If You Want To Fix Society, Imagine Life As A Fetus

If You Want To Fix Society, Imagine Life As A Fetus

John Rawls' Original Position is one of the most valuable thought experiments in political philosophy, it's simple, yet effective, and that's the beauty of it.


I remember sitting in my Critical Thinking class back when I was a freshman in college and absorbing every detail that I learned. That class was amazing to me because it opened my eyes to ethics, epistemology, and expanded my horizons on political thought as well. I don't remember much details about who all we read about and what books we covered, but I remember John Rawls.

John Rawls was a political philosopher in the 20th century who designed a thought experiment to conclusively determine what policy to draft and what kinds of laws would be fair and just. He published this idea in 1971 in his book "A Theory of Justice." The premise of the experiment was this: imagine that you are an unborn fetus, but you know everything you do now, except what class you will be born into, what race you will be, what gender or sex you may be, etc. Your identity is hidden from you, essentially. You then must imagine what conditions in society would be the fairest because you do not know what you will be born into, and you would want to ensure that you would be born into a good life. This was called the "Original Position."

The logic behind this is that without knowledge of one's placement in society, they would have an objective position to examine legislation, policy, and morality. Everyone is a "citizen," not a female citizen, or a black citizen, but simply a citizen. Everyone is on equal ground in the experiment and has no potential identity ties to bolster, and because everyone is essentially in one group, consensus and good policy can spring forth from the thought experiment.

Take this situation, for example, "What conditions would be just in society to ensure that marginalized citizens have an equal opportunity to citizens who are better off?" You might come to the conclusion of providing government services to the marginalized groups to ensure that they are protected, or you may think that more investment should be made into the human capital of all citizens so that everyone has a firm basis and equal investment opportunity. Both of these positions are valid, and they are logical and constructive because we are looking at the issue from a reflexive position, stepping back from our person and analyzing as a metaphysical outsider.

Not only does the original position allow for civil dialogue and constructive discourse, but it may also generate empathy for others as one can imagine how they would feel in another place. It also provides a common baseline to establish a society from because the original position almost always guarantees civil liberties, equal rights, and democracy as constants in the ideal society.

However, the original position is not without its problems. It does not take into account different objective ways of thinking about solutions. Take the situation I mentioned above. Disagreement can be found in it because some may say that government policies may intrude upon the rights of citizens outside the marginalized group, while others may purport that because the interest and need of the marginalized groups are greater, the dominant groups can afford to be intruded upon.

This is mainly an economic issue, too. Some may prefer more collective control to solve problems while others look for more market solutions or any other method of control. These ideas are not tied to one's ethnic, sexual, or social identity and may still be incorporated into the original position logically. Although the original position is designed for everyone to arrive at similar conclusions, it may not always be the case on every issue.

However, the benefits of the original position outweigh the deficits of it. No society is perfect, and we may have our disagreements about how to solve problems, but the original position can give us insight into an objective viewpoint of society and give us all a common baseline to development societal norms and policy from. Also, because of our ignorance of societal position, we may be more sympathetic and open to other ideas that may be presented. The original position increases mutual understanding and cooperation and is a wondrous thought experiment to partake in. It is beautifully simple, and it is an important step in the democratic journey that we should bring attention to again. John Rawls' work was dynamic and completely changed the face of political thought in his time, and his ideas will stand the test of time because of their objectivity and simplicity.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.


I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.


Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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