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tv   Lectures in History John Rawls Modern American Liberalism  CSPAN  September 30, 2018 12:00pm-1:11pm EDT

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were history unfold daily. in 1979, c-span was great as a public service by america's to bring youiontoday, we contie unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. -- c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. next on lectures in history, eric sheldon of the university of virginia's college it wise teaches a class on political philosopher john rolfe and his justice,""a theory of which has heavily influenced the ideas behind modern american liberalism. when president bill clinton awarded rolfe the national humanities medal in 1999, he called him "perhaps the greatest
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political philosopher of the 21st century." this class is about 70 minutes. >> ok, today we are going to look at american liberalism. behindphilosophy american liberalism. the political theory justification for liberalism, or the philosophical rationale underlying american liberalism. bys philosophy was developed john rawls in his book "a theory of justice," published in 1971. professora of philosophy at harvard university, and his theory of justice was one of the major
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political theories of the 20th century, probably, in my humble opinion, the most important political theory in the 20th --.ury after thes sometimes called rawlsian theory of justice and it is known worldwide. it is not just prominent in the united states, but i have heard it referred to in conferences around the world, including in vienna, austria, so we are going to look at his theoretical justification for american liberalism, which is a very elegant theory. one of the reasons it was so prominent, whole books, whole journal issues have been devoted to this theory because it for what weationale would call american liberalism,
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or democrat party liberalism. we distinguish american liberalism from british liberalism, or 18th-century liberalism that we studied before -- john locke, thomas jefferson, because that original british liberalism, john stuart emphasizes individual , where as freedoms the later american liberalism emphasizes a prominent central or federal government power, regulation of business, social welfare, housing, public education, health care and so on. be knownhat comes to as american liberalism. and modern american liberalism began with the progressive era
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of the late 19th century, early 20th century, with figures you all know of. woodrow wilson, teddy roosevelt, and then it was greatly expanded during the 1930's under president franklin d roosevelt with what is called the new deal, and ever since then, american liberalism as a policy and ideology has been prominent in liberal democrat administrations such as john f. kennedy, lyndon johnson, blue -- bill clinton, and barack obama. this american liberalism promotes a mixed regime, what ofy consider a mixture
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private and public. regime regime, balance -- balanced regime, and the idea thehat the private, mixing private, free market economy, --e market capitalism private economy, private business, competition and so on with the public, the public being a large government role, a large federal government for managing that economy and throughg social justice various social programs. ands a mixture of private public free-market capitalism, private property exchange, competition and so on. large government, central
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government regulating not. as you will see from rawls. the 1960's both political parties, democratic and republican, have endorsed this .ixed view of american politics the mixture of public and private. pure -- except for smaller groups on the political spectrum, such as libertarians on the free market side, that and almost no government, socialists and communists on the
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far left, which wants total government control. except for those two extremes, which are pretty small, neither a pure, free-market capitalism like libertarianism nor complete government control like socialism or communism has been a leading ideology in america. so that is american liberalism, politically. rawls is famous for providing a philosophical justification and explanation of why this american liberalism mixture of public and private is good. a kind of become world standard. a you will see, it is particularly elegant argument. one reason it got so much attention is that rawls, who died fairly recently, rawls developed this argument it in and1950's in the journal
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spent his career just developing it until his book, which is roughly 800 and 70 pages -- 870 pages long -- it is a very big book. he spent his career really refining this theory, and you will see if it has a certain elegance in the way it combines ian liberalism of classical rights and freedom and the welfare state and modern liberal conclusions about the role of government. rawls has been criticized by many scholars on the left and right, for various perspectives, but it remains a very influential and important theory. so, rawls begins his theory of justice with a traditional
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social contract view of the creation of society. you remember in our studies of locke and russo the idea of devising or creating a government, a society out of your thoughts, a social contract created. we sometimes say in the 1780's united states, we created our social contract through the .nited states constitution and that idea of creating a government, a society, and people agreeing to it, consent, that being the social contract goes way back in anglo-american philosophy, and really earlier than that, all the way back to aristotle. and the idea -- remember, john locke, the british liberal philosopher of the 17th century who is often called the key of
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theoryn political -- locke is the key. that is an old one. we had this state of nature, three completely independent, and they come together to design a society and the government. ok. that is usually called the state of nature. in rawls, he uses this term -- the original position. saying stateway of of nature. where wenal position design our society and government. important thatis that the extracted from an existing society and behind a
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veil of ignorance. a veil of ignorance -- >> are you saying that you know, we shouldn't think about the original position? what are you talking about? ini will tell you right now, one minute. often people who make fun of john rawls will say he is behind the veil of ignorance. -- a veilblinds you you,s you, a veil covers and a veil of ignorance for
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rawls is to be ignorant or unknowing of one thing. that is, when you design society, you are unknowing or ignorant of where you will end up in that society. very important concept. possibly unrealistic, but a very , that how canept you design a fair society if you know where you are going to end up in it? you know you are middle-class, whatever. society to help the middle class. the importance of the veil of ignorance is to make us of objective, rational, and pure. objectiveair and to -- and objective in designing society, we should not know beforehand where we will end up in that society.
