ESSAY BY LP🌐 PART 1 OF 3: In this Essay I will present the arguments found in both of these books, G.A. Cohen's "Why Not Socialism?" (referred to as just "WN Socialism" from now on) and the response by Jason Brennan in his book "Why Not Capitalism?" (referred to as "WN Capitalism" from now on). This essay will put the framework of the debate in context, the second will explain the arguments found in WN Socialism, the final part will be devoted entirely to the arguments found in WN Capitalism and the clash between the two books.
Cohen starts with an explanation of how we should do political philosophy (an explanation which Brennan agrees to); Cohen states that political philosophy, in so far as it creates theories of Justice and what a just society should be, should be done without regard for human moral failing. Cohen thinks we shouldn't "settle" for theories which assume that humans are bad and evil, because those reallt don't explain justice. We can then infer that there are 3 kinds of Justice:
1) Practical Justice [Human moral failing, and real-world constraints]
2) Heavenly Justice [No human moral failing, and no real-world constraints] and
3) Utopian Justice [No human moral failing, but with real world constraints]
We want to talk about Utopian Justice because if we talk about Heavenly Justice we ignore that it's impossible for us to create, and if we only talk about Practical Justice we, in a sense, do apologetics for evil. Imagine for a second if the desire to kill was as common as the proponents of Practical Justice think Greed and Selfish motivation are, then our theory of Justice, if we are to ignore utopia, would literally involve murder on a mass scale. Is that Justice? You probably don't think so. So why accept greed and selfish desire as part of what we must incoroporate into our theory of Justice?
WN Socialism argues that Socialism is Utopia, whether or not it is good in practice, it is good in theory. This is an intuition that nearly everyone already has, "If only we were better people we would be socialists." Cohen merely seeks to explain it. (Explantion found in Pt.2)