The Veil of Ignorance - the Evolution of a Sociopolitical Revolution
Many may recall the original concept of the social contract as a basis for an individual moral foundation created by those principles that were fair and impartial to all it affected. Philosopher John Rawls “calls his conception justice as fairness. His aim in designing the original position is to describe an agreement situation that is fair among all the parties to the hypothetical social contract. He assumes that if the parties to the social contract are fairly situated and take all relevant information into account, then the principles they would agree to be also fair.”
In the original intention, the agreement contained within the social contract would transfer to become mutual principles of agreement that focused on fairness. He (Rawls) proceeded to focus on mutual benefits, opportunities, equality and impartiality of those principles and processes. Remember this was about making the best choices based on the morality of the situation and the need to come up with an ethical and practical solution.
Looking at the different ways to define a fair agreement, one must include relevant facts into consideration that enter into an equal purpose or opportunity for people to benefit from while still benefiting from the fundamental principles of fairness and impartiality. It assumes that what transpires is a mutual agreement that take into consideration societal dynamics that are equal in values and draw or drive those values based on their racial and ethnic group, social class and occupations. Also included and determined to be a factor to remain fair was their wealth or income, their religious and moral beliefs etc.
Thus what we are looking at here are equal levels of social classes, wealth, customs and practices and the fact they are equal and free to engage in such agreements under their social and political systems. This would encompass their natural rights as well as their political jurisdiction to engage in such a beneficial contract. It would also establish the legitimacy according to their constitutional rights and political rights.
Today, we have witness what the biggest problem was with this type of arrangement. One can see how gender, wealth or lack of wealth and the absence of mutual respective religious and cultural beliefs can distort the agreement and deprive one or the other, or both, equal political and social rights to occupy social and political positions of authority or power.
This process of various inequities or having less parity in status, wealth or influence does nothing to impact the right or qualification who can vote but rather, who can hold office. The problem with this arrangement, of course, is that gender and lack of wealth are, like absence of religious belief, not good reasons for depriving people of their equal political rights or opportunities to occupy social and political positions.
These reasons are not morally relevant for deciding who qualifies to vote, hold office, and actively participate in governing and administering society. John Rawls suggests that for such reasons, a “social contract results in this unacceptable outcome is that it transpires (hypothetically) under unfair conditions of a state of nature.
He further writes, “where the parties have complete knowledge of their characteristics and situations—their gender, wealth, social class, talents and skills, religious convictions, etc. Socially powerful and wealthy parties then can rely on knowledge of their “threat advantage” to extract favorable terms from those in less favorable positions. Consequently the parties' judgments are biased by their knowledge of their circumstances and are insufficiently impartial.”
“The remedy for such biases of judgment is to redefine the initial situation. Rather than a state of nature Rawls situates the parties to his social contract so that they do not have access to factual knowledge that can distort their judgments and result in unfair principles.” (Rawls)
Rawls's original position is an initial situation wherein the parties are without information that enables them to tailor principles of justice favorable to their personal circumstances. Since that position is no longer honored or revered like it was before the evolution occurred, we are now engaged in class positioning, wealth status and other political advantages that gives certain people more power and leverage like never before.
No longer a battle of wits, intelligence or equality, conducted on a fair and impartial foundation but rather more on the principles of deprivation of impartialities and fairness in the process chosen. Herein, we can assume the parties involved have lost the moral connection and do not know their conceptions of the good or their will as the principles have been altered to serve a few rather than many.
This in itself created a veil of ignorance which deprives the parties of all knowledge of particular facts about themselves, about one another, and even about their society and its history. Hence the connection to society has been breached or broken and the mutual respect, obligations and needs have been severely fractured.
They know then more about the general tendencies of human behavior and psychological development, about biological evolution, and about how economic markets work, including neo-classical price theory of supply and demand. In the end, a sociopolitical coup de grace has occurred and all agreements based on fairness, impartiality and justice have been tossed out the systems and new rules are applied that benefit the few and ignore the needs or desires of the majority they were supposed to represent or take care of under their agreement to hold public office.
In all reality, there is no veil of darkness or ignorance as no one is ignorant of the facts as they stand or exist. In fact, they know more of all kinds of facts about the other parties, groups or persons and extort those to benefit their own agenda or relative interest in controlling the political process ignoring justice, fairness and impartialities. If a veil really does exist, it is indeed one of ignorance as the truth is hidden or kept in the dark rather than in the open or public spaces.
This struggle was created due to conflicts and gluttonous behaviors driven by greed and lust for more power, influence and control. Ultimately, those with the most money or wealth can rule any entity and impose any regulation they desire as they occupy the chair of authority and make the legislation for others to live or work by as a matter of regulations and laws.