dismally in terms of freedom. At the
heart of capitaiism lie m y u d power relatiom, and so by its nature it
cannot secure. freedom as power (Section 5.1); m d becmse under capital-
ism workers am under the power of capitalists, neither can capitalism of-
fer t-he workers positive freedom arr; autonorny or self-rute.
If capitalism is tmnjust, what is just? The mswer would appear obvious:
justice is givjng the worker the fruits of his lahor. Marx, though, appar-
ently sees this as an imperfect sort of justice, suited to the trmsirion from
capitalist society to a true commmist society:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not a s it has devel-
oped on its own fcjundations, but, on the contrary, just a s it erBerges from
capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically morally and
intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from
whose womb it emerges. Accordingly the individual producer receives back
Prom society . . . exactly what he gives. . . . The same amount CIF liabor which
he has given to society in one form he receives back in anctther.1'

This princQle of distribution can he summed up as "to each accordinf: to

his contributio~~s." is eliminated
If this principie it; followed, expioitatio~~
and wnrkrs will get what they deserve. Yet, Marx was not satisfied with
this csiterion:

In a higher phase CIF commtmist sociee, after the enslaving subordination of

the individual to the division CIF liabor; and therewith alst:, the antithesis be-
meen mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not
only a meam of Life but life3 prime want; after the productive ft3rces have
also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the
springs of cooperatib7c.e wealth flow abundantly-only then can the narrow
horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entire5 and society inscribe on
its banner: From each according to his ability, to each according to his

When the higher phase of communism has arhved,"tto each according to

his contributions"kcan be ~ y l a c e dwith "from each according to his
ability, to each accoding to his needs."' Bnd as others have argued, that
looks iike a theory of how a just socialist society would distribute
326s higher phase of justice, Mam suggests, c m come about only when
htxmans are no longer "'alienated." Recall from Sections 3.3 and 6.3
Mam" notion that the human essence is to 'bolbjectify" its ideas into ob-
jects. We are planners and doers: we take ideas; in our heads a d create
real -elningsout of them. Thus, working, in the sense of creating, expresses
the human essence. Now, M m insisted that under capitalism this hu-
man essence is repressed and its e x p x s i o n distorted: people do not
labor in order to express Cheir humnnity, but for the m s t brutish of
reasons-to stay alive, Beciiiuse capitalism robs the worker of his product,
he can find no satisfactio~~ in work. Thus, under capitdim we only work
inorder to get '*external"%benefits such as pay. Mumms still infec&d wit.h
this capitaiist mentality, Marx suggests, would not he ready to live ac-
cordir~gto the dictum "to each according to his needs, b m each accord-
ing to his ability," since people corrupted by capitalism will only work if
rewarded. Thus, the first stage of communist justice is to give people
what they deserw; arr; alienation is overcorn, and people learn to love
rather than hate :labor, the higher phase of socialist justice can be
Does Marx, then, offer us a theory of justice? m e problems in, answer-
ing this question stem from a tension in Marx's own writing between two
views of huma-t nature (Section 3.3). If we focus on Marx" social envi-
rorrlnerrtillie and collectivist views, the concept of justice fades; the inter-
pretations of Marx skessirsg either the scientific nabre of his socialism or
the relativity c>f justice seem persuasive. But Marx idso ac-fvocatesa strong
view of hmmm essence that is not determbed by one's ssaiety and one's
place in it. 'This vkw-more aypaxnt in Marx" earlier w~tings-points
to notions of ideal justice, in lNhich peapi" receiw lrhe fruits of tl~eirLahor
and col-tditionsexist for t-he flourisha of hurnan nahnrc?.
Steven lIJtxkes, hokvever, has argued that all these different facets of
Marx's views on justice form a single, coherenl, multilayered account.
Accordhg to Lukes, there is no simple and straightforward answer to
our query' ""'Did Marx think capitalism unjust, or didn" he?"20 Lukes
identifies four layers of Mam" amount of justice.2vl) The first layer is
the analysis of capitalist norms as they fux-tction in cagitalist society,
which is stressed by the sckntifc and relativist interp~tatiunsof Marx.
"In the first place, he did offer a functional account of the norms by
which capitalist exploitation is judged just. . . . These norms . . . p"evai1
because they sanction and stabjlize capi.ealist exploitat.iom and thus the
capitalist system." (2) Second, however, Mnrx offers a criticism of capi-
talist norms from flWithi~-t.ff Capitalism, Marx says, cannot live up to its
own image of its&. It: fails to be just even on its own understmdSng of
justice. It is not the realm of free and fair exchange that it daims to be,
but a system that enslaves workers and is unfair to them. (3) "But
thirdly," "says L,ukes, "Marx also offered an 'external' critique of capital-
ist exploitation and of the norms and perspective from which it appears
just. That c r i t i ~ is
e in turn made from the perspecthe of comunism's
lowes phase: capitalist exploitation is from this slancdpoint uxljust be-
cause it violates the principle 'To each according to his labour and
contribution,""' (4) Last, says Lukes, Marx adopts a per~efitivethat is
critical of the very idea of justice. "From that slmdpoht, the very attri-
bution of justice and injustice is a m r k of class society, a sign that soci-
ety is still in its prehistorical phase." As Lukes understmds Marx, the
pmpectivc of the t7igfic.r phase of cmmunism-"from each according
to his ability; ta each according to his needsw-leaves behind not only
capitalid justice, but ihe entirc concept of justice, and seeks to
it with an emancipatory; communitarian (Section 3.4), moral vision.
Insofar as the notion of justice presupposes individuals in conflict
who milke clains on each other, Marx's collectivist ar-td cooperative
conception of society (Section 7.4) seeks to leave behind the very cm-
cept of justice.

9.2 Socialism crnd the Democratic Community

Beyond the Welfare Sfate: Equalip of Freedom and Power
:It is terrrpting, but :Ithi~likuttimately nnistaken, to u n d e r s t d Marx as of-
ferillg a theory of distriibutive justice along th,c lines of ~visionistliberals
such as Rawls (Section 8.3). Rawls, m d some moderate socialists, are in-
terested in providing principie"hat identify just and u ~ ~ j udistributions
of resources, weliare, opporhmities, a ~ so d on. These criteria of distrribu-
tive justice are typically assnciated with the modern cvel'are state, for
which revisionist liberals have been the rnajin advocates. But the welfare
state cannot secure equal liberty as power to act (Section 5.1)because,
says the more radical socialist, it cannot secure equality of power. Ac-
cording to effect theories of power (Section 5.21, inequaZity of power rela-
tions are constitrutive of, - a dendemic to, capitalist market societies (Sec-
tion 5.3). Thus, so long as capitalism endures, freedom and eqt~allitywill
be urrachievable however much the welfare state undertakes to redistrib-
ute resources, opportunities, or whatever. The aim of iryualiziq power
calls for radical democratic control of social life- At least as understood
by the socialist tradition, the core of d e m r a c y is political equality (Sec-
tion G.$), where this meals not simply equd votes, hut real, substantive
equality of political polver. It is clear cvhy socialists are dracvn. to such a
conception of democracy For the socialist, it is the ineyuality of power
that is the root causcl oi ail the inequdities a ~ h~justices
d of capitatist dis-
tribution; only by eliminating the hequality of power can these evils be
rooted out. This, then, points socialist justice toward a radical conceptim
of the democratic community in which all are free because ai) equal:iy
possess poJ.iticd power (itself an hgrcrdient of freedom, Sectioln 7.3) and
all power is controlled by democratic process= in which everyone has an
equal role. Tme democracy---w:hich alone expresses the equality and real
freedom of all citi,zenewould thus =quire the abolition of capidism.
As Macpherson observes,

a fully democratic society requires democratic political control over the uses
to which the amassed capital and the remaining resources of the society are
put. It probably does not much matter whether this takes the ft3rm of social
omershig of all capital, or a social control of it so thorough as to be riirtually
the same thing as ownerhip. But more welfare-stale redistribution ctf na-
ticmal income is not enough: no matter how much it might reduce class in-
eqtralities of income it would not ttmch class inequalities of power.Z
Rather than looking for the socialist justire in revisionist-liberal-like
principles of distributive justice, it is better to focus on lfie ideal of a fully
dewcratic community. Not only does thjs ideal include the equality of:
power that is the heart of socialism, but it is consistent with "socialism as
a doctrine that takes human socid or communal existe~~ce more sel-lously
than the excessive indhirfualism that they [that is, socialists] associate
with liberalism,"B Given our nature as communal beings, a just societ-y
will not simply be one in whiCh each gets her fair share, for that e~~tirt.
conceptim of justice has an incfividlzalist slant. hther, a just societ-J,will
be a political community in which the basic equality of its citizens results
in a democratic life in which all eyuirlly participate in colliective deci-
siozts. Proclaimed the hglish socialist G.D.H. Cole (1889-1959): the hdi-
victual. is "most free kvhere he co-operates with his equals in making
Given this picture of the just s0ciet.y as the fully democratic society, we
should not expect radical democratic socialist political theorists to ad-
vance specific principles of justice, To endorse any set of principks as t f ~
correct principles of justice is to preernpt the voice of the democratic
commtxnity Far example, if the socialist embraces Rawls" prhciples of
distributive justjce (Section X,3), then these principles deternine what
justice requires; a just democratic community must co~lformto these
psinci_ples. That, though, is to set limits on what the democratic commtx-
nity can decide; the political theorist is overridjng the voice of the people.
Seen ~ Ithis
I light, Marxfsreluctance to acfvance a theory oi justice is well
grounded; the only worry is that even his fragmentary remarks on justice
(to each accorcting to his needs, from each according to his abilities) say
too much, for they instruct the dernocratic commul7ity of the future how
it is to decide (see Section 20.4).
The ideal of the just society as one with eguality of power explains the
cornmox~sociaiist enfrhusiasm for exknding democratic decisio11makil7g
throughout all social life- Democracy is not simply a political ideal, says
the socialist: it should inform large organizatrions, including business
corporations. Foflowing Cofe, a number of socialists have emhraced the
idea of hdustrid democracy.2"ere arc numerous variations of the in-
dustrial democratic ideal: some involve trade unions, others propose
worker management along the lines once p'a"iced widely in h-
goslavia. On this latter model, h m s west. owned sociillly or by the state,
but run democratically. The workers set up fjrms by borrowing from
state banks; typically all the worker-members &cted a workerskouncil
to make the main policy decisions regarding the firm. The workers"
council did not undertake day-to-day management but hired mangers
(who earned sig1"tificantly more t h a ~did ~ the workers who were, offi-
ciaLIy, their employers). For our purposes, however, the detai:ls of the Vu-
goslav model are not crucial: the important point is the extension of the
dmocratic ideal throughout social life.2"
Not only large orgmizations such as corporations, but, on this ideal, the
family itself should mmikst m equality of power (between adult mem-
bers, at ar~yrate). We c m see hercl. the social& roots of much contempo-
rary feminist thought for one of the main themcs of feminism is the jnjus-
lice of unequal power relations in the family which. reinforces unequal.
power between the sexes throughout the social order. E'clminists have of-
ten criticized socialism for not paying sufficient attenlion to the hequalj2.y
of "patriarchyH-male rule---but the two politicd theories have a corn-
mon core: justice understood as equality of power. &cause of &is, much
feminist thought i s antiliberal, Altl-tough liberal feminists aldorse equirl
civic status bet~veenmen and women, m d equality of opportunity (%c-
tjon 6.4), they do not endorse e ~ a l i t yof power. Moreover, liberal princi-
pies of justice provide only the basic ru1es Eor social life between equdly
free peoy,le (Sction 8.1,8.3). Given this framework of rules, says the lib-
eral, people must be free to make their own consensual arrangements in
their prhate "ff';3irs, based on &eir differe~~t values and ideals.

Reconciling Socialism and Democracy

We have seen that the aim of equalizing power, m d so pmmatbg equal
effective freedom, provides a case for extensive democratic decision-
making. Power is something to be used to achicwe ends, and so to equal-
ize power is to equalize the ability to achieve ends; i"coes not tell trs
what &ose axis should be. Ch radicd democratic views, if the people,
under conditions of equal paw'; c h o o ~ a a l e or policy, then it is just.
T%e democratic tendencies of socialism thus =Sleet what might be called
a voltiuterist conception of justice: it is the people's voluntarily choosing
something-mab~g a democratic decision-that rer~dersit just. Now
this volunterist stance seems at odds with socialism's commitment to ra-
tionalism and its commitment to social equality, quality of resources,
and ewdity of wlfare. m a t if the people choose to go agailnst reasoll-
w h d if they choose i n e ~ a l i t ycompetition, and p"iv"te property? The
volunterist, democratic comitments of socialist justice wodd tend to
side with t-he people's choice (alLhougb socialists hope that the people
would not make such choices), whereas the rationalis"commitments of
socialism and its critique of capitalism as ihumane would lead it to re-
ject the decision of the peopie.
This polint c m also be trnderstood as a possible tension bet-vveen procr-
daml anct szrbsturztlve justice, According to procedural justice, whatever is
the outcome of a just procedure is itself just. Thus, if a participatory de-
mocracy, based on real equality of political. power, follows a just proce-
dure, then whatever the democratic procedure chooses is necessarily just.
01% the other hand, substa~tivejustice idenl-ifies certah-r cI..iteria for just
distriibutions or outcomes, such as "'to each accordjng to his needs, from
each according to his abilities,'Wf~o~ a thoroughgoing procedural con-
c e p t i a ~of~justice cannot be comhined with a purely substanthe concep-
tion of social justice. l%e pure procedural conception maintaixrs that m
outcorn is just if m d only if it has been arrived at by the correct proce-
d u e ; the sukstantive conception hsists that regardless of the procedure
that generated the outcome, that outcome is just i f and only if it ilccords
with the principles of social justice. Although, of course, in some cases
the just procedure may lead to the suhstantively just outcome, this can-
m t he guaranteed; when the two conflict, consideratiol~sof justice witl
yield hconsistent judgments. And as we have seen (Section 2.3), consis-
kncy is necessary fm an adequate political theory
Joshua Gohen a ~ Joel d Rogers seek to resolve this teIvi011 in demucmtic-
socialist theory by expanding the conditions for genuine democracy so as
to include socialist economic organization. "To choose democracy," they
write, "is to choose a f o m of social association whicfi manifestly respects
. . . capacitks uor reasoned social choice] \.vithin m order of equal free-
dom.""'" But because "the taking of prdits under capitalism subordinates
one class of h~dividualsto another and thus . . . subverts the conditio~~s of
equd flleedosn,"" "capitalism subverts demmracy. Democracy r e ~ i r e s
reasoned deliberation under conditions of equal freedom and power, and
it is precisely this, Gohen and b g e r s argue, that capitalism makes im-
possible. Consequently, true democratic decisions presuppose certain
conditions, ir;tcluding "civil :Liberties, distributimal measures of equality,
M1 empbyment, . . . a humanc. foreign poliq, . . . public control of in-
vestment workplace demncracy, and . . . equaljty of opgotltmity"2%ll
these conditions are said to be part of a genlcirze democratic procedure: there
can he no conflict between justice as democratic decisio~~s a ~ suhstan-
tive egalitarian-socialist justice, becatrse truly democratic decisions can
only occur in an egalitasian socialist society.
Democratic socialis&, then, seek to resotve ihe apparmt t e n s i o ~be- ~
t-vveen their faith in. democratic praceduralism and substantive egalitari-
anism by expading the idea of dcmcracy to include not o q political
equality w~dertitoodas one person, one vote, but a ge11uine equality of
politic& power (at least m o n g groups), social equality, k e d o m as
power, and freedom as autonomy. True democracy presupposes the
socialist core vaiues, thus eliminating any conflict. We Witness once
again the monistic inclinalions of socialist &ought: just as Ijbaty WBS
i n t e r p ~ t e dto include equality (Sectim 7.41, democracy is interpreted
in a way that includes the sociaiist col~ceptsof freedom, equality, a r ~ d
The Contrast to Liberal Democracy
m e especially htimate tie in socialist thought bet-vveen democracy and
the just comrnuIlity is brought out by contrasti~~g
the socialist-egditarian
to liberal understandings of democracy. Jiirgen Habermas, a leadi17g con-
kmpmary exponent of cdcmocratic egalitarimism., explahs the contrast

The dispute has to do with how to reconcile equality with libere, tmiv with
diversiv, or the right CIF the majority with the right of the minority Liberals
begin with the Xegal instituticinalization. af equal liberties, conceiving these
as rights held by individualized subjects. In their view, human rights enjoy
normative priority over democracy and the constitutional separation of
powers has priority over the will of the democratic legislature, Advocates of
egalitarianism, on the other hand, conceive the collective practice of free and
equal personma" wvereign will-Pormatic?n.They understand human rights
as an expression ctf the savereign will of the pectpfe, and the constitutional
separation of powers enzcrges from the enlightened will of the demtlcratic

As Habermas explains it, liberals give priority to substmtive justice:

dmocralic procedures are designcd so as to promote and protect sub-
stantive rights. In contrast, he indicaks, egamarians emphasize proce-
dural justice, and conceive of substantive justice as arising out of just pro-
cedures. We must be careful here, howe\*r: as we have just seen,
egalitarians such as Cahen and Rogers interprrt true dmocracy in a rich
m y , such that it presqposes the essence of socialist justice.
For socialists, then, "'demncracy" d
' oes not describe simply a set of for-
mal kcision procedures "out a type of egalitarim community. In contrast,
classkal tiberals understmd democracy sirnply as a set of political insti-
t-ut.ions characterized by equal voting rights, frequent elections, competi-
tjon by political parties, the right to form palitical parties, and so m. h-
prtar~tly,il.1 contrast to socialism, democracy is not itsell a sort of
freednm,, but a useful instrument for protecthg negative lirberty from op-
p ~ s s i v egovernments. Recall that according to Hayek, democracy "is an
ideal worth fighting for to lfie utmost, because it is our only protection
. . . agahst tyrmny; mough democracy itself is not freedom . . . it is one
of the most important safegumds of freedom,""" Hayek, however, re-
minds us, '"iberalism is concerrted with trhe functiox~sof government
and particularly with the limitation of all its power. Democracy is con-
cerned with the question of who is to direct government. Liberalism
requires that -all power, and therefore also that of the majority, be lim-
ited."" It thus follows on the classical liberal view that liberalism is
"incompatible with unlimited democracy, just as it is incompatible with
all other unlimited govenlime1lit.~~33
For the classical liberal, democracy is not a way to reveal the voice of
the people. Given the i~~dividualism and pluralism lyivlg at the core of
classicill liberalism, it denies &at "the people""speak with a single voice or
have a common interest-individuals speak with a dizzying variety of
voices m d often have clasfting irrrterests-and even if it made sense to t a k
of "'the peopleff having a voice or a generai will, classical liberals have
spent great effort showjng that democrairjc hstitutims are especially m-
suited to reveal what that might be.% Moreover, classical, liberals can be
deeply critical of the witys in which democracy functions; it can lead to
waste and iavor 2;:hort-run gains over lo11g-term be~~efits, and it oftt.11 puts
political power irr the hmds of the incompetent. P e r h a p h e classical lib-
eral view is best s med up in the famous remark of Whstm Churchjll:
democracy is the worst form of govenliment, except for all lrhe others.
Revisionist liberalism gives a much mare promkent place to demac-
racy; for Ihc revisionist ljberals, the right to equal civic status (under-
stood at least as one person, one vote) in politic& decisions is itself a h n -
damental requirement of ~ustiee(see Section 6.4). Democracy is not
simply an effective way to prokct basic sdstantlvo rights, the right to
pmticipate in democratic decisiollis is itself a basic requirement of ~ustice.
Democratic participation eAances self-developmerrt.and induces people
to *ink about the common good rather than their nanow self-inte~sts.
I h e right tru political voice is a complex of liberties, claims, and powers;
the last (powers) is worth not-ing, as a right to participate in poli'E;caldeci-
sims is necessarily a right to participate in chmghg the rights and duties
of other pcopie tfirougb legislatim, anrt so valifies not simply as a lib-
erty or claim, but what Hohfeld caitls a "pwer" (Section 8.1.).
Although revisionist: liberals are much more enthusiastic democrats
than arc. classicd liberais, they join their classical counter)l7arts in insist-
ing that Che basic liberty rights of individuals limit Icgitimille democratic
choice. Revisionist liberals also hold dear the basic liberties identified by
the Bill of Rights: even a democracy giving each person an equal voice
cannot justly violate these basic rights. Suhstnntivc justice thus clearly
sets limits on procedural justice in liberal theory, keeping democracy
away from the very core of the liberd co~~ceptclal map,

9.3 Three Conservative Approaches to Justice

Tradition, Convention, and Justice: Antirationalist Gonservatism
cif Women (1869), foh~liSrcuart Mill argued for a "perfcct
h R e Szabjecfic~l.~
equality'' between the sexes. Although his focus was on legal rights (md
so equal civic status, see Sectim 6.4), he sought to push his egalitarian
case further; he argued that family relations &odd be a "school in equal-
ity-" Mill, of course, ~aiizerfthat this view directly opposed tracfition m d
custom, which attributed differential and hierarchical positiozls within
the family. But for Mill, that inequality was uphelcl, bp custom and tradi-
tion was no real jwstificati,on for it. If custom and tradition opposed rea-
son, then custom and tradition must give way. As Mill saw it, for the
most part custom a d kaditicm sirnply were trhe rehctior~sof past injus-
tices; that men had su'lbjugated women in the past provides no good rea-
son why women should accept an inkrior status today. As 1have previ-
ously indicated, this is a quintesscmtid ratim~alistdaim ( S ~ t i o n3.7).
Custom and traditior~are understood as the embodiment5 of supersti-
tion, unfairness, m d caprice; only the rigorous application of impartial
standards of justice verified by reason can tell us *ether these past prac-
tices are to be cond
Conservative crit of rationalism is in large part a criticism of this
rejection of &adition, Reason, the conservative believes, is not up to the
task of ~col~structint; society hthe light of itbstract principies of justice.
Indeed, reason itself depends on tradition. Although to some extent rea-
son" deliverances can be conveyed in, the preferred rationalist m
abstract principies a ~ rdes d (Sction 3.2)-there are often ""overtol~es,el-
ements of 'tacit h o \ v l e d g e , h d *sight where the principles and rules
are imppropriate, wllich are not teachable by articulated assertions but
r/vhich arc. rcvired by intimate association and empathy with the acts of
exemflfication in the persons who perform them."'""n Michael
Oakeshott's t e r m (Section 3.2), reasm involves practical knowledge,
which can ol~lybe gained through the actual practices, for e m p k , of
scientific, polit-ical, or legal hquiry, and association with those who excel
at it. More radically, s m e conservatives hiwe argued that the very idea
of reasor.1 depends on traditiol~a ~ culture.d m a t is rational or reason-
able in, say, thirteenth-century England is not the same as in twenty-
first-century England, much less twenly-first-century Japan, C m we say,
for exampie, that the belief in angels is equaily rational in -all three cul-
tures"!ccording to Alasdalr MacIntyre, a contemporary conservative-
communitarim (%skion 3,4),

