Mind the Gap
Mind the Gap
This chapter considers Thomas Nagel's approach to political philosophy and argues that his various statements about reasonable rejection generate an inconsistency at a politically sensitive point. Nagel is aware that his endorsement of rich people's opposition to radical redistribution “may seem to authorize pure selfishness,” but, he says, “that is too harsh a word for resistance to a radical drop in the standard of living of oneself and one's family.” That word might be too harsh, but Nagel's verdict that the rich need accept only a moderate (that is, nonradical) drop in their wealth is too soft. Officially, and, in Cohen's view, rightly, he depreciates the moral weight of the status quo, but the status quo seems, in the end, to preponderate in his judgment.
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