chapter  VI
5 Pages

PERSONAL JUSTICE

Yet the analysis of desert presents great difR2D;ties. For example, to begin with a question already touched, does it rest on effort or on performance? Are the deserts of the honest and industrious, but incompetent man, the same as those of the efR28ent? If we say No, we give the 45R28ent credit to which he does not seem morally entitled. We reward him for the qualities which he does not create but R=3B within himself, as much a gift of fortune as inherited rank or wealth. If we say Yes, we compel society to put the same value upon ability and stupidity, strength and weakness, failure and success, and-to go no further-that hardly seems just to those who have to pay for them. And we may raise this further question. The denial of merit to capacity, to success as such, implies that desert pertains to the moral will alone. But if we go far enough back, is the moral will itself something which a man makes for himself any more than he makes his intellectual capacity? No doubt he develops it by usage, but does he not develop his intellect, or any other capacity in the same way? The will at bottom is a synthesis of elementary tendencies, and if A as he grows up develops a good and B a bad will, does not this in the end mean that A and B differ either in their circumstances or in their original endowment and so in their dealings with circumstances-in either case in points for which not A and B but whatever forces fashioned them and their lives were “responsible?”