The Anticaste Principle

In this essay, I seek to defend a particular understanding of equality, one that is an understanding of liberty as well. I call this conception “the anticaste principle.” Put too briefly, the anticaste principle forbids social and legal practices from translating highly visible and morally irrelevant differences into systemic social disadvantage, unless there is a very good reason for society to do so. On this view, a special problem of inequality arises when members of a group suffer from a range of disadvantages because of a group-based characteristic that is both visible for all to see and irrelevant from a moral point of view. This form of inequality is likely to be unusually persistent and to extend into multiple social spheres, indeed into the interstices of everyday life.