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I may have mischaracterized Rawls, but I remain very leery of an excessive reliance on reason or reasonableness, especially as a guide to radical changes in social organization. To me much of the problem with Obama could be said to be due to him employing a Rawlsian approach.

Again from Nonpartisan's diary:

Looking at the second case, (feeling that one should not have to work with certain kinds of people), we can quickly see that populism is not permitted in the Rawlsian world.  "Throw the bums out," as Ross Perot put it, is a distinctly un-Rawlsian sentiment.  You can't throw the bums out, because the bums want to be there and are willing to work with you.  The only way to get rid of political figures you don't like -- not just to remove them from office, but to prevent them from exercising substantive political influence -- is to wait for them to retire.  Rawls' overlapping consensus is so welcoming, so all-encompassing, that it denies the voting public the right to choose who influences their government.  This is particularly problematic when it comes to powerful corporations and special interests.  Corporate fat cats always want influence and are willing to work with anyone in power, so they can't be removed from a Rawlsian government, even though they usually don't represent the best interests of the people.  Sure, you can vote the party in power out of office, but the corporations will just cosy up to the new party in power, and nothing will change.  There's something profoundly undemocratic about a system where the people have to play Whack-A-Mole with nefarious characters who refuse to stay out of power no matter how many times they're sent packing.

This becomes particularly serious when the people you don't feel you should have to work with are the very ones that have massively disproportionate influence -- as at present with the banksters.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 06:31:44 PM EST
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