In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the Major Arcanum numbered 11. Signifies responsibility, decision, causality. You reap what you sow.

E2 Tarot Cards

Also named Adjustment.

Aleister Crowley's description:

My thoughts:

Your description/thoughts/experiences:

Justice is the title of a fiberglass sculpture made by Barbara Kruger showing J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn kissing and wearing high heels while Cohn wears the American Flag as a miniskirt. If you read the respective nodes of those two fellas, they are gay homophobes who either deny that they are gay (Cohn), or dedicate themselves to put down "communist" or "subversive" gay folks (Hoover).

"There is no justice. There's just me." -- Death, "Mort" by Terry Pratchett
"There's no cosmic balance. In the end, everyone dies." -- Death, "The Time of your Life" by Neil Gaiman

A rather depressing pair of quotes, to be sure. But it's important to keep this in perspective: Everybody does something wrong when they're alive. Everybody deserves justice for something someone else has done to them. Most of them don't get it, and those who do are almost never satisfied that justice has been served. The only true justice we can hope for is at life's end, when everyone who's ever wronged us will get what's coming to them, and when we get what's coming to us for wronging others. It's the only thing in life that's truly fair, and deep down, we all know it.

Not surprisingly, every religion on earth has confronted and embraced this in some way or another. The philosophical ones, like Buddhism, tend to view death -- not just death of the body, but the total, final non-existence of the spirit -- as a goal to be achieved. But the deistic ones, like Christianity, tend to see it as a gateway to another world, and it's in that other world that justice is finally served by the weighing of the soul. In other words, some religions claim everyone gets a chance to be justly rewarded in the end, while others say that some get rewarded and some get punished, while atheism basically says that we all get punished through eternal non-life.

We all strive to see some kind of justice served in this world, of course. Civilization wouldn't survive if we didn't. But it's important to keep it all in perspective. Justice is an ideal, and like all ideals it's impossible to find in the real world. We have to settle for the justice we can make, and whether we like how it's served or not, ultimately we have to accept it.

Because the alternative really isn't much of an option.

Justice was a title/character from Marvel Comics' New Universe. I just found all my old issues in my parents' basement, 1 thru 18 running from November of 1986 to April 1988.

A Justice Warrior was a man who could see people's auras, letting him know if they were evil or good. Such a warrior would pass judgement upon evil. From his right hand he wielded his sword, a beam of searing red energy that could turn a man into a pile of dust. From his left hand he could project an energy shield which he could use to protect himself or use to push people or objects.

The comic tells the story of such a Justice Warrior who appears in our realm from another dimension, hounded by evil seeking to kill him. He slowly works to remember his old life and struggles to reconcile life in this world where men cannot see the hearts of those around them - "judging" many men along the way to the complete misunderstanding of local law enforcement.

This is about all I remember from this title, except that I thought it was cool, and that Justice turns out to be some sort of human mutant trapped in the dreams of another man (from the covers it looks like that was revealed in issue 15).

A member of the super-hero team the Avengers published by Marvel Comics.

Vance Astrovik is the real name of the hero Justice. In an alternate timeline, Astrovik became an astronaut traveling to Alpha Centauri. During his time in suspended animation, Astrovick (who had changed his name to Astro) had his dormant telekinetic abilities. Upon arrival, Astrovik discovered that this area of the galaxy had been conquered by the Badoon. Astrovik joined up with others to become the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Guardians of the Galaxy traveled to the past following the cosmic entity Korvac. While in the 20th century, Vance Astro met his younger self in hopes of convincing him to not become an astronaut. The meeting sparked the telekinetic ability of the younger Astrovik, changing the timeline.

The new found powers caused trouble for Astrovik in his home life. Running away from home, Astrovik went on the wrestling circuit, using his telekinetic abilities in the ring. During this time, he encountered Ben Grimm, the Thing of the Fantastic Four. With Ben's help, Astrovik returned home and he and his father entered a therapy program.

When his father continued to abuse him, Vance attempted to join the Avengers. He was rejected and instead was recruited by Night Thrasher for the New Warriors, a team comprised of younger heroes, under the name Marvel Boy.

While working with the New Warriors, Vance's powers escalated and during one of his father's attacks, Vance struck back, killing his father. Found guilty of murder, Vance went to prison for a time. Upon his release, Vance returned to the New Warriors under the name Justice.

