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Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson’s View Essay


In the article ‘What is the Point of Equality’, the author Elizabeth Anderson compares the connotations of the two concepts regarding the question of civil rights and egalitarianism. The first idea, which implies that the indispensable unfair treatment appears to be the ordinary unfair treatment in the dissemination of luck, can be considered as luck egalitarianism’ or ‘equality of fortune.’ Moreover, the author contends with the fact that equality of fortune, or so-called luck egalitarianism, neglects the essential test any egalitarian concept has to pass: that its conventions assert comparable deference and apprehension for every citizen. The given approach towards luck egalitarianism fails this assessment for three reasons. First of all, “it excludes some citizens from enjoying the social conditions of freedom on the spurious ground that it’s their fault for losing them” (Anderson, 1999, p. 287). The approach avoids this issue only by means of paternalism.

Secondly, “equality of fortune makes the basis for citizens’ claims on one another the fact that some are inferior to others in the worth of their lives, talents, and personal qualities” (Anderson, 1999, p. 287). As a result, its conventions signify condescending and insulting empathy for those the declare character as wistfully substandard and advocate hatred and resentment as a foundation for allocating personal and commercial possessions from the fortuitous to the less fortunate. Such foundations characterize the fewer fortunes and rudeness towards someone the fortunate by neglecting to display how hatred and resentment can constrain them. Thirdly, “equality of fortune, in attempting to ensure that people take responsibility for their choices, makes demeaning and intrusive judgments of people’s capacities to exercise responsibility and effectively dictates to them the appropriate uses of their freedom” (Anderson, 1999, p. 288). The approach that is defended by the author is called ‘democratic equality.’ In the pursuit of the development of a society of equal civil rights, democratic equality assimilates and combines foundations of dissemination with the revealing requirements of equal appreciation and admiration given by others.

According to the author, democratic equality assures that every law-abiding civilian productively has admission to the social requirements of their freedom at any given time. Moreover, in defence of her beliefs, the author claims that the theory of democratic equality advocates the dispersions that are demanded in order to protect this assurance by addressing to the responsibilities of the civilians in a democratic state. Furthermore, In such a state, the civilians create demands on each other in advantage and integrity, not only of their equality but their deficiency and inadequacy to others. The author claims that the indispensable goal of every civilian in developing a state is to protect and guarantee the freedom to every citizen; as a result, “democratic equality’s principles of distribution neither presume to tell people how to use their opportunities nor attempt to judge how responsible people are for choices that lead to unfortunate outcomes” (Anderson, 1999, p. 289). As a substitute, it averts inability to pay debts at the hands of the careless citizens by restricting the variety of personal and commercial possessions that are supplied all in all and looks ahead to the citizens to take individual authority and liability for the other personal and commercial possessions that are in their custody. The author strongly defends her theory throughout the article.

Reference List

Anderson, E 1999, ‘What is the point of equality?’ Ethics, vol. 109, no. 2, pp. 287-337.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 10). Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson's View. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/civil-rights-and-egalitarianism-andersons-view/

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1. IvyPanda. "Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson's View." June 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/civil-rights-and-egalitarianism-andersons-view/.


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IvyPanda. "Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson's View." June 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/civil-rights-and-egalitarianism-andersons-view/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson's View." June 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/civil-rights-and-egalitarianism-andersons-view/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Civil Rights and Egalitarianism: Anderson's View'. 10 June.

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