John Rawls and Robert Nozick both provide compelling and thought provoking theories regarding the values of liberty and equality. Rawls focuses on both liberty and equality while Nozick theorizes exclusively on liberty. The ideas of Rawls and Nozick have multiple strengths as well as weaknesses which allow for debate and comparison between the two theories.
John Rawls was more in agreement with the works of Locke and Rousseau; however, Rawls disagreed with the notion that the State of Nature was a historical situation as opposed to something hypothetical; Rawls instead believed an original position of equality which I agree with (917). Rawls believed humans to be free, rational, self-interested, and most importantly, equal. To maintain absolute equality among all people, Rawls believed in the idea of a veil of ignorance which would eliminate all persons’ knowledge of themselves, eliminating racism and sexism when creating rules (917). I agree with the idea that a veil of ignorance would have prevented multiple issues throughout history; however, the veil of ignorance serves only as an ideal and a way to evaluate documents (927). I agree with both the liberty and equality principles set forth by Rawls. Political liberties, including the right to hold office and vote, and civil liberties, including certain freedoms and rights, should be provided to all people. I also agree with equal opportunities for all and nondiscrimination based on irrelevant characteristics proposed in the equality principle (923). Rawls’ combination of a fluid class structure combined with the
cautious player strategy allows for a society where there is the opportunity for advancement on the social ladder, yet if someone were to f...
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...s and agreed on by Nozick is indisputable; people deserve the maximum amount of civil and political liberties. However, the weaknesses of both theories regarding the distribution of resources make them inconsistent with anything that could occur in a just society. Equal distribution and redistribution of wealth could have negative results to the social ladder and the motivation of people. While on the other hand, loss of taxation would leave the society with no source of revenue to allow for access, resulting in everything being switched to private property and services. Rawls’ theory seems more likely to produce positive results than Nozick’s theory because Rawls does not deny the idea of taxation, and the redistribution of wealth could still provide the government with the ability to tax each citizen equally and subsequently allow for public access and services.
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