Dec 29, 2023

does not hold

Becca Rothfeld, in her forthcoming book of essays:

My book does not argue against egalitarianism in every incarnation, much less against redistributive efforts in the economic domain. Rather, it is an argument in favor of a careful interrogation of the proper limits of the egalitarian project — limits that keep attitudes proper to the political sphere from crossing over into the aesthetic and emotional realms. Economic justice would surely improve the quality of art, for all the reasons Marx and Schiller identified. Talented people would be less frequently stymied and have more opportunities to hone their gifts. Aesthetic culture as a whole would improve if audiences had the time and education to cultivate their tastes. But if democratizing politics would go some way toward improving culture, the reverse does not hold: democratizing culture has gone no way toward improving politics. It has only left consequential inequalities intact, while depriving us of the extravagance that is our human due.

I disagree with plenty from Rothfeld, and I am always happy to think alongside her, learn from her spirited and ambitious looking — and looking again — at what’s all around us.