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that is the veil of ignorance. in other words, when you design society, you do not think about where you are or what you are now. you do not know where you will the society appears, rich or poor, black or white, male, female, young, old. educated, uneducated, healthy, unhealthy, living in the city, the country, living in the north -- you do not know any of that. you do not know what you will be when the society is created, and the importance of that is that then you think of what society what i want if i end up on the bottom? if i end up disadvantaged? a fair, rational person behind the veil of ignorance for report heh their says, if you did this, you would maximinaax and
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society. that would mean you maximize the minimum. you would maximize the worst situation you find yourself in. you would think about that, believe me, you could find yourself there. these days, we can be prosperous and go sailing along, lose your job, lose your insurance, break your leg and you are on the street, buddy. so long. it used to be we have a secure system, as long as you got tenure. well, that is still secure. but they were the senior partner of a law firm. once you were there, you were set. not anymore. if you do not bring in some good
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cases, you are out, buddy. ceo -- well, he has it made. golden parachute. no problem of. wrong. ceo's -- out. fines art to -- or $2 billion or $3 million and then sued for $20 billion. i will not mention the company. but it can happen. so when he says we should think about the most disadvantaged among us, even in the 1970's that was terribly remote but it is not remote anymore. to liveyou said i want absoluteety where the poorest, most disadvantaged, minimumressed, whatever
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are better off, maximize, then any other disadvantaged in any other society -- that is what maximin means. it does not mean there will be poverty, disadvantaged, uneducated and diseased people. it means if you were in the lower conditions, you would rather be in this country than any other country. that is what maximin means. and that maximin would be the mixture of public and private. he says, if you really thought about it and you really studied economics, politics, history and all of that, law, you would say, thatt to live in a society takesprosperous, and b, care of the needy. and that is that mixed system we
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talked about of public and private. private,be an economy wheree-market capitalism, its invention, creativity, competition, prosperity, and history has shown that free-market capitalist economies grow faster than any others. so it would be, the maximin would be a free market economy with all of the opportunities it produces, prosperity's and so on, and a welfare state, government to take care of the least among us and to ensure equal opportunity. min would set you want something like the united states, compared to other countries, where if you just have a free market economy, ,bsolute anarchy, libertarian
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robert nozick who we studied. free-market capitalist -- social darwinism. survival of the fittest. it is a jungle out there. that may make some people very rich, but it will hurt a lot of other people. so you do not want a purely free-market economy or a purely controlled economy. because we saw in socialist and communist countries, everyone is equal but is always going to be poor. it very low standard of living in the soviet union. if you say what you want is a the engine of economics and capitalism and the compassion of a large welfare and that isment,
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what he called justice as fairness. a very famous phrase. justice as fairness. fair, and thatg idea of fairness, which is not used quite as much as it used to be, but the 1990's and early 2000's, the democrat party in particular talked about fairness. is that fair? is that policy fair? is that health care system fair? the idea of being fair to everybody is a big idea in this theory of justice. that definition of justice rests justice.inciples of
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the principles. first, rawls says that society should allow the greatest individual liberty compatible with the liberty of others. this is the classic british liberal, lockean view of nature ,hat views individual freedom life, liberty, and property, freedom of thought, action, movement, economic freedom. individual freedom. so long as that individual freedom does not violate the similar rights of others through locks law of nature. you are free to move around, by things, use things, as long as you do not infringe on the similar rights of others.
