John Rawls Attempt to Resolve the Democratic Paradox

The ineradicable tension between between equality as an element of democracy and liberty as a value of liberalism is known as democratic paradox, which John Rawls sought to resolve through his theory of justice as fairness. According to John Rawls if the principles of justice derived under conditions of fairness inform various institutions of liberal democracy then the judgments of such institutions would be agreeable to all. In order to derive his principles of justice, Rawls postulates deliberative model of democracy. Rawls envisages that through rational deliberation among citizens in original position adjusted by reflexive equilibrium under veil of ignorance, an overlapping consensus may be developed. Such an overlapping consensus around the principles of justice would be accepted by all due to fairness of conditions under which it has been reached. Consequently, verdict of democratic institutions governed by the principles of justice would not be rejected in totality by different stakeholders so as to endanger very institutions of liberal democracy.

Dr. Ayaz Ahmad, Associate Professor, Unitedworld School of Law (UWSL)

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