It is ctf the first importance to remember that the project of fc~mdinga social
order in which individuals could emancipate themselves from the contin-
gency and particularity of tradition by appealing tc:, genuinely universal, tra-
dition-independent norms was, and is not only a project of philosc~phers.It-
was and is the project of liberal, individualist society; and the most cogent
reasons we have f t x believing that the hope of a tradition-independent ratio-
nal universality is an iXIusion derives from the history of that prc)ject, For in
the course of history, liberalism, which began as an appeal to the alleged
principles of shared ratictnality against what was felt to be it-re tyranny of
traditictn, has itself been transformd into a tradition.36

C)-n this antj,ationalist view, then, the place to look for justice is inone's
own traditio~~s and practkes 'T'ktisis not to imply, however, &at Lhe con-
servative c m say nothhg in general about justice- David Hume, agreeing
with Hobbes (Section 8-21, tells us that all sociehes require rules of justice,
a settled way of disthguishing "mhe" and "trl~ine."" Hume, Lhough, re-
jects the claim that these rights are established through a social contract.
3'ht.y arise, Hume argues, by ci;rfz~~entions. A convention, says I-fume, ex-
presses our common interest in settled ruies and albws us to coordir~ate
our actions. f i o w i r ~ g&at you accept the conventio~~al mles of properq
allows me to act in a predictable and consistent way, which in turn allolvs
you to do so,

After this conventictn, concerning abstinence from the possessions ctf other%
is entered into, and everyone has acquired a stability in his possessions,
there immediately arises the ideas of Justice and injustice; as also those of
prt~pert'y~right and ublig~fion.The latter are altogether unintelligible, without
first understanding the former. Our property is nothing but those goods,
whose comtant possession is established by tile laws of society; that is, by
the laws of justice.37

It is importmt to stress that Hume believes that such conventions arise

slowly, on the model of a Zmguage, rather than a once-and-far-all social
contract (Section 8.2). Cmventions and traditions evnfue; they are not the
result of one person" rationality but the ongoing developme~~t of a soci-
ety % wisdom.
Note that the Hurnean conception of justice ties justice to legality
rather than to ided justice (see Mill's points [l]itr.1~3 [2j, Section 8.1). In
the last sentence of the above quotation, Hume actually ideulges the :lacvs
of justice with the laws of one's society: it is the actual laws of one's ssoci-
ety that pmvide ihe cox~ventisonsthat make possibk a settled disth~ction
between mine and thine. Although Hume believes that rules of justice
serve social utility (Sections 1.4, 6.2, 7.1, 8.1) insofar as they allow for a
settled sociai life, he opposes ar7yo11e who wouid employ consideratio~~s
of ideal justice based an furthering social utility to overturn current con-
ventions. Moreover, although Hurne can see how abstract reason points
to the ideal of distributing material goods according to deserts, he be-
lieves that experience shows such a rationalist criterion is unworkable, as
people disagree on merit and deservhgness*~~
n i s Humean orientation of much conservative thought helps explain
the conservative p~ferencefor the common law over Iegislafion. tn the An-
glo-American tradition, law has two different souxes. Legislation, with
which we are all familiar, is the result of deliberate efforts of the legisla-
ture to enact general laws, oftm with the stated aim of furt-hering lrhe so-
cial good. +The very idea d general legislation has a rationalist bias: legis-
lators apply their reasoning to bring about certain results, withjn the
constraint of general laws (see Sectim 5.4). The other source of law is fhe
common law. It has developed over centuries in response to specific
problems bought before the courts. In making a kcision, the courts-at
least according the ideal of lrhe c o r n o n law----donot seek to ellgage in
social engheering or bring about illbstract social goods. They respond to
specific problem with intevreting specific laws, or specific problems
raised by the apflication of the l a w . Each of thc. decisions, arrived at
to solve a specific problem, forms the precedent for further juciicial
reasoning-later courts seek to make their decisions consistent with
earlier decisions, The result is a slow evolution of the laws of justice.
Rather than c h a ~ g eto conform to abstract ideals or theories, the laws of
justice change in response to real cases hspecific contexts.

Virtue and Conservcrfism: Antip/urcrlist Conservatism

Libemlism and the Death of Virtzre, Consider an interpretation of the lib-
e r d pmject t-hat has been acivar~cedby cor~serwative-cornmu~~itaria~~s
such as MacInvre. The liberal, aim, the story runs, is to develcsp a social
morality that does not require that we a p e on what is g o d , what ends
are most worth pursning, or what sort of life is a good life. In tke ancient
world, and in traditional societies, it has been said, there was indeed
agxement on these matters. The Greeks, for exaunple, upheld, an ideal of
what a good person was, m d this ideal united their community. Dis-
a g ~ e m e n t wilhh
s their comunity-moral, confiicts-codd be resolved
by calling on this shared understanding of what constitutes a t~irfztous
perm"". As Aristotle saw it, humans possessed a natural end-a lefos. TO
achieve this end, to be a person of a certain, sort, was the good for hu-
mans. Virtues, then, were those character traits that were conducive to
this end or a part of it. Nobility, couragcl, temperance, and fortitude w r e
such virtues, whereas the vices-injustice, ktemperance, deceithhess-
were traits of humans that prevented them from achieving that perfec-
tion natural to humar~s.
NOW,conthues the narrative, a sociev that understands humm life in
this way constitutes a community. It is not a mere collection of self-
seeking hdividuals, hut an associatio~~ that shares a common moral life
based an a shared conception of what it is to be a human and what ways
of living suit humans, But liberalism, it has been argued, deskoys such a
community Liberals' plurafism co its lrhem to insist% that there is no
rationally obvious or right answer to the question, " m a t is the best way
to ljve?" The pluralism that the liberal so cherishes destroys the basis for
a true moral community. For since we can no longer say that some ways
of livitlg are more h w a n or better than others, we cannot say that those
kaits that promole this way of living are virtues and those that psevent it
are vices. fndeed, the liberal has no cor~ceptionof wirtue and vice, or ex-
cellence, in human ile. In place ol a community bmded together by a vi-
sion of what it is to be human, the liberal puts form& a theov of moral
chaos, in h i c h hatewer a person wants is acceptable. Thus, : M a c I n p
and other conser~rativeshave charged that the liberal conception of jus-
tice, seeking to r e m i n neutral a m n g ways of living, results in ni-
hilism-110 beliefs are good or bad, right or W ~ Q X I ~ . ~ ~

Ttle Cnfommcnt of Momls, This inte~ret.illion of conservatism continues

the strttss on tractition, hut insists that tradition is inhermtly anti;FXusalist:
traditions are defined by shared notior~sof excellence, and so a society's
conceptioln of justice must reflect this. A famous exmple of the dver-
geme of liberal and virtue-conservative views of justice was the debate
betwee11 liberals and co~~servatives over the regu:iation of homosexuality
and prasti.tutian in the United Ki,ngdom in the 1,96Os, focused on tf7c Re-
port of the Committee on FIomosexual Offences and Prostitutim. This re-
port-knc,wr~ as the Wolfer~denReport-proposed a r d o m oi the law in
Britain relating to certain "victimless crimes." "e report adopted an es-
sentially liheral, Millan approach based m the harm principle (Sections
3.1,4,3): in ge~~eral it advocated that sirlee these acts did not harm others,
these so-called immoral acts should be decriminalized. T%ere ensued a
famous &bate between the liberal legal philosopher H.L.A, Hart and the
cor~serval-ive Lord Devlh,
T%e Millian approach, defended by the report and Hart, maintained
that acts that do not: harm others, but are considered disgusting or de-
grading by m s t members oi society should not be pw~ishcdby the law.
Although Hart does not ascribe to Mill" har~xprhciple in every respect,
he holds that "on the narrower issue relevant to the enforcement of
moralify Miil seems to me right.'"" T%at is, Mart izssisted that so-cdled
immoral sexual behavior is not the proper subject of legal regulation.
:In their private lives, people should be free to do as they wish, as long
as doing so does not harm others. As the report said, "There must re-
main a realm of private moraliey and immorality which is, in brief
and crude terns, not the law" business."'"T'Thebusiness of law is to pro-
vide a framework for l i v a togett7er' not to make geopie better or more
Almost as soon as Mill defended the harm principle, conservatives at-
tacked it. Sir f m e s Fitzjames Stephe11 (1829-1894), an eminenl: English
conservative thkker, complained of Mill's prhciple that it would be
subtiersive of all that people commonly regard as morality. The ctnly moral
system which would comply with the principle stated by Mr. Mill would be
one capable of being summed up as ft3llotvs: "Let every man please himself
without hurting his neighbor;" m d every moral system which aimed at
more than this, either to obtain benefits far society at large other than prot-ec-
ticm against injury or do good to the persons affected, would be wrong in
principle. This would condemn every existing system of morals. Positive
morality is nothing but a body of prhciples and rules more or less vaguely
expressed, and more or less left to be mderstood, by which certain lines of
a>nduct:are Pohidden under the penalty of geneml disapprobation, and that
quite irrespectively of self-protection.4"

Morality, Stephen is arguing, goes h q o n d merely preventing h a m to

others, and m y political doctrine that would prohibit samtions except to
preve~~t harm would undernine morality itself.
Put simply; liberalism is said to destroy the moral bands of society.
Dcvlin, in his criticism of the Mrolfenden Report, presents a similar criti-
cism of MiHiar7 liberafism. It is not possible, D w l k argued,

to set theoretical limits to the power of ithe State to legislate against i

ity. It is not pclssible tt3 settle in advance clxceptions to the general rule or to de-
Pine innexibty areas of morality into which the law is in no circumstances to
enter. Society is ent;itfed by means ctf its laws to protect itself from dangers,
whether from within or without. . . . Societies disintegrate from witKn more
frequently than they are brciken up by external pressures. There is a disinte-
gratirtn when no common morality is ctbsenred and history shctws that the
loosening of moral bonds is often the first stage of disintegration' sc) that saci-
ety is justified in taking the same steps tc:,preserve its moral code as it does to
preserve its government and ctther essential imtikrtions. The suppression of
vice is as much the law's business as the suppression of subversive activities.43

Devlin, fhcn, is arguing that a society is pwtiafly constituted by a code of

morillity, which includes public acrknowledgment of conceptio~~s of
virtue m d vice. T h i s bejrtg so, it is the proper office of a government to
protect this morality by iegally punishing &we who engage in vicious
acts, such as homosexuality pmstitutiol~,a d the selling (and p e r h p s
the readkg) af pornography.
&v2in thus criticizes Mill and the aulhors of the Miolfenden Report for
failing to see that a society is founded on not-ions oi what constitutes
good and bad people. 326s ""shared morality" i s part of "Ie historical tra-
ditions of a society A rationalist such as Mill, who would reject this in the
m m e of abstract pril7ciples, simply does not understand what a society
is. A society without a &zed moraljty would dishtegrate-it would find
that the cement that hound it together was gone, and all that remains is a
collectiol~of rootless and cox~fusedindividuals. And of course, that is
precisely what the conservatives charge that Millian morality has pra-
duced. Qur societp, the conservative maintajns, is cornposed of individu-
als wilo have no sense of the traditiol~sof the community; no sense of the
shared values that constitute that community; m d , ultimately, hdividu-
als with very few values at all, So, for Dcvlin, it is not wrong to enforce a
shared morality of a society, and this includes matters concerrTing sexual
relat-ions, taking drugs, harming oneself, and so on.
In his liberal =ply, Hart distinguished what he cdls the "moderate"
and the "ertreme"' forms of Devh's argume~~t:

According to the moderate thesis, a shared morality is. it-re cement of society;
withhout it there would be aggregates of individuals but no society. ""A recog-
nized morality" is, in Lord Devlin" swords, "as necessary to society1s exis-
tence as a recognized government" and although a particular act of im-
morality may not. harm or endanger ctr corrupt others nor, when done in
private, either shock or give offence to others, this does not conclude the
matter. For we must not view the cc,nduct in isolation from its effect on the
moral code; if we remember this, we can see that ctne who is "no menace to
others" nmetheless may by his immoral conduct "fireaten one of the great
moral principles upon which society is based." h this sense the breach of
the moral principle is an offense ""agaimt society as a whole," and society
may use the law to preserve its morality as it u s s it to safeguard anytKng
else essential to its existence.""

T%is, says Hart, is the most madera& kteqretation of the conservative ar-
gument that a s h a ~ mordify
d is necessary to the existence of a swiety. The
argument is, irz short, that to weaken the & a ~ moraliv
d of a society does,
in fact, kad to weakex-rir~g thtr society itsell, Rut Hart simpIy disputes this
supposed fact. No reputable historim, he says, has ever held that depar-
tures irz sexual morality, even when these deviant practices are mgaged in
within the privacy of one's home, breaten sockty's very existcr~ce.Altow-
jrtg dlrrergence in. one area of morality-*at concerning sexual practices-
need not lead to a b ~ a k d o w nof consensus on other parts of moraliw more
central to public life. As Ha& s y s , morality is not a "sh~glesemless webrff
such that a break in one area will leave the rest ist tatlers.
Faced by the lack of evidence in support of the moderate thesis, Hart
argue"Ihrt ccolwervatives sometimes resort to what Hart calls the
"extreme thesis":

The extreme thesis does not look upon a shared morality as of merely instru-
mentaI value anatclgous to ordered government, and it does not justiv the
punishment of immorality as a step taken like punishment of treascln, to
preserve a society from dissolution ctr collapse. Instead the enfc~rcementof
morality is regarded as a thing of value, even if immoral acts harm no one
directly or indirectly by weakening the morai cement of

Whereas the above quotation from Devlin seems to endorse the moderate
thesis, Hart inciicates that Stctphen supports the extreme thesis. As indi-
cated h the above votation from Stephel-r, the pu~~ishmex~t of immoral-
ity is seen as simply the right and pmper thing to do; no claim is made
that such behavior has bad consequences by weakenkg society (as the
moderate thesis hoids); it is simply held that i oral behavior, hclud-
ing immoral sexual beha\lior, ought rightly to be puni"hed. This, of
course, is a st-rongly anti-Millim, m d , indeed, an antiliberal position. It
asserts that the proper office of coercion in a society is to cndorse a cer-
tain way of living and discourage those who would act differently.

Conservatism and Collectivism: "My Station and its Duties"

Our analysis of political concepts began with Plato" inquiry into the na-
ture of justice (%cti.m 1.1);we have yet to consider Plato's favored con-
ceptio~~ of justice. Plato thinks that justice involves the corrc-lctofdering or
harmonious arrangement of the bvhale; a just man" soul is organized so
that each element performs its p r v e r task; correspondingly a just state is
organized so that each part properly fulfiUs its fw-retio~~, leading to the
heallhy working of the whole, The focus oC justice is not, then, individual
rights in the sense of clairns that are owed to indi:viduals, but those du-
ties, powers, and claims that lrhe individual must passess ii ske is to per-
farm her proper social function. And because societies are complex
wholes and not simply aggrcgations of individuals (Section 3,4), these
functions will be differentiated. Not everyone has the same f u ~ ~ c t i m .
Plato thus divides his ideally just state in classes-the guardians who
rule; the rnilitary class that is to cnforce the decisions of the guardians;
and the economic class of ifarmers, those in trades, mexhants, and so on.
Each class in a just state, then, will have the rights and duties that are
necessary for it to perform its function, "W have hid down as a univer-
saI pri~~ciple,'" says Socrates, ""that everyone ought to perform the one
function in the community for which his natznre best suited him. Well, 1
believe that that prind.pie . . . i s justice.".lh Justice demands that one per-
f o m the duties of one's stal-io1-ror functior~in the co
This, broadly speaking, Platonic theor?, of justice has exercjsed g ~ a t
influence h conservative political thinking, Samuel Coleridge (1772-
1834) explicitly ur-rderstood the state as a "moral unit, an orgal7ic
whoie."" C~onsequently, Coleridge mintaified that m individual's rights
and dut-ies are detennked by his or her piace in the whole. A similar
view, stressing the embedded nature of h u n m (Sectio~~ 3.3) and our
place in the social organism, was offered by F: H. Bradley (1,846f924):

'To know what a man is. . . you must not take him in isolation. He is one of a
people, he was born into a familqi; he lives in a certain society; in a certain
state. What he has to dc:, depends on what his place is, what his function is,
and all that comes from his station in the organism. . . . We must content
ourselves by pointing out that there are such facts as the family, then in the
middle positicsn a man" s:,wn profession and society and, over all, the larger
community ctf the state. . . . We must say that a man" life with its moral du-
ties is in the main filled up by his station in that system of whales which the
state is, and that this, partly by its laws and institutions, and stiXI more by its
spirit, gives him the life which he lives and ought to live. . . . In short, man is
a social being9

:It is a perso113 place in his famity, professim, community, and state that
determines what justice demands of hinl and what is owed to him. Giwen
this view of society and justice, we c m tmderstmd the conservative" s-
tipathy to eyuality (Sclction 7.5). SInce the community is a complex sys-
tem in which difkrent people perform various functions, and since jus-
tice requires that one have the rights and duties necessary to perform
one" ffunctioxl, it will not result in a system of equal rights and duties,
much less rights to equaliry of resowes or welfare. It might be said that
we equally have claims to those rights we need to perform our social
functions, but these rights will, be different and unequal." Not only is
this collectivist interpretatio~~ of justice hegalitariar~,it also seems prone
to limiting liberty Plato" theory is infamous in this regard-his ideal,
just state abolished the family in favor of mandatory c o m u n a l marislg
of child re^^. We need not, however, go all the m y hack to Plato; ':lhomas
Carlyle (1795-1881) voiced deep worries about classical liberal conceg-
tj,ns of a free society, Carlyle harshly criticized the individualism behind.
classkal Iiberal liberty and the market order, "which hits to purchase it-
self by socid isolat-i.cln,imd each man stmding separate from the other,
having 'no bushess with him' but a cash account,'bll of which mounts
to little more than the '"liberty to die from star~ation.~~So

Liberty? The true liberty of a man, you wtlutd say, consisted in his finding
out, or being forced ta find out the right path, and to walk thereon. To learn,
or to be taught, what work he was actually able for; and then by permission,
persuasion, and even compulsion, to set about doing the same! That is his
true blessedness, honour, ""liberty" and the maximum of wellbeing: if liberty
be not that, T for one have small care about liberty5t
Corrservatives such as C a r v e have been attracted to medkva2 society.
rather thar-r liheral capitdim. In an ort;anic, hierarchical order, each ful-
fills a function, and society seeks to ensure that a person has bvhat he
needs to do his job well, unlike liberal miarkt society, which leaves a per-
son to sink or swim according to his talents and luck.
T%e moral and methodological collectivist tendencies of much conser-
vative thought seem in tension with cmservativeskaluinlf of liberty. W
saw that or-re reason &at cox-rservativesreject equality it; their perception
that it is hostile to lilfoerty (Section 7.5), but liberty itself is not firmly m-
chored. in this sort of collectivist conservatism. To be sure, given English
society and its traditiox~s,some civil and politial liberties are central to
that tracfitiox~(Section 5.4); but a cox-rservativeanalysis of nonliberal tradi-
tions (say, eighteenth-century France or twentieth-centz~ryRussia) would
not provide a gmeral case for individud freedont. h d even in the An-
+-America7 tradition, it is not ckar that t-he cox~servativecase is for lib-
erty for everyone; as Carlyle suggests, it implies libert-y for the wise with
deference from their inferiors.
A morally colleclrivist picture of C-hejust society is not unirfuely consel-
vative. Especially in the nketeenth an$ the first half of the twentieth, cen-
turies, there was a widespsead reaction to the individualism of classical
liberalism: conservatives, monistic revisionist liberals (Section &.3), and
socialists all proposed conceptions of a just sociey that mderst-oad soci-
eties themselves as (to use Rousseau" swords) a '"public person" This col-
lectivism led to conceptions of justice that &parted from classical liberal-
ism in three main ways. First, citizens not only have duties to other
citizens and to the government, but they have deities fu s ~ c k t yas a ~uhule.
I h e cdectivity becomes itself a rights holder against citizens, and citi-
zens have duties of justice to their society; such as to perform their station
or to contribute t-o this common good, Second, this collectivist:orientation
to justice leads to a moritl:iy crucial difference betweer1 those who al.e
members and those who are not members of society- Foreigners and
aliens are not part of the community; they do not owe the s m e duties to
it, nor do t-hey h m the same claims against it. :If justice deper-rds011 o r ~ e ~ s
role in the community, those outside the communiQ are, from the per-
spective of justice, at the periphery of the practice of justice, perhaps even
entirety excluded.. Moreower; subgmups that do not fit into the larger
commnity or refuse prifnary altegiance to the common good-for exam-
ple, cmmunists, Jews, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, atheists-may
also be relegated to a secor-rd-class status. Third, as the commur-rity be-
comes a moral. or public person, it may come to hold rights and duties
against other comuplities, Z'hus, collectivist liberals seeking to defend
culbral diversity-and so who wish to el-rsure that some ethnic or cul-
tural, groups are not accorded second-class statzns because they do not fit
into the wider community-hold that these various communities have
rights against each other, For exampIe, it has been argued that the
French-speahg eummunir"yin Canada hat; rights to m a h t a h its cultural
identity, rights that the English-veakirng commztnifymust respect.32