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you are free to drive your car, but not only if you -- not if you run over somebody and kill them. you deprive them of the right to life. that is the first principle. basically, liberty. very traditional. again, how he goes from that traditional idea of liberty to a much more modern notion of society is really interesting. -- the first principle has to do with liberty. individual liberty. that is a principle. in the theory of justice. liberty. the second principle, rawls says , is that inequalities of wealth , rich and poor, must work up to the benefit of the poorest with the proviso that any elimination of quality should harm the interest of the poorest. this reflects the argument that some kinds of inequality can
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benefit all, including the poorest, as for example brilliant managers, coaches, ceos, university presidents, they say a good leader makes the whole organization work better and everyone prospers. and to get those good leaders, which are pretty rare, you have to pay them a lot of money. acceptable ifis work and such a way that benefits the lower and positions are open to all. so render all production more efficient, and then they command higher salaries and benefits and so forth. so liberty, equality.
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two famous concepts in political theory going all the way back to plato and aristotle and usually seen as in conflict. another brilliant thing about rawls -- throughout the study of political theory, you know the history of political theory tends to say the more liberty you get, the more you allow people to be free, the less equality you have. but the more you impose a best impose a quality -- impose equality like communism, where everyone makes 10,000 rubles a year, to control that economy where everyone has housing and income, health care, you tend to restrict a lot of liberties. so these two are often seen as contradictory.
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so rawls' theory says you can have both. you can have both liberty and equality, if you do it the right way. justice, for rawls, allows greater inequality of wealth, helps thestige if it least advantaged. rich, powerful. influential, beautiful, happy, and not feel guilty, if you having all of those things are the result of doing such a good job that everyone is doing better. that is the only way that inequality is justified. and freedom, in a way, is needed for that. you see how he has reconciled those two different things --
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that is why this is such a famous theory. just? can inequality be again, if the richer, more are more prominent and famous? in doing it, it assists others, such as a very talented manager of a company. a very famous ceo back in my day, lee iacocca was the head of ford motor company in the 1960's. a brilliant, brilliant guy. a brilliant businessman and manager. insight into the market. ok. he probably already made $20 million at ford. he is the one who pushed the development of the ford mustang.
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it was a little car -- we had not had a car like this before. you had sports cars, two-seater xjs.s cars -- the jaguar sedans -- this was actually built on a falcon. for falcon. have you ever seen a ford falcon? should we say, it is a very modest family car. boring. the ford falcon, four-door, very modest. he takes a sports car body and puts it on a ford falcon chassis. genius boy. the ford mustang sells more cars the first year than any other car produced, over half a million the first year. -- he recognized it in
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the 1960's, that is what americans wanted. a sporty sedan. up,ord sales go shooting ford workers get a big raise, ford stock shoots through the steals leed chrysler iacocca from ford. [applause] [laughter] -- [laughter] mr. sheldon: right? because he did such a good job and already made a lot of money, causing everyone at ford to get so much richer. at chrysler, -- he was maybe making $20 million at ford, so chrysler said, how would you like to make $40 million? he accepted. so he went to chrysler and did it at chrysler. a thing called the fifth avenue. it was a small sedan, again, kind of sporty. to so that is what happens very talented leaders. especially in business.
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you figure out how to make a lot of money and success with a whole organization, and you get a bigger and bigger salary, and by thatwhat rawls means inequality for lee iacocca is ok, because he caused everyone else to prosper. it is the same in sports. , a gifted coach who just knows how to manage the game and the team, and knows about the play and probably how to play with the women's lacrosse team, i think. the women's lacrosse team at the college, they are out there, long sticks and little net. how do they catch the ball in their little net? asked last year, but nobody has told me yet. so somebody who really knows how to catch that little ball in the lacrosse -- you call it a stick?
