chapter  V
15 Pages

JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

Before we can answer that question we must know what equality means. What is intended when the term is used of human beings?

In point of fact there are some conceptions of human equality which are at least prima facie tenable, and others which have only to be stated clearly to be dismissed from serious discussion. Thus the famous principle “All men are by nature equal,” has two possible meanings. It may mean that men are by nature endowed with equal gifts or innate capacities. This is an allegation of fact which is untrue. It may, on the other hand, mean that all have equal rights, and this is an allegation of ethical principle that at least merits examination. This is, in fact, the assertion of the French Constituent Assembly, whose famous declaration runs, “All men are by nature free and equal in respect of their rights. Distinctions can only be founded on public utility.”