The Appeal of Justice (UPDATED)

A man who holds a powerful position is accused of abusing a hotel maid. Now, the maid’s credibility shot, the prosecutor reconsiders the charges.

A mother is found not guilty of the death of her daughter under suspicious circumstances.

A judge is accused of attacking a fellow judge of the same court. The accusation is reciprocated.

A recent parolee is suspected of causing the death of a woman whose car he stole. UPDATE: Man confesses to murder and says that he planned to kill people all the way to the White House–and then kill the President. Justice should not be too long delayed for this one.

What do all of these have in common? Simply put, all of these situations need justice to set them right. Yet, justice is insufficient to put things back they way things were. History cannot be erased, merely overwritten. Why then does justice hold such an appear for us? Because we understand that such wrongs (rapes, murders, assaults, etc) ought to be made as right as is possible–and that punishment for the wrongdoer is the only way to make things just.

If we no longer have a society where justice is sought then we no longer have a society.

Do we always get it right? No. But God, being the only one with perfect knowledge, will ensure that any who slip through the cracks are not without their rewards.

4 thoughts on “The Appeal of Justice (UPDATED)

  1. This begs the question – what is justice?

    If can’t be mere punishment, since some sense of proportion must apply (a $5 fine if convicted of murder would hardly suffice, would it?).

    Neither can it be compensation. In the case of the IMF head and the hotel maid, how do we know who speaks the truth and, whichever one of them is lying, how much is the reputation of the other worth? How does one compensate for it?

    And it can’t be restoration, either. You can’t restore the victims’ lives – either of the dead, or the accused – to what they were before.

    That doesn’t mean punishment, restoration, and compensation shouldn’t be elements of how we deal with evil. But we need to move away from a flawed Greco-Roman notion of justice as balance to a Judeo-Christian one in which it is an affirmation of righteousness and a rejection of evil (http://pnrmiscellany.blogspot.com/2011/06/reflections-on-justice.html).

    1. You are correct, sir. Justice is not balance, but balancing punishment, compensation and restoration perfectly is the ideal.

      Perhaps we need to answer the question “what is justice?” by first affirming or reaffirming the definitions of evil and good. For that, we need to move past the idea that truth is a temporary contract (post modern thinking).

      1. Truth must be objective and eternal or it is no truth. To think otherwise is to try to base the whole of our lives on today’s weather (or yesterday’s, or what we think tomorrow’s might be) – and the effort to do just this explains much of what is wrong with our courts today.

        We need to be willing to simply affirm that some things are evil and, from there, attempt to discern the best method of containing and limiting what is evil. It is Thomas Sowell’s “Tragic Vision” – the same vision that informed the men who drafted the U.S. Constitution; the same vision rejected by “progressives” the world over. Thus, paradoxically, the progressive Quest for Cosmic Justice (the title of one of Sowell’s books) becomes in practice the source of the most horrible and cataclysmic injustice.

        1. Unchanging truth is something which fewer and fewer seem to believe. Of course, that makes it no less true. 🙂

          I’ve not read the Sowell book you mention. Sounds like I need to add it to my shortlist. Thank you.

Comments are closed.