March 08, 2004

Irving Kristol's Trap, or "Equality of Opportunity" and "Equality of Result"

John Quiggin attempts an intellectual judo move to trip those who claim to believe in "equality of opportunity" into admitting that they are in favor of substantial equality of result as well:

Crooked Timber: Opportunities and outcomes : ...the old distinction between equality of outcomes (like life expectancy) and equality of opportunity. This distinction has long been a staple of debates between market liberals and social democrats, and now defines a central point of distinction between supporters of a Third Way (such as Blair) and modernising social democrats (such as Gordon Brown), who may be indistinguishable on issues like privatisation that formerly acted as litmus tests. A look at the evidence suggests that a position supporting equality of opportunity while accepting highly unequal outcomes is not sustainable.... [H]igh levels of inequality naturally perpetuate themselves, most obviously through unequal access to education, but also through more subtle channels like health status -- Ehrenreich gives plenty on the plight of the uninsured working poor in the United States...


The really interesting part of Arneson's discussion relates to "substantive equality of opportunity" and particularly the notion of "equality of fair opportunity" due to Rawls, which is satisfied if

any individuals who have the same native talent and the same ambition will have the same prospects of success in competitions that determine who gets positions that generate superior benefits for their occupants

This is... a reasonable notion of equal opportunity. However... substantive equality of opportunity appears to require substantial and intrusive government intervention to prevent parents passing on advantages to their children. The crucial unstated assumption here is that social outcomes are substantially unequal. The more equality prevails among parents, the less intervention is required to ensure a substantive equality of opportunity among children.

The complementarity between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes is particularly important when we move from ideal definitions to practical possibilities...

In my view, John Quiggin fails. He fails because he (falsely) sees the debate between those who advocate equality of opportunity and equality of result as an intellectual battle to be settled by who has the better ideas. I think that is not what it is. I think it is something very different.

I first ran across the distinction between the (good) people who believe in "equality of opportunity" and the (bad) people who believe in "equality of result" when I was working my way through the 1960s and 1970s writings of Irving Kristol. It seemed to me that in so defining the issues Kristol was doing a masterful job of preparing the ideological terrain, and that virtually anyone who then entered that terrain was doomed to almost certain complete defeat.

In Kristol's conceptual vocabulary, the pinning of the label "equality of result" on the left was intended not as an intellectual argument but as an ideological police action. The point was to erase any difference between the tamest of levelling social democracy and High Maoism: even if it was an unrealistic political prospect now, those who wanted a progressive income tax were committed to a long-run future in which everyone ate the same meals and wore identical overalls or Mao jackets. In truth, nobody in the West ever believed in "equality of result."* The live issues were (a) how much in the way of differential material incentives were needed to produce desirable levels of efficiency and productivity, and (b) according to what social welfare function--maximin, average lifetime utility, or something in between--should the balance between productivity and inequality be weighed. To say that Arthur Okun's parable of the Leaky (Redistributional) Bucket, and his asking the question of how leaky the bucket can be before the redistributional exercise becomes pointless, demonstrates his commitment to the principle of Equality of Result--that is extremely unhelpful as an intellectual exercise. It is, however, very helpful if you are engaged in an ideological police action designed to erase the distinction between Arthur Okun and Mao Zedong, and delegitimize the American left.

Similarly, in Kristol's conceptual vocabulary the pinning of the label "equality of opportunity" on his subsect of the right was not an intellectual move in an argument. After all, nobody believes in "equality of opportunity". The most powerful human drive of all for any parent is to help one's children. Thus all inequality of result echoes down the generations as inequality of descendents' opportunity.

What, then, do people mean when they say "equality of opportunity"? Simply this: They mean that inequality should depend on characteristics intrinsic to the adult human person rather than characteristics extrinsic to the adult human person. What are these "extrinsic" characteristics? Things like membership in an order of nobility, descent from somebody who crossed on the Mayflower, being the son of a member of the Chevy Chase Club, being Black, being a Jew. What are these "intrinsic" characteristics? A well-trained intellect, one's degree of educational attainment (in a quota-free educational system, of course), familiarity with the dominant culture. In equality-of-opportunity speak, inequalities that arise out of the second set of factors are legitimate. Inequalities that arise out of the first are not.

