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Daniel Pierro 1) The aspiration of neutrality is the desire, coming from the liberal school, to achieve a system based

on a sort of fairness, in which the government remains neutral on what constitutes the idea of the good life. This liberal system is more concerned with toleration, fair procedures, and respect for individual rights. Democracys discontent resulted from this. 2) Firstly, Rawls notion of the original position under the veil of ignorance is inherently an idea stemming from liberal neutrality. Under the veil, people form a social contract without having an understanding of their conception of the good life. Its neutral with respect to peoples preferences and abilities, and the contract of justice must reflect this. The second principle of justice is liberally neutral in that it expects that inequalities, such as financial, benefit the least well off. So a person who makes more money is obligated to give some of that money to someone else less well off even if that individual is not a part of the same community or identity of the more well off person. 3) According to the unencumbered notion of self, we are self-originating sources of valid claims. Put another way, we come before, (prior), to our ends, and so our moral system is separate from our notion of self. The values/morals I possess are different and distinct from my identity or who I am. The idea of the unencumbered self is inherent to the veil of ignorance. One must not have a conception of himself (such as the community to which he belongs, the religion of which he is a follower, or the goals or ends he wishes to pursue.) In doing so, agents, under the veil of ignorance, neutralize their conceptions of justice. 4) In the Rawlsian liberal tradition, we get these ties to communities by either contractual consents of some sort, or by natural duties. In church, where people may donate a lot of money to help out other members of their religious community, the liberal conception would require them to look beyond the linking factor of having the same religion. The conception of the religious self, which informs the morale of an agent, would have to be forgotten under Rawls veil of ignorance because people of certain religious groups would be particular to advancing the cause/ends of their specific community. In the Rawlsian tradition, people must abstract from the communities to which they belong in order to conceive of justice; this is a stumbling block for creating solidarity between people, since community is a central component to establishing this bond between people. 5) Sandel argues that Rawls would support Douglas argument because Douglas argument urges the national government to be neutral with respect to slavery. This was because some states supported it while others did not. Douglas argument is neutral in terms of religious and philosophical arguments that could have been made. It was Lincoln who introduced morality, based on religious grounds, in the debate; thus, his argument was not neutral like liberal theory would require. The question then becomes whether or not it is okay to bracket moral controversies in order to achieve political accordance. Lincolns perspective opposes the idea of bracketing

based on territories, while Douglas thinks he should bracket in such a way that territories can decide the issue of slavery. I agree with bracketing at the national level controversial political issues, such as slavery and abortion, and do not see a problem with using some type moral argument. Even though it seems like cherry-picking, I cannot conceive of another way to be against abortion (or other issues like this) without having a religious obligation to be against it. This argument is very unclear, and I do not understand it. 6) Sandel argues that this would only be possible if we could see ourselves as individuals, abstracted from religious, familial, social and communal ties. We must be able to look at ourselves independent of our goals, ends and attachments, but this isnt really possible. Someones ideas regarding abortion rights might stem from their connection to their religious community; but in the liberal tradition, we would not be able to argue on religious grounds. This is problematic because it abstracts from religious and other communities, creating a moral vacuum. There is more spacious area for public reason in which we can discuss and deliberate these issues than the liberal tradition would allow. 7) We are a political community of many ideas and competing factions, thus we should debate and solve this issue like we do with any other problem that occurs. I think if we engage in these debates, we bring a new understanding to other communities about these issues. Although this takes time, through experience and trying to form a better understanding of new problems allows for a revaluation of moral and religious perspectives. Various republican politicians came out in support of gay marriage over the past week by doing just this. Whether it stems from having a gay son or gay friends, the change occurred by forming a better understanding through debate. Its more important to allow communities to adapt new ideas to their values.