9.4 Summary
Ihis chaptel. has exp1orc.d a vafiet_vof socialist and conservalive accow~ts
of justice. The common theme running through these theories is a con-
ceptual connectim bewecn justice and the orgmizatim of society, and
the nature of the community. We began in Scctio~~ 9.1 by examiHing Karl
Marx" views on justice, n/farx seemed suspicious of claims re:lying on
ideal justice; they appear to presuppose a liberal moral individualism in-
sofar aa people's motivations are not determined ky their place in the
economic sytitem but by their individual sense of justice. I also argued
that because Marx ties justice closely to legality and the nature of society,
he tends to see justice as relative to economic systems-capitalist justice
is thus fundamentally d i i k r e ~from ~ t socialist justice. Marx does, though,
give us some CILI~S about ideal socialist justice: he seems to hoSd that it
wodd first give workers what they deseme (thus overrroming capitalist
exploitation), a r ~ donce the corruption of capitalism had been left beltind,
and so alienation was overcome, resources would be distributed accord-
ing to need.
:I noted in the discussion of Marx his reluctmce to prt>vide detai:ied
prkci_ples of justice to grnide socialist sociev. Except for its insistence on
the abolition of capitalism, socialism has in general been less ready than
liberalism to advance principks of justice. 012e reasall for this, explored
in %ction 9.3, is socialjsm's deep devot.ion to e ~ a l i t yof power Tlnd its
resulting commitment to radical democracy If power is to be equaljzed,
so must politic& power; this leads to a democratic ideal of the just soci-
ety*T%is, however, implies that the principles of a just society must be a
matter of the popular will of the e@itasian cooperative community,
% c t i o ~9.3
~ co~~si<aered three cox~servatitieapproaches to justice., Justice
as tmdifirrn or C ( I ~ I ) ~ I C ~conceives
~~Q~PZ of justice as essrmlidy the legal lustice
of an existing societqr and is generally critical of appeals lo ideal justice.
lhis conceptiox~of justice is str011gIy imtirationalist: it places its faith in the
gradual evoldion of norms of justice employed in a society rather than
any philosopher% arg ents about justice, Jzlstiee as virtue is more ratio-
nalist, insisting that the traditio~~s of a sociey are based on c o ~ ~ c e p t i of
virtues and vice, mQit is crucial to a just society that these notions be en-
forced by society. We considered at some length Lord Ucvlin" argument
for lrhe legal supgrc'sion of hornsexuality m d prostitution as a 2 emmple
of this approach to justice. Last, the most collectivist conservative
approach to justice is exemplified in the idea that a just socjety is one in
which people are able to, and do, perform the dz~firrsnf fljeir stations,
Given the complex nature of society, these stations are differentiated, in-
volvjng various and uneyual rights. These three conserviltive a p p r o a c h
are variations of the themes of collectivism, traditionalism, and anti-
rationalism; they are not mutually exclusive alternatives, but can be
combined in a variev of ways to produce variations of conservative

1. %e, for example, Jarnes P. Ster;barscomments in his edited volume, Jtrstice:

AICenzatizle Political Perspectiv~2nd ed, (Belmont, CA: Miadsworth, 1992), p. 7.
2. A good example is Kai Nielsen, Equality and Libert'y: A Dqe~zst:ofRi)adicalEg131-
itariarzism (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Alledeld, 1985).
3. C. B. Macpherson, Dernucmlic TIzeo~~j: Essays irz Refrkz~aE(Oxford: CXarendon
Press, 19173),pp, 64-65.
4. Karl Narx, Capital, in Robert C. Tucker, ed., TIze Marx-E~~gels Re~de1;2nd ed.
(New York: W. W. Narton, 14"78),p, 363,
5. Marx and Engels, The Communist f i t r f s t o , in The iGlarx-E~zgelsReader, p. 498.
6. Frederick Engels, "S~ocialism:Utopian and Scientific," h inhe Mnrx-Efzgels
Read6.r;p. 685.
7. Ibid., p, I700.
8. Karl Marx, ""Critique ctf the Cotha Program," in The Marx-EngeZs Reader,
p. 534.
4, Marx, quoted in Atlen Wt>od, Xnrl Mnrx (London: Rrslutledge and Kegan
Paul, 1981), pp. 130-131.
10. Ibid., p. 131.
11.KarX Marx, ""Critique of it-re Gotha Program," "quoted in Wood, Karl Mam,
p. 136, In Tucker, The Mnrx-E?zgc.IsRe~deiv;a slightly different tramlation is given,
referring to "fair" rather than "just" (p,528).
12. For a Marxist effc~rtto account for both official state justice and ideal justice,
see Millon Fisk, The State Jzlstiee: Apz Essay in PolifimZ Theory (Cambridge:
Cambridge Universi ty. Press, 2 989).
13, Ziyad I, Husami, "Marx on Distributive Justice," in Marshal1 Cohen,
Thomas Nagel, and Thornas Scanlon, eds., Mfnux, fzdstice nlzd Histor~j(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 19W), pp, 46-47. See also frVi>ocl%reply in the same
14, Jon Elster, A11 Ilrtrodztcfiun do Xari Marx (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 19861, p. 95.
15. See G. A. Cohen, ""Te Concept of Exploitation," h Marx, Justice n~rdHis-
tory, pp. 135-157,
16. See Judith N. Shklar, The Faces lttjustice (New Haven: Yale University,
117. Karl Mam, ""Critique of the Gotha Program," p 5536).
18, Ibid., p. 531.
19. See Edward Nell and Onvra OWNe, ""fustice Under Socialism," in interba,
ed., justice: Alflmmtive hlit-ienl Persy?ectivcs,pp. 87-97. Compare, however, Steven
Lukes, Marxism a ~ Morality
~ d (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).
20. Lukes, Marxisnz atzd MornliQ, p. 59,
21. All quotes in this paragraph are from ibid., p. 58,
22. C. B-. Macpherson, The Lije and Tinzes of Libeml fimocraq (Oxfcjrd: Oxfcjrd
Universiq Press, 3977), p. 111.
23. Christopher J. Berry The Idc~laufa Der~ocraticCt>nrfnzr~zi;Ey ("NewYLXK: St. Mar-
tin" Press, l989), p, 77.
24. Quoted in CacoXe Pateman, Participation in Denrocrntic Ttz~c~ry (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1470), p. 36.
25. For an analysis of Cole's views, see A. WI Might, C.D.H. Cole mid Socialist
Denzocracy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979).
26, For a general discussion, see Robert A. Uahl, A Pr@ce to Emvzornic Bemoc-
r ~ c (krkeley:
y University of California Press, 1"385).
27. Joshua Cohen and Joef Rogers, Or-2 De~~tocracy: 7i3.rual-d a Tra12sfirsnatim of
Axnerz'cnn Suclcrty (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 2983), p. 147.
28, Ibid., p, 148.
29. Ibid., p. 247.
30, Jiirgen Habermas, 'Topular Sovereignty as Procedure," in Jarnes Bohman
and Willam Rehg, eds., Beliberatitle Democmcy: Essnys ouz Reasouz nzzd Politics
(Cadridge, MA: MfT Press, 1997), p. 44,
31, E A. Hayek, Law, Legislrlfk~za ~ Libertyr
~d vol. 3: Tfze hlitiml Order of a Free
People (London: Routtedge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 5.
32. Hayek, ""tiberalism,'5n his New Studies iitz PIliEosqhy, Politia, Ecovzornics n~zd
the Flisfory of Idcms (London: Routtedge and Kegan Paul, 1978), p. 243.
33. Ibid.
34. See, for example, W'Zliam Riker;:Libel-nlism Against Pqulism (San Francisco:
W. W, freemen, 1982).
35. Edward Shils, Eizditiuuz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 22,
36, Alasdair MacIntyre, WIzuse ]lastice? Wlzose Rationality ? (Notre Dame, IN:
Universiq cctf Notre Dame Press, 19881, p. 335. See also John Gray, EnligfztenmentS
Wake (London: Routledge, 1995), chaps. 1,1Q.
37, Uavid t-lume, A 7i.cafl;scof Human Natzire, L. A. Selby-Bigge and I? H. Nid-
ditch, eds. (Oxfcjrd: CXarendon Press, 1978), Book 3, Part 2, sect. 2. Emphasis in
38. See David Miller, Soci~llustice (Oxfcjrd: Ctarendon Press, 197S), pp. 166ff.
39, Alasdair MacIntyre, Afiev Virlzle (Notre Darne, IN: University of Notre
Dame Press, 3381). Et is important to stress that some conservati\res dissent from
this view. For a cc7tnservative who embraces a version of pluralism, see John
Kekes, A C ~ s e f o Couzservatz'sm
r (Ethaca, NY Cornell University Press, 1998). It is at
best contentious whether this historical account is accurate. For a critical exami-
nation, see Derek L. Phillips! Lookkg Backzunrd: A Critiml Appmisaf @Commzi~zitar-
inn Tf~owglird(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).
40, E1.L.A. Hart, Law, Liberlji aand Morality (London: Oxford University Press,
1963), p. 6.
41. Quoted in ibid., pp, 14-15,
42. James Fitzjames Stephen, Libertyf EqzraEityf Fratenzity, quoted in Lctuis Blom-
Cooper and Gavin Drewey, eds,, Law a t ~ dMornlif.y (London: Duckworth, 1976),
p. 34.
43. Patrick Devlin, Tlze E'n$?rcenzctzt ojMoreirls (London: Oxford University Press,
1968), pp. 12-14.
44. Hart, Law, Liberfayaalzd Morality, pp. 48-49. The quoted passages are from
Devlin, Tfze Etforcemerit of2llumtsPpp. 13,8.
$5. Hart, Lnw, Liberty and Momlify, pp. 51-52..
46, PIatcl, Tljc Xepriblic, Francis MacDsnatd Cornford, ed., trana (Oxford: Ox-
ford University Press, 1945), p. 127 [IV 4-32].
47, Samuel Coferidge, Qtz llze Constitution of flie Cfzfarchand State, John Barrelt,
ed. (Lctndon: Dent, 1972), p. 137".
48. Ei H, Bradley, Elhicnf Studies, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 142"j7, pp,
$9. See Crane Brinton, E~~glislz I>olr' the Nineteentfi Ceiziiury (New
Yctrk: Harper and ROW, 39621, p. 82,
SO. Thornas Carlyle, Past and Pvsent (Lc~ndon:Dent, 2960), pp. 211,204.
51. Ibid., p, 204.
52. Fczr a good selection of essays on this topic, see Will Kymlieka, ed., The
Rights of Mirzority Czdlttkr~~~(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
10.1 Conservatism and Political Authority
O n Being "An Authority"
The crux of accepting another person as m authority seems to be that
you '"urrmder your judg1ne17tff to the aulfiority. In Caazbluszca, :Ingrid
m Hurnphrey Bogart that he will have to "'dothe thhkk3g for
B e r g ~ ~tells
both of us." She sumenders her judgment to him: she will allow her nc-
fions to be detemhed by what he decides* 11 we value liber@ and auton-
omy (Sections4.1,4.2), we will be suspicious of authority: when a person
is guided by another in this way, she is ather-mled rather than self-ruled.
:It is for just this reasm that many marchists reject the very idea of politi-
cal mthority. Ef our core value is auto~~omy or liberty, it might seem that
we should never surrender our judgment to others: we should always
have the right and responsibilitJi of acting on our own judgment.'
It seems, though, terribly difficult to avoid ever surrendering your
judgment. Consider a trip to the doctor, when the doctc7r tells you that
you have an ailment and prescribes a treatment, Most of us do not have
the expertise to evaluate the doctor%diag~osisand prescription; even if
she seeks to cxplajn it to zzs in detajl, few of zzs have Phe backgrozlnd inbi-
ology and physiology or the clinical experience, to really make a judg-
m e ~ ~about
t . what should be done. To a very large exte~~t, we M o w fhe
doctor's judgment. Of course, we may get a secmd opinion, but then we
arc fullowirsg another" doctor" oopjnicrn. To be sure, WC do not totally
surwnder our judpex~t:if the doctor tells us that we need to stilnd on
our k a c f h r a w e k to cure our headache, few will take that judgment se-
riously But withh a wide range, we rely on the doctor" judgment, be-
cause we believe it is superior to our own. As Ricbard B. Friedman, a
leading t-heorist of auel-lorgy, h a v e s ,

The basic purpox o f this sort CIF authority is to substitute the knowledge CIF
one person for the ignorance or lesser knowledge o f another person, al-
thaugh what the person who defers thereby comes to possess as a surrogate
for his ignorance is nctt knowledge, but "'true belief"" in the sense ctf belief
that is indeed justified, though the believer knows not why2

We should distinguish relying 01.1 such authority from m e ~ l yash"ig

for &vice- One speciakt may ask the advice of another jn a complicated
case. The spe"iaist may want to make sure that she has not overlooked
anythi~ligin her deliher&io~~s, so she may col~sultanother. But she does
not surrender her judgment to the other; she retains the final decision
about what should be done, a decision that she will make on the basis of
her own extttnsive k~owiedge,suppkmnted by the advice of otkrs.
When 1 go to the doctor; however, I am not merely ask1"igfor advice to
supplement my own deliberations; the doctor's deliberations suppla-lzt
what I originally thought and X take over her beliefs as if they were my
own, I col7fide~"ttly tell my family and friends that I have "iritis,"" though I
am not really sure just what it is or how the doctor h ~ o w Xshave it. Yet, as
Friedman points out, because X do not rcaUy have the knowledge that
w u l d justify those belief!;----Icannot achnally replicak? lrhc doctor's rea-
soning-1 take them on largely trust. I have "true beliefs" about what
course 1should take, but X do not have the howledge on which those be-
liefs am based.
As Friedman st-resses, "One person defers to another on same matter
because he lacks the howledge or insight that he assumes the other pos-
sesses.'" At the heart of this type of authority relation is m ineqrkmlity of
bztltsttledge. The authority relati,on does not create this hequaljty, it: =cog-
nizes a prior inequality. "It is because of the superior insight of some
perm"" that he should be ack~owtedgedarr; "11 authority" by others: the
deference relation is supposed to reflect the antecedent c o n c ~ t e/per-
sonal9di"fferencesbetween the partjes." 4

Being %n Aothoriv" and the Art of Politics: Platonic Collectivism

I h e idea of being "an authority" has, as Friedman points out, been em-
ployed in political philosophy. Toccjuevilile, the great: French political the-
orist of the nineteenth cenhzry (Section 7.1),held that socjety could, not
exist without common beliefs. And Friedman tells us, Tacqueville
""makesquite clear in an extended discusson ol this matter that he means
beliefs held on the 'principle of authority,' that is, 'on trust and without
discrussio~~.""" ""anazrthurity" wwitl be particulaly importmt to m
a c c o m of political authoriey if it: is h d d that the art of poljtics is a special
art and those who :know it best should rule. As far back as Plab, political
theorists-especidy those who arc? conservatively illclined-have justi-
fied political authority because some are "'an arzt-Xlontyon polities." Plato
insisted that politics is m art, and like any art, such as medicine or car-
pentry it shouid be practiced by those who have the necessary h o w l -
edge and skill. Those drawing on this conception of pl-iticd ault*lority
have, like Plato himself, often compared the state to a ship at sea; a ship
needs a crew with diverse skills, but it aiso needs a capt"in who has the
necessary skill amd howledge to safely nwigate the mm): perils con-
frontkg the ship. The sailors submit to the aullnority of the be-
cause ihe captain has the skill and knowledge to preserve the ship;in the
same bvay citizens ought to surrender their judgment to those who h o w
the art of politics. Thus, says Thomas Carlyle, the wise deserve to be the
maskrs of others."
Notice that this is an application of Plato%ccollectivist theory of justice
(Section 93). If justice demands "cat each person perfotm his or her right-
ful function, and have the rights m d powers necessary to do so, then jus-
tice demands that those who hawe the skiil to rule and maxage t-he state
have the rights and powers-the atrthoriq-to do so. Cerhinly, says the
corzservative, the skill needed to run a government is greater than the
skifl needed to build a house; ar~dno one thinks that everyone is equally
skilled h house buildhg. hdeed, when building a house we take great
care to ensure that we find the most skillful builde~If we take all this
trouhle with a house, we should not be any less careful with Lhe &airs of
government. n o s e who are sklltlzrl should run the government, and ath-
ers should ackrrouilc?clg.etheir authority in these matters. Hence the polit-
ically skilled should rde, axd others should accept their aulhority and

Oakeshoft on Political Avthorip:

Antimticrnalist and Anficol/ectivist Cctnservatism
I h e version of conservatism we have thus far considered supposes that
there i s a goal or end of political Efe, and s m e sfiodd have authority
over others because they are more cmpetent at achieving this goal.
Many reject this view of political lift.. Politics, we may say, is not an art
like medicine, for mediche has an aim, a goal-health. And it is just be-
cause medicine has a goal that exyert knowledge is useful, for the expert
k~fozosthe &';f wny to achie~~ethe goal. But it is often said, politics has no
goal; peaplle in. society have a wide krariety of different goals and values..
Because there is no political god corresponding to '"ealth," we cannot
treat the politician as an expert Lvho howl; the best route to a goal. Just
because there is no single political goal, politics cannot be the art of
achievhg that goal.
One of the interesting features of C)akeshotifsco~xservatismis that he
agrees that politics does not have a goal such as health, or making us all
better people, or whatever. But Oakeshott says, it is those who do not un-
d e r s t d politics-the politicaily naive voters of today%democracies, for
exmple-who fail to see this. Those who fait to grasp the real naturcl of
politics, nlho think there is some common god to be achieved, are always
seeking some politic& utopia. He writes,

To some people, ""government'happears as a vast resr.vuir of power which

inspires &ern to dream ctf what might be made of it. They have favorite proj-
ects, of various d i m s i o n s , which they sincerely believe are for the benefit
of mankind, and to capture this source CIF power, if necessary tcj increase it,
and to use it for imposing their favourite projects upon their fellows is what
they understand as the adventure of gclveming men. They are, thus, dis-
posed to recognise government as an instrument CIF passion; the art of poli-
tics is to inname and direct desire. . . .
Now, the disposition tc3 be conservative in respect of politics reflects a
quite different view of the activity. of governing. The man uf this disposition
understands it to be the business of government nctt to inflame passion and
give it new objects to feed upon, but to inject intc3 the activities of already tt3o
passionate men an ingredient of muderatiljn; to restrain, to deflate, to pacify
and to reconcile; not to stoke the fires of desire, but tct damp them down.7

The politically inexperienced, Oakeshott argues, are those Who are

:likely to conceive of politics as aiming at some great goal, he it social jus-
tice, equality, or peace on earth. :hfot understand* the limited possibili-
ties of politics, the poljtically inexperienced sec polities as the way to
solve all, of our problems (md, of course, they become disappointed and
cpical when they digover that this is impossibte). TO a conservative, in
contrast, "Governhg is mderstood to be a secondary activity."~Politics
is not itself directly concerned with promoting goals, but is the art of
arranging social life so that various goals can he pursued by different
people with c o d i c t h g aimsayYet, alt-3nough it is in this sense a second-
order activity-m activity devoted to regulating other activities without
an end of its owl%-it still is a specific art, and so one that requires practi-
cal h~owledge.
"Pditics," says Oakeshott, is "the activity of attending to the general
arrangements of a set of peoyie whom chance or choice have brought to-
gether."" This "attending to'9heir affairs requires howledge of their
poljtical traditiom; it requires amending, p r e s e h g , and exterrding
those traditions in the ongoing effort to attenrt to the prOhlems of life
among diverse people. Consequexrtl_y,those who do not grasp the politi-
cal tradition are unable to effectively exercise political authority. Al-
though C)akcshottfsantiratio~~alist case for political expertise diffclrs from
Plab's nnonistic cdectivism, both identijCy pditics as m art that cannot
be successfully practiced by the inexperienced. Thus, wither Plab nor
Oakeshott-21or any conservative-is enamoed of democracy; for it
gives political power to those who are bvit%loutpolitical. howledge, with
the result that they Iet loose their passims in the politkal realm (see Sec-
tion 3.3). The art of political rule involves the art of restraining passior~s
and enthusiasms, which continudly to engulf pditics. And in
most conservative writings, there is a clear I'ndiration that the mass, or
the majority, are prone to such passio~~s.

10.2 On Being "In Aufhority"

The Confrast with "An Avfhorifym
Friedman tells us,

A person can be said to ""have authctrity'2n Iwu distinct senses. For one, he
may be said to be "haauthctrity," meaning that he cttcupies some office, posi-
ticm, or status which entitles him to make decisions about how other people
should behave. But, sea>ndlilr,a person may be said to be "an authority" on
something, meaning that his views or utteernces are to be entitled to be be-
lieved (includingI ta carnplicate matters, beliefs about the right and wrong
ways of doing things).'l

T%e nation of "'an authorityM-which we have been exmhkg-concerr-

trates an belief m d howledge, whereas the idea of someone who is "in
authority" points to her entitlement to replate action. If you accept some-
one as "m autl?rorityU"your beliefs are guided by her judpent; if you ac-
cept y o u doctor as an authority on medjcine, you believe her when sfie
tells you that you have a certah disease and what you should do about it,
But to accept smeone -as ""in authori'cy"?~to obey herr dimctives, not nec-
essarily to believe that what she says is correct. As Friedmm puts it, when
one ackplowlcdges mother as being "in authority" "stead of acthg on
one's "private juclgment" one acts on the wit1 of another. "iou follow the
will of mother even if it codicts with your own private jdgmmt: on this
matter you say the person ""in aufiority" wwiII decide what is to be done,
Her will replaces your decisio-.~. Particularly important in this regard is
that your obedience to the directives of the autharity is nat dependent on
your agreeing with her wisdorn. Indeed, the vvhole point of recogvlizing
another as being "'in autho~ty'" is that the validity of her dhctivtts is not
dependent on your agreekg to their somdness. As Fsiedmm says,

The idea being a>ntieyedby such notions as the surrender of private judg-
ment or individual judgment is that in ctbeying, say a command simply be-
cause it comes from someone accorded the right to rule, the subject does not
make his obedience conditional on his own personal examination of the
thing he is being asked tc3 do, Rather, he a c c e p t ~as sufficient reason ftx ft3.c-
lowing a prescription the fact that it is prescribed by someone acknawl-
edged by him as entitled to rule. The man who accepts authority is thus said
to surrender his private or individual judgment because he does not insist
that reasons be given that he can grasp and that satisfy him, as a condition of
his obedience.12

In many y s , followhg the directi\res of someone who is "in authoriw"

is much more puzzling thar~doing what you are totd by "m1 authority" If
smeone is " m autfnority,""she h o w s more than you do, and things witl
hilrn out better if: pm follow the directivm of a m e howledgeable per-
son. But why woutd we ever fdlow the directives of someone who is "in
authorip,"' given that such authority makes no claim to be ar7y wiser or
any mare howledgeable than are \ve"ZAfter all, if the person with atr-
Ihority does not have special knowledge of political matters, why arc we
obeying him? Why should we accept directio~~ of our actions by s m o n e
who does not h o w my mare than we do?

