What is Justice?
The powers that be, including, politicians, police, clergymen etc. would have us believe that Justice is found in our laws. We should all believe that a judge and jury are the perfect tool to illuminate what is fair in every situation. And because of that we should all obey the laws of society and leave the enforcing of those laws up to the court system. Well I have seen the lie in this philosophy too many times to accept it as truth.
Justice can be defined in many ways. The simplest is that it is the absence of injustice. This allows us to see the appropriateness of prevention. We should not have to wait for someone to abuse others before acting. Once a situation has become clear, act to prevent injustice.
Justice can also be said to have elements of fairness and restitution, responsibility for one’s actions and protection of the future. Fairness and restitution imply a balance should be struck between responsibility and damage. If someone has knowingly caused damage then it is clear that restitution should be sought in the form of goods or services, (not reprisals, as they help no one). But what if damage was caused unknowingly. Should the ignorant be held responsible for their own actions? Yes, should we ask the victim to pay for someone else’s lack of understanding? Only in the case of an outcome to an action that virtually no one could have predicted should we take some of the onus of restitution from the causal agent. It is up to every society to decide whether any restitution should be paid to the victim in these cases and by whom. Just remember, shit happens and people get hurt. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw.
As to prevention or protection of the future. There are so many tools available. Education, psychological help, imprisonment, etc. I tend to want to weigh each tool’s likelihood of success against the cost of it’s implementation and the cost of a future offence. If the probable price is higher than society wants to pay then either the criminal will have to contribute to the cost of his own re-education or he will be removed or killed. I do not hold the life of all people sacred. We all die and for some people, an early death is the best that they can do, both for themselves and for the society that they were living in.
What is Justice?