When the New Warriors disbanded, Justice and Firestar were given membership in the Avengers.

This is an essay I wrote for my political theory class this past year at the University of Toronto.

Plato's Glaucon vs. Thomas Hobbes:

On Justice and its Foundations

Glaucon’s speech in Book II of Plato’s Republic lays out a sort of ‘pre-political’ condition of humanity that begs to be compared with Hobbes’ 'state of nature' as described in Leviathan. These descriptions, as well as the descriptions of the solutions to the problems these situations present have noticeable similarities but also distinct differences. In the end, the differences out-weigh any perceived similarities. Particularly, there is a fundamental difference in the motivations and aims of Glaucon and Hobbes. Glaucon hopes to force Socrates to find real justice for him, while Hobbes denies its existence altogether, and tries to make political thought subject to completely naturalistic explanations.

There are some similarities between the ‘pre-political’ condition laid out by Glaucon in his speech in book II of the Republic and the one described by Hobbes in Leviathan, as well as their respective proposed solutions to these situations. Justice, Glaucon says, is held by the general public as something difficult which is only worth doing for the sake of the good reputation and other benefits that come with it, “but all by itself it should be fled from as something hard.” (Plato, 36) Injustice, on the other hand, if one can get away with it, provides all the benefits that a person seeks: riches, friends, power, without any of the drudgery. “This is what any nature naturally pursues as good, while it is law which by force perverts it to honor equality.” (Plato, 37) Hobbes agrees on this point. Men naturally compete for such things (Hobbes, 75) and in the course of that competition force and fraud are the only virtues, because self-preservation is the ultimate goal. (Hobbes, 78)

The extreme of injustice, says Glaucon, is to seem to be just when one is not. If at any point the unjust man fails to maintain this façade, he will be able to speak persuasively, or use force if necessary, to remedy the situation. He is, says Glaucon, courageous and strong, and has provided himself richly with money and friends by unjust means. (Plato, 38-39) Self-defense is just what any man should prepare himself to engage in, says Hobbes, and that through any means necessary. Men make ‘pre-emptive strikes’ to eliminate or subjugate those who threaten their goals, be they directed to self-preservation or simply pleasure. Not only this, but they should go further, and conquer those around them who aren’t threats, simply to enhance their power to make ready to defend against those who conquer merely for glory and sport. (Hobbes, 75)

Glaucon says that justice is not held by the general public to be a private virtue, at least not in practice, because it is not held to be good for men in their private affairs. “Indeed, all men suppose injustice is far more to their private profit than justice,” and why not? Any person who had the power to do injustice and get away with it, but refused to do so “would seem most wretched to those who were aware of it, and most foolish too, although they would praise him to each others’ faces, deceiving each other for fear of suffering injustice.”(Plato, 38) Hobbes agrees on this point as well, but takes it much further. There is no such thing as justice or injustice, Hobbes says, outside of the context of civil society. (Hobbes, 89) In the ‘state of nature’, which is competition, and ultimately war, ‘injustice’ is far, far more profitable. In fact it is necessary for survival.

Glaucon suggests that there is at least a partial solution to the undesirable situation he describes. People realize that they cannot do injustice and not expect to suffer it. Therefore to escape suffering injustice these people “set down a compact among themselves neither to do injustice nor to suffer it. And from there they began to set down their laws and compacts and to name what the law commands lawful and just.” Justice then is the middle ground between doing injustice without being punished and suffering injustice without the opportunity for revenge. (Plato, 37) Hobbes’ social contract, resulting in the Commonwealth, is just this sort of agreement. Every man has a right to preserve his own life through any means necessary. (Hobbes, 79) In the state of nature described by Hobbes however, there cannot be any real security for any man. So, to gain that security it is a law of nature, derivable from the right of self-preservation, that “every man ought to endeavour peace as far as he has hope of obtaining it, and when he cannot obtain it, that he seek and use all helps and advantages of war.” In interest of this, a man should be willing also to lay down his natural right to everything he can seize by cunning or force and be satisfied with as much freedom to act as would give other men, but only if others will do the same. (Hobbes, 80) In the state of nature, any covenant made by two people is voided by the slightest suspicion on the part of either. A common power over both people, however, that has the right and power to enforce the covenant, prevents it being voided. (Hobbes, 84-85)

