I am starting this debate in the context of the following posts and the comments I received on those posts.
This is the comment by R.D. that sparked it off:
I could easily make the same point using a social engineering argument (although I believe it is one of the most abused words), but will try to put in words you believe in.
I believe according to you, the fundamental responsibility of a government is to ensure freedom of every individual and ensure there is no force on any individual. Do you believe that people in this country are free. Do you not agree that there is undue force on certain sections of the society because of historic reason and unjust prejudice because of their ‘identity’. Do you not agree that most of the people who are oppressed are economically weak and economic empowerment of these people will solve most of their problems and make them to a large extent ‘free’. Is free quality primary education not a way of empowering people to stop force against them.
I believe your version of equal opportunity and T.R.’s version of it are very different. His view (rather mine) is probably better put as an equal start for everyone. I believe the government has one more important function. That is to ensure the the country is producing the maximum it can. This can be achieved only by providing a basic start to everyone (a person might have the potential to become a math wizard, but will never if is has to be an agricultural labour all his life) and then let them perform according to their ability.
What R.D. is saying amounts to the positive liberty position. I take a negative liberty position.