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Political Liberalism Pros and Cons Expository Essay

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Updated: Apr 11th, 2022

Liberalism is a social or political philosophy that promotes and advocates the freedom of an individual. In his work, John Rawls, a famous philosopher, presents justice as equality among individuals. Rawls insists that the right is above over the good.

However, even if the right has higher priority, it does not exactly mean that the good should always be ignored. Rawls developed a concept that citizens need some basic rights, such as income wealth and liberties. According to Rawls, some of the good things are exceptions as the society remains neutral and retains the values of justice.

Tolerance and mutual trust are among the measures that retain harmony among the citizens. However, in his study, John Rawls states that good and right are complementary as they both rely on each other in some way.


Sometimes, political concepts that are adapted may not be in line with a culture that certain societies practice. Here, political liberalism fails to incorporate religious beliefs that the members of a society may hold.

Liberalism suffers another drawback as it is hard to have a just society of free and equal citizens, profoundly divided by reasonable religious, philosophical and moral doctrines (Rawls 15).

Also, liberalism relies on an abstract conception of the person and uses individualist criteria, not the social ones (Rawls 15).


According to Rawls, one of the major strengths is that a political conception of justice will generate its own support under favorable circumstances, and the institution, to which it leads, will be self-enforcing. In such a case, a stable social cooperation rests on the fact that most citizens accept the political order as legitimate (Davion and Wolf 8).

In such circumstances, they can freely and willingly support a liberal democratic regime governed by a public conception of justice and fairness (Davion and Wolf 8).

Rawls states that political culture of a democratic society that has been working reasonably well during a considerable period normally contains, at least implicitly, certain fundamental intuitive ideas from which it is possible to work out a political conception of justice suitable for a constitutional regime (Davion and Wolf 5).

According to Armbrüster, liberalism is concerned with securing a fair distribution of freedom. It endorses redistribution of wealth and, as an institutional system, secures the freedom to live a life which individuals should value (Armbrüster 6).

Liberalism signifies confidence in the ability of a government to provide the means not only for procedural justice but also for wealth distribution to secure (Armbrüster 7).


Critics of political liberalism have represented the changes in Rawls’ view as a kind of a philosophical loss (Davion and Wolf 10). Others have charged Rawls’ work on a kind of “justfactory schizophrenia” because various citizens justifiably accept a liberal conception of justice for quite different reasons thus they are expected to apply for different normative standards in their personal and public lives (Davion and Wolf 8).

Work Cited

Armbrüster, Thomas. Management and Organization in Germany. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2005. Print.

Davion, Victoria, and Clark Wolf. The Idea of a Political Liberalism: Essays on Rawls. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000. Print.

Rawls, John. Political Liberalism. United States: Columbia University Press, 2005. Print.

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