Front Page Titles (by Subject) Policy and the New Equality - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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Policy and the “New Equality” - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Policy and the “New Equality”
“Public Policy and the ‘New Equality.’” The Political Science Reviewer 8 (Fall 1978): 235–262.
Since the opening of the “New Frontier,” public policy analysis has been a growth industry in academia. Not only have universities been adding professional schools and departments to study public policy, but the same study has proliferated in law schools, business schools, medical schools, and in economics, political science, and sociology departments. Traditionally, public policy “sciences” have bridged pure or positive science and governmental decision making. Harold Laswell and other early public policy enthusiasts hoped that defining policy alernatives for solving a problem would enable politicians to make the most rational choices to maintain the values of liberal democracy. Policy science has typically served values, rather than provided them.
Three public philosophies, each with its own conception of “equality” and “public” policy, have provided values for policy decisions. The first, utilitarianism, has been closely linked to liberal democracy and has aimed at justifying individual rights and liberties and particularly the ideal of political equality. But this sort of equality allows natural talents to flourish, therby permitting social inequality. Historically, government policy under utilitarianism and liberal democracy aimed to maintain a self-regulating system of individuals free to pursue their own ends.
The second public philosophy, the “therapeutic ethic,” is now rapidly replacing utilitarianism with the concept of “frustration-aggression syndrome.” This syndrome asserts that frustration always leads to aggression, sometimes to antisocial behavior. The therapeutic ethic also holds: (1) the inequalities born of utilitarianism are the chief source of social frustration, and (2) government must intervene in social interaction to ensure “social peace.” This intervention, in its New Frontier and Great Society versions, went beyond equality of opportunity (to eliminate class or legal barriers to various fields) to “affirmative action” to help the “frustrated” enter the middle class.
The third public philosophy, “The New Equality,” has Martin Rein as a champion and John Rawls as philosophical defender. According to the “New equalitarians,” the “equal opportunity” and rehabilitation of the therapeutic ethic degrades the disadvantaged by suggesting that they are subhuman. Rein believes the key to “humanizing” the disadvantaged is a redistribution of both wealth and status that would treat them as fully human, autonomous, and of “equal dignity.” Policy, then, would redistribute status and wealth to transform the least favored into the most favored and thereby “equalize” personal dignity. This would require a large nonelected and nonresponsive bureaucratic apparatus along with a danger of “class bias” in the functioning of the “New Class” bureaucracy. The “New Equality” explicitly rejects the political equality that permits unequal results in favor of political inequality designed to produce equality of result and condition.
The “New Equality” errs by ignoring that there are no natural rulers among equal human beings, whose natural equality allows each individual to be his own ruler. Government, to be just, must therefore rest on the consent of those who are to be ruled. So liberty, not the “New Equality,” is the “dictate of human equality.”