We are very pleased to be able to announce the publication of an intellectual tour de force by the world-renowned military historian Martin van Creveld, entitled Equality: The Impossible Quest. Although this is a serious, scholastic history, it is a fascinating read that delves deep into the history of an important, but almost completely unexamined philosophical concept. Featuring a cover designed by Christopher Kallini, it is 282 pages and is now available at Amazon as well as in both EPUB and MOBI formats at Castalia House.
Despite being one of the three most important political concepts of the
modern age, unlike Justice and Liberty, Equality has seldom been
examined from an intellectual perspective. What does it mean to be
equal? What is being specifically demanded when calls for equality are
made? Is inequality justified when the objective is to make up for past
inequalities? Which inequalities are unacceptable and require government
intervention, and which are acceptable and therefore do not merit any
action? Where did the idea that equality was a desirable state come from
in the first place? These, and other questions, are addressed in deeply
researched detail by Martin van Creveld, the well-known military
historian and theorist, in Equality: The Impossible Quest.
The book begins with a search for signs of equality throughout the animal kingdom as well as in the primitive historical societies that never heard of the concept. Next, van Creveld
traces the development of the idea and its implementation in various
societies throughout history. This include ancient Greek equality as
realized in Athens and Sparta, monastic equality in both East and
West, social revolts aimed at establishing equality, utopian
equality, liberal equality of the American and French Revolutionary
varieties, socialist, communist and kibbutz equalities, Nazi
equality, the equality of women and minorities, and biological
equality through medical and genetic science. The last chapter deals
with the greatest equalizer of all, death.
survey of the history of equality demonstrates that the vast
majority of human societies have not only survived, but thrived
without equality. And it appears that despite its popular appeal, if
carried too far, equality will present a threat to justice, liberty,
and even truth. More problematic still is the observable fact that
the various versions of equality tend to be contradictory. For every
form of equality achieved, another must often be sacrificed. That is
why the attempt to establish it on a lasting basis has, in every
previous instance, proven ephemeral.
Dr. Martin van Creveld, Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, is one of the world’s leading writers on military
history and strategy. He
is fluent in Hebrew, German, Dutch, and English, and has authored more
than twenty books, including Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945 (1982), The Transformation of War (1991), and Wargames: From Gladiators to Gigabytes
(2013). He is known for his development of the concept of
“nontrinitarian” warfare and two of his books are among the seven considered to make up the 4th Generation Warfare canon as defined by William S. Lind.