September 8, 2010

Sidebar to The Fourth Revolution

Richard Henry Tawney (1880–1962) was a British historian who spent most of his career at the London School of Economics. He wrote widely on economic history, sociology, and current affairs. A Christian socialist, he was a critic of “the acquisitive society”—the title of one of his more popular books.

“If society is to be healthy,” he wrote, “men must regard themselves, not primarily as the owners of rights, but as trustees for the discharge of functions and the instruments of a social purpose.” He was one of the most prominent and influential of the socialist thinkers and activists who moved Britain to adopt the welfare state.John Rawls (1921–2002) was a Harvard political philosopher whose book A Theory of Justice (1971) has had an enormous impact in academic philosophy, political theory, law, and related fields. Rawls devised a complex argument for the welfare state, based on a thought experiment. Imagine that all of us convened to choose the political institutions for our society. But now imagine that each of us were somehow kept from knowing who we actually are—what parents we were born to, what talents or defects we were born with, what things we valued and worked for in life, what opportunities we had. Behind this “veil of ignorance,” Rawls argued, people would have no way to “vote” for institutions that favored their particular interests; they could rely only on a general sense of what is fair in general, fair to everyone.

Under these circumstances, Rawls believed that people would choose a society in which there is a high degree of freedom and equal opportunity, but in which differences in wealth and income are allowed only insofar as the inequalities result in benefits to “the least advantaged.” In defending this stricture, which he called “the difference principle,” Rawls claimed that successful people do not really earn the wealth they produce because they did not produce the native abilities and character traits that enabled them to succeed. As a determinist, he claimed that such people were just lucky in nature’s distribution of talents and traits:

    We see then that the difference principle represents, in effect, an agreement to regard the distribution of natural talents as a common asset and to share in the benefits of this distribution whatever it turns out to be. Those who have been favored by nature, whoever they are, may gain from their good fortune only on terms that improve the situation of those who have lost out. (

A Theory of Justice,

    page 101



For an excellent analysis of Rawls’s theory, see the 2001 article " Blind Injustice ," by Eric Mack, in Navigator magazine; and Ayn Rand ’s essay “An Untitled Letter,” in Philosophy: Who Needs It.

The above sidebar appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of
The New Individualist.





David Kelley Ph.D
About the author:
David Kelley Ph.D

David Kelley founded The Atlas Society (TAS) in 1990 and served as Executive Director through 2016. In addition, as Chief Intellectual Officer, he was responsible for overseeing the content produced by the organization: articles, videos, talks at conferences, etc.. Retired from TAS in 2018, he remains active in TAS projects and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.


ケリーの哲学的著作には、倫理学、認識論、政治学の独創的な著作があり、その多くは客観主義の思想を新たな深みと方向性で発展させている。著書に 五感の証拠を、 認識論で論じたものです。 目的論における真理と寛容目的論運動の問題点に関するもの。 無抵抗の個人主義。博愛の利己的根拠そして 推理の極意論理学入門の教科書として広く利用されている論理学入門』も第5版となりました。

ケリーは、政治や文化に関する幅広いテーマで講演や出版を行っている。社会問題や公共政策に関する記事は、Harpers、The Sciences、Reason、Harvard Business Review、The Freeman、On Principleなどに掲載されています。1980年代には、Barrons Financial and Business Magazineに 、平等主義、移民、最低賃金法、社会保障などの問題について頻繁に執筆した。

彼の著書 A Life of One's Own:個人の権利と福祉国家福祉国家の道徳的前提を批判し、個人の自律性、責任、尊厳を守る私的な選択肢を擁護するものである。1998年、ジョン・ストッセルのABC/TVスペシャル「Greed」に出演し、資本主義の倫理に関する国民的議論を巻き起こした。

客観主義の専門家として国際的に知られ、アイン・ランドとその思想、作品について広く講演を行っている。の映画化ではコンサルタントを務めた。 アトラス・シュラッグドの編集者であり アトラス・シュラッグド小説、映画、哲学.



"Concepts and Natures:A Commentary onThe Realist Turn(by Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl)," Reason Papers 42, no.1, (Summer 2021); 近著のレビューで、概念の存在論と認識論への深掘りが含まれています。






The Party of Modernity, Cato Policy Report, May/June 2003; andNavigator, Nov 2003; プレモダン、モダン(啓蒙主義)、ポストモダンの文化的分裂に関する論文として広く引用されている。

"I Don't Have To"(IOS Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, April 1996) と "I Can and I Will"(The New Individualist, Fall/Winter 2011): 個人として自分の人生をコントロールすることを現実化するためのコンパニオン作品です。