Author Archives: richardbaldwin

Market Economy versus Market Society

Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy is noteworthy in part for the teacherly technique employed. Sandel develops his thesis anecdotally rather than analytically. This procedure appears designed to force readers to experience a series of situations in which market values … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Free Market Ideology | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Gildered: Why the Rich Could Steal America

The great story of American life over the past 40 years is the rising political power of wealth, both personal and corporate. The process is central to our cultural adjustment to the 1960s. We celebrate the enhancement in the 1960s … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Equality, White male Status | Tagged , , | 2 Comments


A friend just brought this 1997 book to my attention. Charles Black was a professor of constitutional law at Yale for much of the last half of the twentieth century. This small book presents for general readers his arguments for … Continue reading

Posted in Declaration of Independence, Human Rights, U.S. Constitution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Human Rights vs. Civil Rights

The expansion of civil rights in the 1960s did not fundamentally change the dynamics of American life. It did not—it could not—eliminate the exclusion at the heart of American life. Exclusion is not a mere by-product of our social order … Continue reading

Posted in Civil Rights, Human Rights, Individualism, Meritocracy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Race and the Rage of the Betrayed

American culture was constructed during the nineteenth century on the basis of white male supremacy. The roots of the rage evoked by the Obama administration lie in the reunification of the nation after the Civil War. The nation lacked any … Continue reading

Posted in Meritocracy, White male Status | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Pursuit of Happiness

“The pursuit of happiness.” This well known phrase from the Declaration of Independence has always called up for me visions of a lecherous older man chasing after a voluptuous, scantily clad nymphet. That image is not too far afield from … Continue reading

Posted in Declaration of Independence, Rankism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Originalism and the Declaration of Independence

For years we have been subjected to claims that the Supreme Court should always discern the “original intent” of the framers. The absurdity of the idea has been pointed out many times but to little effect, largely because no intellectually … Continue reading

Posted in Declaration of Independence, Equality, U.S. Constitution | Tagged , | Leave a comment


The abuse of rank–“rankism”–is the destructive “mosther of Isms.” Rankism assaults the dignity of the victim. Since dignity is the essential element of human equality, rankism is a threat to democracy. Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Declaration of Independence, Dignity, Rankism, Robert Fuller | Tagged , | 1 Comment

On Inequality

Americans have wasted immense amounts of time arguing about equality and inequality. Most such disputes are based on the notion that the human equality asserted in the Declaration of Independence refers to an equality of condition. It refers, instead, to … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | Tagged | 2 Comments

On Equality

The people and government of the United States continue to have a profound interest in human equality. The legitimacy of our government depends on human equality, the equal right of all to live with dignity. In the political philosophy of … Continue reading

Posted in Declaration of Independence, Equality | Tagged | Leave a comment