Rawls and the Just Society Rousseau's assertion that man is born free and everywhere is in chains still rings true today, but it also raises the question of whether man's humanity is actually "fallen" as the Old World used to describe it (Jones, 2000, 8). A "fallen" nature would certainly explain the tendency of mankind to inevitably fall into traps of inequality, slavery and cruelty.
Today's United States society is not just because it violates both principles of John Rawls' theory of justice based on the "original position." This paper will explain Rawls' principles and show how the U.S. violates those principles.
Rawls states that justice is fairness (MacKinnon, Fiala, 2015, p. 78) within the framework of the social contract, which stems back to Rousseau (2012, p. 1), who ironically pointed out that "man is born free, yet everywhere is in chains" -- alluding to the fact that in a free society, man ought not to be a made a slave of institutions such as Church, aristocracy or government. This is the "original position" regarding man's natural state, what Rousseau and the Enlightenment thinkers believe is not a "fallen state of human nature," but one that is free to assert the "rights of man." These rights were popular at the time that America came into being and the nation is said to be based on these assertion of rights that are "self-evident." Thus, the "original state" is one in which all persons are equal, act like brothers, and are free to pursue their own good so long as it does not impinge on another's right to pursue "life, liberty and ...
Yet, that is what happens in unjust societies where not everyone is in agreement about the roles they are forced into. If everyone were in agreement about those roles and everyone in society accepted the inequalities, say, between the wealthy 1% and the poor 99% who serviced the 1% then there would be no problem. But no one in America -- other than the 1% and those well-paid by them -- accepts this dichotomy as is evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street protests that spread across the country recently and in the protests against the government's foreign policy actions as well as its outrageous domestic policy, which equates to socialism for the bankers and their friends and wage slavery for the average tax payer. So there is no equality and no agreement as to roles in America.
The veil of ignorance in this situation does not work because there is no real choice but only the illusion of choice which is granted to people who think that by "voting" and using their "voice" in elections where the top two candidates are essentially bought…
Rousseau's assertion that man is born free and everywhere is in chains still rings true today, but it also raises the question of whether man's humanity is actually "fallen" as the Old World used to describe it (Jones, 2000, 8). A "fallen" nature would certainly explain the tendency of mankind to inevitably fall into traps of inequality, slavery and cruelty.
John Rawls reworks the theses contained in his previous works with Justice as Fairness: A Restatement. Rawls' political philosophy is a modern formulation, presupposing a democratic foundation, which seeks to define justice as a purely political concept. Because Rawls' previous work, A Theory of Justice, still contained moral arguments, the author here attempts to divest the concept of justice as fairness from its moral underpinnings. Therefore, with Justice as Fairness:
John Rawls / Mencius John Rawls's A Theory of Justice is concerned with distributive rather than retributive justice: there is precious little discussion of crime and punishment in Rawls's magnum opus, but plenty of discussion about equality and fairness. Rawls seems to be embarked on a Kantian ethical project of establishing universal principles, but his chief concern is to establish his principles without requiring, as Kant does, an appeal to God
John Rawls' theory…. In his book A Theory of Justice John Rawls offers readers a "Kantian Interpretation" of his "original position," according to an essay in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SAP). First, a review of Rawls' "original position" will set up the explanation of his Kantian link. Rawls posits (in his "original position") that in understanding his philosophy readers should imagine themselves as "…free and equal" and as willing
Liberal equality is another principle that was propagated by Rawls and focuses on the removal of artificial obstacles or man made obstacles as opposed to the natural liberty principles. Rawls here argues for the removal of inequalities which act as disadvantages to some people and this can be achieved trough giving them a just share of the primary goods the society has to offer. This principle neglects the natural endowments
As Hampton (1997) points out, "By using this argument, Rawls hopes to persuade readers that he has good reasons for commending his theory as correct, without relying on undefended or ill-defined intuitions" (p. 140). But is his theory really "correct?" Is it even conceivable to apply Rawls' principles of egalitarianism to a society in which competition is rampant and 'status' is the permanent engraving on the proverbial brass ring? Moreover,
Justice, political philosopher John Rawls looks at the idea of social justice and the individual rights of the individual by redefining the last 200+ years of the American experience. In general, he looks at the manner in which the Founding Fathers were correct by basing their views on previous social contract theorists like Locke and Rousseau. For example, there is a clear linkage between John Locke and Rawls that