Is equality a social value? Political equality—equality before the law—is an important value, required by the universal principles of individual rights. Laws should be applied uniformly to everyone.
Income equality, however, is not a value; individuals should be free to pursue and to keep what they have gained through production and trade in the market. Such freedom is also incompatible with equality of opportunity as a political goal.
Racial, ethnic, and sexual equality is a moral value, based on respect for individuals as individuals. It is not a value if conceived in collectivist terms, as in contemporary “identity politics.” And in any case it is not a political value that should be enforced coercively.
Join us this summer at our Atlas Summit and hear philosopher David Kelley speak on one one of the most controversial and consequential issues of our time: equality.
The Atlas Summit is a friendly, inspiring celebration of the values of reason, achievement, ethical self-interest, and freedom. It's a conference for people like you, who are inspired by Ayn Rand's vision of a free and prosperous society. Dig into the arts, psychology, history, philosophy, and life skills: sessions that will enrich you personally and professionally. At the Atlas Summit you'll find a consistent moral defense of capitalism based in reason and ethical self-interest.
David Kelley is a professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author. After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, he joined the philosophy department of
David Kelley is a professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author. After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, he joined the philosophy department of Vassar College, where he remained until 1984. He has also taught at Brandeis University as a Visiting Lecturer. Among his books are Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence; The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand; The Evidence of the Senses, a treatise on epistemology; and The Art of Reasoning, one of the most widely used logic textbooks in the country. With Roger Donway, he co-authored Laissez Parler: Freedom in the Electronic Media, a critique of government regulation. He is also the author of A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State, a critique of the moral premises of the welfare state and defense of private alternatives that preserve individual autonomy, responsibility, and dignity.
His articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Harper's, The Sciences, Reason, Harvard Business Review, The Freeman, and elsewhere. He has been an editorial writer for Barron's, has appeared on 20/20 and the ABC News special, "Greed" With John Stossel, and has written and lectured extensively on issues in philosophy, politics, and public affairs.
An active proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years, he has lectured to student groups at Harvard, Yale, University of Michigan, Berkeley, Amherst, and many other colleges and universities. He has also addressed the Mont Pelerin Society, the Free Press Association, the Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute, as well as many Objectivist conferences.