Updated -- 1 October 2004
Justice is fairness, proper conduct, the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right. It includes: uprightness, righteousness, honorableness, honesty, ethicality, morality, probity, principle, conscientiousness, scrupulousness, scruple(s), straightness, squareness, decency, goodness, correctness, virtue, sportsmanship, fair play, lawfulness, rightfulness, equality, equity, equitableness, legitimacy, impartiality, evenhandedness, neutrality, objectivity, law, right, indifference, disinterest, and dispassionateness. Justice is a good thing... supposedly.
Ultimately, justice is the belief that good overcomes evil. Without justice in some form -- via earthly machinations and/or heavenly interventions -- life seems pointless. Whatís the point if the bad guys win out in the end? Why bother with morals or ethics, if theyíre no more than a tool for the devious to use against you?
Justice believes in karma -- the sum of a personís actions in previous states of existence deciding oneís fate in future existences. The fact that said differences in existence may be in different incarnations, or they may be foreshortened into a single life, is not relevant. A presumption of justice is a presumption of the balance, the fairness of life.
When combined with Order and Law, Justice becomes the social contract between diverse individuals, allowing each to pursue their destiny, their self-selected happiness. Justice is the reason one even bothers with Order and Law. It is the prerequisite for any Order or Law which has moral or ethical validity. Law or Order which does not have as its primary goal, the establishment of justice, is tyranny -- the tyranny of an elite or a majority [See, for example, The Perils of Democracy and/or the State of the Union] -- any distinction between the two being meaningless.
(1/11/11) Sadly, today, justice "is mostly a matter of vengeance and retribution more than a matter of trying to set things right. Perhaps the best example of justice is from Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie of course). He basically says capital punishment should never be a matter of vindication. It should be for those instances where somebody does something horrifically wrong like the serial rape of children, etc. In those instances the individual is suffering from some sort of break and is unable to function as a member of society. There are two main possibilities for that individual in that case. Either they can be rehabilitated and "fixed" for lack of a better term - in which case they will be forced to live the remainder of their days haunted by the memory of their own attrocities. This is nothing short of cruelty (I have personally known one of these cases and it truly is cruelty for him to be forced to live when all he wants is an end to it). The other possibility is that the individual is incapable of rehabilitation and will never be able to function as a member of society. In these cases the individual cannot be allowed to be free due to the damage that they will inevitably do to all around them, which leaves two further possibilities in dealing with them. The first is the most common used today - put them in a cage for the rest of their lives at great cost to the taxpayer and in what amounts to the slow torment of their knowing that they will die in that cage alone and hated. The other option is of course to put them down. In both cases mercy is a sharp blade. Too many people scream for "justice" when what they really want is revenge. Often they go hand in hand, but if something is done for the purpose of seeking vengeance, then it is not quite the same as justice. I find that it is, in many regards, the actual intent that defines the difference. Trying to set things right as best as possible has a certain purity which is vastly different to the socio-political machine that is laughably refered to as the justice system." [Kaedryc Stephens, private communication]
The Nature of Law is the distinction between Order based on justice and that based on control. Any and all laws and established order that is intended to control, is anathema to justice. The alleged need for control derives from fear, pure and simple; and inevitably is designed to thwart someone's very personal and individualized pursuit of happiness. Justice, on the other hand, derives from a recognition of the connectedness of life and a resultant equality.
Common Law, as a system of justice, assumes that any and everyone should be allowed to do anything they choose, just so long as they do not infringe upon the equal rights of others. Common Law emphasizes Liberty, Sovereignty
Statutory Law, on the other hand, is a bastardization of the concept of justice, and seeks control at all costs, extreme inequalities, and power of one over another. Statutory law, as it has evolved over the past years, is the antithetical of the Declaration of Independence principles and irreconcilable with the Constitution for the United States of America.
Prior to, and at a vastly accelerated rate since 9-11-2001, Free Speech, Privacy, Due Process, Remedy and Recourse, Trial by Jury, the very nature of the Republic, and any sense of Restorative Justice have been compromised in extremis. In what one author referred to as Shredding the Magna Carta (another enormously important document of freedoms and rights), justice has been demeaned and placed on the endangered species list, as those in abject fear have chosen death, stasis, and a total intolerance of lifeís processes.
Given that as a point of departure, there are a couple of future possible scenarios. One is a continuation of the past decades, where men and women without the vaguest hint of moral justice wage war against equality and freedom. In this scenario, Anarchy and/or Revolution
Arrayed against any and all efforts to stop, divert, or reduce the war against equality and freedom, is Capitalism, the Corporate State, and their paid lackeys in the governments. On the side of the good guys, however, is knowledge, truth, wisdom, and the courage of convictions. Probably in that order. In other words, first do your homework, learn the art of Discrimination, develop the art of applying truth, and then (and only then) begin taking actions. Just as in jury nullification, the individual can stop the carnage derived from those whose middle name is treason. Each and every act one takes can be a response -- a responsibility -- to elicit change. Every dollar spent can be a vote. Every word spoken can be a recipe for a joyful, restorative justice.
It has been said that in Capitalism, man subjugates man -- while in Communism, itís the other way around. Perhaps what is needed instead is a Connectedism or Equalitism. Or better yet, simply a Justism!
Just keep in mind that being responsible is doing what others want you to do. But to be responsible for one's self may likely appear to be irresponsible to the external world. Civil law and spiritual law do not necessarily equate.
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved