Skip to comments.Examining John Rawls from a totalitarian point of view
Posted on 03/10/2012 10:42:31 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica
Having already laid some preliminary groundwork regarding Rousseau and Utilitarianism, I shall open the door to my primary target: John Rawls' book "A Theory of Justice".
A couple of things before I get too in-depth here. First, yes, I do actually have a copy of the book: and I have made my way through large portions of it. Due to my classes and other things, I won't be able to finish the entire thing in the near future. But I can and do have enough to make a solid case that this ideology is one that needs further examination along lines which lead away from liberty, and not toward it. Everybody and anybody who is interested in defending themselves against the authoritarian schemes of progressivism, you need to pick up a copy of this book. You can read large parts of it online(here), but there are parts of this book that unless you know exactly what you're looking for and you're using the correct search term, you can't access it. So your local library, Amazon, try going to a college, whatever you have to do. In my readings of this, I would put this book similar to Philip Dru, the Communist Manifesto, Rousseau's writings, the Fabian Tracts, and many other philosophical/semi-philosophical writings which have ended up spawning dark periods in history.
Just so that I'm clear here, I don't believe Rawls to be a communist. Nor did Rawls ever kill anybody or advocate the killing of anybody.(that I've yet seen, and I do not expect it) But there are certain things which are undeniable truths of life that cannot be ignored, and inevitably end up in the exact same place. To be specific Rawls specifically states(page 10) that his writing is not a doctrine for a particular form of government. Yet reading this book you are led down a remarkably utopian path, and that's where human beings get into trouble. Karl Marx, Edward House, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the original Fabians never killed anybody. Yet these ideas(some moreso than others) led to some of if not the darkest, violent, deadly periods in humanity's history. The ideals lead the revolutionary utopian activist to want to dictate to others how life should be, and those who resist end up standing alone in the middle of a protest, with three tanks coming at them. This story has been told over, and over, and over again. And while the makeup is different, the path is different, everything is different. Yet everything is the same. Be it concentration camps, eugenics, guillotines, gulags, you name it. Different makeup, different path, same utopian starting point, and same deadly ending point. The glorious revolution is not so glorious after all.
When you start reading revolutionary history as I have done, you start to see them all as the same. It no longer remains a fear of Communism, or the dangers of Fabianism, or of Fascism, Nationalism, Progressivism, or any others. History has far too many labels for what is one single concept: centralized planning. That's what all of it is. Every bit of it. From the Divine Right of Kings, to Jacobinism, to Anarchism or Syndicalism, and now Rawlsianism. I encourage every liberty minded citizen to read this book. Here are a few things you will find:
Rawls uses the phrase "Social Justice" 31 times. (as an after-publish note, due to how google books search works, I am now seeing 38 results)
He talks about a "well ordered" society. As much as he wants to say he isn't advocating for one type of government or another, he is. He is arguing for a well-ordered society. In 600 pages, he yearns for a well ordered society 73 times. 73 times!(now 71 results)
Something else that Rawls frequently mentions here in this book and elsewhere is the concept of "distributive justice", which I think is one of the most dangerous concepts that progressives have ever come up with.
Another thing that Rawls frequently mentions is the concept of fairness, which is probably the most abused word in the English language.
The concept that's completely Rawlsian in origin is the concept of 'luck', and I consider it to be the absolute most dangerous of his ideals. It was seeing his beliefs of luck that prompted me to dig deeper and consider writing this and the things I will write in the future.
Finally, earlier I stated that I do not believe Rawls to be a communist. There is a specific reason why(In Rawls own words). Yesterday when I wrote of Utilitarianism, I stressed that collegiate education does not have to be socialist or communist in order to indoctrinate, which is why I'm now highlighting Rawls' book. But just because Rawls was not a communist, doesn't mean he didn't know of Marx, or what Marx said. In closing this I will leave you with a quote from the book:(Page 305)
It is even possible to elevate one of these precepts, or some combination of them, to the level of a first principle, as when it is said: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
Footnote 33 directs the reader to "Critique of the Gotha Program", which is the source of that quote.
Nozick does a pretty good fisking of the book and the theory in “Anarchy, State and Utopia”.
For the uneducated contingent at FR (headed by me...) could you tell a bit about Rawls? When he lived, etc?
Rawls is the modern root of progressive evil. I had to study his theories for a book i wrote on Yucca Mountain nuclear waste which goes heavily into socioeconomic maximization schemes. Rawls is Marx rehashed.
I never met Rawls, but his student, Thomas Nagel, was hired by NYU while I was there. Nagel was one of the few really admirable philosophers of the modern age, IMHO. He basically rejected what Rawls taught.
Among other things, he makes some good arguments for Intelligent Design, which he differentiates from Creationism.
Rawls was just another lunatic philosopher of the modern age, like almost all the rest of them.
As Soledad O’Brien would say, “What? WHAT?? He was a respected professor!! This is an Ivy League academic you’re talking about! A Marxist? Are you serious?? How could anyone say this man was a Marxist?”
Never did like Rawls in my Philosophy courses. Marking this for a later read when I have time.
I have a whole book that revolves around this Rawlsian kind of crap. They derailed Yucca Mountain based on a lot of “least advantaged man” pseudologic. They carried it into the future, te least advantaged man 10,000 years from now wouldn’t want ANY risk now because of butterfly wings in Brazil. PhD absurd pseudologic.
Freedom requires self-government, and in the end the capacity for self-government is moral. You will govern yourself or you will be governed.
It requires a certain minimum level of trust and respect between citizens; you don't fear your neighbor, particularly, and you don't feel the need to dominate him. This is, again, moral in nature.
There is no escaping the requirement, that a people be moral, for liberty to exist. Moral people don't require a governing elite and don't want one. You must be free in fact before you can be free in law. You must be willing to make your own decisions and most importantly to pay the cost of your decisions. You have to have a certain level of trust, that your neighbor's decisions aren't going to endanger you. And you have to have a certain level of respect for your fellows, that as long as he doesn't endanger you, you are going to let him be.
Liberty is how your personal moral code and love-of-neighbor work themselves out in the practical, secular world.
You can't legislate freedom if the people are not morally capable of freedom.
The absence of liberty breeds an infantile people who aren't capable of liberty.
It is a circular, self-reinforcing process in both directions. Destroy morality, you destroy the capacity for self-government, you destroy the trust between citizens, and liberty becomes an intolerable burden. People will gladly be rid of it in exchange for the right to mind their neighbor's business whether out of fear or envy, and they will gladly be rid of it in exchange for an escape from the costs of their own personal decisions.
Philosophers keep trying to come up with a structure that doesn't depend upon the morality of the citizen and it can't be done. In the end, a republic of free and more-or-less moral citizens is the best we are likely to come up with. Add cops and judges (who must be themselves moral men and women) to referee the inevitable collisions between free people going about their business, and this is as good as it gets. There is no magic formula, or if there is, its the one embedded in the Constitution and in Scripture.
Libtards who are critical of America's inequality of income and wealth think that political equality implies economic equality, which is not true. Also, they believe that existing differences are due to factors such as luck and genetics for which no one is responsible. In keeping with nineteenth-century economic dogma, the role of free will and personal choices is ignored. Finally, they believe that a person of high intelligence is lucky to be born with an intellegent brain and so is a candidate for the seizure and redistribution of his wealth, because he did not have to work to earn his brain. Here, Rawls and libtards are dropping the context of the concept of to earn. There is no such thing as working to earn one's brain.
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