It has been determined that the assurance of justice is usually a prerequisite for a good society. John Rawls states “those who engage in social cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties.” I agree with this statement because it has good intentions but what happens when a society chooses a principle to assign that is not necessarily right. One example I can provide is Slavery, a time where blacks were considered lower than the whites but yet dwelled (with one another) on the same soil. It took years for blacks to be recognized as equals to white (some might argue different); you see the problem was justified, however just like it is in war, the blood is still in the sand and our minds suffer the effects of these justifications. Slavery was the type of justification that benefited society (free labor) in numerous ways, creating wealth for our oppressors. . What would Rawls say? Well, according to him Justice is not the same as fairness, it is more the fundamental agreements reached in it that are fair and thus explains the modesty of the name “justice as fairness”, and I perceive this idea to be circumstantial because its intention is good but does not rationalize Slavery or any other unique times in history from my interpretation. How can a person, group of people or a society agree to use another human being as a tool with utter disregard for their freedom. Instead I was lead to question human nature and what is it we seek in life, I find it very ironic that we live in a society that wants fairness but we all take advantage of each other to accumulate wealth or some form of gain. Selfishness is a character trait that all humans have, almost like a disease, permanently in our blood streams and even when we try not to be selfish we still are because the act of unselfishness is selfishness.
Thus as Rawls states “Men are to decide in advance how they are to regulate their claims against one another.” In this sense Rawls is right, Maybe some of the African men who sold their own people into slavery should of better regulated their claims towards their own kind. Equal and Impartial treatment is a desire we all feel we deserve in any given society. Rules and Laws vary from country to country which supports my claim that justice is principally inspired by culture. Why is it that in America it is frowned upon to drink if you’re underage (21), where as in certain places of Europe alcohol is shelved next to the soda and crackers. Its philosophy is drinking earlier in Europe gives users experience with alcohol so when they reach age 18, they are already used to it and therefore become more responsible with the substance, giving the notion that the user understands it effects. Implementing fairness, justice, is based on perceptions and what society agrees with that is how laws are put in place. On a primitive level law and justice are like soul mates and neither can be affective alone. What Rawls describes “justice as fairness” as a primitive condition of culture. A society without Justice and law is a lost one, no one would know there their place, class, status, fortune or even distribution of assets; the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement. So it make sense for people to come together to decide what is permitted or not.
What happens when justice is not properly served? Well, justice will only uphold until someone feels that they are not receiving it accordingly. Thus the resulting conditional state a society would be left at is an unstable one, if people feel they are not receiving what is due to them. Aside from Slavery there are many other examples of the affects that transpire when justice is not properly served such as the Civil Rights movement, Universal Healthcare, French Revolution, Woman in the Middle East, court cases and etc. However is justice really fair or is it just judgment, when a crime is committed and the convicted is found guilty the end result is punishment but my main issue is how the punishment can be justified as fair when it’s all just opinion. She was just 5 years old and her father and stepmother took her life away with utter disregard, her name was Farah Khan. The father was sentenced to life without parole for 25 years and stepmother got 10 years in jail. 25 years? What if Farah had lived to be 100 or 75, can 25 years justify the death of a young child because after those 25 years the killers could be released. Though I may not know all the tedious details of that case, surely how we choose to serve justice as fairness is opinionated. The definition of what is just and fair differs abundantly due to the views and opinions of everyone. Instinctively though humans have a justified reason for everything, the mind reasons and justifies daily to suit our own needs so maybe that is why fairness is not easily attained.
To conclude despite my pessimistic view I actually believe in justice and the legal system that follows. I believe in justice as an ideal. When Rawls proposed his two principles of justice he suggested that “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage.”Self-explanatory. when the question is asked can there be justice for all? And can all people really be equal? The answer unfortunately to these questions is no. Justice to me is an advantage or disadvantage miraged by the idea of equableness. In my opinion even when you get justice there are still much more that is unfair, it’s about possession. The ability to recognize what one has and who has less, it could be the millionaire who feels it’s unfair to pay high taxes or the poor man who is unable to get food stamps. Unfortunately many and maybe fortunate for some, will be born in this justice system that has been constructed by society (its everyones responsibility). My reason for those fortunately born in the system implies that some people will be born in certain classes that will benefit them (upper, middle or lower class), at the top of a societies social construct, positioned in a place where they get the head start and others are forced to catch up. Justice fails to embrace all moral relationships and as Rawls would say “We must recognize the limited scope of justice as fairness and of the general type of view it exemplifies.” As long as everyone is different holding different attitude, justice is indeed in the eye of the beholder because every individual has their perceptions of right and wrong.