Unashamedly polemical, this reissue of Freedom & Equality, first published in 1986, presents a strong and persuasively argued case for democratic socialism. In contrast to many recent books justifying conservatism and varieties of Marxism, Keith Dixon defends the two great principles underpinning democratic socialism – freedom and equality. He aims both to restore the idea of freedom to its proper place in the political vocabulary of the left and to defend a stark version of freedom as absence of constraint. Only this version of freedom, he argues, is consistent with the proper defence of civil liberties. Dixon also defends radical egalitarianism from its critics, who either repudiate its full force or reject it out of hand. He believes that freedom and equality are potentially realizable socialist goals, that democratic socialism is not necessarily linked with fraternalism, and – above all – that it should be based upon a firm and consistent conception of individuality.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Idea of Freedom 1. A Stark Outline of Freedom as Absence of Constraint 2. Positive Conception of Freedom 3. Economic Freedom and Political Liberty 4. Freedom of Expression and Association: The Special Case of the Propagation of ‘Racial Hatred’ 5. Paternalist Legislation. Part 2: Equality and Fraternity 6. Inequality, Poverty and Hierarchy 7. Equality as Impartiality of Consideration 8. John Rawls’s Conception of Equality: Relegation to Third Division Status? 9. Radical Egalitarianism 10. Objections and Impediments to Radical Egalitarianism 11. Is Equality Desirable? 12. Is Inequality Inevitable? 13. The Argument from ‘Incentives’ 14. Why are Systems of Inequality Relatively Stable? 15. Does Equality Imply Fraternity? Part 3: Conclusion: Morality and Socialism 16. Morality: Substantive, Procedural and Critical 17. The Presumption of Freedom and Equality