Monday, November 17, 2008

No Justice in "Luck Egalitarianism"

I heard of a type of collectivist which is new to me, the " "luck egalitarian" [which is the belief that] people with greater-than-average talents and abilities should not in justice receive more wealth and income than others, even if their work is more productive and valuable than their less-fortunately-endowed coworkers. People do not deserve the abilities by which they surpass others..." Ludwig von Mises Institute Daily

In justice people do not deserve the abilities by which they surpass others! That is mind-numbing, to thing that someone can believe it. How is it that such educated people can believe that "luck egalitarianism" is justice? Who is to decide which part of one's ability is "luck" and which parts have to do with education and "practicing till you get to Carnegie Hall"? And will luck and talent become things that are taxed?

What's more, who gives anyone the right to make the jurisprudent decision as to what is luck, what is talent, what is skill, what is derived from years of practice and learning? People with "natural" talents are usually children such as Michael Jackson at age 8, or Celine Dion at age 14; actors like Neil Patrick Harris; or sports whizzes like Michael Phelps who, at the age of 18, swam his way to eight medals (six of them gold) at the summer Olympics in Athens.

Can you or I do what those kids do? Can you or I do what praises author G.A. Cohen for being able to do?

"Cohen's attitude toward [John] Rawls," writes Gordon, about Cohen's book Rescuing Justice and Equality, "[ ] is a major work, the product of a philosophical intelligence of great depth and power. Few if any contemporary thinkers can match Cohen in his ability to grasp what is at stake in an argument and to raise devastating objections."

Cohen is the luck egalitarian in this case. I don't know for certain, but I rather doubt he was a "born philosopher" with all the skills he now seems to have. Yet, he is more successful at what he does than many non-fiction writers, and he is taken seriously. His books sell well, considering the subject matter. Is he going to give all his excessive profits to charity, or perhaps split it with other authors who are not as talented and lucky as he is? And does he attribute his own talent to luck?
As for his book itself, from what is Cohen rescuing justice and equality? He is rescuing them from what he believes are "the false views of John Rawls [in his] famous difference principle [which] allows inequalities that justice properly excludes."

Rawls book "A Theory of Justice" is concerned with distributive justice, i.e., "what is just or right with respect to the allocation of goods in a society."

It is amazing how twisted philosophy can become when a bad idea such as the justice of the allocation of goods is accepted as a proper and sound premise of political science; the twist becomes complete when someone who accepts its premise but not its conclusion then argues against it, compounding the original epistemological mistake.

(It is a proper and sound subject of both epistemology and metaphysics; objectively both disciplines would reject the premise and it would not become a proper and sound subject of political philosophy--except in rejection.)

The only just allocation of goods in a society is to those who have properly, naturally, ethically earned it, and properly does not include having political clout to shut out those who have no such clout; but it certainly does include the talent and luck of people who use talent and luck to their advantage.

It is a travesty of justice to argue that talent and luck are undeserved, especially when the unit of measurement is the lack of talent and luck of others. The common denominator would change by the minute, everytime someone new deomonstrated his growing talent or everytime someone got lucky. It would change everytime someone's luck went from great from zero, and everytime someone's talent failed him.

But as sure as the sun rises tomorrow, someone, perhaps even during the redistributive Obama Presidency, will at least suggest that excessive talent and luck be taxed.

Obama’s Road to Damascus

There is a saying regarding presidential administrations that “personnel is policy.” It’s for this reason that presidential staff and other appointments are watched so closely by political pundits and analysts.

President-elect Obama’s selection of Robert Malley is the kind of appointment that is very, very revealing – and, unfortunately, very troubling. However, it’s not particularly surprising to those of us who researched Obama’s record.

History will record that Barack Obama’s first act of diplomacy as America’s president-elect took place two days after his election victory, when he dispatched his senior foreign-policy adviser, Robert Malley, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—to outline for them the forthcoming administration’s Mideast policy vis-à-vis those nations.

A Harvard-trained lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, Robert Malley is no newcomer to the Obama team. In 2007, Obama selected him as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. At the time, Malley was (and still is today) the Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), which receives funding from the Open Society Institute of George Soros (who, incidentally, serves on the ICG Executive Committee).

Robert Malley was raised in France. His lineage is noteworthy. His father, Simon Malley (1923-2006), was a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. A passionate hater of Israel, the elder Malley was a close friend and confidante of the late PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat...

In a July 2001 op-ed which Malley penned for the New York Times, he alleged that Israeli—not Palestinian—inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fall apart. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written—some he co-authored with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat—blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat (the most prolific Jew-killer since Adolph Hitler) for the failure of the peace process.
Read the entire article here: John Perazzo Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reposted here from
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