In this article, I argue that overly-optimistic beliefs about how much progress toward justice has been made and overly-pessimistic beliefs about what progress toward justice can be made can both help perpetuate injustices. Further, such beliefs can help perpetuate injustices even if those who hold them have a firm grasp of the correct principles of justice, a robust commitment to realize them, and the political influence to make their commitment effective. I also argue that when mistaken beliefs about justice of either sort are embedded in ideologies, they are an especially serious obstacle to moral progress. Finally, I conclude that ideologies can help perpetuate injustices even if they do not ‘mask’ them, if they include either overly-optimistic or overly-pessimistic beliefs about progress toward justice.
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