AuthorFitzgerald, Patrick Allen.
Committee ChairFeinberg, Joel
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEquality, Charity and Democracy focuses on the connection between equality and what I call the redistributive relationship. The redistributive relationship is the relationship between benefactor and beneficiary in the provision of goods and services. The redistributive relationship can embody an array of both virtues and vices, but I argue that in most cases we are currently alienated from it. In other words, the current system of governmental aid separates benefactor and beneficiary and thus makes their relationship anonymous and impersonal. The dissertation tries to both explain this problem of alienation and determine whether there is any solution to it that doesn't also create even bigger problems. "Justice, Charity and Discretion" defends a distinction between justice and charity by distinguishing between perfect and imperfect duties. I argue that we should conceive of the duty of charity as merely an imperfect duty. Furthermore, when we think of our duties to aid the less advantaged in this way we need not come to politically conservative conclusions. "Equality as an Action Guide" looks at Ronald Dworkin's theory of equality to determine whether it can guide our political decisions. I conclude that Dworkin's theory can not provide us with an effective action guide--an action guide that is usable, determinate and correct. "Direct, Indirect and Directionless Egalitarianism" describes the problem of alienation and how this problem may motivate three kinds of egalitarian theories. Direct egalitarianism attacks inequality using redistribution alone; indirect egalitarianism attacks inequality using governmental measures other than redistribution, and directionless egalitarianism argues that equality is best promoted by the government doing nothing. "Liberal Indirect Egalitarianism: National Service and Student Loan Reform" compares Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps and Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps. I argue that Roosevelt's national service program exemplifies direct egalitarianism while Clinton's exemplifies a liberal approach to indirect egalitarianism. "Conservative Indirect Egalitarianism: Devolution and Adoption" looks at the House Republican plan for welfare reform and interprets the main arguments as forms of conservative indirect egalitarianism. "Directionless Egalitarianism: Private Charity and Self-Reliance" looks at the libertarian argument that equality would be best promoted if the government does nothing. I conclude that there are serious problems with these liberal, conservative and libertarian forms of egalitarianism and in the concluding chapter look at education as a prospect for alleviating the problem in the long term.