Along with the similarities between Hobbes and Glaucon come many differences. Beginning with their accounts of ‘social contracts,’ we see that Glaucon’s account bears more resemblance to Hobbes’ idea that the weak can band together against the strong for mutual defense than Hobbes’ Commonwealth. (Hobbes, 74) In Glaucon’s argument for the utility of injustice, justice seems to be the refuge of the weak, those without license, or power, to do the injustices they would do if they had the ability. Glaucon suggests that the only reason to accept any kind of social contract to refrain from committing injustice is one’s own impotence. Someone who was able to get away with injustice and was “truly a man” would never agree to such a compact. (Plato, 37) Why should anyone who is strong bow to such an agreement? They should not, Glaucon says. It would be insane for them to do so. Hobbes disagrees. He has found the reason that the strong (given that they think clearly enough) should accept and become part of the social contract. Hobbes points out that it is not wise or reasonable to do anything that would tend to one’s own destruction, even if one did not believe it did. To remain in the state of nature would be such an action. One cannot hope to defend oneself adequately from death and destruction, no matter what one’s abilities may be, without the help of confederates. Anyone then who lives an unjust life cannot expect to be received into a peaceful society except by mistake. Even if such a mistake is made, he cannot expect to remain in that society without being detected as a threat and removed, one way or another. Therefore the man who insists on living an unjust life will either be left out or thrown out of society. If somehow he remains in society, it is only “by the errors of other men, which he could not foresee nor reckon upon, and consequently he has acted against the reason of his preservation, and so as all men that contribute not to his destruction forbear him only out of ignorance of what is good for themselves.” (Hobbes, 91-92)

Another difference lies between Glaucon and Hobbes’ ideas of humanity. Glaucon lives in a society where it is commonly held that some men have naturally greater worth and ability than others. These men rise to the top in whatever they do, and belong there. The powerful are not powerful because they are unjust, but should be unjust, as Glaucon says, because they are naturally powerful. Hobbes has the complete opposite view. The powerful become powerful because of the injustice they do. In laying out his pre-political condition, the ‘state of nature’ as he calls it, Hobbes begins with a radical equality among men. He says men are generally equally endowed with faculties of mind and body. In matters of intelligence (setting aside “the arts grounded upon words,” and science because neither are in-born, not attained through general experience) Hobbes thinks there is even greater equality among men than in strength. Prudence, Hobbes says, is experience, which “time equally bestows on all men in those things they equally apply themselves unto.” (Hobbes, 75) So from this equality Hobbes tells us everyone has equal hope of attaining what he desires. It is when these desires collide or conflict that people become enemies. This is what creates competition. This competition, well navigated, produces power.

The fundamental difference between Glaucon and Hobbes is not one of detail, however. It is a difference of motivation and aim. Glaucon’s attempt to outline a pre-political condition isn’t an expression of his own thought, at least not directly. He has just witnessed Socrates’ encounter with Thrasymachus, who advocated the notion that “justice . . . is the advantage of the stronger.” (Plato, 16) Socrates seems to have defeated Thrasymachus, although points linger from Thrasymachus’ argument that nag at Glaucon. This nagging feeling provokes Glaucon to question Socrates, but Glaucon also has another, stronger motivation. Glaucon from the beginning of the narrative is portrayed as an erotic character, and it is his longing for a pure and real kind of justice that drives him to his argument. He says that he wants to know what justice is, not simply what it is not. He wants to know “what power it has all alone by itself when it is in the soul – dismissing its wages and consequences.” (Plato, 36) The opinion of the many, according to Glaucon, is that justice is a “form of drudgery,” practiced only for its benefits, and therefore:

. . . all those who practice {justice} do so unwillingly, as necessary but not good . . . it is fitting that they do so, for the life of the unjust man is, after all, far better than that of the just man, as they say. For, Socrates, though that’s not at all my own opinion, I am at a loss: I’ve been talked deaf by Thrasymachus and countless others, while the argument on behalf of justice – that it is better than injustice – I’ve yet to hear from anyone as I want it. I want to hear it extolled all by itself, and I suppose I would be most likely to learn that from you. That’s the reason why I’ll speak in vehement praise of the unjust life, and in speaking I’ll point out t you how I want to hear you, in your turn, blame injustice and praise justice. (Plato, 36)
So Glaucon proposes to ‘restore’ Thrasymachus’ argument, and give it more strength, and thereby, he hopes, force Socrates to give him what he is longing for, a real definition of justice as something good in itself.