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a stick. the net in the stick and all that other stuff. i had no idea you could run behind the goal. how could you run behind the goal? this is not soccer? is, a really gifted coach, right, wins all the games and guess what happens? the other college steals them, right? because they made the whole team better. the other college says, we will pay you twice the salary. that inequality, for rawls, is ok. that is what he needs. executive, a good chief administrator of a hospital. a good university president. they raised the whole organization up in terms of the university, like the university of virginia. jefferson's university, celebrating our 200th anniversary next year.
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2019. the bison tentacle -- bicentennial, uva. universityn many presidents, chancellors -- hey, i have been here 35 years. i know everyone. they are all great. i love you. but the sign of a great university president is the whole organization prospers. in rankings -- you know, universities are ranked. learning, orof grants, in benefaction, they people want to give you money. do you know who gets the most money? harvard. harvard does not need any more money. but if you give money to somebody, they usually give it to harvard. why? they have the high rankings and everybody wants to give to harvard and have a bench named after them, and endowment bench. the idea is when something is
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good, people pour money into it. is a leaderets good who presented well, builds up , and you do not resent the fact that they are , andg $5 billion this year have several large houses and a yacht, and a late 1980's cadillac. so that is what he means by you wouldpick a society, you devise a society that maximizes the minimum, but to have a maximum, that means you allow a lot of inequality. and again, this is largely done by the private market. very talented leaders are rare. i do not know why. look at plato's republic. the philosopher kings are about 5% of the population, and they
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ruled. enes.sopher king g i do not know why. some people are just good at making money. i have always been good at not making money. it is a gift, but i am happy. i am poor but i am happy, so -- the market competes for the talented leaders, because they are helping the whole corporation go up. and the market punishes the losers. you think being a bank president is fun? being president of a university is fun, or being the head of the hospital is fun? i have arrived. you tell all your friends, you put it on facebook. i have just been made president of this organization. that is not the end. it is the beginning. that is when the hard work begins. you are going to be so tested.
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you are going to deal with problems, unspeakable problems, every day. and if you mess up, you're out. you mismanage your corporation and profits go down, you are gone. you are out. very stressful. so some are getting higher salaries, more benefits and prestige, but some who do not benefit everyone are out, on the bottom of the heap. so you have to perform. you have to do a good job and help everybody. that is the rawlsian theory. as he says, "the liberal interpretation of the two principles seeks to mitigate the influence of social contingencies and natural fortune on distributive shares. to accomplish this end, it is
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necessary to impose further basic structural conditions on the social system. free market arrangement must be set within a framework of political and legal institutions which regulate the overall trends of economic events and preserves the social conditions necessary for fairy quality and opportunity." -- fair equality of opportunity." the elements are familiar. taxing the rich to help the poor. regulating unfair business. the elements of this framework, to recall the importance of preventing excessive accumulations of property wealth but maintaining equal of education. public education to be the great equalizer. you have rich and poor and public education is supposed to be giving the same education to
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everybody and equalize everyone, and then they can go on and accomplish things. it is not just education for rawls in reading, writing, and arithmetic. he says chances to acquire cultural knowledge and skills should not spend upon one's class position. -- should not depend upon one's class position. so the school system, whether public or private, should be designed to even out the class barriers of the american ideal of education. they come into the country poor, but you work hard, study, get smart, you will prosper. and notice, he says cultural knowledge. not just technical knowledge, but learning habits that cause you to succeed. so one way inequality is addressed by taxing the wealthy, progressive income tax to provide benefits to the less advantaged, housing, health
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care, food, but especially education. justust leaving, not learning, reading, writing, public schoolt and education is supposed to teach the culture of success. the culture of success, which in the united states, since it is a purity and founding, have been a bourgeois republic democracy. and those habits that in this booze was theatic geoismocratic bour capitalist system, the talents he is talking about they you want to give the needy are things that lead to happiness
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and success. so, not just money and learning. it is not just money and it is not just learning. things like work ethic. very important in our system. competitive, and based on individual performance that you get out of bed in the morning. well, 10 minutes. that is natural law. there is a 10 minute leeway of being early or late because we all have watches and clocks that are different. not cell phones, but watches and clocks. the clocks up on the hill are half an hour faster, because they are in a different time zone. something to do with the altitude, i think. the clocks are different, so it is ok to period have a little leeway, a grace period period -- ok to have a little leeway, a race period.
