I have been bothered, during the recent cycle
of political debate, say, since 1989, by the use of key words,
justice, by people who seem confident that they know what they
don't say what they mean, and don't seem to be aware of the
implicit in what they are saying. Therefore, I have begun to
some definitions, in hopes that our discussions may become more
productive than otherwise. For starters, using language from an
abstract of Plato's Republic, by D. R. Bhandari:
WHAT IS JUSTICE?
According to Thrasymachus
- Justice is the advantage of the stronger.
- Justice is obedience to the laws.
- Justice is the advantage of another.
According to Plato:
- Justice is a human virtue that makes a person
- Justice is a social consciousness that makes a society
harmonious and good.
- Justice to the soul is as health is to the body--not mere
but harmonious strength.
- Justice is not the right of the stronger, but the
of the whole.
WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?
Starting with some language from the "wikipedia,"
- Democracy is government in which all citizens can
directly participate in the decision-making process--usually only in the
- It might include binding referenda, effectively
scrapping a law;
and/or the right of recall of elected officials; and/or
- Direct democracies have included New England town
and children couldn't vote, though); ancient Hellenic
(slaves, women, and children couldn't vote, though; and
oligarchy (that is, a "democracy" of the ruling
- Indirect, representative democracy:
Burke's principle: that representatives should
to their consciences--as opposed to the principle of
democracy, whereby the representative should
consider, or vote
what the majority of his or her constituents want.
with either choice seem apparent to me--you,
Problems with democracy:
If the citizens are poorly educated, wrongly informed,
delusions, what then?
Mainly from Aristotle's
- Monarchies (which are great in the rare case when a
person is monarch) tend toward tyranny.
- Aristocracies (government by the best ones) tend toward
by the strongest, as opposed to the best, ones. (Then the
tend, too, toward tyranny.)
- Tyrants act in their own apparent self-interest,
against the interests
of the governed.
*Democracy tends to the tyranny of the
against both the deserving and undeserving rich (those
comes via efforts which provide benefits--at low real
and those whose wealth is theirs
*Democracy tends, likewise, to the tyranny of
against the (in any way) outstanding. (Remember high
*E.g., Salem witch-trials and executions,
trial and execution
of Socrates, USA McCarthy-era persecution of intellectuals
Communist or not.)
in America," 1835:
"In America, the majority raises formidable barriers
the liberty of opinion; within these barriers, an author
what he pleases: but woe to him if he goes beyond them....
He is exposed
to continued obloquy and persecution. His political career
forever ...every sort of compensation, even that of
refused him... He is loudly censured by his opponents,
who think like him, without having the courage to speak
him in silence. He yields at length, overcome by the daily
which he has to make, and subsides into silence, as if he
for having spoken the truth..."