And what happens if you doubt whether all (or even most) if the inequalities that arise out of the second set of factors are legitimate? Then you're a believer in "equality of result"--a secret ally of Chairman Mao, and somebody who wants everyone to wear identical overalls and eat nothing but three bowls of rice a day. For what you are doing, in Kristol-speak, is depriving people of taking advantage of their "equality of opportunity."

*Only in the most Spartan of Maoist "utopias" were material incentives to elicit effort banned, and even the most Spartan of Maoist utopias needed Leading Cadre--and the life of Leading Cadre was definitely more interesting than the life of the led. Only in Ursula LeGuin's _The Dispossessed_ was the life of Leading Cadre relatively uninteresting. And even there there were *big* differences in "result" depending on whether one's way of satifying one's species-being--writing plays, or constructing alternatives to General Relativity--was socially-approved or socially-disapproved.

Posted by DeLong at March 8, 2004 12:14 AM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post

“In truth, nobody in the West ever believed in "equality of result."

Well as you put it in your footnote, probably not. But let’s get practical. The Israeli Kibbutz system was a pretty serious attempt at trying to get an equality of result. Children slept in a communal dormitory separate from their parents and wore uniforms. The Kubbutzim went to great effort trying to eliminate sexual roles. But the system failed because it was not in accord with what people want out of life. And one thing they want is to enjoy the company of their children. And this means having them sleep in the same house when they are of tender years. The latter pretty much unraveled the system as parents took back their children from the dorms.

Some Democrats here really seem to want equality of result. Tom Hayden once introduced a bill to require the UC system to grant degrees so every minority group would have the same proportions in the graduating senior class as they did in the freshman class. Sure sounds like equality of result.

Posted by: A. Zarkov on March 7, 2004 09:24 PM


Remember: those who get into Berkeley are a very, very narrow slice of California 17 year olds. "Equality of Result" means everybody goes to Berkeley, graduates with the same GPA, and has the same salary thereafter. Even Tom Hayden is *far* from "equality of result."

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 7, 2004 09:36 PM


Frankly, I couldn't let this pass. The point is that unless some of the inequalities that arise of the second set of differences are compensated for, the inequalities arising from the first set are unavoidable. The reason is that, the inertia involved in this transmission of status would make external signs ,easy substitutes for the real qualities. In short, gradually the intelligence of the well educated aristocrat would gradually be replaced by the simple membership of aristocracy. That is, since "good" results (succesful kids) would tend to happen in the same families and repeat themselves over the generations, the most succesful families would probably be accorded privileged status by their peers. We can think that one of the sets of differences as illegitimate and the other legitimate but is a philosophical discussion, not a practical one, because in practice the extrinsic qualities were originated by the tendency of the intrinsic qualities to reinforce themselves with each generation. A poorly educated person with a low paying job is at a great disadvantage regarding his kid education, when compared to a university proffesor. And since this disadvantage would be repeated in their offspring, over time, and provided a relatively unchanging economy, something like a aristocratic society would arise.
I've read Proffesor DeLong rage many times about George W. Bush, but how would you prevent the domination of politics by the wealthy and well connected and at the same time preserve the "equality of opportunity" notion?.

Posted by: Carlos on March 7, 2004 09:43 PM


I agree. It's a great difficulty with the "equality of opportunity" notion--and renders it, I think, worthless as anything other than a club to be used in ideological police actions.

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 7, 2004 09:47 PM


In fact, most social democrats now want in fact a "narrowing of results" if you want. Most of the proposals are directed towards diminishing the intrinsical disadvantages some social groups have at competing.

Posted by: carlos on March 7, 2004 09:51 PM


"Equality of Opportunity"
and "Equality of Result"
The Myth of Social Security
and Great White Brother's Lies

"How can there be a conspiracy here,
everything is hidden in plain sight!"
Carl Rove

Man, humankind the animal, is a strange
creature when you really think about it,
if for no other reason than great clamor
and alarum raises at the mere choice of
that one word. Man? Woman? Us? You people?
No matter. Eee-eee-ooo-ooo. Is that better?

We have grown, haven't we, as a people,
since the Time of the Pharoahs? Well,
OK, since Buddha-Christ-Mohammed walked
the earth, humanity has really matured,
haven't we!? Alright, umm, OK, since the
Inquisition? No? OK, the Reformation,
you'll grant me that, right? Yes, yes,
French aristocracy deserved guillotines!
There was the Slave Trade and the Civil
War, and then the Great War, and the
War to End All Wars, just backsliding.
OK, yeah, Chosan, the Killing Fields,
Desert Storm, then, of course, 9/11 WTC.
We really are a better people today,
at least those of us "industrialized".
I'm not so sure about those other people,
Our Leader said they're "undemocratic".

