The Declaration of Independence aimed to turn our continent from a British colony into an American nation. Yet its first, its primary claim, is that we are all individually equal. What’s that got to do with national independence? However, the Declaration’s claim of universal human equality has grown into our primary political passion.
This brief book asks: What concrete, substantial good do we get out of this equality? Well, specific safety of our equality before the law. But beyond that, and the easement of our envy? Equality at work, equalizing, is a mere leveling relation. Whatever is worth having involves distinction, that’s inequality.
Eva Brann was a member of the senior faculty at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, where she taught for more than sixty years. She holds degrees from Brooklyn College and Yale University and is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Is Equality an Absolute Good? is her fourteenth book from Paul Dry Books. Her other books include Feigning, Pursuits of Happiness, Iron Filings or Scribblings, How to Constitute a World, Doublethink / Doubletalk, Then & Now, Un-Willing, The Logos of Heraclitus, Feeling Our Feelings, Homage to Americans, Open Secrets / Inward Prospects, The Music of the Republic, and Homeric Moments.