Fairness and equality


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The execution of Robespierre and his accomplices, 17 July 1794 (10 Thermidor Year II). Robespierre is depicted holding a handkerchief and dressed in a brown jacket in the cart immediately to the left of the scaffold. Photo courtesy the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

Essay/
Global history
Vive la révolution!

Must radical political change generate uncontainable violence? The French Revolution is both a cautionary and inspiring tale

Jeremy Popkin

The Memorial Hall, Harvard University, c1900. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

Essay/
Education
Pluck versus luck

Meritocracy emphasises the power of the individual to overcome obstacles, but the real story is quite a different one

David Labaree

Cobbler in Inisheer, Aran Islands, Ireland c1968. Photo by James A Sugar/National Geographic

Essay/
History of ideas
Speak to the shoemaker

Philosophy need not be arcane, argued Aristotle, as he led by example, writing treatises for peers and public alike

Edith Hall

Graduating students of the City College of New York cheer during the commencement ceremony in the Harlem section of Manhattan, New York on 3 June 2016. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Essay/
Education
Engines of democracy

Society will be much improved by loosening the stranglehold of top universities on the education of elites. But how?

Jennifer M Morton

A homeless woman sits on a bench a few blocks away from the White House, Washington, 1 September 2015. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Essay/
Fairness and equality
The respect deficit

Economic inequality is an urgent problem. Deeper still is our loss of mutual respect, the foundation of a fair society

Richard V Reeves

Jewish Haim Addad posing with his Arabic neighbour near Djerba, Tunisia, May 2008. Photo by Patrick Zachmann/Magnum
Essay/
Political philosophy
What is wrong with tolerance

The ideal of religious tolerance has crippling flaws. It’s time to embrace a civic philosophy of reciprocity

Simon Rabinovitch

Civic bliss: a marriage ceremony in a French town hall. Photo by Godong/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
Against marriage

Marriage is what happens when the state gets involved in endorsing and regulating personal relationships. It’s a bad idea

Clare Chambers