I'm digressing to set the tone.

Well, here we are now, the Y2K made
manifest, the stock bubble burst, our
national sanctity collapsed into a
smoking ruins, but we're still here.
The AntiChrist didn't walk upon the
earth, nobody disappeared in rapture.
Just stuck here with the other beings.

Man, alone of the animals, a creature
who can cipher on sheets of paper, and
eat, drink poisons even a pet wouldn't
touch, and worship pieces of green paper
instead of the infinite universe herein.

Pretty confusing, staring at The Screen,
reading that Social Security Trust Fund
is "broke". Wonder what First People's
thought when our BIA said their treaty
trusts and land royalties were missing,
dysplaced, lost by their White Father.

How could this have happened to U.S.?

Certainly for the first 30 years of the
SSTF, it was a risky business, like any
general fund, everyone has to agree to
pay in, to cover that 1/50th of working
stiffs who cash out and retire each year.

But the very mechanisms of interest and
money growth being what they are, and
the huge bubble of new workers after
WWII, should have grown the SSTF into
an unmeasurable colossus! Do the math!
If you'd paid into a fund for thirty or
forty or in many cases *fifty years*,
what would you have at the end of it?

I'll tell you. $500 a year at 3% for
50 years, grown to somewhere around
$5,500 a year today, comes to about
$265,721. Divide that by the five
years between retirement and age 72,
when the actuarials say we'll die,
and you get $4,428 a month due you.
Actuarily and auditably, on average.

Of course, any pension fund will need
to bridge those who've paid in heavy
and those who came in late or bailed
out early, had a run of bad luck or
never worked a day in their lives.

If you multiply that $4,428 by 1/2
to reflect low-paid workers incomes,
and multiply it by 1/2 again to reflect
those who only worked, on average, 25
years of their entire lives, then you've
factored out all the widows, orphans,
bums, cons, losers and recent immigrants.

That's still $1,107 a month available for
every working person upon retirement! It's
a pay-in system! Our money should be there,
never mind the Baby Bubble shuck 'n jive!

But now we're short. We can't cover those
folks who aren't yet seen age 55!? What!?
That's an incredible 80% of all workers who
are going to lose out, not just a little,
but a lot!? How did that come about? 80%!?
What bonehead came up with the income cap
on Social Security deductions, anyways,
if they *knew* going in that this "bubble"
was going to be a problem?!?

Because it's a myth founded upon a lie.

Now only those over 55 get SS, the rest
have to take our reduction. So far, it's
been unspecified, but it's clearly going
to be enough that by 2015, there's gonna
be a lot of people taking up residence
in cardboard boxes on our city streets.
How are you going to retire on LESS than
$1,107 a month, and that's ten years from
now? Where did all our paid-in trust fund
principal and our interest earnings go?!

That's where you have to wonder at the
human beast. We'll stare at a stack of
pasteboards and bet against the house.
How the heck did Las Vegas *get* there!?
We'll read the tip sheets, then bet on
a nag that's never won. We'll buy stocks
because they have sexy names, or indexed
somehow to Warren Buffet. We'll even find
this naked image from Holland flickering
on our 2D computer screen highly erotic!

So it's not too much of a leap, in this
time of Great Passion, that someone at
the Fed should look at your SS passbook,
shrug their shoulders, and say, "Sorry,
there isn't enough money left for you."
What rotten fiduciary responsibility?!

Will there be lawsuits? Will people wave
their Social Security income statements,
pointing there where it says, "You are
now qualified to receive Social Security.
Your retirement income will be $1,107
per month when you have reached age 67."
Isn't that a binding legal document??!!

Next time you hear the Great White Brother
(GWB) solemnizing about Christ, Islam, and
e-hem, you don't get your Social Security,
ask him to show you SSTF's books. Go ahead!

Turn away from your distractions and philters,
and focus in on the smoke and mirrors at hand.
This wasn't a corporate pension, it's *pay-in*.
Those of us who have worked these forty years,
and expect to work another ten before we get our
rest, will have $9,632,398,017,205 stolen from
each and every one of us by Great White Brother.

Is this a great country, or what?!