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work ethic, responsibility, do what you say you are going to do. you are responsible. along withetting others, sociability. cooperating. and being a decent, law-abiding, moral person. those are the kinds of cultural traits you have to train in the society, or it is going to be very hard to succeed. it will be hard to get a job, keep a job, and stay out of jail if you do not have the cultural ethics of the system, that it encourages. right or wrong, that is a fact of life. so to liberals, american liberals, as we have said, rawls says this but we have said this a lot of ways -- life is a race.
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life is a race. and like all races, it is a running race. races, this is where the theory of justice matters. line and youart have a finish line. the race of life. is, you allaphor for rawls,ces and the race in life, the race in society to success starts around college. age 18, 20, 22.
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whenever you graduate from college. i was 25. it takes longer sometimes. but the point is, whenever you set up your own life. when you leave high school or before you leave high school, whether college, law school, the idea is the start line in this view of american liberalism is the social start line, when you finish your apprenticeship or education and you are starting your adult life. your job, family, interest, whatever. summer home, sailboat, high-quality smoked salmon -- you know, your plan. living your life, living your plan. doing what you want to do. that is your life. that is the start. and before you get out of school and everything, you are kind of under your family or parents or school or whatever. so the idea is once you are out there on your own. that is the start line. the finish line in this race of
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life is, say this is age 22 for you. the finish would be age 65. me. i am finished. i am at the finish line, just about to crawl over the finish line. so that is when you end your career. look at it that way. so the start line is when you start your career. the finish line is when you finish your career. now, the rawlsian theory of justice begins by saying it ain't a fair race and less we -- unless we are all on the same start line. that is the whole idea. we know it is not a fair race if we are all here and somebody is out back yonder in the woods, they have to start way back here, and somebody is out in the front lawn here, closer to the
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finish line. how did that happen? or if you are in a race and carrying a big feed bag, that slows you down. or if you have big, heavy weights on your ankles. how are you supposed to race fairly if you are not all starting at the same starting line? so society says there are some people back here. they are not close to the start line. by the time they hit adulthood, they do not have education, they have not been prepared culturally. they may be poor, malnourished, unhealthy, sick. there are all these things that happen in life. they keep you from getting up to the beginning. and then there are people ahead who have been blessed with semi-functional families and middle-class income and a pretty good education and late-model
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jaguar. and golden retriever. that puts you way up here. you got a big start. you got a jump on the race. is that fair? no. and then the finish, for rawls, is your highest achievement. becoming the ceo or the principle of the high school, becoming the head of surgery at the hospital. you know, the finish is achieving your highest goal or accomplishment. so the idea of justice as fairness is society, we have freedom in the economy, but to move these people up to the starting line and to move these people back to the starting
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line. and an obvious example of that is back in colonial virginia when jefferson went to school, and was all private schools, all private tutors, mostly clergymen, and the vast majority of farmers did not go to school. no education. there was no way they could go to the university of virginia, much less william and mary. so public education, tax the wealthier, if you have more land, you pay more property tax to pay for schools to educate the ones who are just -- this should then -- disadvantaged and you still have . and you still have differences in families and region and experience. but society can make it a little more fair. ok? so it is a fairer race. then the gun goes off, first , race.
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everyone runs. now, they are roughly at the same place. it is not perfect, you keep trying to make social arrangements more fair so everyone gets a chance. abject poverty, totally uneducated, you are in real trouble if that happens. real trouble in terms of ever being able to succeed if you have those disadvantages. so society can at least take care of the basic needs. food, housing, education, and so on. so then you arrive at what we used to call your prime. the prime of life. you have taken all of the skills and background and you work through your 30's, 40's, 50's.
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you are working and working. that was the old plan and american dream. get educated, trained, some kind -- well, of experience, first you get fed, and then you , some kindd, trained of experience, responsibility, social skills. then you are let loose on the world. we let our children loose upon the world. and the old school i grew up in was you work and work like mad. stay in school until you are 30. [laughter] mr. sheldon: law school. remember that next year. you will be there for a long time but when you come out, you will be happy. so say you get out of school and get a job around 30. within you work and work and work and boy, do you work.
