[T]o treat Rawls simply as a defender of Democratic Party liberalism and the welfare state—as he is widely regarded—is to misread him. Rawls’s critique of contemporary capitalism—and the condition of democratic practice within American capitalism—runs much deeper. As he made especially clear in his late writings, he did not think that welfare-state capitalism could realize his theory of justice. The architecture of welfare-state capitalism, Rawls felt, enthroned the disproportionate political power of the rich and militated against a shared sense among citizens that they are bound in a common enterprise, which operates in accordance with fair rules and respects the basic interests of all.The philosophical groundwork has been laid, what we're lacking are public intellectuals able to make the case the experiment is worth running, and progressive politicians to run the lab. I've argued before, and continue to firmly believe, we need to fix public education (kindergarten to university) before we can even have a proper public debate with a chance at yielding policies that promote justice. If we let Romney deliver us to Ryan and the Randians, who will do to public education what Bain Capital does to businesses -- extract the wealth, toss aside the withered husk left behind -- then the great majority of the next generation will be even more ignorant, therefore gullible, and incapable of understanding the problems that plague them, never mind articulate an opposition.
ᔥ Leiter Reports