Posted by: Tante Aime on March 7, 2004 10:02 PM


Your definition of “equality of result” is so universal as to render the concept useless. All human diversity would need to vanish. Kristol means “equality of result” in the sense of the Hayden bill.

It’s hard to make sense of the concept of equality because a thing can only equal itself. I think when we talk about “equality” in a social policy context; we really mean the equality of equivalence classes. So the question boils down to how we define these classes.

Posted by: A. Zarkov on March 7, 2004 10:03 PM


Unfortunately it's not always clear whether a quality counts as extrinsic or intrinsic. "It's not what you know, it's who you know that counts." Is having a lot of rich friends extrinsic or intrinsic?

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 7, 2004 10:08 PM


Sounds like being elected chief of the war band because you had "leadership" qualities or could simply "beat everybody else up" is an intrinsic and good quality in this system, but the whole idea of inheritance is an extrinsic anathema.

Meritocracy without inheritance or is merit all you are allowed to inherit?

Posted by: TexasToast on March 7, 2004 10:40 PM


I personally don't have a problem using the terms 'equality of outcome' or 'equality of opportunity'. Certainly neither has ever existed. The key is to create a redistribution function that maintains social mobility between haves and have-nots based upon talent and effort. Also at stake is that emphemereal concept of egalitarianism. Essentially, no one should be regarded as intrinsically superior whatever the inequality of extrinsic outcomes.

The ideal or 'noble fiction' of equality of opportunity is necessary as a motivational incentive even if we understand that it does not exist. Essentially, it has to be true that there is a 'good enough' or 'decent enough' chance so that a bright and hardworking poor person can become well off and rise in social status.

This is "process". Results would involve a balanced distribution, as Brad has suggested. Enough reward for enough people to create incentive. On the other hand, those who claim that a minimum social welfare rising eliminates the need for preventing over-concentration of wealth are wrong as well. Even if such an arragement is stable, which history has shown it is maximally not, then if people could get everything they wanted by not having to work hard you would get a disicentive effect.

The total productivity has to be balanced against the general social welfare, and the general social welfare is a critical parameter in maintaining total productivity. They are not distinguishable. Like the 'Libertarianism versus Totalitarianism' argument, it is really about a point of diminishing returns. Too much regulation transfer power inefficiently and reduces initiative. Too little and anarchy prevents social stability and prosperity.

Like Goldlilocks we must look for porridge that is 'just right' rather than too hot or too cold. This is not to say however that we should settle for luke-warm, the shallow form of centrism that ends up being indecisively grey on everything. It means that we should weigh the pros and cons, and keep in mind that any form of social engineering is only justified if it can win general social acceptance without coercive and indoctrinational measures.

Posted by: Oldman on March 8, 2004 12:56 AM


It's not really clear to me where Brad's argument leads on the question of government contracting/purchasing set-asides for minority-owned businesses.

Posted by: Michael Robinson on March 8, 2004 02:20 AM


Equality of opportunity, that a self educated man, without having been to university, can become a reknowned scientist, and make important discoveries, like whatsisname who discover the electric generator.He couldn't even get his foot in the door nowadays.

Posted by: big al on March 8, 2004 03:51 AM


Trotskyism is not a political position, it is a mental illness. It doesn't get better by turning right.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 8, 2004 04:05 AM


"Kristol means “equality of result” in the sense of the Hayden bill."

Kristol means equality of result in the sense of progressive income taxes, zoning ordinances and trials for rich people who defraud investors.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry on March 8, 2004 06:47 AM


"It's a great difficulty with the "equality of opportunity" notion--and renders it, I think, worthless as anything other than a club to be used in ideological police actions" Brad DeLong.

But, isn't that exactly Quiggin's point??

"The complementarity between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes is particularly important when we move from ideal definitions to practical possibilities" John Quiggin.

Posted by: Carlos on March 8, 2004 07:32 AM


More seriously.

The entire paradigm of Kristol's terms comes out of the post-modern era and the belief that everything can be described as a game - from Neuman to Derrida, from Dawkins to Uncle Milton - the basic post-modern framework is that of a "game", or the willing suspension of *a priori* assumptions about how the world should work and a submission to the formalism and its result. Monopoly money is real, in a game of monopoly money.

It is this paradigm which the right wants people to move back to: namely "the results of the game are sacrosanct". Even if, as everyone admits, the game is unfair. Even if, as most people think about on reflection, the game does not always correlate well to reality. On one hand the game paradigm is extremely useful in getting people to accept the host of inequities - or seeming inequities - of the present system, their jobs, their place in the world. It gives them a table to sit down at every day and start playing again, which is what keeps everything going.