Hobbes motivation is quite different from that of Glaucon. Hobbes categorically denies any such thing as a fundamental standard of justice that exists outside of the social contract. He denies it on the level of standards of conduct. There is no standard of morality or justice because there can be no such thing, according to Hobbes, without laws, and there can be no laws without a common power to enforce them. (Hobbes, 78) He also (more importantly) denies it on the level of the soul: “For there is no such Finis Ultimus (utmost aim) nor Summum Bonum (greatest good) as is spoken of in the books of the old moral philosophers.” (Hobbes, 57) All that Glaucon is longing for is for nothing, says Hobbes. Hobbes shifts all laws of morality and justice, good and evil, under the one banner of self-preservation. There are no ideals that exist outside of the need to keep oneself alive. From this need derives the need for peace, since no one can be secure without it. From the drive for peace arises the necessity and institution of the commonwealth by the mutual restriction of natural rights. (Hobbes, 109)

. . . the science of them {the laws of nature} is the true and only moral philosophy. For moral philosophy is nothing else but that science of what is good and evil in the conversation and society of mankind. Good and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs, and doctrines of men are different . . . so long as a man is in the condition of mere nature (which is a condition of war) as private appetite is the measure of good and evil; and consequently, all men agree on this, that peace is good; and therefore also the way or means of peace . . . are good and their contrary vices evil. (Hobbes, 100)
Hobbes rejects the classical views of justice and morality that Glaucon accepts. Hobbes’ view constitutes a fundamental shift away from the views of ancient Greek philosophy, and also from that of the Church. The philosophy and theology of the Church, steeped first in the thought of Plato, and later Aristotle, was committed to the kind of transcendent ideals of Justice and Good that Hobbes wishes to discard in favour of a naturalistic explanation. His state of nature may be seen as a new 'founding myth' to replace the Garden of Eden.

All citations from:

Plato’s “Republic” gives several definitions for justice. Cephalus saying justice is speaking the truth and paying one’s debts (Plato 1953:168). Polemarchus’ explanation of justice being to benefit your friends, harm your enemies (Plato 1953:170). Finally Thrasymachus, who believes that justice is “nothing else than the interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177). This paper will critically analyze Thrasymachus’ idea of what justice is. This will be done by comparing it to institutions that have utilized this method, then assessing the results. A conclusion will be found by recognizing both its lack of universality and the limits of enforcement. As well as this, a distinction in the way in which this method is repeatedly phased by external sources adds to the thesis. This conclusion being that Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is not equitable. However it is practical because whoever contravenes this is unjust and is then punished. Consequently a great deal of fear instills this definition of justice and enforces it. Thus, régimes which utilize this form of justice are constantly under attack. This is done by external institutions which raise awareness within the country. This concludes that the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is ineffective. Taking each point into account Thrasymachus’ idea of justice thus is only enforceable to the extent that its lack of unbiased actions can be kept hidden. Thus it is not entirely effective due to the way which it is severely unbalanced with regard to the people, however as long as the violations of equality remain inconspicuous the ability of enforcement allows this form of justice to be held as effectual.

Before underlining the advantages and disadvantages of Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) it must first be understood how Plato, through the persona of Socrates, explores the notion. Thrasymachus believes that the stronger party’s laws are to their own advantage, which can be consequently deemed just (Plato 1953:177). Socrates’ first argument is that the rulers of states “are liable to err” (Plato 1953:178) and therefore may not always rule in their best interests. Thus, would what the stronger rules always be considered justice in Thrasymachus’ sentiment? (Plato 1953:178). Thrasymachus’ rebuttal was that “none of these persons ever makes a mistake in so far as he is what his name implies” (Plato 1953:179), saying essentially that as soon as the stronger makes the mistake they are no longer the strongest. Thrasymachus concludes that his version of justice is supreme because “the criminal is the happiest of men” (Plato 1953:183) for they serve themselves and none other. This response however is what Plato’s “Republic” attempts to discourage.

