Arguing Affirmative Action: Lesson 2
Affirmative Action for Whites?
Can Justice be Detached from Moral Desert
“And yet it may not be possible, politically or philosophically, to detach arguments about justice from debates about desert as decisively as Rawls and Dworkin suggest (179).
Sandel offers two reasons why detaching justice from moral desert can be problematic.
“These institutions are defined, at least in part, by the distinctive goods they promote” (179).
Why not Auction College Admission?
“The students who lose out aren’t the victims of prejudice; it’s just their bad luck to lack parents willing and able to donate a new library” (182).
“The affirmative action debate reflects competing notions of what colleges are for: To what extent should they pursue scholarly excellence, to what extent civic goods, and how should these purposes be balanced?” (182).
“Tying debates about justice to arguments about honor, virtue, and the meaning of goods may seem a recipe for hopeless disagreement…So it is tempting to seek a basis for justice and rights that keeps its distance from those controversies” (183).