I think that a large part of the gulf between leftists and libertarians is about our different conceptions of the nature of equality (and inequality) and what policies follow from these conceptions.

Today, there’s a great Cato Unbound article on the subject: When Inequality Matters by David Schmidtz.

I think that this is an issue that everybody who’s interested in political philosophy should think seriously about. I like to believe that if that were to happen, many more people would come to accept a more libertarian framework. Perhaps there are fundamental differences among people’s psychologies that prevent this…but everything Schmidtz wrote makes sense to me.

I’m also eager to read the replies that should be coming in the next few days.

HT: Will Wilkinson

Update: Tom G. Palmer has written a very good reaction essay in which he continues where Schmidtz left off and considers the prior moral question of which inequalities are ours to arrange, and some of the common errors that people make when justifying state action to redistribute wealth.

Speaking of Palmer, don’t miss Jonathan Rauch’s article about the heroic work Palmer is leading to expose classical liberal works to the Arab world (Iraq in particular).


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