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your 30's and 40's, you work and work and work, in your law profession, teaching medicine, business, whatever. you work so hard. is in the old school, and really rawlsian you reach your prime, it to be between your mid 40's and mid 50's. you say, i am in my prime. i have accomplished a lot of things, a lot of major things and i will keep doing things, but i have the basis. what happens is you beat down the door to get your article published and to get your paper in the conference and get your book published by johns hopkins university press. and then, by your mid 40's, you have kind of arrived. you could be a musician, an actor, it is all the same. you could be a sports figure. you have arrived. you are good.
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ok? you are good. then, you keep getting work based on the basis of that prime you keep getting work, and you can begin to sort of pick and choose. it is great. so by the time you are in your 60's and the senior partner in a law firm, this is the way it used to be. a senior partner in the law firm , it is a brutal world of there. are a senior you partner in the law firm sheldon and shelton, and you kick back and spend most of your time playing golf with big clients and putting all the work on the younger lawyers. that is what they did to you. so that is the kind of system, and then you arrive at different levels of success. the fact of life is even as well as people are prepared, as hard as they work or do not work, some people are going to become
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president and others will be obscure. some will be rich and others less rich. but the idea is that the gifted and a hard-working are rewarded -- gifted and hard-working and good are rewarded and the less accomplished, and this is theory --r the rawls why it was so popular -- the less accomplished, if this is justice as fairness, and everyone got a uniform and shoes , one of those lacrosse sticks with the net on it. everybody got the same training. and then then some players do better than others. i don't know. you all looked pretty good to me, but apparently some scored more points or something. went behind the goal more than others. explain the game to me sometime. [laughter] the point is,ut
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if you are all trade and you will go out and play, some succeed more than others and they get stolen by vanderbilt or somebody. i don't know. but the players keep getting stolen by bigger teams with more money, whatever. so, if the system is fair in the military, let's say, promotions. oh, boy. the way you are evaluated in the military for promotion is pretty rigorous. so to get a promotion, you probably earned it. and the idea is, if it is fair, get this -- the least accomplished will not be bitter. if it was a fair fight, a fair game, no one cheated. it was not perfect, but it was close. and you did not teach at harvard, who cares? you got to do something. somebody was better than you. no big deal.
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that is the theory. -- that is the main benefit of the role the in theory -- rawlsian theory of justice. the successful and gifted are rewarded. but the ones who did not succeed as much are not bitter and envious. very important for democracy. you don't want a country that is opportunity, wealth, and so on. you have got to reward people for working hard and doing well. and then if you don't happen to -- things happen beyond your control, but in general if you do not succeed as much in this system, you say it is ok. do you remember the will chamberlain example that showed
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white quilt -- wide will chamberlain in a perfect market would make a lot more than any other basketball player? the other basketball players, knowing that he is better at people pay more to see him, are not resentful of him. that is the theory. so you do not have envy and spite, jealousy, and most importantly, you do not have a radical revolution. people have revolutions who feel hopeless. look at russia. old russia. look at france, old france. countries -- the habsburg empire. countries where people were shut out, just excluded, and nothing they did good they succeed. that is where you get a radical revolution, so you do not want that. england has always been a little more flexible. sort of monarchy light. they always allowed some of the
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commons to move into the house of lords. much more fluid. so there was a sense of hope. if i distinguish myself in the middle ages on the battlefield, i will be knighted and become an aristocrat. if i do something for the crown, i will be promoted. so there was a sense that it was open and what we want for rawls is a system where people want -- where people have that hope. the system is not stacked against you totally. and so the society has to make sure people have opportunities, equal opportunity means the ones who have not made it as much have no complaints so you have more social harmony and social peace. even though you see somebody who has an even later model jaguar, you do not say, i hate him and want that car. you say, i am happy for him.
