The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

By Norman E. Bowie; Robert L. Simon | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

In a moving article entitled "Bicentennial Blues in Boston," Jonathan Kozol describes as follows his encounter with a poverty-stricken black child in Boston:

One day I am forced to realize that Peter is no longer growing at a normal rate. . . . Brain growth was impeded prior to birth or else in infancy: he will not grow up to normal size. . . .

The doctor is firm. We ask if this is common and we ask . . . what causes something of this sort. Prenatal care. The mother is poor, or ill or underfed. . . . Peter's mother was in fact extremely ill. His infancy was lived in almost unabated hunger.

The doctor goes on, ". . . It hardly happens in white neighborhoods. . . . It is a problem of the poor, of rural slums and of impacted sections in the cities. With the right kind of care this could be totally eliminated [someday]."

Someday, but we are alive on this day. . . . And Peter will not be born someday, will not be crippled one day. He is a real boy in the real world with a real curse. 1

Consideration of tragic cases such as this can lead us to consider and examine the social and political arrangements that may contribute to these

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