Yglesias

Rawls’ Influence

CREDIT:

Marc Ambinder, pondering the significance (if any) of Russel Kirk, remarks of John Rawls that “Liberals might not know much about him, but his writing and thinking underpin the modern Democratic Party theory of redistributive rights and expansive government.” This is obviously a complicated issue, and I’m about to give it short shrift, but it’s worth noting that the timing is wrong for Rawls to be politically influential.

A Theory of Justice is published in 1971, after the key elements of the Great Society and the War on Poverty were already in place. The main progressive policy accomplishments of the post-TOJ era have tended to be remote from the concerns about the distribution of wealth and income that Marc is alluding to here.