Are you sensing a subtle but powerful national tug-o-war between Freedom and Justice lately? I am.
What is your view of Freedom and Justice? Is one more important than the other? Are they equal? Does it matter? I submit to you that they are equally important, but you can have neither without order. If you don’t have order, you have chaos.
You might ask, “Isn’t this a civics and citizenship page, not a philosophy group? Our Founders examined the philosophy of government through the writings of Locke, Montesquieu, and others. We need to “go there” to some extent, so we can better understand the push and pull we are experiencing today.
If you put Freedom and Justice on a scale, which one weighs more? It depends on which side you take.
Let’s look at two views of Freedom.
I am free to do what I want, especially if I believe it is my right and my cause is just.
In View A, cooperation within an orderly framework is required of me. In View B, I decide what Freedom is and how I will exercise this Freedom without regard to a national standard. Notice the lack of order in this view.
Now, two views of Justice:
liberty under law
law constructs parameters; restraint required within those parameters
The Court judges the law and the facts
Justice is for me and those who agree with me on what is right, not what the law and a jury of my peers say is right.
The law is mine to take into my own hands based on the facts I know, not in the discovery of facts with which I may disagree.
I can deliver Justice if I believe my cause is right.
In View A, order and cooperation are needed. Justice is based on the facts that are discovered. In View B, there is a lack of order and cooperation. Justice is based on the facts I know, not on the discovery of the facts.
Because human nature is what it is, we must have order. Too much order is oppressive. Too little order brings chaos. We may conclude that order and self-restraint are necessary for Justice. In other words, we cannot take the law into our own hands.
Now, place Freedom on one side of a scale and Justice on the other side. They should perfectly balance. Of course, the scale is difficult to maintain balance, but order helps bring equal weight to both sides.
Think of situations in our nation today. How might you apply your understanding of Freedom and Justice? Will your scale balance?
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??