Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as tastiness is of batches of cookies

rawlscookie2Pictured: Rawls formulates his second principle of justice as fairness

John Rawls was basically the Cookie Monster:

Jack also had a taste for oatmeal cookies served with tea. Recently, I spent part of an afternoon with him as his wife went out to play tennis. She left a large cookie for him. As I got up to leave, he asked me to go look through the kitchen cabinets for a bag of oatmeal cookies, which he asked me to leave with him as I left. I guiltily complied. The next afternoon, he asked me if I wanted more than the two cookies I had eaten. I told him that, as good as they were, I had better not eat any more. He then announced definitively to his wife, “Mardy, Sam wants another cookie, and I think I’ll have another one, too.”

From Samuel Freeman, “John Rawls: Friend and Teacher”, reprinted in Appendix B of Justice and the Social Contract: Essays on Rawlsian Political Philosophy

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