The only way for us to design a truly just society, Rawls argues, is to imagine ourselves behind a “veil of ignorance” that prevents us from knowing what our actual place in society will be—more, that blocks off our view of our own abilities, desires, and values. People negotiating in this “original position,” Rawls holds, will necessarily agree on two basic principles: first, that the liberty of every person will be inviolable; second, that economic disparities will only be allowed if they serve the advantage of the worst-off in society.That this is the only way to design a truly just society is hardly self-evident. One might, for instance, start with a phenomenology of actual societies. As for those two basic principles, it seems to me they contradict each other. The business regarding economic disparities would obviously impinge upon the liberty of a good many people. If I am not economically free, I am not free.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
... Adam Kirsch on Justice and Its Critics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)