should the concept of desert have any role in our thinking about distributive justice?I'm interested in the use of the word "justice". This word has a long-established symbol:
Justice is, intrinsically, a matter of desert. What is in one of the scale pans must be balanced by what goes into the other. What's happened here - and Chris hasn't done this, initiated this, himself - is that the word has been redefined, meaning in this context "something I think should happen that I want to give great weight to".
This redefinition of words is much more characteristic of socialists than of people from other parts of the political spectrum. "Fair" now means, in political parlance, "high" or "redistributive" - as in the phrase "fair taxation". "Liberty" has been glossed with the word "positive" to mean "ability".
I don't know why this is characteristic of socialism. Orwell, of course, spotted this but I'm not aware he offered any analysis.