Rawls, Liberalism, and Leisure


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Virginia Tech


There is a tension within liberalism between the ideal of equality on the one hand and the respect for freedom (in the form of non-interference) on the other. I shall try to show that in liberalism?s efforts to simultaneously realize its goals of freedom and equality it must ultimately settle for less than the ideal of each. Since Rawls? theory of justice is a liberal one, it suffers from this tension as well. However Rawls? theory has also been accused of forcing some members of society to subsidizing the choices of others. I shall argue that one of the more recent attempts to defend his theory, by Walter Schaller, against such accusations, falls short of its goals. I shall also argue that Rawls? suggestion, in Political Liberalism, that a principle guaranteeing a social minimum ?may easily precede? the principle guaranteeing the basic liberties, should be rejected because it does not provide adequate protection of the basic liberties, especially freedom of the person.



Taxation, Justice, Leisure, Liberalsim, Rawls