Now to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177). The first of which is to recognize what universality is, and that Thrasymachus’ notion of justice does not provide this. The rule of law embodies universality and the idea that everybody is equal before the law by applying the principle that “every person and organization, including the government, is subject to the same laws” (Butterworths 1998:387). A liberal democracy embraces the rule of law and represents the rights of the individual within a collective (Parkin 2002:303). Therefore in order for the government to act without bias and with equality “the Govenor-General, the Federal Executive Council and every officer of the Commonwealth are bound to observe the laws of the land” (Murphy 1986:69). Any violation of this principle “is inconsistent with the rule of law” (Murphy 1986:69).

Having universality is also done by applying the doctrine of natural justice, being the “right to be given a fair hearing, the opportunity to present one’s case and the right to have a decision made by an unbiased decision maker” (Butterworths 1998:300). Thus in order to be deemed universal both the rule of law and the doctrine of natural justice must be implemented in the legal process.

The opposite of such an ideology is that of Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) where a totalitarian creed is enforced. Under totalitarian rule “justice, like freedom, is not only violated and limited in its validity… but is altogether ‘abolished’,” (Buchheim 1987:45). Although this quote claims to contradict the idea that Thrasymachus’ concept is a form of justice, this shows to a certain extent just how unmerited Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is. Other examples in practice will be given to illustrate this further.

Within the view of women, in the past as well as the present, patriarchal society has exercised Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) by acting in opposition to the concerns of women. Women were held as ignorant beings in the public sphere that could “scarcely be expected to realize the dangers, not only to their own health but to that of the next generation” (Rhode 1989:41). One may argue that the patriarchy were in a way serving not only women but their children. However, if “discrimination exists it must be amended” (Rhode 1989:83). Conservative feminists believe that this type of power exertion shows that “the products of men’s’ labours are being more valued” (McGrath in Evans and Saunders 1992:4). Consequently the patriarchy’s actions personify this. Thus, despite the patriarchal claim of protecting women, what is emphasized in this example is that the dominant rule of the patriarchy is for their own interests in the subjugation of women. This in a relative sense displays how Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is not legitimate in practice.

Another example of Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is given in regard to the Black Civil Rights movement through oppression exerted by the white supremacy. Once again the idea that Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) can be viewed as a form of justice is contradicted by saying that “the principle of justice is fundamental and must be exercised if people are to rise to the highest and best, for there can be neither freedom, peace, true democracy or real development without justice” (Bethune 2001:19).

The second argument of this critical analysis is to assess the limits of enforcement of Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) are, and from this, to assess the effectiveness of its application. To introduce this, the example of enforceability of the “interest of the stronger", (Plato 1953:177) the South East Asian Nation of Burma will be examined. The anecdotal evidence given in a text on the studies of Australasian relations between the two countries indicates to what extent the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) acting as a form of justice can be successfully applied.

The author describes how the timocratic junta would “wander all over the place and come uninvited into your house, steal drinks and so on” (Crozier 1994:35). As a foreigner who would not stand for such an invasion of their own civil liberties, the author demanded “What do you want? This is my house!” (Crozier 1994:35). This was responded to by an enraged 21st Burma Regiment footman “We Burma Army… You get out!” (Crozier 1994:35). Clearly the Burmese Army is accustomed to creating intimidation and harassing Burmese citizens. One must only assume hence that out of submission through fear the majority of Burmese people allow these atrocities to occur. For the word of the Army is justice as they rule in their own interest and to contravene this decree entails punishment (Plato 1953:177).

Another source emphasizes this ‘climate of fear’ within Burma as being the cause of capitulation to the military rule. Through the construction of “fear and vulnerability among its citizenry” (Skidmore 2003:5) the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is enforced. Although fear may not be apparent to the naked eye, paradoxically there is a “silence that fear engenders among them” (Skidmore 2003:5) which illustrates it to a better extent. It is believed that only in “suppressing or denying fear,” can one survive in such a repressive time. In this way the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) despite its tyrannical nature can be effective because the people in which it is applied to will submit to it if the punishments outweigh the benefits of disobedience.

Applied in another context the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) can be seen to have evolved further due to time. This example is Communist China. Initially however the roots of Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution must be understood. “Mao Tse-tung claimed to be a Marxist” (Collins 1984:3). However due to the results of communism in China this historical figure “has had their apparent Marxist credentials seriously doubted and frequently with good reason” (Collins 1984:3). The key principle of Marxist justice is “to treat like cases alike, and not venture a field into questions of social justice involving the distribution of wealth and power” (Collins 1984:135). Thus the rule of law would have to be applied in a state in order for it to be regarded as Marxist.

