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Who Are You Afraid Of?
June 12, 2008, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

I’m afraid of those who are dedicated to gaining power for the purposes of implementing their version of ‘redemptive justice’.  So I’m afraid of Islamic fundamentalists, Egalitarian fundamentalists, ‘America-is-in-covenant-with-God’ Christian fundamentalists, Marxist fundamentalists, left-wing Christian social justice fundamentalists, and others of this type.

I call ‘redemptive justice’ those programs for setting everything right in a final and ultimate sense.  I’m afraid of people who want to have all the power they’d need in order to set everything right in this way.

I call ‘procedural justice’ or ‘humble justice’ or ‘justice on the way’ those systems of justice which are happy enough with a modicum of fairness in the processes and procedures of interaction between free citizens.

Maybe I merit Angelina Jolie’s wealth just as much as she does.  Maybe, in some ultimate moral sense, I have as much right to it as she does.  

But that doesn’t mean that it is right for me to steal it from her.  

She might be morally obligated to give some of it to me.  Maybe it would be praiseworthy for her to give some of it to me.  But that doesn’t make it right for me or the government to steal it from her, right?

If she acquired it in a procedurally just way, at least within the first few concentric rings of interaction, isn’t this wealth justly hers according to ‘humble justice’?


Does this mean that it is fine and dandy for the poorest to suffer in their poverty?


It means that we should focus on helping the poorest to become more  wealthy, rather than trying to coercively implement some sort of abstract ideal of egalitarianism.  


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