Rawls and the New Whigs-can we move forward again?

It’s 20th of August 1991, and you think you have woken from a bad dream. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall two years ago, the ideological split that has sundered the world into nuclear camps has been fading. Yesterday the coup in the Soviet Union provided the coup de grace. As you stretch your legs to greet the new dawn you can look forward to a new world of peace and prosperity as borders are washed away. The End of History, as some deluded thinkers hailed it.

Fast forward to April 24th 2023. Who’s dreaming now? Suddenly the democratic nations are confronted by totalitarian and theological adversaries on all sides, nuclear-armed and grimly determined to eradicate all traces of free thought and liberty. In the background, existential crises like ecological destruction and hovering pandemics. The United States itself, whose Constitution was the ultimate homage to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, as almost lost to party division and the mental pollution of fake and partisan news. Should you despair?

We think not. We think there are still grounds for hope. Cautious optimism, even. And maybe there’s even someone out there who can help. His name is John Rawls. [1] And over the next few days we’re going to look, in one one of our little miniseries, about where things have gone wrong, and why and how they might be put right again. What a new grouping might look like. And this man Rawls will be our guide.

Spoiler alert: The Harvard Philosopher John Rawls (1921-2002) had no family or other connection to Lou Rawls (1933-2006) the popular musician and singer, at least to the best of our knowledge. We put this in at the request of several perplexed readers

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/14/labour-policies-philosophy-john-rawls-neoliberalism

#totalitarianism #communism #marxism #populism #liberal #dictator #enlightenment

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