Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal by David Conway (auth.)

By David Conway (auth.)

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Where they disagree with one another is over what considerations should govern the assignment of benefits and rewards to different offices and positions, as well as what should govern the methods to be used in appointing individuals to these offices. These matters are addressed by Rawls' second principle. As can be seen, this principle is itself composed of two separate ones. The first of these Rawls calls the principle of fair equality of opportunity, the second the difference principle. Rawls makes two claims in support of his conception of justice.

Thus, ceteris paribus, where questions of desert, entitlement, and the like do Modern Liberalism 43 not enter, it is only fair that all of us should have our needs equally considered and that we should, again ceteris paribus, all be able to do as we wish in a way compatible with others doing likewise. From the formal principle of justice and a few key facts about us, we can get to the claim that ceteris paribus, we should go for this much equality. But this is the core content of radical egalitarianism.

Suppose, for example, that a farmer's estate and assets are destroyed by a hurricane and his insurance company has gone bust? ' Again, one is dealing with an extreme case. Normally, it should be possible, by means of saving or taking out insurance, for individuals to secure themselves against circumstances in which they are unable to look after themselves through accident, sickness, and old age. If someone possesses the opportunity to provide for such circumstances but fails to do so, society can hardly be accused of having failed to enable him to do so.

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