Front Page Titles (by Subject) Individuals, Groups, and States - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Individuals, Groups, and States - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Individuals, Groups, and States
“Justice as Fairness: For Groups?” American Political Science Review 64 (1975): 607–614.
John Rawls's declared aim in A Theory of Justice is “to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract....” But what Rawls accomplishes has fateful consequences for the theory, leaving us with scant guidance on some of the most significant theoretical and practical problems of justice that we face.
The problems relate to groups distinguished by relatively fixed qualities such as race and language, or by a set of fundamental beliefs of comprehensive importance such as religion and nationalism.
No matter how well a theory of justice provides guidance for the treatment of individuals in a homogeneous society, it needs to be supplemented to make it respond more fully to the realities of the world. It is arbitrary to assume that justice is only for individuals, or only for individuals and states. To put it differently, it is arbitrary to assume that groups can and should gain status and rights only by becoming states. Groups in fact have status and rights at an intermediate level between the individual and the state, and it is imperative for a theory of justice to take this fact into account.
As an important alternative to Rawls's theory of the social contract, we can consider Robert Nisbet's A Quest for Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953). Nisbet reviews social contract theory in the works of Bodin, Hobbes, and Rousseau; three authors who attacked the feudal and hierarchical status society. In its place these authors produced the contract theory that juxtaposes the individual and the sovereign. These versions of social contract undermined the “intermediate authorities” of society and promoted centralized political power along with cultural and social leveling.