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and i like my old clunker. hey, if i was rich and a banker, then i would have to work hard and look at figures and it is not my gift. so, social peace. at some point, for john rawls, if you have been given breaks and had a chance, you know, and you did not succeed, at some point it may be that you were a horse and buggy person in a jet age and so your technology just got away from you, but you should be able to adapt. that is what liberal arts education is all about. you learn all sides, you learn how to think and you can adapt to new technology. so you have done that, and then if you did not make it as well, you do not blame society. harder.have worked
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i could have been more honest, easier to get along with. the humble bit. the old self-examination. where did i go wrong? maybe there were missed opportunities, but maybe, possibly, it is possible that i am not perfect. so you want people who admit that they may be had something to do with their failure and they are humble and contrite, repentance. they say well, you know, i could've have done better. but i blew my savings and i did a lot of things i shouldn't have, and i ruined my health and i regret that now. now i am going to be hard-working and straight. so that is the idea. the various critiques of rawls, one of them is that this race, to get up to the starting line, this is all done in public
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policy. and one of the critiques is there are certain things, skills and abilities that can only be developed in nonpolitical realms, like the family, religion, community, town, clubs, friendship. so one of the critiques of rawls experience -- emphasizing the state, relying on the state to accomplish individual development may also engender an ever-expanding bureaucracy. interested in maintaining the social problems to keep their jobs. they do not want to cure all of the problems, or they are unemployed. you're all the diseases, you cannot be a doctor. so -- you cured all of the diseases, you cannot be a doctor. one of the critiques of him is that emphasizing the state rather than civil society, nonpublic organizations, may be missing something. but whether government programs
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or private institutions best advance individual success and happiness and social progress, rawls is really reflecting a kind of american system. this is the american system. it is a mixture of public and private and the arguments, i know nothing about contemporary politics. i really have not been interested in an election since 1800 when jefferson won. but i have heard that the argument between democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives tends to just be over the distribution of the mix between public and private. they all agree you have the public and private. i do not know anyone except some libertarians who want to abolish social security. even conservative republicans
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are not going to abolish it. so you accept certain social programs. welfare for the poor and disabled who cannot work. but the arguments between liberal and conservative, democratic republican tend to be over the mix. do you have more private, like we are seeing now? more private business incentives, less regulation, fewer social programs emphasizing more the church, charity, and family? or do you have more government, government, higher taxes, more social programs and you solve problems that way? that tends to be the argument in america between left and right. between liberal and conservative, democrat and republican, so you do not have the extremes you have in even european countries, where you actually have communist parties in italy. they elect people to the
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parliament in italy. you have a communist party that wants to nationalize everything, and then you have the far right parties that again, probably probably have 2% but they are in the parliament. we're much more in the big middle. you think our differences are big? they are nothing compared to the rest of the world, to europe. you are arguing over 5% tax increases or reduction? that is nothing. whether you should have this much welfare or that much welfare, it tends to be pretty much in the american spirit of compromise. the old american dream. compromise. going way back to the u.s. constitution, the ratifying of
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the constitution came out of compromise. hamilton wanted totally centralized government. madison wanted totally centralized government. patrick henry and thomas jefferson wanted decentralized government, so they compromised on federalism. so that idea of the premier value in american politics of cooperation, the old give-and-take, flexibility, tolerance, is really reflected in this rawlsian theory of justice. nobody gets everything they want. but nobody gets nothing. everybody gets something. nobody gets everything they want, but everybody get something. that is the kind of system you want in madisonian pluralism. interest groups lobbying. and that is the idea of a more permanent, stable regime.
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are there any questions about rawls theory of justice? >> if his theory revolves around fairness, how is it fair to make a wealthy person who has earned their money take care of the poor? i am not saying i do not think you should do that. but how is that fair to a person who worked hard to say you have to take care of the poor through the taxes and things like that? >> i think the general argument was -- who is the senator from massachusetts? elizabeth warren said at some point in some campaign when she was talking about businesses earning a profit, getting wealthy, a liberal would say the same thing. she said you did not make that. you did not earn that. what she meant, i think -- i do not know anything about politics -- i am strictly a philosopher.