“Western criticism of China’s lack of a ‘rule of law’ was met with Marxist-Leninist counterattacks on ‘bourgeois propaganda” (Keith 1994:9). However the Cultural Revolution was using Marxist principles incorrectly. Marxism aims to combat “distributive justice” (Wood 1980:107) which arbitrarily allows, through capitalism, bias in the jurisprudential process. Despite this, China does not reinforce “judicial independence and the limitation of arbitrary state behaviour through limitation imposed by courts” (Keith 1994:181). Marxism emphasizes that “overthrowing capitalism is just… for exploitation is wrong” (Cohen 1980:139). The point this paper asserts here is that Marxism is a form of anti Thrasymachian justice for it attempts to act in the interests of the weaker party, that being the proletariat. China’s Communist movement, despite it opening in this direction, transformed into not so much capitalist based domination but rather bureaucratic party domination.

The following examples are demonstrated to indicate the level at which Thrasymachian justice can exist. Through judicial reform “the old legal principles of ‘separation of law from politics,’ ‘independence of the judiciary,’ ‘equality of the people before the law,’ were under attack” (Leng 1967:42). Because of these judicial alterations in theory, practical methods were undermined also. There had been “remarkable techniques of mass persuasion and ‘brainwashing’,” (Leng 1967:175). In addition to this “the use of coercion or torture to exact confessions” (Leng 1967:162) were utilized by the Communist bureaucracy. The communist policy was anything but egalitarian for it enforced a “binding duty of every Chinese citizen to support communism,” (Chan 1983:185). This in turn enforced Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) by suppression of free will and directing all support and praise for the Communist Party. Thus, as seen here, providing that no alternative is available, Thrasymachian Justice will prevail.

This links with the third point, being that external forces will inevitably phase out Thrasymachian justice. Marx himself found a great contradiction in Thrasymachian capitalism. “Marx has a cataclysmic view of history: things must get worse before they get better” (McDonald 1983:500). This deduction was made by the anti capitalist finding that the collapse of capitalism is unavoidable. In the wider sense any system which benefits the stronger party solely will fail inevitably due to external powers. Thus so will Thrasymachian justice in any form, be it gender discrimination, racism, capitalism or totalitarianism.

This conflict is caused when external powers raise questions over the legitimacy and propriety of Thrasymachian justice. This is when the stability of the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) becomes disturbed. Hong Kong has had a “transition from colonial administration to a ‘high degree of autonomy’,” (Keith 1994:181). Thus in comparison to China there has been a development of “one country, two systems” (Xiaoping in Keith 1994:181). This being mainland China without the rule of law and having overt judicial corruption and Hong Kong allowing “real manifestations of seminal ‘attitudes and behaviour patterns’,” (Keith 1994:181). Hong Kong allows such things as “individual and legal rights, the Rule of Law, judicial independence” (Keith 1994:181) amongst others. In the international world, as well as China seeing such a contrast, the effectiveness of Mainland Thrasymachian Justice has diminished significantly.

Some Western academics claim that “China is unlikely to produce an open political system” (Weller 1999:162) which would allow the Rule of Law. However this is contrasted if one takes into account the resurfacing of the democratic movement by citizens. “It shows how democracy can grow out of Chinese cultural roots and authoritarian institutions” (Weller 1999:162). Such displays of democracy are the marches of “several thousand college students marching from their campuses… demanding abolishment of unconstitutional ten point plans and fair and precise reporting in Party and government newspapers on the current demonstrations” (Lin 1992:57). This demonstrates the extent to which a nation which utilizes Thrasymachian justice can be crippled by external awareness.

