By Gary Chartier
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Extra info for Radicalizing Rawls: Global Justice and the Foundations of International Law
But what Rawls says about the nature of a people serves at best to lay the groundwork for his later argument. Explaining what peoples are and why they might matter is not the same as showing that their interests ought to trump those of the particular persons who are their members. What Rawls says about freedom and equality at the domestic level provides some reason to embrace the view that persons are morally equal quite apart from their membership in particular societies (and Rawls might be seen as acknowledging this by choosing to respond to cosmopolitan challenges to his position).
A Law of Persons would, of course, yield some requirements that would be unlikely to attract the support of decent nonliberals (not to mention benevolent absolutisms and outlaw states), and indeed, if my proposals regarding its content were accepted, some liberal 36 ● Radicalizing Rawls societies would doubtless object as well. But this fact need not affect adherence to norms that aren’t in dispute. And the overall stability of support for a Law of Persons might be such that a measure of dissent from certain features of such a Law would not lead to significant upset.
19 There may be any number of pragmatic reasons not to disturb the existing global order when implementing a given theory of justice, but there seems to be no excuse for viewing that order in the way Rawls does when formulating his theory unless the equality of peoples is itself theoretically necessary. In fact, however, he offers the reader little reason to join him in treating the current equality of peoples in global society as morally significant or, more generally, in treating peoples as essentially equal.