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Starting Over – Designing Society From Scratch

John Rawls had brilliant ideas about justice and fairness.  He said to pretend that you can design the rules for society, which you will be a part of, but you don’t know who you are.  You don’t know anything about your race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or any other defining characteristics. What rules will you implement to create a well-ordered society?

  •  What are our fundamental rights?
  • Will everyone be equal?
  • Will we have marriage?
  • Can you marry more than one person?
  • What will our governmental structure be?  How will we decide who’s in charge?
  • What services will the government provide?
  • If education is provided, for how many years can you attend school for “free?”
  • If you don’t use a government-provided service, like putting your kids in private school instead of public, do you have to pay for others to have the government service?
  • Will the government pay for health care?  What services will be included?  Can you opt-out and get private insurance?  Will we even have insurance?
  • How will we pay taxes?  Will it be a system where some people pay a higher percentage than others or will it be more like Fair Tax?
  • Will abortion be legal?  
  • Will we still have social security?  What about welfare? 
  • Will you have to get a license before you’re allowed to have children?
  • What behaviors constitute crimes?  How will criminals be punished?
  • What professions will make the most money?  Will we even have money?
  • What will it take to be considered famous?

I wonder how I’d feel about the world if I wasn’t me or if I didn’t have my upbringing.  I tend to think that the government should stay out of people’s lives and that people should save money on their taxes by paying for things themselves.  I think no matter who I am, having the ability to make choices in my life is critical.  What do you think?

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One Comment

  1. Addy says:

    Yes, choice is a good thing. I am all about choice! However, I become rather vexed when people start to characterize issues simply as choice in an effort to regulate them and impose their own views upon others. ‘Choice,’ regrettably, is often abused.

    I do not mean to sound like a horrible cynic. There are many people making great choices all the time! We also would never learn or make progress as a species without bad choices to learn from.