marjaerwin: (Default)
It kinda amazes me that he could come up with both brilliant moral philosophy, such as his attempts to define a/the categorical imperative, and atrocious moral philosophy, such as his defense of revenge, or his support for white supremacy.

I am just going to point out two formulations of his categorical imperative, and how his oft-cited support for revenge/retribution contradicts this. I don't understand the third, but the first two cover the important ground:

In one formulation, he said that we should act only according to that maxim which we could, at the same time, will to be a universal law.

In another, he said that we should always treat humanity as an end in itself, never as a mere means.

Any form of revenge/retribution/returning evil for evil means treating revenge as an end in itself and the humanity of the target of the revenge as a mere means. Because it is pointless cruelty, it violates the formula of humanity. Because it is an evil for an evil, if it is consistent, then it leads to an endless cycle of evil, and it isn't good regardless of any formula; if it is inconsistent, it fails the formula of universal law.

I have a hard enough time understanding why anyone would support revenge, but I have a harder time understanding someone who actually thought about moral philosophy and contributed good ideas to moral philosophy would have supported revenge.

Justice

Jan. 10th, 2014 06:04 pm
marjaerwin: (Default)
Justice is restoring what is right. It's not revenge and adding to what's wrong. It's not institutional immunity and continued abuse. It's not following the procedures of the injustice system, which sometimes calls itself legal, sometimes civil, sometimes criminal, sometimes justice but is rarely more than one of these things.

So many people appeal to the legal system. It horrifies me. One claimed that "Justice is what you get from a jury in a courtroom. Do you have any better ideas?" but when people are framed and falsely convicted, as happens, that's an injustice. when people aren't framed but are convicted under unjust laws, or convicted for something they had to do to survive, as happens, that's an injustice. those things come from juries, and they're not justice. and when you get into the rest of the legal system, with people being beaten and raped while awaiting trial, with crooked plea-bargains, racism, ableism, bribes, prison labor, prison profiteering, v-coding [forced prison prostitution], and so on, there are too many injustices.

Justice is not an institution. Justice is an aspect of peace/justice/freedom, and one of the things we measure institutions against.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I have a jury summons for tomorrow [to be in a jury pool, not to appear before a gorram grand jury], and I'm scared. I could be jailed for refusing to do wrong. I also have ptsd. I ought to be more afraid of missing an opportunity to help someone in danger than afraid of being jailed or being bashed again. Inaction in the face of violence is also violence but participation in a system of injustice tends to reinforce the injustice.

One of my older posts on justice may be relevant here:

http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com/47118.html

What is justice? I would define it as righting wrongs.

Helping the victims. Helping people heal. Helping people avoid having to face the same wrongs again. And one of the wrongs is that our institutions are based on domination, our culture is based on silencing, and many people's instinct for justice and compassion has been turned into another tool for domination, and with it, for injustice and brutality.

Punishment/retribution/revenge is not justice.

P.S. http://www.salon.com/2012/10/15/us_has_more_prisoners_prisons_than_any_other_country/
marjaerwin: (Default)
Some would define justice as procedure.

"Piso mounted the tribunal in a rage, and ordered the three soldiers to be executed. He ordered the death of the man who was to have been executed, because the sentence had already been passed; he also ordered the death of the centurion who was in charge of the original execution, for failing to perform his duty; and finally, he ordered the death of the man who had been supposed to have been murdered, because he had been the cause of death of two innocent men." [Of course, it was the judge and the executioner who were the cause of the deaths of three innocent men.]

(from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_justitia_ruat_caelum )


Some would define justice as punishment.

"The whole basis of Justice is that the person gets punishments. It isn't the rehabilitation system, or the prevent crime systems. It's a system to hand out a punishment to somebody for their action.

People who don't believe in punishment, don't believe in justice."

(from the Guardian, in a flamewar thread, http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/15191574 )


If that is justice, then let us oppose justice! But it is not justice. It is injustice condemning its critics.

Some believe that justice is inherent in the world. At best this idea leads to quietism. Sometimes this idea reinforces the just-world fallacy and leads to victim-blaming. At worst people combine victim-blaming and vindictiveness: being a victim means being guilty, being guilty means deserving punishment, therefore a victim must be further punished, and further, and further...

****

What is justice? I would define it as righting wrongs.

Helping the victims. Helping people heal. Helping people avoid having to face the same wrongs again. And one of the wrongs is that our institutions are based on domination, our culture is based on silencing, and many people's instinct for justice and compassion has been turned into another tool for domination, and with it, for injustice and brutality.

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