What is the basis of justice?
Justice is about how to balance the weighing scales so that all aspects of society see that there is a certain fairness is the application of laws and thereby in the use and distribution of resources for the common good. It judges conflicting interests to find a common optimal path that satisfies most that have an interest in a matter under consideration. It is about the direction of society’s policy through government actions. This means that justice is not about trying to attain equality per se or human rights per se but about providing equal opportunities for different people of different abilities to flourish to the best of their abilities. It is therefore about what people can expect in relation to their abilities. The best may have to contribute more to ensure the common good, that is the public good, in economic jargon; the weak will find a safety net to fall on and basic rights to minimal standard of living in all aspects of life. When justice is served well, there are no complaints from any sector because people feel they deserved what they got in relation to their efforts and inputs into society.
Justice is about giving every person what they are entitled to for the effort and contribution to society. This requires understanding the functional basis of society in terms of the economic and exchange structures that are set up and dealing with what are regarded as subvertive activities that destabilise the boat of society. Justice is therefore the philosophy of government itself.
Is there any nation society that one can consider to have the best justice tor all its citizens in terms of giving equal treatment of individuals and equal human rights? What does it even mean to give equal treatment and equal human rights say for the following classes of humans: youngsters versus working adults; low intelligent versus high intelligent people; young versus old people; girls versus boys; men versus women; privileged versus the unprivileged; handicapped versus the normal bodied; etc? It is meangless to talk of justice in terms of trying to attain equality.
What about giving the people human rights that might be considered dignified. Is there any agreement on what are fundamental human rights. Do we use the European Court of Human Rights as the basis of discussingfundamental human rights or some other concept of rights? Can any government yield human rights to citizens without first assessing the economic impact of those rights? Justice is what a newly elected government does in its various spheres of managing the State. All areas are inextricably linked: for example all measures on equality and human rights impact on the coherence and simultaneous improvement of society on all fronts, including on the ecomonic base upon which society stands. No government can ignore the repercussions of Bill of Rights or Human Rights Act or the Minimum Wage on the productive base of a country. If a man does a job better than a woman or vice versa the free market dictates that the better worker get the better wage. So equality between men and women is not justice on this matter. It is on others such as the right to vote, the right to maternity leave, etc. All impact on economics. This is why there is frequently conflict between the UK government and the European Court of Human Rights and many conservatives would like the UK to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the court. I support withdrawal on grounds that the Conventions are not arrived at democratically, and has the potential to do damage to the prosperity of the country. Some issues of human rights (not all) should be subject to the economic situation and the policy of the day rather than be determined from a Charter on Human Rights that brings the country down in global terms and causes poverty that harms the very human rights that the Charter prescribe. So this is not the basis for justice either.
Anytus of Talk Rational commented that ”Justice is human innate desire for revenge dressed up as reasonable. Most societies use it because not using it is worse”. To me that is micro-justice: justice is about the philosophical basis for government.
FITNESSISM VERSUS ALTRUISM
The entire organisation of society is based on an idea of justice but in ecological terms there are two competing theories upon which the appropriate system of justice in society can be based. The first theory is Darwinian survival of the fittest and forcing people into the market place where they have to fight for what they can get; the second is the altruism basis for justice in which the fitness aspect of evolutionary biology is overruled through the idea that men should all be treated equally deserving of all forms of human rights.
If you look at animal societies there are extremely altruistic ones such as bees and ants that can be described as perfect social animals and there on the other had the cat family which has next to no altruism in which the male cat can kill the cubs of the female in order to assert its superiority. Other species have evolved compromises between the Fitness and Altruism. These operate in human societies as fitness and altruism play themselves out through the voice of the people who elect or adopt leaders in society that then enact laws to govern the people by telling them what is right or wrong (morals) in relation to their personal views on the fitness verses the altruism basis for justice. Human societies have evolved in this manner, and none today are purely fitness based or purely altruistic although Buddhism aims for that utopian outlook. The altruism basis of justice is extreme symbiosis in which we live and let live among our fellow human beings. Conservatives tend to be more fitness based, socialists altruistically-based while the the liberal democratic vision of society is a fine-tuned compromise between the two.
Every activity is subject to the evaluatory and implementary processes of justice, even sex and eating. Sex displays the need of the body to attain its ejaculatory/orgasmic desire and reproductive satisfaction makes it an aspect of human behaviour that is regulated by society through the operation of justice of when and how it is appropriate that this activity should take place. Similary, eating addresses the need of the body to survive for another day so that what one feeds on and when are aspects of human behaviour that are totally regulated by society in relation to what is available and can be provided to the individual.
Cooperation to harvest natural resources is not strictly altruism; it arises from the calculated perceived need for convenience and commonsense in seeing that pooling resources can lead to greater common good. It therefore derives from a fitness basis for survival. Altruism by definition is behaviour that sees a human being sacrifice his or her needs in the interest of others to the point of going without and therefore even starving and dying in the process so that others can live. When one sees that one’s future survival depends on others living healthily that derives from Fitness rather than altruism. Cooperation is infact liberalism.
In the early 1900, the liberal party was strong in Britain and one could find that laws that incorporated the perfect compromise justice in which all sections of the society could be satisfied with its progress on the whole. But generally, it has been a case of ding-dong swings between one extreme and the other: of conservatism verses socialism (republicanism versus democratic in the USA). This is the reason that you find too many conflicts in society’s laws which get repealed when one or the other party comes into power and changes the justicial basis of society. Every aspect of law, from the economic direction of the government that defines its macroeconomic objectives, to welfare, and crime and punishment, ethics, find their origins in either the Fitness or the altruism forms of justice, or some compromise of these forms in the spectrum of justice from Fitnessism-Liberalism-Altruism. Liberalism is what I describe as the optimal common good and is defined by the liberal-democratic basis of government.
We are discussing governments when we talk about justice, not the individual. Governments have philosophies as the basis of justice for their citizens: for one extreme I have coined the term fitnessism to describe this basis for evaluating and implementing justice in which one adopts a laissez faire approach and leaves the resolution of disputes to the doctrine of the survival of the fittest in the marketplace of human relationships in all its aspects; or at the other extreme there is the altruism basis for evaluating and implementing justice in which individual fittestism is sacrificed to the altar of commonality of purpose and endeavour. And then we have liberalism as the philosophy that balances these two extremes. I avoided the term Social Darwinism deliberately as the political theory and opted for the terms fitnessism to describe the ‘survival of the fittest biological phenomenon’ and fittestism as characterising the implicit individual’s selfishness; versus altruism as the opposing political theory and sacrificialism as characterising the implicit individual’s motive of care for others. And the term liberalism as a political theory combines elements of both these evolutionary phenonema. I think that is the stable form of government that is most just and hence most moral.
First published in Blog https://shantanup.wordpress.com October 13, 2012 Posted by shantanup | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment | Edit