in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

The three most fundamental ideas that Rawls finds in the publicpolitical culture of a democratic society are that citizens arefree and equal, and that society should be afair system of cooperation. All liberal political conceptionsof justice will therefore be centered on interpretations of thesethree fundamental ideas.

.Neil Postman, (New York, 1993), 144-63, and .

.See discussions and citations in Cook,“What is Past is Prologue,” 23-26.

Rawls's doctrine of public reason can be summarized as follows:

All citizens are assumed to have fundamental interests in getting moreof these primary goods, and political institutions are to evaluate howwell citizens are doing according to what primary goods they have. Itis equalities and inequalities of these primary goods that, Rawlsclaims, are of the greatest political significance.

Rawls describes the fundamental interests of a people as follows:

Rawls's conception of society is defined by fairness: socialinstitutions are to be fair to all cooperating members of society,regardless of their race, gender, religion, class of origin, naturaltalents, reasonable conception of the good life, and so on.

.Eric Ketelaar, "Archival Theory andthe Dutch Manual,"  41 (Spring 1996), 36.

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.Eric Ketelaar, “The Difference BestPostponed?Cultures and ComparativeArchival Science,” 44 (Fall 1997): 142-48, reprinted inHorsman, Ketelaar, and Thomassen (eds.), 21-27.

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Political power is used legitimately in a liberal society when it isused in accordance with a political conception of justice. Yet thechallenge of stability remains: why will citizens willingly obey thelaw as specified by a liberal political conception? Legitimacy meansthat the law may permissibly be enforced; Rawls still needs to explainwhy citizens have reasons, from within their own points of view, toabide by such a law. If citizens do not believe they have suchreasons, social order may disintegrate.

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Rawls places his hopes for social stability on an overlappingconsensus. In an overlapping consensus, citizens all endorse acore set of laws for different reasons. In Rawlsian terms, eachcitizen supports a political conception of justice for reasonsinternal to her own comprehensive doctrine.

Each of the highlighted terms in this doctrine can be furtherelucidated as follows:

Risk is the potential of gaining or losing something of value

Rawls's conception of peoples within the law of peoples parallels hisconception of citizens within justice as fairness. Peoples seethemselves as free in the sense of being rightfully politicallyindependent; and as equal in regarding themselves as equally deservingof recognition and respect. Peoples are reasonable in that they willhonor fair terms of cooperation with other peoples, even at cost totheir own interests, given that other peoples will also honor thoseterms. Reasonable peoples are thus unwilling to try to impose theirpolitical or social ideals on other reasonable peoples. They satisfythe criterion of reciprocity with respect to one another.

Second Principle: Social and economic inequalitiesare to satisfy two conditions:

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Rawls holds that the need to impose a unified law on a diversecitizenry raises two fundamental challenges. The first is thechallenge of legitimacy: the legitimate use of coercivepolitical power. How can it be legitimate to coerce all citizens tofollow just one law, given that citizens will inevitably hold quitedifferent worldviews?

Rawls describes the main ideas motivating his law of peoples asfollows:

The purpose of this paper is two-fold

These abstract features must, Rawls says, be realized in certain kindsof institutions. He mentions several features that all societies thatare ordered by a liberal political conception will share: fairopportunities for all citizens (especially in education and training);a decent distribution of income and wealth; government as the employerof last resort; basic health care for all citizens; and publicfinancing of elections.