To parallel this awareness to an example closer and more relevant to Australia, the case of the Australian Federal Government’s attempt to increase the spectrum and power of ASIO (Australian Secret Information Organization) prerogatives will be examined. This is an example of Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) because it invades our liberty and can only benefit the stronger party. “Australia’s democracy to be eroded by the acidic effect of fear and misrepresentations” (Tham 2004:1) which paradoxically render the nation “more vulnerable to the arbitrary state power (Tham 2004:1). The basis of this law is apparently “justified on the basis of being ‘tough on terror’,” (Tham 2004:1). However it aims to segregate not only Islamic citizens but ignorant non-Islamic citizens through fear. The “Coalition government is exploiting the real fears that the Australian public has of terrorism” (Tham 2004:1). Through this the populace is isolated by ignorance. However if the majority of Australian citizens were aware of these infringements upon their civil liberties, the effectiveness of this bill would be drastically eroded. For a collective of people aware of such legal principles would seek legal council and action within the High Court to overturn this unconstitutional proposal. In this example it can be seen that Thrasymachian Justice is effective proportionately to the level of awareness of the people that the notion is being applied to.

Therefore Thrasymachian justice can only be said to be effective in regard to the level of enforcement possible. In no means is “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) beneficial democratically, due to it acting in consideration of the tyrant, aristocracy or oligarchy and not the people under their rule. However, human rights aside, Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is an excellent form of justice in regard to the extent to which it is abided to, provided that the punishment outweighs the benefit of contravening it. Despite this though, in the process of the implementation of Thrasymachian Justice, independent external forces have wrestled with the “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) to prove it illegitimate; not only to the stronger but also the weaker. Thus Thrasymachus’ “interest of the stronger” (Plato 1953:177) is essentially not a viable form of justice because of the failure in democratic equality and a tendency to be undermined from the outside-in because of the gross difference in the foreign forms of justice.


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Butterworths (1998) “Concise Australian Legal Dictionary,” Nygh, P., Butt, P., (eds.) Butterworths: Brisbane.

Chan, S., (1983) “The Blooming of a ‘Hundred Flowers’ and the Literature of the ‘Wounded Generation’,” in “China Since the ‘Gang of Four’,” Brugger, B., (ed.) Croom Helm Publishers: London.

Cohen, M., (1980) “The Concept of Exploitation,” in “Marx, Justice and History” Cohen, M., Nagel, T., Scanlon, T., (eds.) Princeton University Press: New Jersey.

Collins, H., (1984) “Marxism and Law,” Oxford University Press: New York.

Crozier, L., (1994) “Mawachi: mining, war and insurgency in Burma,” Dunn, H., (ed.) Griffith University Press: Brisbane.

Evans, R., Saunders, (1992) “Gender Relations in Australia: domination and negotiation,” Harcourt Brace: Sydney.

Keith, R., (1994) “China’s Struggle for the Rule of Law,” St Martin’s Press: London.

Leng, S., (1967) “Justice in Communist China,” Oceana Publications: London.

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I have heard friends who are parents say that if you want to see the ne plus ultra of an attempt at fairness, take two small children, and tell them they can share a cake, but the first child gets to cut the cake, and the second will get to pick the first piece. Apparently the most accurate ruler will be found, a micrometer will be sourced if it can be found, a micro-gram accurate scale if possible - and you'd think the transaction involved packaging cocaine in terms of the care and precision with which the cut will take place.

Justice, and fairness are a major theme in the Gospels. The word righteousness, which many think means being holy and in some sort of superior state to others, is actually the archaic word for "justice", and when you read the New Testament and read "righteousness", substitute justice.

I wrote about forgiveness as the means with which to find peace and reduce vengeance. This met, understandably - with some opposition and some concerned people. They asked a very obvious question. With grace, and with forgiveness, what happens to justice? The example I gave was a fictitious one about a pedophile priest. Naturally emotions can run high, and it is understandable to want wrong to be punished.

What does justice look like, in God's eyes? Where DOES it fit in?

Jesus told a story once about justice.

A man who needed workers to pick fruit in his vineyard went down to the forum and found some itinerant laborers waiting to be hired for a day's work. They struck a price. It was a fair price for an honest day's work, and the laborers went into the field. At noon the man went down to find more workers, now more desperate to find work because they had not found any yet for the day. They joined in the work at noon. Towards the end of the day, desperate to get the fruit picked while it was at its peak, he found some even more desperate workers who were unfortunate enough to have lost most of the day's potential for labor.

At the end of the day, when the work was done, the vineyard owner went to the men who had joined towards the end of the day, and paid them a full day's wage. Those who had joined in at noon were excited. Those who had joined first thing in the morning were even more delighted. If they were paid a full day's wage for a partial day's work, how much more would they get? After all they had worked more, and therefore would be entitled to more money, right?

