What the broader debate with the politics
What Can You Learn From Source A About The Impact Of The Beatles In The 1960’s? Firstly the source is written and is out of Joanna Lumley’s own autobiography. I think the source tells us that extra-ordinary surge of silence of dominates over England. A full coloured face of emotion spread over our faces because the fab-four were playing on the TV programme ‘Juke Box Jury’.
The response emphasises the impact of Beatlemania. Knowledge does support the source because the Beatles had massive record sales and were seen as the coolest and most charming group. With million selling singles like ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, ‘She Loves You’ and ‘A Hard Days Night’ all hitting the top spot by a huge margin. As Aaron Copland the well-known American composer stated ‘If You Want To Know About The Sixties, Play The Music Of The Beatles’.
Although time has elapsed and it has been 30 years since she described the day of distance. There was also opposition to the Beatles, and people over the age of 35 wouldn’t be enthusiastic about watching the fab four. Many of the Establishment saw them as a threat to society saying that the Beatles were a poor example to the youth. Another weakness of the statement and source is that Jane Lauley adopts an unreal tone, she seems to romanticise, signalling a exaggeration of the truth and reality of society as with the phrase ‘It Is Very Heaven To Be Alive’. Even though the Beatles were amazingly popular and regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, there were opposing groups, which had different styles. Beatlemania was limited to a point and the source has been exaggerated all out of proportion.
In the pages under review Kymlicka’s describes the recent movements in liberal egalitarianism, driven mainly through the work of Rawls and Dworkin, and discusses those movements in relation to the idea and practice of a welfare state. He then uses this description to discuss the issues that the interaction causes within egalitarianism and the idea that this interaction has caused a weakening of the egalitarian position in the broader debate with the politics of the right. Kymlicka’s major position is that we cannot get rid of inequalities through the traditional tax and redistribute policies of a welfare state due to the entrenched class inequalities in our society.
How then is this position reached? The perception of the academic basis of the welfare state has changed dramatically with the work of Rawls and Dworkin, previous to their work the welfare state was viewed as a compromise between the Libertarians and the Marxists. This compromise allowed some liberty (creation and gathering of wealth) and some equality (redistribution of wealth) but without any real satisfaction for either side of the debate. With the new work we seem to have an ability to say that the free market allows liberty and choice to take place but must do so without letting inequalities arise due to events and circumstances outside of personal control. Kymlicka argues that though at first it seemed that this latter point has presented us with a way in which to build the academic foundation of the welfare state it is not clear that it reality it will deliver that foundation.
Kymlicka argues that as the welfare state is concerned with equality through a correction of existing market inequalities and in its present form cannot allow individuals to start life from an equal footing, liberal equality cannot deliver proper ongoing income redistribution without a once off radical reordering of society. In other words liberty equality in society cannot be generated through the mechanism of the welfare state.
This issue of ex post versus ex ante redistribution is defined by Kymlicka as the defining problem for the liberal equalitarian thinker (as well as for the various centre left governments in power today) and a problem which Kymlicka claims is emphasized by the lose of confidence by these thinkers in the power of the state to achieve a meaningful redistribution. He argues that modern global economy interactions make it difficult for countries to justify the tax rates needed for ex post redistribution and that an evaluation of the last 50 years of the welfare state has (though successful in some areas) not achieved all that we would have hoped.
Concurrent with this thinking we must also bear in mind the successful attacks that the new right has made on the welfare state. These attacks have focused on their characterisation of it as a mechinism that reduces individual responsibility and unfairly coerces individuals through higher taxation. Politically we have seen this led to the dismantling of various areas of the welfare state while philosophically the liberal equalitarian has been also pushed the into a defensive position. This position, Kymlicka argues, has not allowed a more radical position to be put forward in relation to ex anta endowments. We instead have the situation in which the debate is about the good of the welfare state against the bad of unrestricted property rights rather than the good of a just society build on ex ante endowments against the bad of a society in which no attempt is made to deal with the unequal position of individuals.
In conclusion then, Kymlicka’s position of our inability of to achieve equality of opportunity through the welfare state seems well thought through, and naturally leads us to the thesis that if we cannot achieve that equality through our present definition of the welfare state that definition needs to be reworked in much more radical way if the goal of equality of opportunity is still worth while. Where I believe problems lie is not within this argument per sea, but where this argument brings the liberal equalitarian (and in that I believe the problem lies with the equalitarian).
If we take it that the liberal equalitarian differs substantially from the Marxist only in the idea of collective ownership (put forward by Kymlicka when discussing the idea of exploitation) it seems to me that any radical reworking of society to allow full equality of opportunity will have no option but to look at collective ownership of a very large part of societies wealth. Are we then left in the situation in which the liberal is left tinkering at the edges of Marxism rather than forging a new path regardless of a new type of social contract engineered through the veil of ignorance?