Bringing Logic to Bear on Liberal Dogma

Michael M. Weinstein,“Bringing Logic to Bear on Liberal Dogma,” New York Times, December 1, 2002.


THE most influential political philosopher of his generation died last week. But Prof. John Rawls of Harvard, who was 82, was decidedly not a man of the current era. At least not in the United States. In Britain and Canada, where the nature of liberalism still fascinates, newspapers last week ran endless analyses of his legacy.

Starting in the 1950’s, Mr. Rawls set down principles for the postwar welfare state, providing intellectual spine to liberals seeking tough-minded defense of their instinct to take from the rich and give to the poor. Professor Rawls’s goal was to prove that the case for redistribution of wealth flowed from rational discourse, not sloppy moralizing or ideological froth.

New York Times