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and i have not gone past the 18th century and i am not going to. but what she meant was, the business would not have been able to operate in the big market without public roads, public utilities. and the same with individual wealth. want then would thatto-do to humbly admit i did not make the money -- i had privileges -- if you are privileged, which i i am not so i don't know anything about this -- but if you have advantages when you , meet people who did not have those or a semi-stable family or a sane or a functional family and did not go to good schools and get good
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opportunities to work or went to on, all of that was kind of assumed. then you meet people who did not have any of that. said even ours national endowments -- if you are smart or artistic, musical he would say, that is by chance. nobody asked for that. did anybody ask you to be born? did anybody ask you if you wanted to be born in wisconsin? nobody asked me if i wanted to be born in wisconsin. it's cold there. i want to be born in virginia. did anybody ask? no. nobody asked you. where you wanted to be born, how tall you were, what school you went to. it just happens. realizing that we are all the same.
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to answer your question i do not , entirely deserve what i got, my wealth. grace, undeserved, privilege, whatever you want to call it. so i am not as resentful of giving some to those in need. i think that is the basic answer. other questions? did you have a question? >> you can find people who have an abundance of wealth who are envious of others. he says the lowest of the population will not be if there is the right social program. and youman, natural, cannot legislate it away. >> so you are stating that he is probably naive about that? >> yes. >> he is naive about the human depravity, as john calvin put it. the human depravity of sin, and
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envy. even if you are a multibillionaire. you meet somebody who has 200 billion and you are envious. as someone said, evil is in the human heart. you could have everything and you will still be spiteful toward somebody for what they have, how they look, the way they talk, they have taste than you do. how dare they. that is a common critique of rawls who grew up in a privileged family in baltimore and went to princeton and harvard and was an episcopal priest. that might explain something. but according to that, what you just said, all of the social engineering in the world would not get rid of envy, despite,
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and social conflict. is that what you are saying? >> they're trying to change human nature. >> change human nature? [laughter] good luck. that is a common critique of rawls. i think he would say, and many others would say give it a shot. , appeal to people -- we used to do this more. appeal to people's better nature, higher angels. when somebody said you have what i don't and i hate you. you or somebody would say, in my case, my mother would say, gary, do not be greedy. i still was, but i did not say it. do not be envious. do not be covetous. thou shalt not covet the neighbor's house, wife, or donkey. or mercedes-benz.
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he may miss the moral teaching that says you have this source of antisocial tendencies where you hate other people. that is wrong. we are not supposed to hate other people. you are not supposed to hate anybody. you are supposed to love other people and understand them. expressions of envy, hatred, if you had he thinks all these chances, you would not have -- [laughter] i am sorry, it is the allergies. you would not have those thoughts. you are suggesting a more traditional view that we studied before with aristotle and st. thomas aquinas, that it has to be an internal transformation, not external. it has to be an internal transformation, a more emotional, spiritual -- you could be the lowest of the low and you would not in the -- not
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envy anybody. saints that don't have resentment. how do they do that? another question? >> do you think rawls would measure the success of our social programs by how many people come off of them or how many people we put on them? >> it would depend on the line. race is primarily up to when you are an adult. the other thing is he would define success as if people had been given a chance, except the ones who are really disabled and literally cannot work. people were given preparation defined by having fewer and fewer on public assistance, except for the very needy and the disabled. it would not be like socialism. the more people you have on public welfare, the more successful the system.
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any other questions? thank you. that wraps it up. remember, we will have a review on thursday for the final exam next tuesday. bring your questions for the final exam. [shuffling] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] guest[captions copyright nationl cable satellite corp. 2018] today, the 1919 film, "the lost battalion," about the lead up to world war i and the army men from new york who ran out of water and food after they were surrounded by german forces for seven days in october. historyp.m., women's was a visit to civil war-related sites in alexandria, virginia, where women worked as nurses and
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aided communities of newly freed slaves. then, a look at how first ladies have influenced their times through fashion. this weekend on c-span three. >> american history tv is marking the centennial of world programsh a variety of about u.s. involvement in the grand war. duffus discusses his book, "into the burning sea." in the talk, he uses images and animations to describe the after a germanue submarine torpedoed a british fuel tanker off the north carolina coast. this 40-minute event part of a daylong symposium at the graveyard of the atlantic museum, marking the 100th


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