Topic Author
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Which Do You Think Is More Important: Liberty...

Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:00 pm

..or justice?

America's pledge of allegiance promises "liberty and justice" for all. But what if the two were in conflict?

The vast majority of pronouncements on U.S. policy focus on such things as "democracy" and "freedom" or "liberty". "Justice" is less popular as part of catchphrase, unless it's "we will bring the evil-doers to justice", or similar.

However, on the left, there is a preoccupation with "social justice", meaning that they want to take stuff from the rich and give it to the poor (cf.: Robin Hood). Economic redistribution through taxes, in other words.

But justice doesn't just entail "social justice".

So, which one is more important overall? Liberty or justice?

Thanks in advance.
What's fair is fair.
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RE: Which Do You Think Is More Important: Liberty...

Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:10 pm

You cannot have one without the other...
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Matt D
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RE: Which Do You Think Is More Important: Liberty...

Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:49 pm

If only it were that easy to put into words....

Besides, you left one key word out of the equation: responsibility. It's very tempting and easy to say that an "injustice" exists when you see some 40 year old on minimum wage. It's hard to not want to help that person...until you realize that this is the person who slept and ditched through high school, never went to college, and preferred to spend his weekends getting drunk and high.

So who's fault is it that there is no justice here? Is it fair or right to steal from the person who is well off-simply because "he can afford it", or because "we need to help the less fortunate, no matter what the price"?

This is a very sore subject with me. I don't care if you do have the wealth of Bill Gates or Donald Trump. I realize that those men could give up a million or fifty in cash with no noticeable effect on their lifestyle. But that's not the point. The point is that they earned their fortunes fair and square and through hard work, risk taking, and so on. They don't owe anybody anything. PERIOD.

Or what about the mother of the kid you see bursting into tears because her 19 year old son was just sentenced to Death for murdering an 18 year old girl? Seeing that old woman crying hysterically as her son is hauled off by the bailiff is indeed heartbreaking. But what about the equally distraught parents of the deceased girl? Where's their justice?

These are just two examples I can think of off the top of my head.

It's not easy to answer your question with "choice A" or "B".

They are all intertwined. And what might be construed as "justice" for one person could very easily be interpreted as being at the expense of someone else.

Personally, I feel that justice and and liberty are of equal importance: one cannot exist without the other. But with those come responsibility: your Liberty ends when it encroaches on my personal well being, my health, my property, or my finances. You breach any of those without my consent and you should be subject to justice.
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RE: Which Do You Think Is More Important: Liberty...

Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:14 am

I think they both go hand in hand, but liberty should take the top.
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RE: Which Do You Think Is More Important: Liberty...

Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:57 am

There is a fundamental difference between Justice and Liberty: liberty is natural, justice is man-made.

It is quite well accepted nowadays that every man has the right to be free. However, in a society, this basic right is assured by Justice. Your liberty extends until it interferes with someone else's... Those limits form morality. Morality translates into law, and law is the base for Justice. Morals are subjective, but law must be objective. Liberty is a concept, Justice is the real thing.

I will not go into a discussion of what is just and what is unjust. There is not a "world justice"... laws are still based on local culture and moral rules and no consensus has been reached. Tolerance is what should be the key to a global society. A Muslim has the right to pray his own god when living in the USA, but in no way may he place his beliefs above American laws and justice if they eventually conflict.

Globally, Justice is more important, as it is essential in a society where every man thinks his own way, and its purpose should be to sustain society (with moral values) and assure the liberty of each one of its members. Individually, you should worry about your liberty (your right to liberty and the limits to your liberty).

Ironically, after writing this, I realize that some of the most immoral persons I know of are lawyers... Big grin
Please, this is a joke, I do not mean any offense...

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