borrowed thought

I came across this quote while trying to find information on a writer that Krugman mentioned in a blog post at the New York Times, and I liked it.

[Imagine] “no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.”

For once blissful ignorance has merit! Anyways, I rarely read about political philosophy, but this guy makes sense. His premise is that to chose a system of justice, one just needs to imagine the above for oneself and realize that anyone can be fortunate or unfortunate. In this “veil of ignorance,” why would I chose a system biased towards one or the other. Remove all parameters of bias and filters and one is more likely to see more clearly than otherwise. If I were a billionaire, why would I chose anything other than libertarianism? It suits my interests perfectly. But in this veil of ignorance, not knowing I am a billionaire, choosing libertarian views could leave me on the short end easily. There is no “right” to anything. But as humans, we differentiate ourselves because we can think and can impassion ourselves for others.

a game of chance, or is it?

Have a great day.


ps. Oh, I almost forgot the writer’s name. It’s from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. The quote is from


~ by r. mulligan on 2011/02/04.

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