A Fair And Just Society kiwiconnexion practical theology
What do you like about your country,
its culture and development? And what don’t you like?
Most of us, east or west, north or south, want to see our own culture and society
do better, be fairer. But it’s hard to make it happen.
In 1971 the philosopher John Rawls took as a starting point
that everyone in a society has to cooperate to preserve freedom
and have a basic system of fairness. Now, imagine you and some others
are asked to design a better society. Rawls said that if you are very well off
then your design will probably preserve your status and income
with only minor adjustments. If you are poor, however,
you will probably come up with a radical design that redistributes wealth and status
in a much different way, one which advantages you.
Now Rawls proposed to circumvent our natural bias
with what he termed the Original Position. It’s a simple, powerful concept.
Again, you and the group are asked to redesign a better society.
But this time, neither you nor the others know who you will
be and what you will be:
your status and economic position might be anywhere on the spectrum.
So you might be super-rich or you mig ht be a pauper.
You might be a refugee or a citizen. You might be a woman who has it all –
executive position, two children, supportive wealthy husband
or you might be 22 years old with no husband, a P addict with a child.
You might be handsome, you might be disabled,
you might be very bright, you might be a Downs Syndrome baby.
You might be an athlete or you might have spinal bifida.
The point is, in Rawls Original Position
you have to design the society without knowing where you will sit in that
society. In other words,
all our inbuilt bias, all our self-interest counts for nothing.
In the Original Position – I think I would call it the default setting
– our personal gain
can no longer at the expense of others but rather is in harmony with the gain of
all. Maybe this is also
the default mind of Christ in which we want to live, move and have our being as Christians?
I think so. What do you think? I’m David Bell for kiwiconnexion.nz and the
Practical Theology Channel. Thanks for watching