Project #57365 - Discussion 7.1

  • From Six Great Ideas by Mortimer J. Adler read Chapter 22 "The Equalities to which We are Entitled" (pp. 164-173) and Chapter 23 "The Inequalities that Justice also Requires" (pp. 174-185).




After completing this week's assigned Adler reading post your dialogue in Discussion Board 7_1 by the following Tuesday, 12:00 a.m. CST.

Choose Write a dialogue involving at least 10 - 15 interchanges about the equalities to which we are entitled and the inequalities required by justice using at least 4 of any of these speakers: a staunch Capitalist like Andrew Carnegie, an 18th Century slave like Frederick Douglass, a modern middle class worker, an early 19th Century woman seeking the right to vote, a displaced Native American, a recent emigrant, a Wicca practitioner, or Adler. Have your speakers respond to what the other persons says, too. 





The following notes refer to this week's Adler readings.

The Equalities to Which We are Entitled

106405850.jpgJustice limits equality and liberty. There is some equality which justice demands we each have.

As human beings we are equal. How? Examples include freedom of will and power of choice. Remember from the Declaration our Natural Rights include "the pursuit of happiness." In order to pursue this happiness we NEED certain equalities. (What is a "need?") These equalities are circumstantial, not personal.

We are equal in our humanity. Adler then discusses animals. While humans are animals, we alone are self-aware or sentient. We know we are born to die; that our time is limited.

So while humans are equal in their humanity - all of us are not equal in any other way. These differences (smart, athletic, weight, hair color) can be either innate (born that way) or attained.

"Specific equality" means the personal equality IN KIND that is the one equality possessed by all human beings; as a species we are all equally human.

"Individual equality" or "individual inequality" is the differences IN DEGREE. 'You run faster but I am better at math.'

Declarative Statements: the way it is. (Prescriptive Statements: the way it OUGHT to be). Where are the areas that ALL human beings OUGHT to be equal?

  1. Political status;
    1. Treatment,
    2. Opportunity,
    3. We need to be able to exercise our political voice to be able to pursue happiness,
  2. Economic status;
    1. Treatment,
    2. Opportunity,


"Merely legal rights are alienable." (Can be taken away). Natural rights ("Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" are bestowed on men by "Nature's God." Because we are BORN with these rights, from God if you will, they cannot be taken away by government. These natural rights (the pursuit of happiness) include 'the power of free choice' and 'liberty of action.') Without these two rights, action and choice, we are unable to pursue happiness. These rights exist in the Penumbra (shadow, inferred) of our Constitution.

Justice requires that we each have equal citizenship with suffrage (the right to vote). It is voting (the highest form of patriotism) that allows us to manage the 'just power' we cede to government. We give up some of our innate liberty so that society can operate outside of the chaos of everyone pursuing liberty at the expense of another's rights: in essence we agree to live within the laws of society.


Remember that NEEDS are necessary for survival; food, drink, clothing, shelter. Adler includes schooling, healthy environment, ample free time. In other words, we need sufficient economic independence to be able to pursue happiness.   "Sufficiency of economic good"


Libertarian: (unlimited liberty) demands freedom of action (equality of opportunity). If government provides economic equality, this will enlarge government and thereby restrict the freedom of all individuals. "His error lies in asking for more liberty than justice allows."

Equalitarian: (unlimited equality) demands equality of condition (equality of outcome).  None will have more or less than another. Since we are equal only in terms of our humanity, such equality is not possible.

The middle of these extremes is the moderate. "Justice requires only that all shall be haves."

The Inequalities that Justice also requires

If we are equal in kind, the same, we may be unequal in degrees. For example, we do believe in 'one man = one vote.' However, if we send someone to Washington D.C. to represent us, chances are good they will need more 'power' than 'one man = one vote' in order to function. For example, in Congress elected members vote on laws which, if passed, affect our lives. Each of us can have an OPINION on how a vote in Congress should go; however, only the elected official gets to vote. So this elected official's vote has more power, by degrees, than you and I have.

First principle of Justice: Economically we see this. There is a minimum baseline of economic sufficiency that all members of society must have in order to pursue happiness. However, while there is a "floor" or minimum necessary to operate in society, there is no ceiling. Consequently some may become very wealthy.

Second principle of Justice: Those who have more (economically) than the bare minimum do not have this by RIGHT. Rather they have these rewards for "what they do." "To each the wealth that he produces."

While there can be inequality in wealth - there cannot be inequality in politics. This is because 'one man = one vote' allows each of us to have an equal voice in how our society works. (One cannot legitimately acquire more than one vote's worth of power.)

  • In any society you have three groups which need to be protected;
  • Those that are too young to 'create wealth,'
  • Those that are too old, and
  • Those whose mental or physical disability prevents them from creating wealth.
    • And there are those that are temporarily unable to work (create wealth).



Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 02/14/2015 01:00 pm
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