Equality and Coordination Problems

To grasp why we might follow someone who is simply "in authority,"

a situation in which a ccrrllection of individuals wish tc:, engage in some com-

mon activity requiring a certah degree of cclordinated action but they are
tmable to agree on what the substance of their coordinated action should be.
And because they camctt agree, it fc~llowsthat if each insists ctn following
his own views, the common activity will be made impossibfe. Since the ccrrst
of insisting on faltc3wing one's own judgment is chaos, it may then appear
reasonable for each man to sacrifice his own judgment as it-re basis ctf (some
part) of his behaviclr and also tt3 forego pressing his own views on all others,
even though he regards his ~ I views W ~ as fully justified and theirs as m%-
taken; and instead accept someone to make binding decisions for all, ctr to
establish some procedure, such as election lottery or hereditary lineage, de-
signed to define who is to have the right to make binding decisions upon

In this case, we all want to engage in some cooperative actit.iW but we

each have diffemt ideas about how to go about it. Our situation is not
simpiy a onetirne conflict that might be suhject to negotiation; we will
find ourselves in constant disagreement as we go about the activity. If
FIGURE l 0.1 A Coordination Problem

each insists on the right to decide for herself, we wifl not gain the benefits
of cooperation; hstead of cooperation we confront endless disputes or
chaos, in which each does his own thing, m d sc-, aciitriv remains uncoor-
dinated. We i-vill, in. short, fkd ourselkres jxt Hobbes" state of nature (Sec-
tion 8.2).
?"he case for a coordirnator is clal-ffied irn Figure 10.1. Alf a d k t t y are
confronted with four possibilities: they each drive on the right, they each
drive on the left, Alf drives on the rigbt/Retty on the left, M f drives on
the le&/Betty drives on the right. The nunnbers in t-he cells irndicate how
each ranks that optiom. 11-tthis case, A l i is a right-hamded person who has
a slight preference for a traffic code according to which he drives on the
right side of the road, since he finds it slightly easier to sbft gears with
his right hand. Thus, AWs first choice is for everyone to drive on the
right. Betty m the other hand, is left-handed and, for parallel reasons,
w u l d prefer a traffic code that instructs people to drive on t-he left. Her
first choice is for evqorre to drive on the left. We can see, however, that
neither wishes to go it alme and drive on the side he or she most prefers
regardless of what others do: that wouid lead to A:if drivint; on lrhe right
and Betty on the left-a disaster, since they will eventually crash! What is
most important is that they drive on the same side of the mad, even if it is
m t the side that is most fitvored. Eitkr coordinatior.1point (rightjright;
left/left) is vastly preferred by both, of them, to options in which they fail
to coordinate. Both, then, would benefit from a coordinator who pro-
claims h i c h side of the road to drive on. Even if, say, the coordirnator se-
lects the right-hand side, which is Betty's second choice, Betty has every
reason to obey' since she benefits from achieving coordination. In this
sort of case, then, it is not relevarnt whether the coordinator chooses
wisely (there probably is no correct mswer to this problem); what is im-
portant is that the coordinator instructs everyone on what to do.
We requirt, this type of coorcfinator, then, when we disagree about
wh& is best or what we most prefer. W e n we all agRe on what is to be
done, the problem is not severe: our individual judgments conver2i;e. But
that is rare in complex activities involving many people; typically we
each have Merent ~udgmentsabotrt what should be done, In, this com-
mon case, we can only continue our cooperative activity if sorne peopIe
act in ways that codict with t-heir perw11""i judgmex~tsabout what is best
to do or what they would most prefer. That is, it:is necessary that they act
on the fudgmcnts of the authoritalive coordinator rather than their own
judgment about what is best.
This case for authority then, directly follows from Hobbes's analysis
of the state of nature in which each person follows his own private
judgments, leading to war (Section 8.2). There. c m be no justice or order
in such a co~liditim.To create a just and peaceful society Ilobbes ar-
gues, we m~rstcreate someone who has authority-someom "in au-
thority"-to resolve our disputes and direct us in what we should do.
'This does not rman, hwevcr, that we must accept the authoritative co-
ordinator" opinions about what is best. For cooperation to continue, it
must he the case that people can say, (1) "Well, cl, isn't the option that I
think is best, but that's what the coordix~atorsays we should do, so I'll
do it.."'And that is very different from (2) "Well, if the atrthoritative co-
ordinator says that is the best waEi, it must be. I guess I was wrorzg to
thirtk not-V)."fiiedmitr~'~ point is that "h authority"' c m e r n s (1); it
does not require (2), which is a case where one thinks that the coordina-
tor is "an authority" about cl,-ing. Again, the w r i t s or demerits of
the particular decisior~are i r ~ k v a nto
t the decision to obey in case (1);
you do not obey becatrse the authority has the right answer, but be-
cause he gives an answer that allows for a coordi.nated solution, Fried-
man wl-ites,

From this standpoint, then, the basis of the claim to obedience made by a
person "in authority" is isof a very special kind. The claim drrres not derive
Prom any special personal characteristics of the person inve&t"dwith author-
ity, such as superior power ctf judgment or special knowledge (as in the case
of being "an authority"") His claim to be obeyed is simply that he has been
put "in authority" acasrding to established procedure, ratl?er than that his
decisirtns are, on independent grounds, meritorious, or superior decisir1ns.14

F ~ e d m a ntakes the argument one step further, Not only does the con-
cept of being ''in authoriv" not presuppose that he who is jn authoP-ivis
also "m aulhoritpf3ut the two ideas of autfnority involve different PR-
suppositions- The argument that we have just examined for havhg an
authoritative coordinator of actions starts from the premise that we are
equally h e (Section 6.3) and are not LVilliftg to defer to fihe judgments ot:
others. It is because each person has his t>wn opinions, and does not
think that others are especialty wiser than is he, that the basic pr""biem
develops- Each person thjnks that he h ~ o w thes best way to act, and be-
cause others disagree they fail to coordinate their actions. No one thinks
that any of the others is especially wiser, so each keeps to his owl7 opin-
km. Still, some one thing must be done if thejr activity is to be coordj-
nated. So they develop some pmcedum whereby they selc3c.t someone to
coordinate their actions even though they continue to disagree &out
what is best. Sa, follltowing once agah Habbes" analysis of the state of
nature (Section 8.2), Friedmm argues that it is pfecisely because each of
us considers ourself to be ewally frc e do not recop~izethe natural
superiority of anyolxe to rule over us---that we argue and disagree, m a
so need someone ta be "'in. atrthority." h contrast, he argues that the idea
of "an authority" involves a basic inequality; someone knows better than
the others, and so they should not only accept her directions about how
to act, they should accept her ophions too.

Obedience When You Think the A u f h o r i v Is Wrong

Friedmm" aanalysis of political authority is enlightening. He explains
what is perhaps the most important feature of potitical au&ority: Irhal:we
have Emon to obey even when we think that it is wrong. X , as cortserva-
tives are apt to thisrk, political authoriv is based on being " m a u t h o ~ v r "
accepting the autfnority of the state seems servile. For you must not or~ly
accept its directions, but you must alter your judgments to conform to its
dictates. You must say to yourself, "If the government says that such-
and-such is the best policy, then I guess it must be the best. The govern-
ment knows i t s business." Most of us, however, are not prepared to say
that: we are not prepar(3d to handon our political jdgments. WC con-
tinue to evaluate government policies as good or bad. Yet, this might
seem to mem that we only obey laws when we agree with them. "I'm not
goil~gto abandon my judgment," yyo might say, "so only if I. think a law
or a poticy is good wilt I follow it.'" But that wodd seem to u d e m h e
political authority entirely L,aws are then little morcj than suggestions put
fomard by the government for the evaluation of each citizen,
fiietlmm points to a way out of this difficdy: we are not faced with
the choice of either (I) abandonhg our independent judgment and be-
coming servile subjects, or (2) adopting anarchism, that is, denying that
ent could ever have authority over us. A third aiten~ativeis
to follow the directions of the government so as to achieve coordination,
without abandoning one's judgment: m e puts smeone "in authority"'
but denies that he or she is "'an a u t h o ~ p ' k politics.
1 0.3 Liberal Political Authority
The Pure Coordination Theory o f Justice and Authority
As 1have stressed, Friedman"~analysis of the notion of being "in aulhor-
i ~ ' 9 i t sw l l with Ilobbes"s theory Recall Hob$esfs account of the state of
nature and justice (Section 8.2). Hobbes demonstrates how tmlimited lib-
erties in the state of nature would lead to conflict and istsecurity Thus, he
argu"& rational individuals wodd conse~rtto a sovereig~rwho would in-
stitute rules of justice- It is importmt for Hobbes that m y rules of justice
am better than no rules of justice, thus ever)rone can see it would be bet-
ter to live wrder alzy sysf-em qf jzlsfice thaa to co~rtirruelife in Lhe state of
nature. But to gain the benefits of a syskm of justice----a system of rigbts
that distinguishes "mine" and "thineM-we need to coordinate on the
same system. Thus, Ei0bbc.s maintains that we must appoint someone, or
s m e body of people, to be in authorip and thus have the power to lay
down common rules af justice-
The coordhation theory of political authorit). also miakes sense of the
idea that a crucial task of poli.tical authority is to pmvide for plablic p o d s
such as clean air, defense, police, m d so on. It has long been recognized
that a private property--ha~"darket will not supply these ""public
goods""in sufficient ~al7tities.l~ Conside3; for example, the case of c l e m
air*Suppose that in the state of natznre, three-quarters af the population
managed to agree to cut emissions, and this resulted in. much cleaner air.
Of cowse, there will be costs that these three-quarters oi the popuiittion
will have to bear: they will have to buy emission controll devices, ar drive
less, or in some other way alter their activities irz ways that:cost. SLIppose,
however, they do so. We c m immediately see that the one-quarter who
did not. cut. their emissions gab the full benefits of the restrizint by the
other th~e-quarkrs:the one-quarter of noncooperators get @Elthe beneiits
of clean air, wi.thout bearing any c>f the cost! One feature of public goods is
that nonpayers c ot be exclded from elljoying the good; f ul-z!pnegels
~ d f else cnn gct if fir free, Seeing that the noncooperating me-
the c ~ ~ezferyarze
v a r t e r of the populatio~rget the clean air without p a w g "ny of thc cost,
some of our cooperators are likely to decide to stop payhg their share af
the costs. Why should they have to pay when others get it for free? Why
not get it for free themselves? Reasoning thus, we might expect a r increas-
ing nul-nber of cooperators to switch to the nnncooperator camp, with the
result that eventually so fcw cooperate that air quality goes down. Yet, it
may well be the case that evayoxre prcfers clem air to dirty air, but all
purely volwtmy schemes fail because too many people seek a '"free
rides'-they seek to get the kenfits without payhg the cost, with the re-
sult that the benefits are not achiewd at all. 'Thus, one important liberal
argument for political mthorif?/is that cve wodd illlbemfit from a coordi-
natior-someone in authoriw-who could direct everJv.oneto do his or her
part in a c o ~ e r a t i v escheme that everyorle wmts, but which cannot be
achieved as long as contributions remain purely voluntary
If we accept the Hohbesian pure coordination theory of justice and po-
litical aulhority political authority is unlimited in t-he sense t-hat all citi-
zens have goad reason to follow any rule laid down by the political atr-
thority. :In this case, the sovereign" rrulcs of justice or policy always
"preemptf"our own views about what is just: you follow the sovereigr"tfs
reasonkg to the extent that you exclude your own viekvs about justice
when considering what to do,lVhe reason for this should be clear: since
our overriding aim is to coordinate our actions according to c o m o n
rules, it is better to follow even a bad directive of the authority t h a ~
cooperation m d risk a return to the state of nature by followkg different
rules than those laid down by the political authoriv. Moreover, since jus-
tice is tied to legdity (Sectior~s8.7,8.2), no one c m reasonably daim that
the rules laid down by political authorify are unjust. It is important, how-
ever, to stress that the sovereign makes no claim to be comect or have the
best views about justice, a ~ on d the Hobbesim account your obedience
in no way supposes that the sovereign is "m atrthority" about mything.
The important thing is to dr! what the sovereip says, not at all to believe
what he says.

Locke, Kclnf, and Umpires

Although the pure coordination theory is extremely helpful in explahing
the puzzle of why equally free people would sunender their judgment to
others, ar~dso is heif3ful h constructing a liberal theory of political au-
thority, it seems to put too much kveight on coordination. As we saw in,
Section 8.2, Hobbes's theory tics justice foa closely to legality. Most liberals
have ii7sisted that there are s m moral rights that constitute the basis of
ideal justice, to which legal justice must conform.
:If we reject the Hobbesin position that political authority defi~esjrts-
flee, what is the relation between pinciples of justice and political au-
&ority? Suppose that we illlaccept certain substantive prhcQles of jus-
lice, such as the classical liberall rights to life, liberQf and progerty Locke
held that even if everyone achlowlebged these natural rights, disputes
will still arise as to what justice dernmds. People kvou2d interpret these
rights differently; in disputes each individual wodd be likely to inclhe
toward interpretations that favor his interests over those of others. To
avoid this "inconvenience," L,ocke argued, it is necessary to appolint m
"uumpire"' to resolve disputes about the requirements of justice, Peaceful
social life requires an authoritative ii7te~reterof justice. Immar~ueljKant
Although experience [and, we ~ g hadd, t Hobbes] teaches us that men live in
violence and are prone tct fight one another before the advent of external corn-
pulsive legislation, it is not experience that makes public lawhf coercion nec-
es-17. The necessity of public lawful coercic.iondoes not rest on a fact, but on
an a priori Idea ctf reason, for, even if we imagine men tct be ever so good na-
tured and righteous before a public lawful state of society is established, indi-
vidual men, nations and states can never be certain they are secure against vi-
olence from one another because each will have the right to du what seems
just arzd good to Ilim, entirely independently of the opinicm of others,l7

K a ~goes
t on to il7sist that justice is &sent in the state of nahre because
each relies on his own judgment about w h a t is just, and thus %hen there
is a controvmsy concerning rights (jus contrc~mrsrkm),no cowet(?"l j d g e
can be found to mnder a decision having the force of law.'.'"lWecausecon-
flict a ~ h~justice
d arise if each persol1 aiways relies on his own interpreta-
tion of what is just, Kmt jnsists that if one "'does not wish to renomce all
concepb of justice," one must "quit the state of nahxre, in which every-
one follows his w n judgmer~ts"" and subject oneself to a ""j@."Jif Tke
liberal theories af Locke and Kant, then, are first m d foremast justifica-
lions of an "uunpire" (Lock@)or '"judge" ((Kant)whose task is to provicIe
pdlic, defirtitive resdutions of conflictini; jlldgments &out justice. To
escape the state af nature, in. kvhich each relies on his own moral judg-
men&, we require rule by an "Umpire, by settled, standing Rules, indif-
ferent, and the same to all Partie~.~ZO

Umpires: "In Avfhoriv" or "An AuthorivffB

Must the liberal umpire be " m authority" about:justice ar is it enough to
be si~nply""in authority" to make decisions about what we should do? To
better grasp what sort of authority is needed, let us focus on a particuiar
case: suppose two people, All: and Betty, are in the state of nature, m$
they disagree about the nature of liberal justire. For example, Alf may in-
sist that although li$aal justice makes some provision h r private prop-
erty rights, property is subject ta taxation in order to redistribute re-
sources to the least well off along the lines suggested. by John Rawls
(Section 8.4). 1x1contrast, ZSetty may mak~tainthat the liberal cor~tract
gives no significant scope for redistribution. m a t are they to do? Of
course, we hope that they will discuss heir differences m d pmsent their
arguments; hut give11 the comple>tityof political debate, especiaily con-
cerning interp~tationsol contest-ed notions such as property and distrib-
utive justice, we &odd expect continued disagreement.
One possibility is that they will go to a sage: someme who is '%D au-
thority" about justice.21 The sage, priest, dder, or moral philosopher is,
on this view taken to have superios insight into justice. Now, although
sometimes we do seek the advice of those whom we co~~sider more wise,
the Eberal supposition of the basic freedoln and equality of illlmakes it
krribly unlikely that everyone will defer to the s m e sage about justice.
I h e entire liberal prc,ject in political theory---and in this way it radiraily
difkrs from most conservati,ve views-rests on the supposition that there
are no natural. moral authol-ities to whom everyone should or would de-
fer. 'fhe liheral recopizes ""no high priests of moral~.~~22
In terms of Friedxnm" salysis, Alf and Betty may well. conclude that
they do not need "an authority" on morals; they require only that some-
one be "in authority'" to end the practical dispute. But on reflection, it
does not seem that Alf and Retty simply seek a coordinator who tells
them what to do, with no claim that the caordinatar's views are correct
or right. In our case, because Alf and Bet@%practical conh-oversy about
what to do is based on a marai dispute about wZlai. is just, it seems doubt-
ful they kvould be satisfied with an umpire who makes no attempt what-
soever to track the underlying issue about justice, After all, they conceive
of themselves as disagreeing &out what to do because they disagree
about what is right; to resolve the former without reference to the latter
treats their m r a l dispute as if it were no mr~fthan a conflict of prefer-
ences, iike our drking a m p l e in :Fit;- 10.1.
It would seem, then, that All and Betty mtxst reject the pure coordina-
tor notion of authority-Hriedman"s notion being simply "in author-
ivf"because it makes no attempt to relate t-he resolution of the practical
controversy to the proper solution of the disagreement about justice. But
also, they reject the sage account of political authority-trying to find
smeone who is "an authority"habout justic ecause as free and equal
people they will surely disagree about who the proper atrthorities are.
Locke's notion of an "unnpire" provides a third alternative. Consider
more carefully ihe idea of an umpire in a game. Players require ar.2 um-
pire because they have practical disputes based on their different views
on how the rules of the garne apply to particular sitzlations. Often, the
$ispute is simp:iy -about fairly straightforward matters of fact such as
whether or not Betty hit the ball in foul territory. But: this is not always
the case, Cmsider the concept of a "strike zone'hnd what constjtutes a
'"called strike," The boundaries of the strike zone are contested-we
might even say essentially contested: same players and trmpires insist
that the zone is wide, others advocate a nanower conception. Neither in
law nor in sporting matches do rules apply Lhmselves: they need to be
interpreted, and the application req~rirespractical judgment. The umpire,
then, makes her practical dettiminations m the basis of her judgments
cox~cerx~ing the rules of the game. This makes the umpire appear to be
somethjng of a sage. But players typical%yd o not, and nothing &out
accepting an umpire rcquixs that they must, see the umpire as a sage.
Players certair~lymay, but usually do not, take the urnpirt.'~decisions -as
reasons to believe: they usually do not see her as "an atrthority" in the
sense that they defer to her judgmnts about what to believe, Players
usually believe just what Lhey did before the umpire detrided----that is
why they so d e n argue with umpires-hut they accept her judgment as
a resolution of the practical dispute insofar as they do what she says.
Ihey may a r p e , but in the end they do w h a t the mpirtr says. Yet, they
expect the trmpire to deliberate about what to do on the basis of the rules
and the facb. Although the problem is essent-ially a practicd one, the m-
piw%resolution is to he based on her determhations col~cemjngthe. facts
and the rules oi the games.
Umpireship, then, constitutes a mix of expertise (ibeing ""an authority")
and practical disectives (bekg "in authority"'). The umpire3 aim is to
podurn pmticai decjsions that best track what the ruies r e w r e . Yet,
players need only conceive of her as a practical au.l%tonty(they see her as
being "in authority," not " m authority"). Indeed, the players must accclpt
the urnpirt.'~practicd auLhority even when they are cmfidmt her deci-
sion is wrong. Unless they were prepared to do so, they could not pro-
ceed with the game. Situations a l w y s arise when plaq'ers reasonably dis-
agree about what is Lhe appopriate thing to do, and that is precisely
when an umpire is needed. Unless they are prepared to follow the um-
pi=" ddecisioazs in these cases, the umpire coulci not do her job. Ti> be
sure, there are lirnits. At same point, we say thhgs We, "' ese just are
not even reasonable calls. 'This ump is either blind or has been paid offff
Even When we disagree with an umpire, we can usually grasp how
smeone seekhg to apply lrhe ruies of the g m e would make that deci-
sion. But if an trmpire consistently acts in ways that, ils far as we c m tell,
have nothing to do with the rules of the game, we will sooner or later
conclude that she is either incompete~~t or cormpt. We can say then, that
the players only accept the practical authority of the umpire for decisions
withh~some r a q e of reasonable decisions.
I h e differe~~cebetween Lockers umpire account and Friedman's coor-
dination theory is fmdarnental: Lockets srmpire view trltimately leaves
each citizen the ri@t to judge when m aoufiority loses its claim to be an
interpreter of justice a17d hence m longer need be obeyed. One of Lhe
most controversial ieatznres of Z,ocke%Seeu~a"Treatise is his claim that each
citizn reBins a ri&t to =volt against a political authoriv that has lost its
claim to be a judge of justice. Allhough we need an urrtpirtr to resolve dfs-
putes about the nature of justice, each ot us must stitj examjrte the merits
of the umpire" decisions to see if they are beyond the bounds of =ason.
Ib accept the auihority of an urnpircl. is not to accept a tyralit; if the case
for governmental authority is based on our need to resolve conflictkg in-
tergretations of justice, a government that no longer is concerned with
justice loses its authority fn trhe history of political p:hilosophy this hat;
been a controversial position. To s m e , such as Hobbes, it undoes every-
lhing that the argument for authority was meant to accomplish. If author-
ity was me& to end the arpments about what is to be done, many polit-
ical theorists have concluded that citizens should not decide, on the
merits of each decision, vvhcther to obey. But T have argued that the Lock-
e m positioz~does indeed fdlow from the u m p i ~ s h i pmodel; our under-
starrding of umpirer;hjp implies &at the umpire must remain within the
bounds of reasonable &cisions, (A baseball umpire who declares, "Strike
two, youh out!'" loses his authority to call the game.) h d if that is true,
then the ""inco11venier7ctt" of each persorl relying on his own opinio~lis
not completely removed; for one must stilt rely on one's own oplnion as
to whether the political authority is acting within the hounds of reason-
able interp~tatio~ls of the princifia of justice,

10.4 Democratic Authority and the

Mcmugemenf of Collective Affairs
Socialism and Anarchism
Atrthoriv conflicts with equality- If someone has authority over others,
that persm is in the position to d k c t or commmd others-that person's
judgmcnt "'prcemptsf"he judgment of ihose over vhJhom she exercises
aut_hont.y.This is manifestly inegalitarim. Conservatives, of course, are
not troubled by this, since .they are critical of equality (Section 7.5). It is
much more of a pr~b1emfor liberals; in marly w q s the chief project of
liberal political theory has been to show that equally free peaple would
consent to rules of justice that constraiut their freedom, as -well as submit
to a pditical autrhoriCy to i n t e r ~ >arid
~ t er~forclejustice, :Now, as I have
previously remarked, much socialist thought is very close to revisionist
liberalism (Section 8.1) and embraces a view of the state as the authorita-
tive interpreter of jwtice; insofa as it does so, such socialist thought
adopts an essentially iiberal theory of politied authority. We dso have
seen, however, that radical socialist thought-for exaunple, that jnspired.
by PJIarx-has refused to build its case on principles of justice (Section
9.1). Indeed, socialjsm's valuling of equalj,Q of p o w a (and so of f ~ e d o m
as power) leads generally to a privileged place for democracy in socialist
thinking about justice (Section 9.2). Nut il: equaiity of power is a core
value, it. seems ahxost impossible to justify political authority.
The core commitment to eyuality has kd some socialists to marchism.
As we saw above (Section 10.2), some liberal-hlclhed thhkers so value
libert-y m d autonomy that they insist on the iltlegithacy of any political
authority In a sirnilar way, some socialists so value equality of power
that they too rexlounce all authority Mikhail Bakunin (181&1&";76)-who
fought Marx for leadership of the inter~~ational socialist movement-was
adamant that the inequality i n h e ~ nh t ali political authority corrupted
the mture of h a m s al?d destroyed social cooperation.2"us, it was
not simply the destruction of capitalism, but political authority and the
state, at which Bakurrin aimed. h his cont-roversy with Bakunb, Marx
hinlself s e e m d to accept that, ultimately, communist society would abol-
ish political atrthori-ty in the sense of atrtharity of one person over an-
0 t h ; although there still would he a ceelkal administrative authority in
a ful:ly commwist state, the ""admistration of things" would replace the
"domixlation of people."" Just as in many ways conservatism is a csi-
tiqzre of the ideal of eqwali,ty rather than an interpretat.i.on of it, socialjsm
often takes the form of a rcjectim, rather than an interpretation, of politi-
cal authority.

