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And Justice For All...

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posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 07:24 AM
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While there are many contexts in which the word justice can be used, I wish to focus on two of them for this thread:

A. Legal justice — the administration of law according to prescribed and accepted principles
B. Ethical justice — the principle of fairness that like cases should be treated alike, and the principle that punishment should be proportionate to the offence
Condensed definitions from Dictionary.com

Now you could argue that A stems from B, or vice versa. But what's more important to consider is that there ought to be a cohesive connection between the two in a civilised society, which there currently is not!

Problems With Legal Justice


Have the various types of judicial systems that have existed throughout history ever been truly resistant to corruption? I ask, because it seems as though most current modern justice systems are highly corrupt. What makes me say such a thing?

Factor 1: The sheer number of laws that now exist. Unless you practice, work or have had to research law, it is very unlikely you are aware of the majority of laws that actually exist in the region you currently reside in. Which begs the the following question: if the vast majority of the population are not aware of the vast majority of laws that exist, why do these numerous laws exist in the first place?

Factor 2: The fact that enough money can buy justice. It is no secret that the more money you possess and the the more power you maintain, the greater your chance at being treated favourably by the justice system. Even if the evidence against you is irrefutable and in abundance, you can still pay off the judge or jury if you name the right price or know the right people.

If the justice system was really about safety, deterrent and fairness as we are led to believe, why are the above factors a reality within the system?

Problems With Ethical Justice


Throughout history, people have debated over the nature of justice and how it should best be administered. Some of the major problems that arise when discussing the topic are as follows:

Factor 1: Justice is an abstract noun. Without a concrete basis from which to discuss, we can only allow for interpretation. This is a common problem with concepts or ideas. Adjectives such as fair and righteous cannot be directly seen, felt or touched; only expressions of them can be experienced.

Factor 2: Who gets to decide the what and how? Bestowing the honour of judging others on an individual or group is problematic because there is no guarantee the party selected is/are just themselves. If he or she that administers justice is not just, how can a just outcome be assured?

If we cannot agree on the strict definition of other abstract nouns, what chance do we have to agree on the meaning of a word with such varying degrees of complexity as the word justice maintains?

Combined Factors


Factor 1: Are there absolutes in justice? No two justice systems are exactly the same, just as no two individual conceptions of justice are the same either. While they might have identical laws and regulations, the culture, social norms and societal principles which dictate the legal system of a certain region cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

Factor 2: When separated from justice... Is justice enforceable by jurisdiction? Can those separated from society be expected to conform to the rules and regulations of the justice system, or the moral constraints they are usually bound by?

The topic of justice is a convoluted one. While there is a clear distinction between legal justice and ethical justice, sometimes when analysing the one area, you really do need to consider the other one to fully understand appreciate the overall concept.

If you have managed to read this thread in its entirety, I thank you. I do not usually compile what feels like a lengthy thread and appreciate your time and effort for reading it in full. If you have any suggestions, want to mention anything I overlooked, or have some constructive criticism of my views above then please feel free to reply.

This thread was not planned in advance, and was more of a spur-of-the-moment attempt to translate my views on justice into a thread which I feel will be beneficial for those who manage to read it.



edit on 4/6/2016 by Dark Ghost because: changed title, fixed typos




posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 01:17 PM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

While I make no claims as to the nature of justice or what constitutes a “proper” society, it seems *your* account of “ethical justice” provides useful answers to these most interesting questions.
[my replies below are indexed to your idea of "ethical justice"]

Your questions appear to stem from the general observation that using “legal justice” as a tool for implementing “ethical justice” often does not succeed. What is the source of this failure?

“The sheer number of laws that now exist. if the vast majority of the population are not aware of the vast majority of laws that exist, why do these numerous laws exist in the first place?”

Whether a specific law meets your standard of “ethical justice” is not a function of how many other laws there might be, nor is it a function of the general prevalence of legal ignorance. If a law treats like cases alike and punishes in proportion to the offense, then it is ethically just regardless of how many other laws there are and regardless of what the majority knows (or believes) about them.