As long as it is framed as "it is a game, we all have to play, take your lumps and keep your hands off my chips" - there is no way to make general social progress, since the advantage will flow to those who can cheat the most without getting caught.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry on March 8, 2004 07:42 AM


did somebody say totalitarianism?

Posted by: dtmky on March 8, 2004 07:58 AM


In 1965-1966 (pre-neocon era) was told in Pol Sci 201 that "equality of opportunity" in a competitive world is the American ideological substitute for Social Democratic equality. It sounds much better than "the law of the jungle". I thought it was a truism even then.

Posted by: Zizka on March 8, 2004 08:11 AM


One thing Social Democrats do is to try to take certain things off the list of things to compete for, on the theory that a society in which some people fail in the competition to get housing, medical care, or education for their children is a bad society. Margaret Thatcher destroyed this argument (to her own satisfaction) by explaining that society does not exist, which shows what happens to your mind when you only take econ and business classes.

When Social Democrats put a floor under the class system by guaranteeing some level of survival, but not making people really well-off or happy, their conservative opponents will often get huffy about how only the minimal physical needs of the poor are satisfied, not their higher needs, and the poor are still unhappy, and this shows that socialists really don't care about the poor. To me it just shows the conservative principle that government cannot solve all problems, but only some of them. It's better to have unhappy poor people living indoors and getting their teeth fixed than not -- and let's hope for the best about the higher needs.

Posted by: Zizka on March 8, 2004 08:24 AM


Brad Delong writes:

"according to what social welfare function--maximin, average lifetime utility, or something in between--should the balance between productivity and inequality be weighed."

Forget social welfare "function." There is no such mathematical beast except in the mind of a Platonist.

The trick is to structure the market system and use our democratic political institutions (via progressive tax and redistribution schemes) to balance productivity against inequality, in which case the perceived welfare of the (hopefully) informed citizenry is the measure of what's best for the nation as a whole.

In any case, in so far as maximum social welfare is the issue, "equality of opportunity" is a matter of economic efficiency (getting the best people into the right slots). Never mind all other considerations.

"Equality of result" on the other hand -- or better yet, "relative inequality of result" is also an issue redistributionist justice, and is thus very much tied up with the declining marginal utility of income.

Or to put into to terms that the average American voter can understand: other things being equal, a dollar is worth more to a poor American than a rich one.

BTW, the other things being equal part is the part liberals need to get a better handle on -- as when knowing why to move from a progressive income to a progressive consumption tax, or from the mandated minimum wage to a graduated system of wage subsidies.

I offer these thoughts, for what they are worth, based on 40 years of first-hand experience in the field of manual and low-skilled labor (about which I am not complaining, nor am I bitter). It's a perspective that is too often missing from most academic debate on economics, if I may say so myself.

For all my criticisms this is still a great site.

Posted by: Luke Lea on March 8, 2004 08:58 AM


Brad: "Remember: those who get into Berkeley are a very, very narrow slice of California 17 year olds. "Equality of Result" means everybody goes to Berkeley, graduates with the same GPA, and has the same salary thereafter."

I disagree. At least in the "stationary" case it means "it doesn't matter whether you go to Berkeley, because it is as mediocre as any other place".

Equality of result will also apply to teachers and academic environments.

Posted by: cm on March 8, 2004 09:00 AM


Carlos: "In short, gradually the intelligence of the well educated aristocrat would gradually be replaced by the simple membership of aristocracy."

Is not almost by nature the intelligence of the aristocrat irrelevant to begin with (aside from a minimal standard required to protect themselves against being pushed from the throne)?

People hardly ever became aristocrats by merit as you may be suggesting (not by my definition of merit, anyway).

Posted by: cm on March 8, 2004 09:04 AM


I think that the right once viewed equality of oppurtunity as a good thing, but now I think that they view even the idea of equality of oppurtunity as class warfare. Back in the early days of neoconservatism, things were different, needless to say.

I'm not quite sure WHAT the current philosophical position is with regard to oppurtunity, freedom, heredity, etc., except "we like rich people who like us."

