Essay Example on Justice what is the right thing to do In this modern History









Justice what is the right thing to do In this modern history official or public apologies and reparations for historical injustices committed on behalf of a nation community has been a matter which has brought heated debates in the political spheres of many nations While opponents of such apologies believe that these apologies bring back healed wounds alive the advocates on the other hand claim that it leads reconciliation among people and recognize victims of historical injustices Should we make amends for the sins of our predecessors Opponents of apologies for political history argue that apologizing for a past injustice means the acknowledgement of its responsibility So for them since they have not committed any injustice why do they have to take responsibilities they have nothing to do with because of just their predecessors 

This argument against apology is raised even if the consequences of acknowledging a responsibility is not financial compensations such as taxing citizens for reparations of past wrongs Moral individualism The notion that we are only responsible for what we ourselves do is what makes the principled objection to official apologies hard to ignore This argument bases its concept on the moral individualism doctrine which defines the freedom of individual According to moral individualism doctrine free individual is and will be held responsible for what he made on consent voluntarily But this seems a limited responsibility and assumes that moral agents are free from social context and unbound to previous moral ties of the society in which individual lives Also it ignores collective responsibility totally since we bear no moral burden for the wrongs of our predecessors The individualistic conception of freedom appears in theories of justice that form the basis of our contemporary politics and if that understanding of freedom is brought into question then our notion of public life needs to be reformed Now let us trace back how these views of choice and consent shaped our present day assumptions John Locke believed that since all human beings are by nature free equal and independent they are not obligated to follow authority or kings per se but because of consent agreement In other words he argues that legitimate government must be given collective consent to stay in power Immanuel Kant precisely defined what freedom means 

According to him to be free means to be autonomous and autonomy is when you are governed by law which is legitimized by you By adapting Kant's understanding of autonomous self John Rawls deduced his theory of justice Rawls observed that individual choice is a matter of morally arbitrary contingencies Someone's choice to do something does not always reflect free choice but the context in which agreement is made is what needs to be considered if we want a society driven by voluntary arrangement This is what Rawls calls choices mad behind the veil of ignorance where everyone has no prior knowledge of his conditions under which he is making agreement Should government be morally neutral For ancient philosophers as longs as government is not precise for developing economics and bringing common defense against enemies it cannot remain neutral Because apart from the above mentioned functions it has the duty to form a sense of belongingness and construct a good character of life Aristotle believed that ideal constitution must remain obscure because there is no clear definition of a good desirable way of life The idea that a government should cultivate virtue for ruling its people is ambivalent and sometimes dangerous because we have no collective agreement consent what are the constitutes of virtue That is what both Kant and Rawls advocated in their theories of justice In other words freely choosing self and neutral state coexist Kant and Rawls in superficial context may seem moral relativists but their appeal of a neutral framework is based on a refusal to impose a preferred good character of life like utilitarianism which does claim maximizing pleasure of welfare Aristotle who come up with different theory of justice advocated recognizing human nature and developing his capabilities

But his reasoning is teleological because he adopts from certain conception of the human good Kant and Rawls strongly reject this line of reasoning because for them right is prior to the good Kant says that being as autonomous human being comes only after we will the moral law so that we can be in agreement with principles of duties and rights hence what conceptions of the good are compatible with it Rawls who makes similar argument with that of Kant specifically criticized justice principles based on majority rule such as teleological principles which leave rights vulnerable and unstable Justice and freedom Prioritizing human right over the good is a matter of hot debates about the actual meaning of human freedom Kant and Rawls rejection of Aristotle's teleology reasoning makes us to be more inclined to see justice as a matter of choice not fit This is exactly Rawls case for prioritizing right over the good In modern politics the notions of neutral state and freely choosing self are found across the political spectrum But much of today's political debates are around the role of government in the market place and how to enable citizens to pursue their benefits or ends of life libertarians who are considered as conservatives in contemporary politics defend that a neutral state should respect individual choice Libertarians disagree with egalitarian liberals on the policies in which neutral state implement to accomplish its neutrality Libertarians are against the welfare state because they say welfare state coerces some for the good of others which in this case denies the free individual to choose his own ends

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