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  • 6/11/2013

Liberal Democracy (Justice and Happiness)

liberalism and limits of justice

This view is not indifferent towards the issue of justice, but has a particular interpretation of it. According to this view, justice is to provide certain conditions and social structures so that people could freely pursue their activities and own their product and income earned by relying on their talent and efforts. Results are of no consequence in this view; if the consequence of competitive and free social structure is accumulation of wealth at the hand of few and extreme poverty of the majority of people the justice has been served, because the result has been achieved due to free competition within law. This view is called commutative justice19. According to this view the state ought not interfere, confiscate people’s assets or pass limiting regulations under the pretext of poverty eradication or supporting the unemployed; because such interference negates freedom and violates justice.

John Rawls

Some liberalists consider as just the political-social structure and the system of rights and duties when it is conductive to the fair distribution of wealth, services and goods in the society. Contemporary political theoretician John Rawls is one of these political theoreticians and scholars. Such an interpretation of justice is called distributive justice 20. Some aspects of the view of social democrats resemble distributive justice.

Modern and contemporary western liberal theoreticians believe in the absence of negative or positive interference from government in the field of religion, spirituality and values. The guidance and happiness of people is their private domain and outside of the domain of state intervention.

In the view of modern and contemporary theoreticians providing security, safeguarding freedoms, providing condition for free economic activities and a desirable material life for citizens take priority.


Ahmad Niazi, graduate of Qom Seminary and Phd student of Al Mustafa international university

Source: political science journal, No. 3

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


Other links:

Classic Theories of Happiness (Aristotle and Farabi)

Farabi’s Viewpoint on Happiness

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