Sur l’égalité

J’ai commencé depuis quelques semaines à regrouper à des liens vers quelques textes qui ont particulièrement retenu mon attention.

Je publierai parfois quelques extraits de ces textes ici, sans forcément y ajouter beaucoup plus de commentaires — avec le souhait de favoriser d’éventuels échanges à leurs sujets.

Je commence aujourd’hui avec quelques extraits d’un excellent texte fraîchement publié dans le New Yorker, édition du 7 janvier 2019:

The Philosopher Redefining Equality — Elizabeth Anderson thinks we’ve misunderstood the basis of a free and fair society, par Nathan Heller.

Égalité et liberté

«…through history, equality and freedom have arrived together as ideals. What if they weren’t opposed, Anderson wondered (…) What if the way most of us think about the relation between equality and freedom—the very basis for the polarized, intractable political division of this moment—is wrong?

Identités et liberté

«The ability not to have an identity that one carries from sphere to sphere but, rather, to be able to slip in and adopt whatever values and norms are appropriate while retaining one’s identities in other domains?” She paused. “That is what it is to be free.”»

Répondre aux inégalités

«As a rule, it’s easy to complain about inequality, hard to settle on the type of equality we want. Do we want things to be equal where we start in life or where we land? When inequalities arise, what are the knobs that we adjust to get things back on track?»

L’égalité hiérarchique

«The problem, she proposed, was that contemporary egalitarian thinkers had grown fixated on distribution: moving resources from lucky-seeming people to unlucky-seeming people, as if trying to spread the luck around. (…) By categorizing people as lucky or unlucky, she argued, these egalitarians set up a moralizing hierarchy.»

«By letting the lucky class go on reaping the market’s chancy rewards while asking others to concede inferior status in order to receive a drip-drip-drip of redistributive aid, these egalitarians were actually entrenching people’s status as superior or subordinate.»

La véritable égalité

«To be truly free, in Anderson’s assessment, members of a society had to be able to function as human beings (requiring food, shelter, medical care), to participate in production (education, fair-value pay, entrepreneurial opportunity), to execute their role as citizens (freedom to speak and to vote), and to move through civil society (parks, restaurants, workplaces, markets, and all the rest). Egalitarians should focus policy attention on areas where that order had broken down.»

Multiculturalisme et égalité?

«Broadly, there’s a culturally right and a culturally left ideal theory for race and society. The rightist version calls for color blindness. Instead of making a fuss about skin and ethnicity, its advocates say, society should treat people as people, and let the best and the hardest working rise. The leftist theory envisions identity communities: for once, give black people (or women, or members of other historically oppressed groups) the resources and opportunities they need, including, if they want it, civil infrastructure for themselves. In “The Imperative of Integration,” published in 2010, Anderson tore apart both of these models. Sure, it might be nice to live in a color-blind society, she wrote, but that’s nothing like the one that exists. (…) But the case for self-segregation was also weak. Affinity groups provided welcome comfort, yet that wasn’t the same as power or equality, Anderson pointed out.»

Intégration et égalité

«Anderson’s solution was “integration,” a concept that, especially in progressive circles, had been uncool since the late sixties. Integration, by her lights, meant mixing on the basis of equality. It was not assimilation. It required adjustments from all groups. Anderson laid out four integrative stages: formal desegregation (no legal separation), spatial integration (different people share neighborhoods), formal social integration (they work together, and are one another’s bosses), and informal social integration (they become buddies, get married, start families).»

Gauche/droite vs pluralisme

«The challenge of pluralism is the challenge of modern society: maintaining equality amid difference in a culture given to constant and unpredictable change. It is the fashion in America these days to define political virtue by position. Richard is on the side of history, we might say, because he’s to the left of Irma on this issue and slightly to the right of Marco on that one. Anderson would resist this way of thinking, not least because it calls for intellectual convergence. It’s anti-pluralistic and tribalist. It celebrates ideology; it presumes that certain models have absolute, not situational, value. Rather than fighting for the ascendancy of certain positions, Anderson suggests, citizens should fight to bolster healthy institutions and systems—those which insure that all views and experiences will be heard.»

Progressime et économie de marché

«American progressivism is in the midst of a messy reckoning. During the nineties, upper-tail wage inequality (the gap between the middle class and the rich) exceeded lower-tail inequality (the gap between the poor and the middle class). Since then, upper-tail inequality has continued to grow while lower-tail inequality has remained basically unchanged. The unnaturalness of this top-heavy arrangement, combined with growing evidence of power abuses, has given many people reason to believe that something is fishy about the structure of American equality.»

«The problem isn’t that talent and income are distributed in unequal parcels. The problem is that Jeff Bezos earns more than a hundred thousand dollars a minute, while Amazon warehouse employees, many talented and hardworking, have reportedly resorted to urinating in bottles in lieu of a bathroom break. That circumstance reflects some structure of hierarchical oppression. It is a rip in the democratic fabric, and it’s increasingly the norm.»

«Andersonism holds that we don’t have to give up on market society if we can recognize and correct for its limitations—it may even be our best hope, because it’s friendlier to pluralism than most alternatives are.»

La lecture de l’article complet est évidemment encore mieux.


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