The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust; nor is it unjust that persons are born into society at some particular position. These are simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts.— John Rawls
The most delighting John Rawls quotes that are guaranted to improve your brain
The bad man desires arbitrary power. What moves the evil man is the love of injustice.
In all sectors of society there should be roughly equal prospects of culture and achievement for everyone similarly motivated and endowed. The expectations of those with the same abilities and aspirations should not be affected by their social class.
The naturally advantaged are not to gain merely because they are more gifted, but only to cover the costs of training and education and for using their endowments in ways that help the less fortunate as well.
Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.
The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.
Many of our most serious conflicts are conflicts within ourselves.
Those who suppose their judgements are always consistent are unreflective or dogmatic.
Liberal constitutional democracy is supposed to ensure that each citizen is free and equal and protected by basic rights and liberties.
In constant pursuit of money to finance campaigns, the political system is simply unable to function. Its deliberative powers are paralyzed.
[E]ach person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.
Ideally citizens are to think of themselves as if they were legislators and ask themselves what statutes, supported by what reasons satisfying the criterion of reciprocity, they would think is most reasonable to enact.
An intolerant sect has no right to complain when it is denied an equal liberty.
.. A person's right to complain is limited to principles he acknowledges himself.
We must choose for others as we have reason to believe they would choose for themselves if they were at the age of reason and deciding rationally.
The idea of public reason isn't about the right answers to all these questions, but about the kinds of reasons that they ought to be answered by.
The fault of the utilitarian doctrine is that it mistakes impersonality for impartiality.
Now the good of political life is a great political good.
It is not a secular good specified by a comprehensive doctrine like those of Kant or Mill. You could characterize this political good as the good of free and equal citizens recognizing the duty of civility to one another: the duty to give citizens public reasons for one's political actions.
The fundamental criterion for judging any procedure is the justice of its likely results.
The extreme nature of dominant-end views is often concealed by the vagueness and ambiguity of the end proposed.
Justice is the first virtue of social institutions.
The good of political life is the good of free and equal citizens recognizing the duty of civility to one another and supporting the institutions of a constitutional regime.
I have tried to set forth a theory that enables us to understand and to assess these feelings about the primacy of justice. Justice as fairness is the outcome: it articulates these opinions and supports their general tendency.
There is a divergence between private and social accounting that the market fails to register. One essential task of law and government is to institute the necessary conditions.
Religious faith is an important aspect of American culture and a fact of American political life.
Political philosophy is realistically utopian when it extends what are ordinarily thought to be the limits of practicable political possibility and, in so doing, reconciles us to our political and social condition. Our hope for the future of our society rests on the belief that the social world allows a reasonably just Society of Peoples.
The only thing that permits us to acquiesce in an erroneous theory is the lack of a better one, analogously, an injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice.
First of all, principles should be general.
That is, it must be possible to formulate them without use of what would be intuitively recognized as proper names, or rigged definite descriptions.
The claims of existing social arrangements and of self interest have been duly allowed for. We cannot at the end count them a second time because we do not like the result.
A political conception covers the right to vote, the political virtues, and the good of political life, but it doesn't intend to cover anything else.
If you compare the United States with Europe, my view is that what happened in Europe is that the church became deeply distrusted by people, because it sided with the monarchs. It instituted the Inquisition and became part of the repressive state apparatus. That never happened here. We don't have that history.
Intuitionism is not constructive, perfectionism is unacceptable.
I live in a country where 90 or 95 percent of the people profess to be religious, and maybe they are religious, though my experience of religion suggests that very few people are actually religious in more than a conventional sense.
The concept of justice I take to be defined, then, by the role of its principles in assigning rights and duties and in defining the appropriate division of social advantages. A conception of justice is an interpretation of this role.
We may suppose that everyone has in himself the whole form of a moral conception.
Thus I assume that to each according to his threat advantage is not a conception of justice.
Peace surely is a good reason, yes. But there are other reasons too.
Of course, we know that not everyone agrees with assisted suicide, but people might agree that one has the right to it, even if they're not themselves going to exercise it.
A political conception just applies to the basic structure of a society, its institutions, constitutional essentials, matters of basic justice and property, and so on.
Ideally a just constitution would be a just procedure arranged to insure a just outcome.
Citizens can have their own grounding in their comprehensive doctrines, whatever they happen to be.
A just society is a society that if you knew everything about it, you'd be willing to enter it in a random place.
The hazards of the generalized prisoner's dilemma are removed by the match between the right and the good.
You hear that liberalism lacks an idea of the common good, but I think that's a mistake.
How did Madison get separation through Virginia and later Congress? The Baptists, the Presbyterians, and the smaller sects hated Jefferson; to them he was a secularist of the worst kind. But Madison could get Jefferson's bill passed because the Baptists, the Presbyterians, and smaller sects who were excluded in New England and in the South got together for their own protection.
A society regulated by a public sense of justice is inherently stable.
A just system must generate its own support.
The strength of the claims of formal justice, of obedience to system, clearly depend upon the substantive justice of institutions and the possibilities of their reform.
People can make arguments from the Bible if they want to.
But I want them to see that they should also give arguments that all reasonable citizens might agree to.
Clearly when the liberties are left unrestricted they collide with one another.
The perspective of eternity is not a perspective from a certain place beyond the world, nor the point of view of a transcendent being; rather it is a certain form of thought and feeling that rational persons can adopt within the world ... Purity of heart, if one could attain it, would be to see clearly and to act with grace and self-command from this point of view.
Certainly it is wrong to be cruel to animals and the destruction of a whole species can be a great evil. The capacity for feelings of pleasure and pain and for the form of life of which animals are capable clearly impose duties of compassion and humanity in their case.