John Rawls was born in the United States in 1921. He was one of five brothers. Two of this brothers expired after contracting fatal maladies from which. This presumably left him wracked with guilty and self-recrimination.
Rawls’s father was a stellar lawyer and one of the foremost citizens of Baltimore. Rawls grew up in an affluent and erudite home.
Rawls attended a boarding school in Connecticut. Thereafter he matriculated to Princeton. He graduated cum laude. Rawls then enlisted in the US Army. He served as a private despite his intellecutal attainments.
He was in Japan just after the end of the Second World War. He became dispirited seeing the repercussions of the Hiroshima bomb. He was raised to sergeant. He was ordered to punish a subordinate but opted not to do so for reasons of conscience. Therefore he was reduced to the ranks for insubordination.
Rawls returned to civilian life in 1946. He did further study in the USA. Later he won a Fulbright scholarship.
Rawls studed at Christ Church, Oxford which is the noblest college in Oxford University. There he sat at the feet of intellectual giants such as Isaiah Berlin and H L A Hart. Rawls was an Oxford don briefly before returning to the States. He became a professor at Cornell.
Rawls was scintillated by politics, history and law.
His most renowned ouevre is A Theory of Justice. He drew on his experience in defeated Japan. The USA seemed to treat Japan as though it were tabula rasa. They imagined away all its history and experiences. They attempted to graft an American system onto a radically different culture. This met with mixed success. He was a xenophile.
Rawls said to seek justice one must imagine away all distinctions. Imagine yourself without gender, race, phenotupe, social class etc… and then design a system that is fair for all.
He lambasted societies that privileged one religious denomination over another. He was a Christian and had toyed with the notion of becoming an Episcoplian priest.
He noted that many felt that freedom and equality competed and even collided. He believed that one could manage a melange of the twain.
Rawls became world famous for his lucid and persuasive tomes. He was honoured by President CLinton. Despite this he was very much an introvert.