“The fact that enough money can buy justice. It is no secret that the more money you possess and the the more power you maintain, the greater your chance at being treated favourably by the justice system. Even if the evidence against you is irrefutable and in abundance, you can still pay off the judge or jury if you name the right price or know the right people.”

Using money to achieve unlike treatment of like cases or punishment that is not proportional to an offense is not buying justice, it is buying injustice. What you observe here is that personal advantage is often at odds with your account of ethical justice as fairness and proportionality.

“Justice is an abstract noun. Without a concrete basis from which to discuss, we can only allow for interpretation. This is a common problem with concepts or ideas. Adjectives such as fair and righteous cannot be directly seen, felt or touched; only expressions of them can be experienced.”

Perhaps justice is an abstract idea. But, that need not prevent us from understanding it clearly. Many other abstractions permit of clarity in understanding; numbers or principles of geometry, for example. Your description of ethical justice uses terms that seem quite clear; fairness (like cases being treated alike) and proportionality (of punishment to offense). While there might some room for further elaboration, the idea you present does not appear vague or ambiguous.

“Who gets to decide the what and how? Bestowing the honour of judging others on an individual or group is problematic because there is no guarantee the party selected is/are just themselves. If he or she that administers justice is not just, how can a just outcome be assured?”

This doesn’t seem to indicate a problem with justice itself but rather a difficulty in implementing justice; even though laws are just, people in public positions may be unjust. But, if we are able to recognize fairness and proportionality in a law, then we should be able to recognize these same qualities in a person as well. How, then, do unjust people acquire positions requiring the administration of justice? Perhaps due to a failure to adequately examine or interrogate prospective public officials prior to electing them (exacerbated by the rhetorical skills of those who seek such positions).
Politicians are little more than professional popularity contest winners (which is to say that their principal interest is personal advantage, which, as noted earlier, frequently does not tolerate fairness and proportionality). That politicians will act justly, therefore, may be an unreasonable expectation.

This is not to suggest that justice cannot be made manifest in a society, but it might require more appropriate vetting processes that those common today .

“Are there absolutes in justice? No two justice systems are exactly the same, just as no two individual conceptions of justice are the same either. While they might have identical laws and regulations, the culture, social norms and societal principles which dictate the legal system of a certain region cannot be duplicated elsewhere.”

The variation you identify appears to be one of means rather than ends. Fairness and proportionality remain the same even though the means of achieving them may differ from one place to another.

“When separated from justice... Is justice enforceable by jurisdiction? Can those separated from society be expected to conform to the rules and regulations of the justice system, or the moral constraints they are usually bound by?”

One would think that those who are separated from a society are neither subject to its jurisdiction nor able to detract from its just character. So, why would a society have any interest in the conformity of those who are separated from it?

BOP



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

Sorry, just had to post this. Money buying justice.




edit on 4-6-2016 by BELIEVERpriest because: fixed



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 07:50 PM
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"Justice is Blind", an old saying that presents the argument that Justice is an Archetype.



posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 07:01 AM
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a reply to: birdxofxprey

Thanks for your reply, it was rather illuminating.

Thank you for the encouraging words as well as highlighting things I managed to overlook. While I cannot expect every reply to be as elaborate as yours, it's heart-warming to see that somebody has decided to think so deeply and critically about the topic at hand.

a reply to: BELIEVERpriest

It's probably rather clear by now to members that have seen me over the years that I am a big Metallica fan. The original title of the thread was a little clumsy, so I decided to change it and this was one of my favourite titles that came to mind.

edit on 5/6/2016 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 10:36 AM
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originally posted by: Dark Ghost
a reply to: birdxofxprey
Thanks for your reply...


My pleasure - the topic is important, IMO, thanks for bringing it up for discussion.

Regarding your definition of ethical justice, were you intending to focus principally on its use in criminal justice?
[cases? punishments? offenses? etc.]

The reason I ask is that your initial appeal to justice as fairness has much broader applications; distribution of wealth, availability of basic necessities, reciprocal obligations between citizens and society, etc.

BOP




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