Equality and Justice

"Equality and Justice" (A reply to letters), Commentary, February 1973.


I still do believe that any society has to be governed by a principle of justice which legitimates particular inequalities, and that our own society is having trouble finding such a principle. But I have never believed, as you imply, that justice and equality come to the same thing in the end. Similarly, I am all in favor of equal opportunity and of any compensatory program or preferential treatment that will help achieve it. But I do not regard quotas as a contribution to equality of opportunity. “Coaching” a black student so that he can get into medical school or an apprenticeship program is one thing; reserving a spot for him, simply on the basis of his race, is another.

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