Posted by: Julian Elson on March 8, 2004 09:56 AM


CM: In Brad article, he clearly suggests that some of the benefits of belonging to the upper class are legitimate inequalities (according to Kristol division). It seemed to me that superior education was one of those "legitimate inequalities" and I tried to show that it would quickly turn into a "illegitimate inequality".
Besides, aristocrats ARE usually better educated than the average population.

Posted by: Carlos on March 8, 2004 10:21 AM


Once upon a time you got into the civil service based on your results on a (long and difficult) test. That test tried to measure your actual abilities - not how many pieces of paper you had framed on your wall. If you believe in equality of opportunity you should believe that anyone who can do the work should be given the chance to do the work irrespecitive of class, or educational credentials, of membership in a club or anything else except ability.

We are a credential society, one in which the gatekeepers look for pieces of paper showing that one has served their time. As someone who spent a few years tutoring students at one of Canada's most elite universities, I can tell you that a piece of paper doesn't guarantee much of anything - including a "well trained mind".

Mistaking the process (schooling) for the end result (knowledge and an ability to think) is a common mistake. And mistaking the ability to think and knowledge of a subject to judgement and drive - that's another common mistake. There are lots of highly credentialed people out there who are completely ineffective.

All of which comes back to the question "what is merit?"

Posted by: Ian Welsh on March 8, 2004 12:09 PM


I think that part of the trick with "equality of opportunity" is to frame the issue of market distributions, which may have some considerable merits with respect to efficiency and the necessity of getting the needed work done, but also contain some fair measure of arbitrariness, as if it were always a matter of positional goods, in which cases the criteria of merit and qualification in more or less closely matched candidates are the relevant metric, while implying some unavoidable loss, even waste, as well. But, of course, most goods are re-producible and capable of being widely shared. (Indeed, nowadays there is great concern about protecting the rights of "intellectual property", because of how highly re-producible some types of goods have become.) In this way, by fostering such a confusion, one can tap into and ideologically mobilize pervasive status anxieties, even in people who are in no wise actually effected by such conditions. And this, of course, diverts attention from basic considerations of distribution and the level of production. Even in such a case as, e.g., admission to UC Berkley, the fact of the matter is that a fairly large cohort will be admitted and such decisions operate at the margin. And though such decisions may entail some unfair restrictions with respect to the distribution of life-chances, not only are they not totally determinative, but much larger forces are at play that have a much larger impact. It was especially "affirmative action" policies that were used as a political wedge, with all their underlying racial coding of the issue. But such policies operate at the margin and imply a full-employment equilibrium in order to work, all the while channeling the issue into narrow questions of hierarchical advancement. Broader questions as to the impact of our political economy on our several communities and how to remedy their defects- (not the least of which is the generally poor quality of education in this country, beyond the elite levels)- are thereby avoided.

Posted by: john c. halasz on March 8, 2004 02:07 PM


Stirling Newberry:

From von Neumann to Derrida to Friedman all in one leap and under the rubric of post-modernism to boot! You got some game!

But formal methods have their value, no? And the logical concept of "game" by no means implies a lack of seriousness or consequence. It means "rule-governed activity". It is a matter of getting at the really operative implicit rules accurately. Such rule-governed activity accounts for an awful lot of the constitution of what we take to be the real world, with all its dreaded consequence.

Posted by: john c. halasz on March 8, 2004 02:19 PM


Bernard Shaw, for one, *did* believe in a strict equality of result. Or, at least, he advocated an equal distribution of income. (Cf. The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, chapter 21.)

Posted by: Kevin Salmon on March 8, 2004 04:58 PM


Brad – There’s certainly a role for rewarding extra effort and achievement, but you’ve apparently swallowed the kool-aid of the Cult of the Entrepreneur. Do you really approve of “inequality of result” when the results include safety, clean water, health care, literacy, social subordination, etc.? Also, political equality (aka democracy) is impossible without social and (approximate) economic equality. - Sincerely, Mike Fahey, NYC

Posted by: Mike Fahey on March 9, 2004 08:02 AM


A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

Posted by: goldberg meredith on March 17, 2004 10:02 PM


Make it your guiding principle to do your best for others and to be trustworthy in what you say. Do not accept as friend anyone who is not as good as you. When you make a mistake do not be afraid of mending your ways.

Posted by: Spivack Nova on May 2, 2004 02:36 PM


We are as God made us, and often a great deal worse.

Posted by: Cabell Hannah on May 20, 2004 08:14 AM


Don't worry that other people don't know you; worry that you don't know other people.

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