The Heart of Plebeian Progressivism
This chapter defends the plebeian concept of reasonable envy against the widespread denigration of envy in contemporary political culture and philosophy. It makes the case that beneath the shadow of unfairness permanently cast in even the most advanced liberal-democratic states, there is a legitimate place for singling out the most advantaged class for singular regulatory attention and, further, there are some special circumstances when it is not irrational to impose costs on the most advantaged that have neutral or even negative material effects on the rest of society. Through a critical dialogue with the philosophy of John Rawls, the leading recent philosopher of liberal-democratic justice, the chapter argues that the same grounds on which a liberal-democratic society already finds it appropriate to regulate the least advantaged class also justify it in identifying and regulating the most advantaged class.
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