Ronald Dworkin's tome on behalf of equality argues that in modern
politics, "equality is the endangered species of political ideals." In the
past, he claims, an egalitarian society was central to the political ideal
of liberals or even centrists. But today, individual freedom and "liberty"
appear to have triumphed over the Old Left ideal of equality. The one
French Revolutionary principles has trumped the other. Even "third way"
politicians, like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, who reject the
nineteenth-century philosophy that an individual's fate should be
determined entirely by market forces, also reject the idea that the state
should strive to ensure that all citizens share equally in the fruit of
Dworkin's book is making an important argument. Unfortunately, he makes it
in over 500 pages of remarkably dense, belabored prose. Much of the book
is entirely abstract and theoretical, though there are also extended
treatments of subjects like affirmative action, integration of the schools
and cloning, which draw heavily upon legal cases. This is an important
book on a difficult theme. Would that Dworkin had written one that people
would actually read.