Democracy and Socialist Authority

Anarchists such as Bakunin reject political atrthonty as corrupting; be-
cause Mam places so much weight on economic forces as the true deter-
minarts of a socictL; he tends to d o w n p l ~ the role of political authorip*
What became b a w n as ""dmocratic socialism" was a rejection of Marxfs
beliefs that socialism was the inevitable result of economic forces, In-
stead, argued socialists such as Eduard Bcrnstein (1850-1932) in Ger-
many and G.D.H. Cole in Britain, socialjsm was an egrrlitarim ethic&
ideal and r e q u i ~ dpolitical action to implement it. Thus, to democratic
socialists, parliamex~tarydemocracy and it?;attendant political autl-rority
are necessary to bring socialism about.
As sooal as socialim arcepts political authority as legitimate and nec-
essary, howwer, its tex~sionwikh eyuality immediately xises. H w can
anything that is intrinsically hegalitarian, such as political atr"cEroritybe a
necessary part of a thoroughly egaiitariul, ideal such as suciahsm, which
seeks equdity of p o w r and social equality? 32-10key once again, is de-
mocracy, understood in such a way as to reconrile auCf*Lmi-tywith both
freedom and eyuality &call that in their analysis of socialist dlemocracy
(Section 9.29, Cohcm and Rogers insisted that a genuine democratic com-
munity presupposes equal freedom and some sort of equalization of
p w e r and resower; among classes. Under such conditions, they argue,
the members of the comul7ity car1 detiberate m d debate about "the di-
rection of social life" and "conditions of their olvn associationff:

That members of the order together determine the institutions, rules and
a>nditionsof their own association means that they themselves are sover-
eign. This sovereignky isfiely exercised in the seme participants in it-reorder
have, and are recognized a s having, the capacity to form reasclned judg-
ments about the ends of social life. . . . Sovereignty is eqzia11y exercised in the
wnse that the views of each member of the democratic order are accorded
equal weight in public deliberationez

Followhg Rousseau, Cohen and Rogers understand the democratic com-

muniiy as exrcishg political mthority over itself, ancf so political au-
thority actually expresses both freedom and equality. Each member of
the cornmuniq, argued Rousseau, is not only a citizen stlbject to the laws
but also a member of Lhe '"~oeerign,"' tt7e supreme political authority
Supreme poli6cal auihorityf then, rtrsides in the co
of which everyone is a membec L,aws-acts of th
acts of the entire cornmuniv (considered in their active role as citizens)
legisbting for the entim cornunity (in their passive role as subjects).
T%us, afl genttine acts of authority comefrom all and apply Io 1111. h actof
sovereignty is not, then, the act of a superior talki-ng to an inferiol; it "is
the will of the body of lfie people,'"lrhe group deciding what is best for
the group.2"~ such, it does not involve an inequality between those
with political authority and those subject to it: everpne exercises politi-
cal authority, and everyo17.eis subject to it. Criticai to Rousseau"~anafysis
is that the verdict of the majority is not simply the will. of the maj0rit.y im-
posed on the minority-for that would be yet another f o m of slavery
and dependence-but t%le expressior~of the general will a r ~ dthe common
interest. Recall Wousseau's analysir; of tkc reation of freedom and the
germeral will (Section 5,4). If (1.) a free person acts true will, (2) each
desires the general will or common good of lfie w~ity;(3) because
the democratic process reveals this common good (4) each person wills
the democratic verdict and so (5) each person is free when sine subrnits to
the verclict. Furt-her, si~lice(6) the democratic verdict is based on equality
of civil and social status because each has the same political.rights m d (7)
the law is general and applies equally to all citizens, (8)equdity is mcon-
ciled with autrhority Rouseau is so faslrinaling just because he seeks to
show that the political concepts we have examined-liberty, equality, jus-
tice, democracy, and aut-hority-can be achieved, without conflicts or
trac-fe-offs, giver1 Lhe proper political arrangemer~ts.I\lousseaufsIhwry is
perhaps the clearest example of a thoroughly monistic view ol political
Rousseau depicts the authority of the democratic sovereign arr; "an au-
th0rit.y" about the general will. To be sure, the democratic sovereign is
not nlruays comect about the general will: ''The people is never corrqted,
but it is often misled, and only then does it seem to will what is bad." As
Rousseau puts it, the democratic majority sometimes expresses only "the
will of all" rathcr than the general will. "The general will studies only the
commm interest while the will of all studies private h~terest~ and is in-
deed no more than the sum of individual desires- But if we take away
from these same wills the pluses and minuses which cancel each other
out, the balance which remains is the gel7era:i will.'T'fhus, argues
Rousseau, ""From the deliberations of a people properly infor~xed,and
provided its members do not have any communications among them-
selves, the great rider of small differences will always produce a gen-
eral will m d the decision will always be good."Z7 Rousseau, then, holds
that insofar as the democratic majority has genuine authority, it speaks
for the ge~~eral will, and democracy is justified because under Lhe proper
conditions it is a reliable, ihough by no means perfect, way to arrive at
the general will. Thus, if democracy is properly functioning, codronted
by the verdict of the majoriv the minority should change what it believes
to be right. Accodhg to Rousseau, each person in the minority shodd
conclude, ""l my particular opinion had prevailed against the general
will, I should have done something other than what I: had willed, and
then I should not have been free.'"me people, in the form of a properly
constituted democracy; is thtrs ""an authority" on the general will, al-
though, like most authorities (such as doctors) it can sometimes be
The tension between procedural m d substantive justice in. democratic
socialist thought (Section 9.2) leads to a similar lension in its analysis of
political au&ority. In the. passages I have been examhhg, Rousseau de-
picts democracy as a reliable way to discwer the common good: the
democratic:mjority is " m authority" about the general will, and thus we
should ""srrender our judgme~~t'" to it. This, &~II,assumes that we pos-
sess a substantive tmderstmdhg of a just outcome, and democratic deci-
sionmaking is an '"expert" method to achieve this outcome. Cohen
agrees: follaWing Ro~ssew,he insists that people should reason together
about the common good of the commmity. Zs, But we have seen that: dem-
ocratic socialism tends to depict democratic outcomt-.s as proceduralZy
just: a law or policy is just s h p l y bcjcause it has hem anived at by demo-
cratic methods. On this view, the democratic majority is not ""an author-
iy'babout justice, its will dcfi~zesjustice. Insofar as Rousseau and demo-
cratic socialists define justice in terms of the democratic will of the
people, the authority of the people goes far beyond mere expert author-
ity: it is more like the authority of God., whose will d e t m i n e s justice, As
it has sometimes been put: pctyzlli, uox dei, "The voice of the people is
the vojce of Gocf." In the face of the pronoumements of such aulhority,
the individual citizen has no grounds for objection or complaint, If: it is
the true voice of the peopk, its will is necessarily just and rwst always be
obeyed. In itself, the people as a wt-tolc cannot conceivably be wrong
about justice, Hence the cmservative jibe that in Rousseau" ssociety
"each morning the citizen would look into the mirror while hawing and
see the face of one ten-millionth a tyrmt and one whole slave*"3@

Rofionolism and Experf Authoriv

:Ihave been stressing the egalitarian commitmen& of socialism, and how
this Lea& to a thoroughly democratic account of 1eli;itirnak authority. But
socialism displays a strong rationalist strain that leads in precisely the
opposite direction, toward rule by m elite wl-ro have the necessary un-
derstar~dingof society a"td skills to r m it. Recall Lhat according to E~"tgds,
one of Marx's great achievements was to base socidism 0x1 a scientilic
uncderstandhg of society ralhcr than elhjcd claims (Sections 3.2, 9,1).
Now, science is the realm of expert knowledge, The scjentist has special
techniques and has studied a specialized area of knowledge, with which
the average person is not acquahted. m e scientist is thus "an authoritypf
on her area of expertise (Section 10.1). Scientists, of course, may be
m n g , and they disagree with each other, hut the h y person is seldom in
the position to participate in these debates among aufionties.
:If socialism is a scjence that reveals the laws of capitalist production,
the l a w of economic, social, and political change, we s b u l d not expect
lay people to really grasp these laws or their implimtions. 'To be sure,
Marx hirnself apparently believed that explicil. understanding of the laws
of economics was not necessay: those very laws wouid cause the in-
masing impoverishment of workers, which would lead them to develop
a revolutionary consciousness, workhg for a socialist revolution without
themselves understandhg Marxist theory But -as the ni17eteex"tth cex"tkry
progressed and turned into the twentieth, it becme increasingly clear
that this rewlutiOClary c~nsciowne~s was not develophg. fsrstead, work-
ers we= joini~ligtrade unions and democratic socialist parties, seeking
simply to reform capitalism and hstitute something like a welfare state.
Lenin, the leader of the Russian revolution of 1917, saw this refoming
s principle betwen liberalism and
socialism as dellying "the a n t i ~ e s i in
socialism."3"min did not "oefieve that the workers would sponta-
neously develop a revolutionary consciousness; according to Lenin, inso-
far as the workers develop any "'sgontaneous" wx~sciousness,it woutd
be the capitalistic ideology that their problems can be solved through
trade unionism and some sort of reformist liberalism. Lenin thus makes
the proclmation that t u n s socialim away .from cJemocratic egalitarian-
ism to rationalism and hierarchy: "Without revolutionary theory there
can be no mvolutionary movement."~"f h~owlecfgeof socialist rwolu-
t i o ~ ~ a rtheory
y is necessary for effective political action, then political
leadership rests in the hands of those who h o w the theory. Lenin &us
advocates ieadership by a '"varlguarct" party, controlled by the elite who
m d e r s t d sociatist theory and thus are in the position to advance the
workrs' cause. Note that few workers will themselves be part of this
elite, for they are unlikely to be conversant with the socialist theory.
Lenin" extreme rationalism thus leads to a socialkm that rests political
authority in those who are m authority on socialist theory and practice; it
is their task to lead the workers toward an egalitarian social state.
Lenin thus proposes to combine a high degree of political inewality in
a hierarc-hied political structure with a commitmm to social and eco-
nomic eyuality ( S c r t i m 6.4). This became the official version of socialism
in the former co unist states of eastern Europe ard Asia, ard still re-
mains in8wntia:l in the political cultwes of China, North Korea, and
Cuba. From its v e v incept-i;on-md this view easily c m be traced to Marx
himself-its critics have doIlbted whether this starkly ir;tegal^itarimcon-
ception of political authoriv couId be johed to socialist equality. The re-
sult, they predicted, kvould be a socially m d economically inegalitarim
society favoring the politicd elite over the masses, in whose interests they
were sqposed to rule. And these predicliolrs were largely home out. Ai-
though the commtxnist societies were probably more economically egali-
tarian than rnost (but they were by no means remarkably egalitarian),
they demo~~stmted marked social inequal* resting orr p a t political in-
eqt~ality:Lenin" dream that rule by the vanguard party would fade away
as the workers developed socialist consciousness was never achieved: the
inequality of authority remained a &finjng kature of these societies.

m e tendency of socialism to embrace hierarchical political authority, de-

spite its deep commitment to equaliity, has deeper roots than Lenin's con-
viction that left to themselves, the workers would embrace reformist
rather than revolut.ionary politics- Mast versions of socialism have been
critical of not simply private property but the very idea of rnarkt sock@.
A long-standing criticism ot: capitalim is that the market is chaotic and
wastef d.Accorcf ing to a stmdard Marxist view,

Under capitalism the production and distribution of goods is quite unorga-

nized. What does this mean? It means that all the capitalist entrepreneurs
(or capitalist companies) produce cummodities independently of one an-
other, Instead of society undertaking to reckon up what it needs and how
much of each article, the Pactar~lrowners simply produce upon the calcula-
tirtns of what will bring them rnost profit and will best enable them to defeat
their rivals in the market. . . .
The first =ason, therefore, for the disharmony of capitalist society is the
anarchy of production, which leads to crises . . . competition and wars.33
The Marxist soIutim, and this was often put explicitly, was to organize
all of society a l o ~ ~ g lines of an "hmense cooperative workshop.ffTo
quot.e again from a book cailed, The ABC crf Comm~r~isrn,

We must know in advance how rnuch labour to assign to the various

branches of industry; what products are required and how much of each it is
necessary to produce; how and where machines must be provided. These
and sidliiir details must be thought out befclrehand, with approximate accu-
racy at least; and the work must be guided in accordance with calculations,
. . . Without a general plan, without a general directive system, and without
careful calculation and book-keeping, there can be nct organization. Btr t in
the communist social organization, there is such a plan.34

UOiTlg with market coordinatio~~, and repfaci~~g it with a con-

sciously p b e d economy, exprc?sses socialist rationalim a r ~ dits faith in
the power of human reason to trnderstand and control society, 1x1 com-
pxison to conscious plannhg, market coordination seems haphazard; it
subjects us all to the whim of uncor~tralledforces. Ta Marx, this violaks
not mly =ason, hut freedom, which can "'only consist in socialjzed man,
the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with
Nature, bringing it under the common control.""" "Clearl5 however, this
rationalist demmd to control and plan requires giving experts the au-
thority to organize and pian the economy Although some soci.alists have
hoped to combine radical democracy with ecol~ornicp l m ~ i q this ,
hardly seems plausible; economic plmning presupposes specialized eco-
nomic and orgmizatimal knowledge. Thus, it seems inevitable that ef-
forts to eliminate or even reduce the role of the market inevitably lead to
increased political-economic atrthori-ty of experts. M m y contemporary
socialists accept this, and so bave endeavored to kvelop forms of social-
ism that rely on m r k e t coordination (compare here lrhe classical liberal
view in Section 5.3).

f 0.5 Summary
This chapter has examined the concept of political aufhority m d its ties
to the. cor~ceptsof iiherw equality, democracy, and justice. Richard Fried-
man" analysis of the distinction between " m aut-Xlorityf'm d "in author-
ityf"rovided our focus. Section 10.1 argued that politicd authority un-
derstood as the right of those to ruie who are ""a1 authority'" 0x1 po:iitics is
fundamental to most conservative theories. Understood thus, political
authority is inegalitarian; it is based on the inequality of h o w k d g e be-
twee21 those who rule and those Mrho are ruled. Friedma~(Section 40.2)
contrasts this to political. atrthority mderstood as someone "in atrthor-
ity": such a person is empowered to give directives that p ~ e m p our t
own decisions about what we should do. This is the aulhority of the coor-
-tor. Rather than being based 01%-an inequality, this conception of au-
thority arises out of our freedom, a d equality, and so our disagreemats
over how to conduct cooperative arrangements, Precisely because we
conceive of ourselwes as equally free, we require a coordinator to direct
our actions to mutually beneficial outcomes.
Sction 10.3 examirzed two accounts of authority associated wi& the lib-
eral tradition: Friedman's coordinator, who directs our actions but pro-
vides no reasons to accept her pronouncements as c o r ~ c tm , d the Lock-
ean umpirt., who seeks to umpire? dispuks about justice and moral rights.
Although both modcl?; have played important roles in liberal political the-
ory, I arwed that the ire model better accow~tsfor the relation of lib-
eral justice and liberal authority. Given the liberal position that equal lib-
erty (and, typical@ propert).) rights are fundmental tu a legithate state,
these provide h i t s on what a justified authority may commmd. More-
over, because these deal moral rights are abst.ract and vague, they need to
be inte~retcdand expressed in legal justice (see Mill's points [l]m d [2],
Section 8.l).That, accord* to the Lockean urnpirr;. model, is ihe main
task of political autf-tority.As 1 argued, such a concepti,on of au&ority com-
bines aspects of being "in aauthorirt)."with being "m authority" on justice.
5cticm 10.4 turned to the problematic place of politrical wthority in so-
cialist thought. On the one hand, socialism" strong egalitarian cornmit-
m n t s lcad it to be skeptical of the very idea of political aulhority It
seems that o d y when such authority is democratic, and so arises out of
the e ~ d i t of
y & citizens, can sociahsm embrace it. Moreover, given the
close rclatim of demwracy to swialist theories of libertyt equality, and
justice, we observed that: the ideal democratic state appear" to hold out:
the possibility for a harmonious realization of all key socialist values. Yet,
the rationalism of socialism also draws it to conceptians of authority that
share m c h with the conservative views with which we began. Those
who are experts on the social good, economic plamixlg, or socialist the-
ory seem to have claims to direct the activities of their less well-informed
fellow citizens. Thus, we have lfie paradox of socialism: the pojitical the-
ory that in some ways seems most averse to authority was employed to
justify some of the most authoritarian states in history

