What is a Liberal Society?

High School ・Philosophy ・APA ・4 Sources

Rawls claims that regardless of the population, people will never do all the things they desire in life (Rawls). However, it defines a liberal society as one in which all people enter one another to advance the idea of doing good and embracing the consequences. Liberal democracy is based on two fundamental concepts. The first is that any citizen has the same right to the most robust system of fundamental freedoms. Fundamental rights should be consistent with the system of equality given to other citizens. The second one is that the inequalities in society that come from social and economic settings should be arranged to ensure that they are both attached to positions and offices open to all and that they are reasonably advantageous to everyone. The two principles apply to the basic structure of society to regulate the assignment of rights and duties.  Rawls explains that ignorance can affect the provisions in a liberal society because individuals do not know the alternatives they have in their case (Rawls 100).

Nozick identifies a liberal society as either ultra-minimal or minimal (Nozick 58). In a minimal state, there is a classical liberal theory that protects the citizens from all fraud, violence and ensures that there is enforcement of contracts and other agreements. It is based on a redistributive system. However, he is more inclined to the distributive system on which a minimal state is based. He says that societies that are extensive often defy the rights of individuals. Some people are required to work overtime to meet the needs of others.

Injustices in a Liberal Society

Iris identifies five main ways that injustice still prevails in a liberal society. The first face of oppression is exploitation (Young 40). The society is grouped into class distinctions, and they are the ones that control privilege, superiority, and inferiority. The exploitation is mainly seen in the sphere of work, where the individuals from lower class work so hard yet get the least benefits. The rules that define work, compensation and the relations of power and inequality tend to favor the individuals in the high class.

Marginalization is another form of oppression especially in the labor sector (Young 55). Some people are discriminated against based on their gender and race. In the US, the minority groups are subjected to discrimination whereas the Whites are considered for the best jobs. When the marginalized groups get a chance for a job, they are harassed in their places of work.  Powerlessness is another form of oppression that relates to exploitation. The rich people in society tend to have more power over those who are poor. The helplessness comes up because workplaces are not organized democratically and therefore, the rules that govern the people are forced. The public policies and decisions are not considered.

Cultural imperialism is another form of oppression as identified by Iris (Young 63). Cultural imperialism means that the dominant meanings of society end up making personal perspectives of other people invisible and stereotyping the individuals who consider it as a part of their life. When the culture of a particular group is made dominant and universal, it affects the cultural beliefs of other groups. Violence is another common form of oppression. Some individuals spend their lives in fear of random and unprovoked attacks on their persons or property. The violence often aims at humiliating and destroying the people. People are discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation or even ethnic group.

Mill also agrees that there are some forms of oppression in the liberal society. The subjection of women is his primary concern (Mill 18). He argues that all cultures have described the place of the woman as being subject to the man. She is seen to be subjective to man, and it seems as though all women are born to a particular place in society where they ought not to come from. The cultural beliefs have spilled over to the current generation where the woman is seen as being capable of being a mother and a wife. Women have only begun being involved in public offices recently, and this kind of subjection is oppressing.

A Reflection on the Injustices

The injustices that are pointed out by both Mill and Iris are correct and embedded in the society. Although the situation of the liberal society has been improving gradually over the years, the injustices are still felt especially in the community. For instances, some of the places are marginalized, and the people living there do not have access to essential services like healthcare, education, and employment. On the other hand, some places are well endowed with the best schools, excellent medical facilities, and employment opportunities. It becomes the root of marginalization, exploitation, cultural imperialism, violence and powerlessness. The injustices are related to each other, and the occurrence of either of them gives an opportunity for the other to prevail.

The only way to create a liberal society is by gradually fighting all the forms of oppression. Individuals ought to understand that the culture and the norms of society are developed over time. Therefore, people should vote in leaders who support liberalism and those who put in specific strategies to ensure that freedom is achieved.

Works Cited

Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. Piccata Way: Transaction Publishers, 1869. Print.

Nozick, Robert. "Moral Constraints and the State." Nozick, Robert. Anarchy State and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1977. 27-164. Print.

Rawls, John. "The Original Position." Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2009. 56-102. Print.

Young, Iris. "Five Faces of Oppression." Young, Iris. Geographic Thought: A Praxis Perspective. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. 40-65. Print.


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