Who Wrote This?

“For a generation or more [from the 1960s], the dominant model of human behaviour on Left and Right was highly individualistic. This was true in the liberation of private life and in intellectual debate. The Left was captivated by the elegance and power of Professor John Rawls’s Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press, 1971). His manifesto for an egalitarian society is a brilliant exposition of the argument that an equal society is in the interests of anyone who does not know which position in that society they would occupy. But it is derived from a highly individualistic view of the world.”

I don’t think Googling will help here, but perhaps some of you have better Googling skills than I.

0 thoughts on “Who Wrote This?”

  1. Matthew is right. If you download the PDF Rob found (or just read it), she does give the source. It’s in a footnote, and the paragraph which that’s a footnote is remarkable:

    In Etzioni’s The Moral Dimension the critique of excessive individualism was aimed both at the libertarian theorist Nozick, who would seek to end welfare in the name of liberty, and at the radical liberal John Rawls, who sought a liberal theory of justice in order to promote redistributive justice and civil rights.18 The arguments for ‘no new rights’, ‘no rights without responsibilities’, are arguments that have been deployed successfully against the left’s previous commitment to redistributive justice and to civil rights. These arguments have been used to reconstruct centre-left policies in the US and UK. Exhortations to return to family values and to rebuild communities have played an increasingly important role in the speeches of the Labour leadership in Britain because they address two obvious realities – increasing poverty among young -families and increasing social disintegration among poor communities – without requiring the restoration of social justice through redistributive policies, or the restoration of a justice system in which prison is a last resort rather than a first.

    Prescient, I call that. Hint: CB’s quote is not Etzioni.

  2. (Yes, yes: I know that she gives the source. I made the comment above because I thought Rob might not have noticed that she was quoting someone else, not because I thought she was plagiarising anybody.)

  3. Oh, there’s no point having a go, is there? It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. (I know you’re *supposed* to shoot fish in barrels, but even so.)

  4. I meant that you’re supposed to shoot fish in barrels when commenting on blogs. I wasn’t suggesting it was a general moral imperative. Poor fish.

  5. Is it that obvious? Maybe.

    (I like being asked to think about TofJ as some kind of “manifesto”, as well as thinking of the book as some kind of consequence of 1960s individualism.)

    Anyway, these days it’s the Barrells that shoot the helpless targets.

  6. Maybe we should reverse the causation, then, and argue that “Justice as Fairness” was the prime mover behind everything we habitually associate with 1960s popular culture?

  7. hi
    i neva knew u cud shoot fish in a barrel. That’s animal cruelty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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