When they were all paid a fair day's wage, those who joined in at noon might have grumbled a bit, but those who worked all day complained. How unfair it was that those who had worked but a couple of hours had been paid the exact same as those who had worked all day. How was that fair? How was that just?

The vineyard owner explained that to him, justice was making sure that all the men who worked for him were paid what they needed to be fed and housed that night. What they were paid was more than fair for the day's work, they had not complained in any way about the contract at the beginning. Why wouldn't others be entitled to enough money to eat and to have a safe place to sleep that night?  Justice is about what someone needs, not what someone subjectively feels they deserve.

It's why I hinted in the last writeup that justice should be about repairing wrongs and about healing those afflicted, and ensuring people have what they need.

I've told this story before, but an NPR story haunts me to this day. Apparently a young man had stolen a car, and the couple who owned the car had been quite angry at the theft. They did recover the car, after the thief had been shot and killed by someone else. When they recovered the car, they found out that the young man had installed a stereo. He had also installed a baby seat. The car was littered with stacks of resumes, job applications, and rejection letters. The whole thing painted a portrait of a young man who was trying to get something together for himself and his child and move them away from the dangerous neighborhood he lost his life in. The couple lost their anger in a moment, and told NPR that if they'd known the man's circumstances, they would have simply GIVEN him the car.

Naturally not all crimes are that easy to do this for. Crimes of violence against people, rape, torture, all of these cannot be justified or excused in any way. But remember, when something bad happens, sure you can inflict a similar crime back at the person responsible - but ideally, we should seek to repair, not increase the damage. This is a laudable goal - I hope the reasons for that are now clearer.






Jus"tice (?), n. [F., fr. L. justitia, fr. justus just. See Just, a.]


The quality of being just; conformity to the principles of righteousness and rectitude in all things; strict performance of moral obligations; practical conformity to human or divine law; integrity in the dealings of men with each other; rectitude; equity; uprightness.

Justice and judgment are the haditation of thy throne. Ps. ixxxix. 11.

The king-becoming graces, As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, . . . I have no relish of them. Shak.


Conformity to truth and reality in expressing opinions and in conduct; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit; honesty; fidelity; impartiality; as, the justice of a description or of a judgment; historical justice.


The rendering to every one his due or right; just treatment; requital of desert; merited reward or punishment; that which is due to one's conduct or motives.

This even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice To our own lips. Shak.


Agreeableness to right; equity; justness; as, the justice of a claim.


A person duly commissioned to hold courts, or to try and decide controversies and administer justice.

⇒ This title is given to the judges of the common law courts in England and in the United States, and extends to judicial officers and magistrates of every grade.

Bed of justice. See under Bed. -- Chief justice. See in the Vocabulary. -- Justice of the peace Law, a judicial officer or subordinate magistrate appointed for the conservation of the peace in a specified district, with other incidental powers specified in his commission. In the United States a justice of the peace has jurisdiction to adjudicate certain minor cases, commit offenders, etc.

Syn. -- Equity; law; right; rectitude; honesty; integrity; uprightness; fairness; impartiality. -- Justice, Equity, Law. Justice and equity are the same; but human laws, though designed to secure justice, are of necessity imperfect, and hence what is strictly legal is at times far from being equitable or just. Here a court of equity comes in to redress the grievances. It does so, as distinguished from courts of law; and as the latter are often styled courts of justice, some have fancied that there is in this case a conflict between justice and equity. The real conflict is against the working of the law; this a court of equity brings into accordance with the claims of justice. It would be an unfortunate use of language which should lead any one to imagine he might have justice on his side while practicing iniquity (inequity).

Justice, Rectitude. Rectitude, in its widest sense, is one of the most comprehensive words in our language, denoting absolute conformity to the rule of right in principle and practice. Justice refers more especially to the carrying out of law, and has been considered by moralists as of three kinds: (1) Commutative justice, which gives every man his own property, including things pledged by promise. (2) Distributive justice, which gives every man his exact deserts. (3) General justice, which carries out all the ends of law, though not in every case through the precise channels of commutative or distributive justice; as we see often done by a parent or a ruler in his dealings with those who are subject to his control.


© Webster 1913.

Jus"tice (?), v. t.

To administer justice to.




© Webster 1913.

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