1. %3e Robert Paul Wolff, In Defcnse of AnnrcIlism (New Ucxk: Harper and Roriv;
2. Richard B. Friedman, ""On the Concept of Authority in Political Philc~st~phy,"
in Richard E. Flathman, ed., Concepts irz Social n~zdF701ifiml Philose~plty(New York:
Macmillan, 19731, pp. 142-143,
3, Ibid., p. 143,
4, Ibid., pp. 143-1124.
5. bid., p. 123.
6. Thornas Carlyle, Past and Preserzt (London: Dent, 1960), p, 212.
7, Michael Oakeshott, "On Being a Conservativer'9in his Ratiorznlism iitz hlifics,
expanded ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Press, 1"31), pp. 431-432.
8. kid., p. 433.
9. This is very dose to the liberal ideal, especially as articulated by the value
pluralist. See %ctions 3,2,4,3,8.2.
10. Michael Oakeshott, ""17oliticat Education," h his Rationnlknr irz iDulitics, p. 44.
11, Friedman, ''On the Concept of Authority in Political Philosnyhy," pp.
12. Ibid., p, 129,
13, Xbid., p. 140.
14. Xbid., p. 241.
15, X consider the reasuns for this more fully in my Social Pizikmophy (Ammonk,
MY:M-.E. Shave, 3999), pp. 187ff.
16. On the idea of exctusitlnary reason% see Lcslie Green, The AuChorif2j of the
Stale (Oxfad: Clarendon Press, 1988), chap. 2.
17. Immanuel Kant, Metnyhysicial Elenzents qf ju"iice John Ladd, trans, (Indi-
anapolis, IN: Roibbs-.Merrilf, 1965),p. 76. Emphasis in original.
18. Ibid.
19. Xbid.
20. John Locke, Second Rentise Covenzmenf, in Peter Laslett, ed., Two Reatises
ofGot?enzmerzt(Cambridge: Cambridge Unkersity Press, 196O), sect, 87.
21. See E. D. Watt, Azatliouz'ty (London: Croorn-HeXm, 19821, chap. 6.
22. Jan Narveson, The Libertarialt Idea (Philadelphia: Temple University Press,
1988), p. 225.
23, For a selection of his writings, see Sarn Dolgaff, ed., trans., Bakunilz on Atlar-
cfiy (Lrtndon: Allen and Unwin, 2971). For Bakunin" disputes with Marx, see
Paul Thornas, Krrl Marx and Clill. A~zarchists(London: Routledge and Kegan Paut,
1980), chap. 5,
24. KarZ Marx, "AAfr the Revolution: Marx Debates Bakunin," in Robert C.
Tucker, ed., The nilarx-Engdls Rrmder! 2nd ed. (New k r k : W. W, Norton, 1978),
p. 545,
25. Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogcrs, On Dmnocmcy: Toward a Transfornzation qf
Axnerz'c~~zSociety (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 19831, pp. 149-150. Emphasis in
26. Jean-Jacyues Rousseau, The Social Co~ztmcf,Maurice Cranstun, trans. (Lon-
drm: Penguin Books, 19681, Book 2, chap. 2,
27, Xbid., Book 2, chap. 3.
28. %id., Book 4, chap. 2.
29, Jctshua Coken, "Deliberaticln and Democratic Legitimacy," in James
Bohrnan and VVilliam Rehg, eds., Delz'bsraiiive Deriilocmcy (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 19981, p, 69.
36. See Robert Nisbet, Gotzserzlaiiism (Milton Keynes, UK: Open University
Press, 1986), p, 48.
31. Vladirnil: llyich Lenin, W7tat 1s to Bc Butzc? in James E, Connor, ed., Leziin auz
Politics alzd Rez?ulrkZion (Indianapofis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 19681, p, 32.
32, %id., p. 35.
33, N. I, Bukharin and Pret3bra~hensIk.y~ The ABC of C~onrnzzanisnz,quoted in
Michaef Ellman, Socialist- Plnzi~ri~g (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1979), pp. 8-9.
34. Ibid. p. 9.
35. Mam, Cgpz'tnl, in The Marx-E12geIs Reader, p. $41.
Throughout Part Il of this book, I have tried to show how liberal, conser-
vative, and socialist interpretations of political concepts are shaped by,
first, the analysis of other political concepts, as well as by, second, com-
mitments to rationalism or pluralism, collectivism or individualism, and
views of human nature. We have seen, for example, how a classical lib-
eral analysis of negative liberty supports classical liberal suspicions
about most forms of equality, how the notion of equally free people is the
basis of its theory of justice, and how this leads to a certain view of polit-
ical authority. We have also seen the way in which much socialist thought
endorses interlocking conceptions of liberty, equality, justice, authority,
and democracy, which stress how all these political ideals, if properly un-
derstood, can be harmoniously achieved, without the conflicts and trade-
offs that are so central to classical liberal thought. I have also stressed
how a great deal of conservative thought focuses on the themes of inegal-
itarianism, antirationalism, and the historical and customary dimensions
of human life. We have, then, developed some rough conceptual maps of
our enduring political theories, which have related the analysis of one
concept to that of others, as well as to their differing views on some of the
fundamental issues in political theory.
Think back to our starting point: Plato's query, "What is justice?" This
looked at first as if it was a request for a definition or an essence. By now,
we can appreciate that Plato was proposing a rationalistic and collectivist
political theory. For Plato, justice involved the proper ordering of the col-
lectivity, with one's rights and duties related to one's place in that collec-
tivity; naturally enough, political authority ought to be invested in those
who have the expert political knowledge. Equality, of course, has little
importance in such a political theory, except insofar as we are equally
merrthers of the community; and democracy is cntirely wro~~gheaded. In-
sofar as freedom hvolves doing what is rational to do, the members of
such a state are h e , On all these issues, Plato may be right or wrong. But
our inquiry into whelher he is right or wrmg will not take the f o m of an
isolatcd analysis of the tarn '*j~~tj.ce." It wifl involve wide-ranging e x m -
inations of his views about reason, human nature, and the nature of soci-
ety, as wefl as the value of tiberty and equality; questions about how lib-
erty m d equality relate to each other, and holv they relate to justice m d
politic& authority; and whether all of Plato" positions on these matters
cohere or whether they conflict. Having started out with the a r ~ q s i s
of a potitical concept, we will hitwe ended with an analysis of a political
Although I have so~lghtto show how the liberal socialist, and corner
vativc tra&tions form enduring, ccohe~ntviews of politics and society, I
have also tried to point to the internal diversity within each enduring
theory. As 1have stressed throughout, political theorizing is not done ac-
cording to a formufa; interpretations of p"liti-l concepts c m be com-
bined in. different ways, as can positions on rationalism, collectivism, m d
human nature. For example, although in many ways Plato" account of
justice is clearly con~rvative,s t ~ s s i n ga version of "'my station and its
duties," it illso is highly rationaljst: Plato's "'philosopher h g s " have
knowledge of the workings of society and what is best for it, Thus, we
have a sort of rationalist conservatism, a view that is very different from
Burke" sand Oakeshatt" conservatisms. The liberal and socialist tradi-
tims, we have seen, are no less complex: classical liberals stress individ-
ualism, whereas Hobhouse described himself as a collectivist; some so-
cialists are radical egalitarians and anarchists, whereas the followers of
Lenin developed an elitist and authoritarian &ory of political autho~1-y.
ancf trhe e n d u m traditio~~s overlap: at times it can be difficuit to distin-
guish between a revisionist liberal and a moderate socialist, or a res-
olutely antirationalist classical ll.beral such as Hayek and a conservative
such as Oitkeshott. Like politicd concepts, our enduring theories am not
characterized by a common essence, but by crisscrosskg family resem-
blmces (Section 1.4). Nevertheless, it should be clear by now that, by and
large, classical liberals e ~ ~ d mconstellations
se of political conceptions that
fundarnentdy differ from the sort of conceptuaj cluskrs that have domi-
nated socialist and conservative polizical theories. Hence it should not be
surprising that cmlceptclal disputes seem so intractabk. What is at stake
is not the memhg of a word, but a view of the world.

