February 17, 2004

The Lie of Egalitarianism

John Kekes interviewed by Jamie Glazov in FrontPage magazine:

Frontpage Magazine: Mr. Kekes, welcome to Frontpage Interview. Let me begin with your argument that the absurdity of egalitarianism is, among many other things, its flawed premise that justice requires overlooking whether individuals deserve what they have and whether they are responsible for what they do not have. Could you talk a bit about this?

Kekes: Egalitarians believe that the obligation of the government is to treat citizens with equal consideration and they interpret that primarily in economic terms. They think that a government that allows substantial differences in wealth is immoral and their policy is to change the existing differences in wealth by taxation. The money collected by taxation is then used to benefit those who have less.
The fundamental objection to this is that the egalitarian policy ignores the crucial question of how people have come to differ in wealth. If they earned their money by legitimate mean, hard work, intelligence, in tough competition, and not being afraid to take risks, then they deserve what they have. To take their money from them in order to benefit those who have made wrong choices, were afraid of taking risks, or lost in a fair competition is unjust because it takes from people what they deserve and use it to benefit those who do not deserve it. To say that a government that does not adopt this unjust policy is immoral is absurd. It is the precise opposite of the truth. and it is this falsehood that egalitarian rhetoric endlessly repeats.