Rawls' Principles of Justice

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Rawls’ Principles of Justice “Justice is the virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought”(Rawls, p. 581). John Rawls’ book, A Theory of Justice, is an in-depth analysis and interpretation of social justice. Rawls presents and discusses two principles of justice, the liberty principle and the equality principle, which are the basis of his theory on justice. Rawls’ first principle of justice states “Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others”(Rawls, p. 586). This principle is basically asserting that fundamental liberties come first over anything concerning justice. Every person is entitled to equal basic liberties that should be exercised. These liberties include: political liberty (right to vote, public office, etc.), freedom of speech and assembly, the liberty of conscience, freedom of thought, freedom to hold and own property, and freedom from arbitrary or unjust arrests. To allow human beings to be human, meaning the capability of humans to choose what they do and do not do and strive for whatever personal endeavors they aspire for, necessitates that the fundamental liberties be protected and held equal. These liberties are not to be influenced, changed, or tinkered with by economical, financial, or any other circumstances; all persons are entitled to these liberties regardless of status or wealth. Although the first principle is priority over the second principle and other potential conflicts, it does however still have its limits. Certain liberties not listed above, such as freedom of contract, are not protected or granted by the first principle since they are not basic liberties. The second principle of justice declares, “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b)
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