Allison, Lincoln, 181 as surrender of judgment, 237,

Anarchism, 237,245,251,252,262 241-245
Anscornbe, G.E.M., 24 as way of providing social order,
Aristotle, 155 112
on human felos, 226 based on consent in liberalism, 92,
on treating equals equally, 144,185 143,159,160
on treating unequals unequally, being '"in' authoriv, 241-252
128 ccmservative conception as case of
AshXey, Wiitliarn, 208 justice, 233
Augustine, Saint, 24 ccmservative view of, 51
accomt of language, 12-14 coordinator conception of, 244,246,
characterization of politics, 66; 247,249,258
Aulhctrity, Chap. 10 democratic, 252, 253, 255
""ar'authorivf 237-242,245 distinguished from advice, 238
and justice, 246251 epistemological elements in
and anarchism, 237,251,252 umpire account, 249-254
and cc~operaticm,242ff Elobbesian and Lockean views
and coordination problems, contrasted, 251
242-245 Lenin" view of, 256
and disputes about justice, 247 liberal conception nut based on
and expertise in socialism, 51 expertise, 248, 249
and Hobbes's state ctf nature, 244 limit of on umpire view, 249-251
and poitive liberty; 88 not natural in Lockers theory, 159
and preernptive reasons, 247,257; obedience when y cm disagree with,
258 245
and rationalism, 53 of experts based on inequality, 238
anti-rationalist consemalive view of experts in socialism, 256,257
of, 239-241 of law, 245
as anti-egalitarian, 251 of the people in Rousseau, 255
as expertise, 23Zf of umpires mix of '"in" and "an"
as inegalitarian, 251,252 authority, 249
reconciled with equality in critic of monistic rationalism, S8
socialism/ 253 critic of positive liberty, 86ff
Socrates on, 5 critic of real self, 87
umpire theory of, 247-251'258 on ccmflict of negative and positive
Autonomy liberty, 88ff
and authority 237 on libere as non-interference, 78ff
and freedom as power, 105 on negative liberty as pluralistic,
and po"tive freedom, 82ff 98
and power tt3 act, 101 on positive liberq as monistic, 48
and reason, 85 on \values competing with liberty
and second-order desires, 8586 l 70
and self-rule, 83 rejection of triadic analysis, 95
as acting on principles of justice, Bernstein, Eduarb, 252
141 Berry, Christopher J., 235
as development of capacities, C-24 Blom-Cooper, Louis, 236
as exercise concept, 84 Bogart, Humphrey, 237
as w;c3lf-chosen life, 8445 Bohman, James, 235,259
distinguished from autarchy, 97' Bosanquet, Bernard, 73,10Q,125
Green" \view of, 82ff as monistic revisionist liberal, 200
thwarted by internal and eternal as moral cc3llectivir;t, 6&69
obstacles, 83 as proponent of self-detrelopment,
Aye& A. J., 24 62
on fctrcing tct be free, 121
Babeuf, Franqois-Niiel, 328,155 on relation of individuals to
Bakunin, MikhaiX, 252,259 society, 66
Barrell, j o h , 236 Bradley E A., 231,236
Bay Christian, 124 Bradley, A. C., 73
Becker, Lawrmce C., 125 Brandt, Richard B., 255
Bedeau, Hugo A., 255 Braybrookc, David, 156
Benn, S. I., 25,44,99,100,124,155, Brinton, Crane, 236
357,208 Buchanan, lames, 72,192,208
on presumption in favtlr of as proponent of llolno ~couzornictas,
equality, 133 62
on public and private, 36ff Bukharin, N. X., 260
Benthafl, jonathan, 72 Burke, Edmund, 71-73,125,262
Bentham, Jeremy 44,72,73,155 anti-ra tional nature of conservative
as a rationalist, l78 account of freedom, 124
as methodological individualist, 67 as central figure in conservatism,
as psychological egoist, 61 50
pure individualist conception of as instinctivist, 65
public interest, 37 critic c~fratirtnalism, 176
Bergman, Ingrid, 237 critic OF money making, 123
Berki, R. N., 72 his attack on rationalism, 55ff
Berlin, Xsaiah, 72,94,99, 300,104,180 his ideal statesman, 52
as anti-patemalist, 87 on relation between liberq and
as critic of rationalism/ 57 equality 274
as pluralist dassical liberal, 201 on human passions, 65,121
on law, 122 ambivalence about desert as
on limits of knowledge about grc~undsof justice, 193-195
society, 65 and Lockean justice, 192,193
on limits of reason, 55-56 and cc3mmutative justice, 143
on rationalist science, 56 and egalitarianism, 177
and equatiq of citizenship, 160
Campbell, R, W., 125 and Hayek's view of social justice,
Capitalism. See also Markets 27-28
ambivalence of conservatives and human inequality, 165
towards, 123 and justice as mutual advantage,
and individualist nature of, 68 190-192
and power, 218 and negative rights, 192
and Marxist theory of exploitation, and natural freedclm, 41
211 and protection of property, 192
as just according to Marx, 213 and self-interest#61,160,192
injustice of in Marxism, 214,215 and social equality, 164
Marx on human nature in, 63 and state of naturet 91-92
Marxfs criticism of prc~pertyunder, and utilitarianism, 16&243
314 as anti-constructivist, 59
Marxist criticism of as socially as based on negative freedom, 91
unecqual, 152 as favoring control theories of
Marxist criticisms of, 62-63 power, 108,109
socialist criticism as based on as pluralistic, 58
power, 108 conception of democrac-3rr,222,223
Carlyle, Thornas, 236,259 elements of, 49
criticism ctf liberal crtnception of conceptions of justice in, 288--394
liberty 231,232 Macpherson" criticism of, 62
on hierarchical society, 232 Mill as exemplar' 48-49,90
on the wise as masters, 239 not all advclcates endorse negative
Cephalus, 3,4, 6,7; 17, 38,20,30,193 liberty, 93
Chamberlain, Wilt, 164,165 and pluralism, l70
Chapman, Jolm W., 71, 74,156 on freedom and possession ctf
Child, James W, 325 power, 117
Choice. Set. nlsu Autonomy; Positive on government as liberty limiting,
liberty 92
and coercion, 79,79ff on limited role of government in,
and freedom, 171 92
and ina,mmensurabi1i@, 235 on importance of consent, 92
and markts, 112 on liberty as both a common and
and negative liberty, 96,97 competitive good, 110
and socialist ccmception of liberq, on markets a s free, 112-113,315,
373 116
a,nditions far; 9 6 9 7 on private property, 110-114
of preferences, 147" on property and powec 112-113
Christianity; 66, 137, 13% 175, 2923 overlapping with anti-raticmalist
Churchill, Winston, 223 a,nservatism, 262
Classical liberalism property as core value of, 11Off
rejection of ratirtnafism, 98 and utilitarianism, 236
relaticm of liberty and equality in, as favoring effect theories of
359ff, t 64-1 65 power, 308
summary of conceptual structure as foundation of revisitmist
of, 93,221 iiiberalism, 200
theory of justice based on negative importance in 19th and 20th
libertyf 206 century thought, 232
Coercion in tension with c~>nservative
and liberq, 102 commitment to liberty, 232
and notion of a typical person, 80, methodological, 67-68
81 moral, 68-69
and offers, 81 Oakeshctttf"scriticism ctf, 175, 176
and pawer of capitalists, 115 senses of, 6SEf
and standard ctptions, 82 understanding rtf a person's
and the law 126 treatment by others, 250
as making options ineligible, 73-81 Common good. See also
Cohen, G. A., 180,209,234 Cornmunitarianim, Social good
Cohen, Jorshua, 235,254 and authority, 239
on democracy and atrthoriq, 253 and conservative a,llectivism, 232
on socialism as equal freedom and and desert, 195,196
power, 252 and justice in rerrisionist liberalism,
on socialist ccmception of 195
democracy, 221,222 and liberty and equality, 158
Cohen, Marshal], 234 and revisionist liberalism, 16%170,
Cole, G.B.H., 235 200
as democratic socialist, 252 and Rousseau" nnot.ion of
on freedom as lawmaking, 219 democracy, 254
Coleridge, Samuel, 231,231,236 and the general will, 321
Collectivism, 52 ccmtrasted with competitivc goods,
and communitarianism, 69-70 163-110
and ccmservative justice, 230-233 Hobhouse's cconceptictn of, 169
and equality, 375,176 liberty as a, 309-310
and Hobhouse" seeoncilia t i w of and individual good in the new
liberty and equalityt 169 liberalism, 146
and mincjrity rights, 232 Commtmism. See also Mam; Marxism;
and organic theory C$ s ~ c i e177,
t~ Sr>cialism
230,231 and justice, 63
and Plato, 261 equallw udder, 256
and political authority, 238, 239 inegalitarian conceptirtn ctf
and Rousseau, 232 authority in, 256
and st>cjaIequaUty, 364 Marx on justice under, 216
and social,justice, 30 Commtmitarianism. See also
and socialist authority; 253ff Collectivism; Community;
and socialist view of social justice, %?ciety
66 and democracy, 218ff
and sociely as an organization, 2 77 and group rights, 233
and the general will, 121 and virtue, 226---B0
as form of collectivism, 69-7"0 fallibilistic versus skeptical account
conservative versicms of, 224ff of, 42
criticism ctf liberalism, 69 Freeden and GaXfie ctn no correct
not an enduring political thet>ry, resoluticm of, 36
69-70 Ccllfie ctn basis for tolerance about,
Community See also 41
Commmitarianism; importance of, 33
CoIlectivism; SocieQ not simply semantic, 31
and justice, 232 political nature of, 26ff
and pluralism, 227 presuppox that there is a correct
and socialist democratic authority, answer, 41-42
252,253,255 two key features of, 34-35
Bentham" iindividuafistic view of, Conceptuaf maps
67 and conceptions, 32
justice as serving, 230 must be consistent, 38
Rausseau" ccollectivist view ctf, 67" summary of conceptual structure,
Commutative justice. SW also Justice; 261
Markets Conceptuafism realism
and classical liberalism, 293 as explaining basic convictions
and markets, 30 about concepts, 8,11-12
as keeping faith, 185 Plato on, 7-43
Polemarchus on, 4 Comolly, Witliam E., 24,44,99,124
Complex structured concepts. See also on power, 307,108
Concepts; Essentially contested Conservatism
concepts; Political concepts ambivaleme about economic
and essential contestability thesis, f ~ e d o m123
43 and Christianity, 66
and language games, 19 and collectivist justice, 230--.233
and the concept/ctmception and democracy, 51,241
distinctirtn, 32 and equality before the law, 177
need not have a cclmmon care, 32 and fear of clhange, 64
Concepts, Sec also Complex and human passions, G5
structured a>ncepts;PoIiticaZ and instinctivist view of human
concepts nature, G5
and forms uf life, 26 and mural experts, 249
and what is important to us, 14 and pluralism, 232
as identifying things, 2 3 % and sexual inequalitr; 178
and ccmfusion about, 19 and social enviromcntalism, 64,
public nature of, 17 G5
threshold, 142 and socialism, 50
Conceptual disputes, Chap, 2 and it-re new right, 123
about views of the world, 262 and the organic theory of saclie@
and conceptual coherence, 20ff 177'
and toferance, 41ff and tradition, 176,224
as about world views, 34-35,262 Ang1c.l-American, l 77
as clash of political theories, 40,262 anti-rationalist view of authorit5
depth of, 3535,262 239-241
as anti-pluralist, 226ff Definitions
as critical of equality, 51 and essnces, 7,8,18-19
as philosophy ctf imperfection, 50 and family resemblances, 18, 19
attitude tcl liberq, 51 and pictures of the world, 9
close connection bemeen law and and poiitical concepts, 3
justice in, 225 as necessary for sense, 7 1 1
collectivism in conflict with liberty, as set af necessary and sufficient
232, a>nditions,8-9
conception of politics in, 240 Plato" error in searching ftx, 182,
a>nceptionsof authority in, 260
237-241 relation of wtrrrds and tKngs, 7ff
criticism ctf equality, 174-1 78, 224 Socrates on, 6-23
criticism of liberal egalitarianism, Democraey
177 and authority; 252,253,255
criticism of liberalism, 50, 122, 123 and community, 252,253,255
criticism ctf liberty in general, 121, and conservatism, 51,241
122,232. and deliberation, 252,253, 255
criticism of rationalism/ 55, 60, and equaiiity, 152
224ff and freedom, 171
elements of, 50 and freedrrrm as power, 221
Humean, 225,226 and freedctm in socialism, 172
on humans as historical creatures, and majority tyramy, 48
64 and social equafiq, 163,164,221
on importance of virtue, 228 and socialist cooperative sociefy,
on inequality and human nature, 172
174,175 and socialist justice, 218-223
overlapping with classical and the general wifli, 119-121,253
liberalism, 262 and the new liberalism, 48
rationalist and anti-raticmalist as equalization of power, 218ff
versions ctf, 262 classical liberal view of, 49
skepticism about legislation in, 178 liberal conception of, 222
summary of conceptual structure rejected by teninist socialism, 255
of, 70 rise of and rationalism, 55
tendemy tct collectivism, 68 social, 152
three approaches to justice, 233 socialist conception of, 221-223
view of law and liberties, 121-123 uttlpian errsrs of, 240
Coordination problems, 222t-f voting as the exercise of powers,
Cornford, Francis MacDonald, 23,236 223
Coval, S. C., 207 Desert
Cranston, Maurice, 71,179 ambivalence of classical liberals
Crick, Bernard, 71,155 toward, 193-195
Custom. See Tradition and conservatism, 225
and Marxist justice, 214
DahX, Robert A., 235 and Rawls, 134,202-204
Day, j. P., 99 and rewards, 185
de Jouvenef, Bertrand, 44,125 and the a>mmongood, 195
Declaration of Independence, 137,242 and the new liberalism, 195
as central to monistic revisionist and equal basic rights, 151
liberalism, 194-196 and equality of opportunityr 153,
as element of justice, 183,184 154
as rationalist, 225 and language, 134
distinguished from merit, 197 and presumption in favur of
Hume's skepticism about, 225 qtraliv, 133
Desires and property, 198
and autonomous action, 241 Distributive justice. See Justice; %?cial
and freedom, 101f' justice; Equality
and property 113 Dolgaff, Sarn, 259
as blocking positive freedom, 83, Dominant strateiiry, 191
87" Urewey, Gavin, 236
as politically dangerous, 240,241 Duty. Sec anlso Rights; My station and
choosing, l47 its duties
equal satisfaction of, 246 and conservatism, 234
external, 146,167 and rights, 186
Developmentalism See also Human to socieQ 232,
nature Dworkin, Gerald, 49
and autonomy 84 Workin, Ronald, 156, 157,1180
and demcjcracy; 223 criticism of hybrid view of
and harm principle, 161 liberalism, 167"
and human capacities, 62 criticism of liberty in general, 167
and positive liberty 84,97,98 on liberalism as based on equality,
and revisionist liberalism, 93, 166-1 68,179
368-1 70,201 on Rawls" liberalism, 204
and social justice, 296
as a theory of human nature, 61-63 Edtrca lion. See also Autonomy
as rationalist and monist, 89ff and freedom, 171
Green" view of as cc30perativef 62 and equality of opportunity, 199
Hobhouse" sonistic account of, and social justice in the new
I 96 liberalism, 197
influence ctf Mill"s version on Edwards, Paul, 71,124
liberalism, 90-91 Eisenhower, Dwight, 106
DevXin, Lord Patrick, 236 EiXman, Michaet, 260
and enforcement of morality 233 EXster, Jon, 73, 156,224,215,234
criticism of liberal morality, 227, Ely John Hart, 257
228 Engefs, Friedrich, 72, 234
on point of law, 228 as a rationalist, 55,56
on relatio~nof law and morality, on socialism as a science, 212
227-230 Edigl-rtenment, 5&58
Dewey; John Equalityf Chaps. 6, 7
and semi-socialist liberalism, 201 absence of political, in Commmist
as comtructivist, 58, 60 states, 255-257
as proponent of =If-developmentp absence ctf social, in Communist
62 states, 256
Diderot, Denis, 57 and authority, 238,251
Discriminaticm, 101-102 and Christianity, 237,138
and civil justice, 198 formal, 132-134
and ccloperative socialist society; fundamental human, 136-1 45
372 of liberty in Hobbes's state of
and coordination problems, nature, 189
242-246 of opportuniq in socialism, 173
and coordinator a>nceptionof nonpreferentid conception, 127,
authority, 244,245 140
and freedom, 142,143 not always a good, 128
and human nature, 137-142 of basic liberties in Rawts, 205, 206
and ina>mmensurabiIi~, 2 34-3 36 of citizenship in classical
and cclmmon needs, 339,140 liberalism, 160
and law, 351,177,378 of civil status, 150-152
and liberalism, 143,166-168,177 of concern and respect, 164-1 S8
and liberty in Hobhause" theory, of cultural opportunities in
168-1 70 socialism, 273
and liberty, Chap. 7 of equal concern and respect in
and lottery of birtki, 202 RawXs, 200,201
and marginal decreasing utility, of fair opportunity, 154
129-1 32 of freedom and power in socialism,
and organic theory of society, l77 218ff
and Rawfs, 203-206 of liberty, 361-163,170-174
and revisionist liberalism, 168-1 70 of needs satisfaction, 147, 3148
and social justice in new fiberalism, of opportuniq, 353,f S4
197 of opportuniq in RawXs, 206
and threshctld concepts, 342 of opportuniq, and merit, 197-199
and tmiqtreness of individuals, 135 of power in socialism, 50,218,
of resources and equal ctmcern, 166 251-255
as a>ltapsinginto rationality, of power and feminism, 220
143-145 of resources in Rawls, 203-206
as core of socialism, 49 of resources, 148,349,172
as core of socialist democracy of servitude, I&
221-223 of slatus, 128
as sameness, 140,263,164,177' of welf-are, 245-247
as the basis of legislation, 178 of basic rights, 151
as wasteful, 145,175,204,205 of outcomes, 299
civic, in liberalism and overlaps with justice, 185
conservatism, 177 political, 152
complex, 153 political, and socialism, 172
conflicts with liberty in political, in democratic socialism,
conservatism, 51 252,253,255
connectictn tct rationalism in precarious place in Leninism,
conservatism, 275 255
consernative criticisms of, 174-178 presumption in favur of, 133, 336
ea>nomic,and liberty 164-166 problems with non-preferential
economic, in Cc~mmuniststates, conception, l36
255 reconcited with libere in
external grounds of, 129ff socialism, 17&174, 222
relation to liberty in classical Flathman, Richard E., 100
liberalism, 159ff Forms of Life
salient in Rawls's social contract; and arguments far equality,
20%" 13%140, 153
xcondary role in liberalism, 47 on the organizatirtn ctf ideologies,
summary of types of, 154,155 35-36;
social, 152,176 Wittgenstein on, 16
social, and conflict with liberq, Fotrrier, Charles, 212
163,164 Freeden, Michael, 4445, 71, 180, 207
tied score a>nceptionof, 127, 142, argument against quest far a good
144 usage of concept' 36,43
utilitarian arguments for, 129-132 on sucialism, 49
Essentially ccmtested concepts, on ccmcepts as building blocks of
Chap. 2 ideologies, 33R
and conflict of liberty and equaliv, on conceptual structure of Mill's
359ff theory, 34
example of "champion," B-31,33 on structure of political theories, 46
example of social justice, 26ff, 29ff Freedom. See Liberty
features of, 29, 31 French Revolution, 5O,55,176
Gallie on, 28 Freud, Sigmund, 66
idea of an exemplar of features of, Friedman, Rishard B,, 249,257,259
31-32 on being ""an" authority, 237,238
power as, 105 on contrast between "in" and ""an'"
Exemplars authority; 241ff
and essentially contested concepts, on coordinator crtnception of
31-32 authority; 244,245
compared to Socratic essences, 32 on inequality as the basis of expert
Mill as in liberalism, 47-48, 90 authcltrity 238
Experts First Amendment, 187
and authctrity, 238 Froude, Anthany, l81
and ccmservatism, 249 Fugitive Slave t a w of 1850,183
authority of in socialism, 256, 257
liberalism's denial of morai, 248 Gallie, W. B,, 30,44, 45
analysis of disputes about social
Fallibilism, 42 justice, 29ff
Faithman, Richard E., 258 against a best interpretation of
Family, l"i",220,231 political ccmcept, 36,43
Family resemblances as a skeptic, 42
and political theory, 71 championship example, 28ff
basic idea of, 18-19 contrasts to justificatory political
Farm, K. T., 24 theories, 43
Fascism, 35 notion of an exemplar, 32
Feinberg, Joel, 99, 100 on essentialty a>ntestedconcepts,
Feminism ZSff, 43
and liberalism, 178,220,223,224 on exemplars, 47,90
and socialism, 220 on importance of individualism-
Fisk, Milton, 234 a>llectivismdisagreement, 69
on liberal and socialist notiom of as educa tiunal refc~rmer~92
justice, 66 on equaliv and liberty, 174
on possibility of conceptual as monistic revisionist liberal, 200
disagreement, 140 as prapc2nent of self-development,
on the intractable nature of 62
political disputes, 40 as rationalist and monist, 89Ef
on whether conceptual disputes cooperative theory ctf human
are real, 3Qff develrtpment, 62
problem explaining why Hobhouse follows on positive
conceptual disputes are liberty 168,169
important, 33 influence on socialist conception of
Caus, 6 . E, 25,44,73,100,125,157, freedom, 373
208 on freedom as autcmomy 82ff
Cauthier, David, 192,208 on freedom as development of
General will capacities, 84
and democracy, 253,255 on freedom as power to act, 101
and reconciliation of law and on positive freedom as a
freedom, 119-1 21 development of negative, 97
as reconciling authority liber& on the real self, 120
and equality, 253,255 Griffin, James, 156
Gewirth, AXan, 156 Guthrie, W.K.C., 24
Government. See anbsv Authority; Law; Gutmam, Amy, 69,74,156
and equality of opportuniv, 353 Habermas, J-iirgen, 222,235
and umpire conception of Hal&vy,Elie, 178,181
authority; 249-251 Hampshire, Stuart, 380
as coordinator, 241ff Handicapped, 131,132, 149, 150,
as experts, 238B 175
as liberty limiting in classical Harm principle
liberalism, 92 and the Law, 161
as protection agency; 42 and paternalism, 86
consernative account of, 240 and classical liberal justice, 142
equal treatment by 2 SQ and liberal view ctf the law,
Hobbes's argumrsnt for, 390 227-230
tasks under positive liberty; 403 and Mill" liberalism, 48
utopian view of, 240 Harris, Paul, 99, 124, 208
G r a John,
~ 44,45,171,172, 100,123, Hart, H.L.A., 227-230,235,236
126,180,207,235 Ha yek, E A., 44,171,172,99,125, 22Gr
Green, ksfie, 259 180,207,208,235
Green, Philip, 157 as anti-rationalist, 262
Green, T. H., 73,99, 124, 194,208 as pluralist classicat liberal, 201
and free persons, 104 criticism of social justice, 30
and paternal ism, 8 6 8 7 defense of liberty in general, 223
and semi-socialist liberalism, 207 on co~ercic~n,80, 109
and welfare state, 92-93, 103 on confusion of freedom and
as a>llectivistrevisionist liberal, power, 103-104
200 on dernucrac~49,2222
on distinction beween on harmony of equal rights and
constructivism and anti- liberty, 148-2";70
constructivism, 59 on liberty and equality, 168, 169,
on egalitarianism, 177 170,179
on human inequality, 165 on liberty as it-re core of liberalism,
on impossibility of planning, 60 168
on markets and diversity, 113 on prot-ecting workers from
on Milt as an exemplar, 90 capitalist's powec 1l 5
on Mill's liberalism, 49 on sc3ciety as a cooperative
on necessj ty. of private property endeavur, 197
111 on the common good, 169
on rejection of d e x r t as grumds Hobson, J, A., 208
for justice, 196 Pllohfeld, Weslcy, 206,207,223
on social justice as confused, 27-28 analysis of rights, 185-188
similarity. to Oakeshott, 262 identifies elements of justice,
Hill, Thornas E., Jr., 99 188
Hobbes, Thtlmas, 98,208 Holmes, Stephen, 72
accowt of social contract, 190 Homo econunziczis, 61
and Hume, 225 Human nature. See also
and justice, 188--192,246,247 Developmentalism;
and ordinary language, 77-82 Tnstinctivism; Self-interest; Social
and prisoner's dilemma, 192. envircmmentalism
conceptian of liberty, 77ff conservative view as unequal, 175
on freedom as possibiliQ, 80 and equatiw, 137-142
on limits ctf justified authorily; and liberty, 90-91
252 and Marxist justice, 216
on pawer, 105 and Mill" case for equal rights, 161
on relation of justice and law 190, and needs, 148
247 and society, 231
on society as mutual advantage, individualist view of, 204
201 theories of, 60ff
on state ctf nature, 190, 243-245 wide and narrow senses ctf, 60
pure non-impediment account of Hume, David, 72,235
liberty, 96 on justice as conventirtn, 225
Hobhouse, L. T., 71,72, 125,180, 181, on political man as a knave, 61
207-209 Plluntington, J. F., 44
as a collectivist, 262 Husami, Ziyad, 234
as a monist, 169,200
as advocate of liberal socialism, 49, Impartiality
201 and justice, 184,185
as advocate of positive liberty, 168, and Rawls's theory of justice,
169 202-206
as proponent of self-develupment, and rule of taw, 160
62,1136 as basis of egalitarian liberalism,
on basic similarity of people, l74 166
on desert and social justice, Inct3mmcnsurabilitr, 1,34-136
194-196 Individualism, 52
and restricted view of a person's and Marxist transformation of
treatment by others, 150,151 human nature, 63
and classical liberalism, 93, 193 and merit, 397-1539
and liberal justice, 24-30,66 and moral arbitrariness of talents,
and Mill's case for liberty, 90-91 134
and Raw! S% lliberalism, 200,201 and mural rights, 183
and socialist egalitarianism, 177 and need for authority, 244,
as Pavoring a,ntrol theories uP 246;--248,250,251
power, 108 and public goods, 246,247
xnetl~odological,67-68 and quotas, 199
moral, 6&69 and rights, 183,185-188
Individuality. See also and it-re common gclod, 26,194-199
Devef opmentaIism; and mequal treatment, 185
Jndiv-idualism; Milf; Revisionist and utclpian socialism, 211,212
liberalism as contientional, 225, 226
and progress, 162 as giving each his due, 4,6
and liberty, 162,263 as interest of the stronge~17
and the social good in the new as mutual benefit, 1%-192
liberalism, 3 96 as my station and its duties,
conflict with social equality, 163, 230-233
164 as property rights, 190
uniqueness of, 135 as the interest of the stronger, 5
Instinctivism. Sec also Human nature as to each according to his needs,
and conservative theory of law 122 148
and conservative thectry of politics, as way tct escape prisoner's
239ff dilemma, 192
as theory of human nature, 65-66 civil, 197-199, 207
Invisible hand, 113 classical liberal a,nceptions,
Is/ought, 11,12 18S194
collective conception of, 232
Johansen, Lenie, 181 cc~nservativeapproaches, 2223-225,
Justice, Chaps, 8,4. See also Equality; 227-233
Social justice conservative views of and
account of depends on entire tradition, 224
political theory, 262 coordinator a,nception of, 246,247
and autonomous action, 241 disputes about and liberal
and ccmservative virtue, 226ff authority 247-251
and dernucrac?s,21S 2 2 3 distributitre, in the new liberalism,
and desert, 183,184,193ff 1943
and equality, 185,210 elements of, 182t'f
and freedom in Kant, 117 Hobbesian account of, 246
and harm to others, 4-5 idea of a the017 of, 188
and Hobbes's state of nature 189 ideal, 383
and impartialiq ty inawfs, 202 in competitions, 2 54
and law, 182,183,190,225 inconsistency in our ctlncept of, 20
and taw in Pllobbes, 140, liberal and socialist views of,
247 26-28,222
Lockean, 192, 393 Labour Party 138
Marx on, 210-218 Lakoff, SanEord A., 156
Marx's reluctance about, 251 Lamunt, julian, 207
need for ccmsistent conception of, Language
21-22 and arguments far equality,
not essentially descriptive, 12 138-1 40
Plato's view of, 8,262 and fctrms of life, 16
procedural d istingtrished from and language games, 15
substantive, 220-223 and reasons, 139,140
relativity of in Marxism, 213, 214 and social justice, 27
social, 26ff as involving wtlrds and acticjnst
socialist notions ctf, 210-223 47
socialist reluctance ta advance as naming, 4,10, 12fft 23
principles ctf justice, 233 no single function of, 15
%?crateson, 3 open-ended nature of, 140
Socrates9denitirtn ctf, 6ff, 19, 262 picture theory of, 9ff
special conception of in RawXsfs public nature of, 1&,17
theory, 2205,206 St. Augustine" aaccowt of, 12ff
three definitions of, 3-6 Language games
under communism, 63,216 and distributive justice, 27
uses of, 22 and games, 18
utilitarian versus Rawls, 20 and justice, 17
voluntaristic conception ctf, 220 as crtnsteXlations, 19
Justification, 39ff diversiy of, 23
inconsistency in, 20
Kamenka, Eugene, 355,208 not just about naming, 15
Kant, Tmmanuel, 125,207,259 Laski, Elarold, 124
on equal capacity for moral on power of capitalists, 108
personality 141 Laslett, Peter, 100,208
on political authority, 247, 248 Law
on problems of private judgment, and antipower, 118
240;1;248 and authority; 245
on slate ctf nature, 247, 248 and convention%225
on truthfulness, 185 and enforcement of mtlraliq,
view of law and freedctm, 116, 317 227-238
Kekes, John, 235 and equal treatment, 151
Kelsen, Wans, 23 and freedom, 126ff
Keynes, John Maynard, 208 and harm principle, 161
howledge and impartiality, 184, 385
and authority, 238,241-246 and justice, 182,183,190,225,
practical, and tradition, 224 247
technical and practical and justice in Marxism, 214
distinguished, 53ff and nonpreferential conception of
Kcterner, Kirk E, 71 equalitr; 127,128
Kristjgnsson, KrisPjBn, 99, 100, 224 and rationalism, l78
Kuehnelt-Leddih, Erik von, 179 and security, 116
Kymlicka, Will, 1179, 236 and sexual equality, 178
and the general will, 119-121,253, as blend of equality and liberty,
255 167; 180,181
and tradition, 122 as critical rtf custom, 57
and freedom in socialism, 219 as ideology and political theory, 40
as coercive, 315, 116 Berlin" view of as pluralistic, 58
as heart of Mobbesian justice, 190 charge that it is nihilistic, 227
as protecting rights, 160 crtmmunitarian criticism ctf, 69
a>mmonlaw distinguished from conceptual strudure of, 34,52,70
legislation, 225,226 ccmservative criticism of, 122
a>nservativeview of, 3 21, 2 23 divided over individualism and
equality before, 160,177 colfectivism, 49
Hobhause" claim that it does not h o r k i n ' s egalitarian
limit freedom, 169 characterizatic2n of, 204
impersonality of and freedom, 119 foundational role of equal liberty
Kant's view of, 116,127" in, 143
relation to justice, 182, 183 individualist commitments ctf,
republican cc>nceptionof, 118,119 29-30,623
Legitimation, 39-40 its conception of democracy
Lenin, Vladirnir Tlich, 260 a>ntrasted to socialist, 222, 223
an vmguard party, 255,256 its incamistent ccmception of
as elitist, 50, 262 public and private, 3Gff
as e t r e m e rationalist, 256 liberq at the heart of, 47
rationalist conception ctf socialist Maclntyrek criticism of, 224
authority; 255,256 Mill as an exemplar' 47"-49,90
Lewis, Sir Gectrge Comewall, 44 no moral experts in, 248
LJ1"beralParty, 92 not hyperratisnal, 57
Liberalism. See also Classical on distinction between freedom
liberalism; New liberalism; and wealth, 202
Revisionist liberalism on importance of reason, 57
anarchist textdencies of, 245 on limits of reason, 57
and commutative justice, 30 opposition to the enft3rcement of
and different interpretations of morality, 227-230
liberty 93ff relation beween types of, 201
and egalitarianism, 177; 204 secondary place of equality in, 47
and equal basic rights, 251 split between classical and new
and feminism, 223,224 fiberala48-44
and individualism, 2(3--30,&6,&8 tendencies to towards anarchism,
and justice, Chap, 8 237
and limits of justifkd authority, understood as purely distributive
250 theory, 168
and harm principle, 48, 192 Liberty, Chaps, 4,5,7, 8
and rationalism, 54,SG-60,194200 and authority, 237'
and the death of virtue, 226,227 and choice, 96-97"
and umpire conception of political and constraints in Mobhc~use's
authority 246-251 liberalism, 168, 169
as antipaternalistic, 48, 86 and doing what one desires,
as based on equality, 166-l%, 204 101ff
and eyualiv? 342,143,368,169, economic, 123
Chap. 7 ectmornic, and equality, 166166
and f o r m ctf power, 165ff endorsed by socialists, 50
and free persons, 104ff, 369 equality of Rawts" theory of
and human nature, 90-91 justice, 205,206
and liberalisms, 91-92 government as protector cif in
and markets, 115,136 classical liberalism, 92
and pluralism, SS harmonized with equaliv in
and pawer, Chap. 5 socialism, 60,1;7C1,1';72-174
and property 11Off limited by ""power cwer," "9-116
and Rawls? liberalism, 200,205, Mill's case for equality of, 361
206 not valued in general by Dworkin,
and reason, 85 167
and resources, 102,371 priority of in Rawis's theory, 205,
and second-order desiresr 85 206
and the general will, 119-121 questioning the negativeipositive
and the law 1Zliff. distinction, 94ff
anti-rational nature of conservative reduced tc3 equality by Dworkin,
account of, 122 166-1 68
as the absnce- of obstacles, 77-82 relation to equality in classical
as antipctwer, 117-119 liberalism, 159ff
as common good, 109-110 and properq in classical
as core of liberalism, 47 liberalism, 160
as effective power, 171ff triadic analysis of, 94-95
as lawmaking under socialism, 219 two concepts of, 86ff
as natural in classical liberalism, Locke, John, 92,100,156,1179,208,
91ff 259
as power coXXapsing into account of authority; 250,251
autcmorny 105 account of justice, 192,393
as set ctf libertieti, 205, 206,232 on natural frcredom, 91
as synonym for freedom, 98 as classical liberal, 93
as the absence of arbitrary on equalivf 342,143
intervention, 11CF--222 on freedcjm and equality; 159
based on growth far Hubhouse, 62 on political authority, 247, 248
Carlyte on true meaning of, 232 on probtems of private judgment,
classical liberal view that law 247; 248
limits, 116 on state uf naturet 991-92,247,
conflict with conservative 248
collecti\~ism,232 Logical positivists
conflict with social equality, 163, and picture theory "I)
164 and Sctcrates" three convictions,
a>nservativeclaim that it clashes 12,23
with equality, 51, 174, 375 and verificatic~nism,16
a>nservativestress cm specific on ethics as nonsense, 11
liberties, 121-1 23 Lornasky; Loren E., 125
civil distinguished from natural, Lotte~ of birth, 202,
117-114 Lucas, J. R,, 155,156,207
on fallacy of egalitarian reasoning, as a rationalist, 55-56
137 attempt ta do away with markets,
Lukes, Stex~en,4473,124,235 257
on layers of Marx" theory of ccmnict with Bakwin, 252
justice, 217, 218 critit.idsm of liberal individualism,
on power, 107 68
criticism of moralism, 221, 212
MacCallum, Gerald C,, 94-95,160 his theory of justice, 214218
Machan, Tibor; 73 not a thetlrist of distributive
Maclntyre, Alasdair, 235 justice, 218
as c o n s e ~ ~ a t i cc.tmmunitarian,
ve on development of revolutionary
226,227 consciousness, 255
on liberalism and traditions, 224, on explc.litatinn, 114,211,214-218
225 on justice under communism, 216
Macphersrtn, C. B,, 72,73,225,234, on justice, 210--218, 233
235 on cjbjectification, 140,141
as proponent of self-development, on relativity of justice, 213,214
62 on socialism as scientific, 210-213,
on capitalism and trawfer c>E 2217,218
powers, 211 reluctance tc3 advance principles of
on exploitation, 114 justice, 229,251
Mandelbaum, Maurice, 73 theory of alienation, 62-63,141
Maming, D. f ., 72 theory of human essence and
Maoist China, 152,153 equality; 140,141
Marechal, Slyain, 155 to each according to his needs, 348
Marginal decreasing utility, 129, 330, Marxism. See also Marx; Sociaiisrn
132 and desert, 214
Markets and developmentalism, 62
and desert, 194 and morality, 211
and distribution of medical care, and negative liberty, 93
239 as politically elitist, 256
and freedom, 112 law and justice in, 214
and public goods, 246,247 view market as anarchic, 256
and social justice, 29-30 Masai, 64
consernative criticism ctf, 232 McDougall, William, '73
a,ntrasting views of liberals and McGuinness, B. F., 24
socialists of, 115, 116 McKeon, Riclhard, 155
not necessarily ""power over" in McMurrin, Sterling, 155
classical liberalism, 112 McPherson, lames M., 207
socialist criticisms ctf, 50 Merit. See Dewrt
socialist views of as anarchic, 56, Mill, John Stuart, 45, 71,72, 100, 380,
256 181,206-208
Marx, Karl. See also Marxism; and heart ctf liberalism, 49
Socialism, 73,125, 234,259,260 and harm principle, 48,86, 161,227
and justice as interest of tlcie as a fa'atllibilist, 42
stronger, 17 as a rationalist, 55
and scxial environmentalism, 63 as anti-paternalistic, 87
as classical liberal, 93 Morris, Mary, 181
as in exemplar in liberalism, 47-44? Morrow John, 99,124,208
90 Murphey; J, G., 81
as prc3ponent of self-development, My staticm and its duties, 230-234,
61 262
a>nceptualstructure OS his theory,
34 Nagel, Thornas, 155
criticism of custom, 57, 276 argument for equality, 332-334
definiticln of utilitarianism, 25 Na~veson,Jan, 100, 3 25, 259
identifies elements of justice, 288 Needs
on danger of social equality, 176 and coercion, 81
on h e d a m and vo1untar.y choice, and freedom, 169
"l>-47 and case far equality, 339, 140
on individuality and equaliq, and socialist justice, 216
160-1 63 and it-re common gc~od,195
on justice and desert, 183, 3% based on theor~lrof human nature,
on justice and moral rights, 1483 148
on justice and the law, 182,183 eqtraliv of satisfaction, 147, 248
t>njustice as keeping faith, 185 Sen3 skew off 149,150
on limits of impartiality 185 Negative liberty. See also Liberty
on progress, 362 and autarchy, gL%9';7
on sexual equality, 3723,223,224 and classical liberalism, 193
on social equaliq, 163, "L4 and cc3ercion, "7ff
trtili tarian account of justice, 26 and exercise of capacity for choice,
Miller, David, 99,207,208,235 96
on justice as impartialit-y;185 and ineligibility ctf ctptirtns, 79ff
Miller, Fred, 209 and intentional interference, 178
Mltligan, Martin, 173 and ordinary language, 77-82
Mtslesworth, William, 98 and paternalism, 86
Monism and removal of obstacfes, 79
and Plato's coflception of authority and vutmtary choice, 95--97"
240 as basic tt3 classical liberalism, 43,
and po"tive freedom, 87-88,98 188-194
and socialismp373,221-223,253 as ctlmmon good, l10
as form csf rationalism, SS as opportunity concept, 81-82
as foundation of revisic~nist as partially competitive good, 110
liberalism, 93,194-199 as pluralistic, 88ff
rectmcifiation of individual and as upsetting patterns, 165
social good in the new characterized, 77-82
liberalism, 196 claim that it is not distinct concept,
Rousseau as good example of, 253 4.2'45
Moralilry contrasted to doing what one
and ju&ice, 183 desj res, 82
and authority, 246-251 Green" view of as basic, 83
and Marxism, 211 limited by law, 114
Mill's theory of, 40
not core of new liberalism, 297
not limited by others' possession cjf O5uuHivan, Nczi+l, 71, 181
power, 117 OakcshotI; Michael, 71,73,124,181,
nut simply about external 259
obstacles, 91; anti-rationalist view of authority,
nut the only value in classical 239-241
liberalism, 170 as anti-rationalist, 262
undermined by positive liberty, 88 conception of politics, 246
Nelt, Edward, 235 doubts about democracy 241
New liberalism. Sec-.also Liberalism; on change as threat tt3 identity, 64
Revisionist liberalism on dangers of collectivism, 175, l76
and democracy, 49 on human passions, 65,66
and desert-bawd social justice, 395, on limits sof knowledge about
196 society, 65
and Mill, 49 on practical knctwiedge, 54,224
and positive liberty; 98 on rationalism, S2ff
and relation of constraining laws s i d l a r i q to Hayek, 262
and tiberty, 168,169 Oilman, Bertii, 73
and social justice, 44 Oppenheim, Felix, 24,44,124
a>nceptionof justice not based on on powec 106
negative liberty 197 Owen, Robert; 212
contrast tct classical liberalism, 49
elements of, 49 X3assmure, John, 73,208
Nidditch, I), H., 235 on civil justice, 1197-149
Nietsen, Kai, 28, $4,71,124,125, 156, X3ateman, Caroie, 235
234 Paternalism, 48,86
as colleetivjst, 30 X3aul, EIlen Frankel, 209
criticism of Pliayek on social justice, Fad, Jeffrey, 209
27-28 Pennock, J. Rofand, "173,156,179,180
on pawcr of capitalists, 115 on tension b e h e e n liberty and
Nihilism, 227 equality, 158
Nisbet, Robert, 73, 126,181,2159 Peters, R. S,, 155, 157
on basic conflict of liberty and on presumption in favor of
equality; l74 equality, 133
on equality as attacks on the great, Pettit; Phitip, 118
175 X3hillips, Derek L., 235
Norman, Richarb, "17,10CIf124,181, Philosophy
267 and reason, 35
atternpt to reconcile liberty and as cleaning up a>nceptual
equality, 171-1 74 cont-usion, 26
on cooperative society, 172 as providing consistency, 19ff
on equality and liberty; 179 Pitkin, Hannah, 24,215,207
Nozick, Robert, 3 00, 180 X31arnenatz, John, 156
on conflict of liberty and econctmic Plato. See also Socrates, 3,24, 25,236
equality 165, 166 account of justice, 182,230,261,262
on states as protection agency, 92 and conceptual realism, 7fft 31,3 2,
as a conservative, 262
as rationalist and collecti\rist, 261 Socrates" three basic convictions
author of Socratic dialr.lgues, 7,223 about, 7,11
change in views about fr~rms,24 value-neutral anafysis of, 32
doubts about democracy, 241 Political ideologies
on authctrity, 23S211.0 and culture, 35-36
on interference with liberty far the and ernution, 3 5 3 6
sake of it-re whctte, 231 and reason, 3S36
Pluralism as systems of conceptions, 33-35
and attempts to reconcile liberty ccmtrasted to political theory, 36ff
and equality; 270 contrasts to justificatory political
and classical liberalism, 93, I16 theories, 43
and conservative collectivism, 232 Freeden" analysis of, 33E
and Dworkin" egalitarian function of, 36
liberalism, 366 haw incomistertcy of can be
and market wlations, 112,123 enlightening, 37
and negative liberty, 88ff, 538 may legitimize but nut justify,
as anti-rationaiist, 57-59 39-40
as basis of ctmservatism, 239-241 understanding, 36ff
as destructive of ec>mmunity, 227 PoIi ticai tf-reory
as foundation for revisionist and clearing up conceptual
liberalism, 370,199-206 confusion, 40
Berlin" characterization of, 58 and enduring political debates, 770
Hayek on, 103-104 and rationalism, 54-55
Pojman, Louis P., 155, 156 as a view of the world, 262
Potemarchuq 4, 6, 37, 18,20,186 as framework for the justificatirtns
Political Concepts. See also Complex for political a>nceptions,40
structured concepts; Concepts; as system of interpretatiims of
Definitions; Essentially political concepts, 46
contested concepts; Language ccmtrasted to ideolom, 36ff
and crtnceptiom, 3@32 creative element in, 46
and exemplars, 32 diversity of structures, 262
and picture themy? 10ff enduring types, 46-52
and political theories, ix, 3 justificatory; 39ff#43
and political theoriesy40ff must be consistent, 38
and Wittgenstein"s picture theory p r ~ t i c a nature
l of, 47
9ff Politics
as building blocks uf ideologies, 33 and equality, 152
best interpretation of, 36, 40ff, 43 as an art, 51,238-241
debunking accounts of, 6,9 authoriq in, Chap. 10
disputes abc~utintractable, 20ff ccmservative conception of, 5&51,
embedded in system ctf 66,240
conceptions, 43 Marx" view as essential to
need to make coherent, 21-22,26 humans, 68-69
not simply descriptive, 11,12 Oakeshott" view of, 239-240
private interpretatictm of, 37' rationalist view of, 53,240,
realistic aca>untul", 7 255ff
shared understanding of, 37 Popper, Karl, 57
Positive liberty: See also Autctnomy; and hidden persuasion, 206
Liberty and justice, 5, 6, 50,211, 218ff, 251,
and authctrity, 88 252
and basic capabilities, 148, 150 and markets, 115,116
and ed ucatirtn, 92-93 and property; 110ff, 114
and effective choice, 1171 as central concept of Marxism, 212
and equality, 173, 174 as competitive gctod, 109-110
and equality in Hcjbhcouse's as essentialty contested concept,
liberalism, 168,169 105,123
and expansion of the state, 103 capitalism and transfer of, 211
and forcing to be free, 88-816,121 ccmtrol theories of, 106ff
and paternalism, 86 effect theories ctf, 107ff
and pawer tt3 act, 101-105 equality of, 50,152,218ff, 251,252
and property, 113 political, equality of, 152, 218ff,
and real self, 83 252ff
and reason, 95,96 Preferences. See Desires
and the general will, 219-121 Preobrazhensky E., 260
and the welfare state, 92-93'123 Prisc3ner 3 dilemma, 190-l 92
as autonomy 82ff Private judgment
as competitive good, 109-110 and authority, 241
as development of capacities, 84 problems of overcome by
as clxercise concept, 84 authority 247-251
as monistic, 88ff Property; private
as =If-chosen life, 8 4 4 5 and basis of justice, 190
as undermining negative freedctm, and desert, l94
88 and equality of holdings, 265
Berlin" criticisms of, 86ff and freedrrrm, 110-1 16
claim that it extends negative and justice, 28, 190
liberty, 83,86ff and tockean justice, 193
claim that it is not distinct concept, and positive liberty, 113
94,95 and slavery, 183
influence ctf Mill"s and freedctm, 113
Developmentalism on, 91 as ""power to," "212
not limited by self-imposed as bundle of rights, 111
restraints, 119 as contientional rules, 225
socialist view of, 171 basis of, 111
Poverty 102,132-13,195 conflict with merit' 198
Power, Chap. 5 classical liberal views of, 110-114
"power to" as more general idea, government as protector of in
106 classical liberalism, 32
""power to'3distinguished from necessary for liberty in classical
""over," 4 05Ef liberalism, 160
""power to'3does not imply ""power not basic to Rawls"fiberalism, 206
cwer," 10106 not necessarily ""power over" in
and antipower, 117-119 classical liberalism, 112
and feminism, 220 socialist claims that it is based on
and freedom, 105,123 pawer over, 114-1 16
socialist claims that it is and cleaning u p conceptual
exploitative, 114,211 confusions, 20ff
Public goods, 246,247 and crtherence, 35
Public/private distincticm, 36-38, 153 and freedrrrm in Hobhouse" theory
Rachefs, James, 207 and equality, 143-245
Rakowski, Eric, 156,157 and justificatictn, 39
Rationalism. Sec @]soRationality; and pl-titosophy, 35
Reason and political .theory, 36-38
and civil justice, l 98 and positive liber& 95-96
and desert, 196 and structure of ideologies, 35
and enduring political theories, 60 as basis for equality, 141
and equality, 175,176 Rawls, John, 25,73,124,155-157,180,
and expert authority in socialism, 207-203,248
2SL%257 and ega1.itariazlism, 203-206
and Kant's theory of freedom, 23 6, and equal concern and respect, 200
317 and invidability ctf persons, 20
and legislation, 226 and moderate socialism, 218
and liberalism, 54, 56ff and socialist conceptions of justice,
and Marxism, 212 210
and Plato, 261 as crtntractualist, 201-203
and positive liberty, 89ff as individualist, 68, 200,204
and the republican theory of as pluralist, 200,201
freedom, 119 developmental aspects of, 201
and rise of middle class, 54 h o r k i n ' s egalitarian
and science, 52, 56 characterization of, 204
and S n ' s view of capabilities, 149 general conception of justice,
and social environmentalism, 65 203-205
and social justice, 299 liberal aspect of, 205
and socialism, 54,56,212,25&258 on desert, 202-204
and the Enlightenment, 56ff on maximin, 203
and tradition, 52 on moral arbitrariness of talents,
as assertion that all knowledge is 134
technical, 53-54 on primary goods, 349
as basis of consenlati\7e authctrity, on priority of liberty, 205,206
238ff on special conception of justice,
as comtructivist, 54 205,206
as ignoring practical knowledge, on talents as ccrrllective asset, 144
54 on veil of ignorance, 202
consernative criticism ctf, 53, 55, Raz, Joseph, 99,156
37'5,176, 2211fft 228 analysis of egalitarian arguments,
distinguished from 143-145
byperrationalism, 57 conception of autonomy, 8 4 8 5
general characterization of, 52ff Real self
of my stiltictn and its duties, 262- and Mill" bad bridge case, 47
Rationality. Sec also Ra tionalism; and monism, 89
Reason and positive liberty, 83,47,121
and the general will, 120 and democracy 222,223
applied tc7t society, 87-88 and duties, 186
Berlin" criticism of, 87ff and groups, 232,233
Reason. Sec also Rationalism; and justice, 21-22,111,183, 184,
Rationality 246
and authority, 242 and liabilities, 187
and custom, 57 and Lockean justice, 193
and freedom, 85 and social good, 21-22
and language, 139,143 as claims, 186, 187
and rationalism, 54 as immunities, 287
and truth about values, 558 as liberties, 186,187
Burke on limits ctf, 55-56 as personal free space, 113
importance of in liberalism, 57 as powers, 187,223
liberal skegticism about, 57 as positive and negative, 186,187
Rec/tfssEanl,160 coXXectivist account cif, 200
Redress, principle of, l34 equal basic, 151
Reeve, Henry, 280 human, a>nservativecri ticism of,
Rehg, William, 235,259 55,121,122
Republicanism, 218,119 different senEs of, 188
Revisiclnist liberalism. Sec anlso Hobhouse on equality of, 169
Liberalism; New liberalism in f-tobbes" state of nature, 189,
and cc~lfectivism,200 190
and desert, 194,196,206 inequality of under consenratism,
and developmentalism, 61-63 231
and moral arbitrariness of talents, Mill's case for equality of, 161
133,134 moral distinguished from legal,
and positive liberq, 82-93 183
as rationalistic, S s 6 0 natural, 193
Berlin" view that it is monistic, 58 of Englishmen in Burke, 121,123
conception of democracy, 223 of gcttiernmrsnt and authority,
Dworkin's conception of as 239
egalitarian, 16G168 of Hobbesian sovereign, 190
influence of Mill's of minorities, 3 99
devel opmentalism ctn, 91 of women, 178,223,224
Macpherson" criticism of, 62 that comprise property 111-312
monistic versicms, 194-200 types of, 185-188
not all advocates endorse positive Riker, William, 235
liberty, 93 Ritchie, D. G,, 73
overlapping with moderate Robbins, Lord, 59,72
socialism, 262 Robinson, R, E., 207
pluralistic versions, 199-206 Robwn, J. M., 71,lEIO
relation of liberty and equality in, Rockefejler, John D., 215
166-1 70 Rodman, John R., 99
summary of conceptual structure Rogers, JoeX, 235, 259
of, 93 on demcrrcracy and authority, 253
Rights on socialism as equal freedom and
and authority, 247 power, 252
on socialist conception of Smith, Adam, 125
democracy 221,222 on invisible 'hand, 113
Ross, W D., 155 Smith, j. C., 207
Rossie, Alice S., 181 Snare, Francis, 125
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 125,179,259 Social environmentalism. See nlso
as a,llectivist, 67,232 E-Tt~mannature
as monist, 253 and collectivism, 66
on democracy, 253-255 and conservatism, 64:
on distinction between civil and and Marxist socialism, 212
moral freedom, 119 and reconciliation of freedom as
on freedom as absnce of perstmal pawer with ideal of free
dependence, 120 persons, 104
on harmony of liberty and equality, as theory of human nature, 6 3 4 5
358 Social good. See also Collectivism;
on relation csf law and freedom, 119 Common good; Utilitarianism
tendency tct gloriQ the pectple, 254, and justice, 20-22,26,160-163
255 and mural collectivism, 68
Runcirnan, W. G., 100 and public interest, 37
Russell, Bertrand, 124 constrained by justice in Rawls's
R u ~ i a nIievoluticm, 51 liberalism, 201
Ryan, Alan, 72,74,125, 155 Social justice. See nlso Justice;
Revisionist liberalism
Scanlon, Thomas, 234 and under representation of
Saint-Sirnon, Curnte de, 212 minorities, 199
Science and civil justice, 298, 199
and rationalism, 52,56 and Nagel" argument far equality,
and socialism, 56,255-257 132
Selby-Bigge, L. A., 235 and new liberalism, 49, 194f.E
%If-interest as essentially contested concept,
and lzanlo eco~lotnicus,61 26f&29ff
and markets, l13 as fmdarnental moral imperative,
as theory of human nature, 61 27
and Rawls' thectry of justice, 392, collectivist understanding of, 30
204 convergence ctf revisionist liberals
in ciassical liberalism, 160 and socialists on, 210
%n, Amartya, 155,157 disputes about, 34-35
basic capability view, 14%2,150 fatilitatory, 298, 199
on goods fetish, 143 Hayek" criticism of, 27, 30,
on handicapped, 149,150 196
Shapiro, !an, 74 Hobhouse%cconcepticm of, 195
Shils, Edward, 235 Rawfs9heory of, 201-206
Shklar, Judith, 234 relation tr3 individualism and
Skepticism, 42, 52, 57 collectivism, 66
Skinner, Quentin, 160 two key features, 34
Skinner, A. S., 125 Socialism, Sec also Marx; Marxism
SIote, Michael, 207 ambivalence about principles of
Sluga, E-Tans, 24 substantive justice, 219
ambivalence towards authoriq in, its voltmtaristic conception of
258 justice, 220
anarchist textdencies of, 251,252 Lenin's view ctf, 255,256
and collectivismf29-30,66,68 limits of wants under, 104
and democracy, 172,218-223 on inadequacy ctf the welfare state,
and desert, 214 218
and develupmentalism, 62 on liberty and economic equality,
and feminism, 220 166
and equality of pawer, 50,218-223 on markets as cclmpetitive and
and freedom as resources, 102ff a>nflictual,115, 136
and justice as desert, 216 on power c~fcapitalists, 114, 115,
and justice as equality, 216 218
and justice as needs fulfiilment, on property and Ereedrrrm/ 114
216 place of expert autharity in, 257
and justice, 2&ff,22-30, 2163--.223 reludance to advance principles of
and moral arbitrariness of talents, justice, 233
133,134 summary of a>nceptualstructure
and rationalist planning, 256258 of, 70,261
and Rawis" theory of justice, 21Q supporters who endorse negative
and reconciliation of liberty and liberty, 93
equality, 50,176-174 tendency to glorify the people in,
and social environmentalism, 63, 255
65,304,212 tension belween substantive and
and social equality, 152 procedural justice, 254,255
and tramformation of capitalist utctpian, 211, 23 2
man, 64: Society SW also Cojlectivism;
as critical of liberal individualism, Community; Individualism
219 and desert, 296
as favoring effect theories of and equality of opportunity, 154
power, 108 and justice, 27, 30, Chap. 9
as overlapping revisicmist liberal and positive liberty, 87-88
justice, 210, 262 artificial in ciassical liberalism, 92
as rationalistic, 54, 56, 60, 212, as mass of competitiuns, 197-199
255-257 as an organic whole, 230,231
as scientific, 56, 21Qff as realm of impersonal forces, 27'
atternpt to do away with markets, as system of mutual advantage,
257 201
authoritarian tendencies of, 258 cclftectivist analysis of, 67' 2232
authority in democratic versions, complexity and inequality ctf, 175
252,253,255 ccmRict and ccrroperaticm in, 201
Berlin" view that it is monistic, conservative hierarcKcal
5&59 a>nception,232
criticism ctf Rawls" account of evolutionary account of, 59
motivation, 204 individualist analysis of, 67'
defense of hierarcl~yin, 256 justice as organization of, in
eqtraliv as core, 4-49 socialism, 27, 30
faith in ability tt3 control society, 65 justice as the proper c~rdering,230ff
organic theory of, 177 Hobbesian account of, 188-192
rationalist attempts to remold, 55 Kant on, 116,117',24'7,248
relation of to individuals, 66ff lack of freedom in, 168
undermined by vice, 228,229 Lockean accowt of, 41-92,193,
Socrates. See nlsu Pbto, viii, 16,40 247,248
account of justice, 6,230,260-261 problems of private judgment in,
abstractness of his definition of 247,248
justice, 3 9 Steiner, Willel, 98
and cclherence in concepts, 19 Stephen, lames Fitzjames, 236
and justice as action guidingf 112 as tlclnservative critic of liberalism,
and need for consistent concepts, 227; 229
22 Sterba, James l?, 380,234,235
and Plato, 23 Stern, David G,, 24
and task of philosophy, 39ff Stewart, Robert M., 208
and the idea of an exemplar, 32 Styron, WitTiam, 155
and westem political philosophy, 3 Sumer, L. W., 207,208
basic a>ntiictionsand Wittgenstein, Swanton, Christine, 44,445
17ff Sweet, William, 73,100,325
criticism of traditional Creek
noticm of justice, 51% TaXen ts
definitirjn of shape, 7-43 as resources, l48
definiticln of virtue, 24 moral arbitrarhess of, 133,334
methad ctf, 35 "Tall poppies,;,"'117, 181
on adequate definitions, 17, 18 Ewney; R. H,, 124,125,355,156
on aims ctf a ruler, 5 and Christian foundations of
on authority, 5 egalitarianism, 338
on clearing up conceptual and nonpreferen tial conception of
confusion, 26 equality, 127
on definitionst 8'22 on Freedtjm as power tt3 act, 201
on justice as giving each his due on meeting different needs, l40
and paying debts, 4 on pctwer c-tf capitalists over
on justice as the interest ctf the workers, 114
strc>nger,S E y , Alice Erh-Soon, 355,208
on need for cr>nsistentconceptic~n Taylor; Charles, 99,1Q0
of justice, 21 Thatcher, Margaret, 123
three, basic convicticms about Thrasymacus, 5,6,9, 27,28,20
political a>ncepts,7, 22 R)cqueville, Alexis de, 180
two errors of, 17ff and political authority 238
Spector, Horacio, 99,100 on social equality, 163, 164,176
Spiegelberg, Herbert 155 Traditim
Stalin, Josef, 21 hfillian criticism of, 17'6
State of nature and conservative account of law,
and coordination yrobfen~, 2 22
243-245 and conservative account of
and prisoner" dilemma, 1912 poli tics, 2240
classical liberal view of, 91-92 and ctmservative justice, 224
equality in, 142, l43 and conservative liberties, 2 21
and justice, 233 Welfare
and practical knowledge, 54 as preference-satisfaction, 146,
as obstacle to positive liberty, 86 147
central to cornervatism, 55-56 equali'ty of, 14&%147
consernative delense of, 176 Welfare state. See nfsn Revisionist
ignored by French revc3f utionaries, liberalism; %?cialjustice
55 and equality of opportunity, 3399
rationalist suspicic3n of, 52 and human development, 196
Tucker, D.F.B., 73 and positive liberty, 92-93, 103
Tucker, Robert C., 72,125,234,259 and social justice, 27
e x p m i o n of after Second World
Ukrainian prisoners of war, 21-22 W r , 195
Umpire theory of authctrity, 258ff Westin, Peter, 157
Utilitarianism IIVestmorland, Rnbert, 155, 1156
and classical liberal equality, Willjams, Bernard, 156
160-1 63 case for equality, 13S140
and equality, 329-132 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 24, 248
and justice, 20-26,160-4 63 and conceptual inct3nsistency,
and marginal decreasing utitilit?i, 19-2 1
129-1 32 and social nature of concepts, 17
as morally ct3llectivistic, 21fft 1JO and Socrates%basic convictir~ns,12,
Bentham" characterization of, 329 17% 23
and Williaxns" case for equality,
Value statements, 12
as nonsense, 13 approach to conceptual confusion,
Verlificationist theory of meaning, 20 198f
Virginia BecXaration of Rights, 137, on ethics as mystical, 11
142 on fcjrms of life, 16
Virtues on lack of conceptual essences,
and justice, 233
conservative, 226-230 on language games, 15ff
disagreement within comematism on language picturhg the world,
about, 123
Qff, 12ff
VXastos, Cregory, 155 on practical nature of language, 47
Voltaire, 57' on St. Augustine's view of
von Humboldt, Wilhelm, 71 language, 12ff
von Mises, Ludwig, 1717, 2 8 0 WoIP, Susan, 99
on egalitarianism, 177 Willfenden Repart 227,228
on human inequali~;165 Wolff, Robert Paul, 258
on importance of reason, 57 Wilod, Allen, 213,234
on limits ctf reason, 57 might, A. W., 235
Waldron, Jeremlii,44 Yc)ung, Robert' 99
Mialzer, Michael, 153,157 Yugoslavia, 219
Wattt E. D., 259
Weinstein, W. L., 99 Zalta, Edward N., 171,207'