FINAL PAPER THEORY OF JUSTICE, PERSONAL VIEWS ON NATURAL LAW AND MORAL ETHICS What is Justice? How many theories of justice are out there? Whose definition of justice is valid and correct? In today’s society, I believe everyone has their own belief on justice. We develop our theories through what we experience in life and the events that we witness. As we mature, we get wiser we build our opinions and theories on logical and rational thinking. This obviously comes with time and education. Justice is a man-made law that was created to judge and discipline the ones that defy the law.
The law is also a man-made system of rules which is collection of numerous sets of institutions. When justice is carried out in a case, it governs the rules and carries it out to those it serves. I’m a true believer in this theory and I feel that my opinion of justice is rational. Now some will argue is justice fair? Does it define the moral rights for the law? There are several kinds of justice that can be sorted out. From these different types of justice, one person can develop his/her theory and build upon it to guide them through life.
From here, justice brings and immense burden upon society to prove the guilt or innocence of its citizens so that the framework of justice can prevail. My belief in the system of justice deals with morality on fairness and natural law, hence my belief and theory that justice is man-made. One great example that I’ve used before is from the movie, “A Time to Kill” shows how the justice system works in fairness. The general plot here is a lawyer is fighting to save a father on trail for murder that he committed in revenge for the rape of his 10-year-old daughter.
During this movie, the jury plays a big role to decide the fate for the father standing trail. The two men that raped his daughter got off and walked away. In an act of vengeance and determination, the father guns them down. He argues the point was justice served here for these two men that brutally raped a little girl. With determination, he goes to bat for his client. The lawyer displays his compassion and sympathy towards his client. He convinces the jury that the father bent the law for the love and affection of his daughter. The father in the end is found not guilty and is set free.
The way I interpret this is justice has a sense of balance. Here, two wrongs equaled a right. Both cases were found not guilty for a serious crime that was committed. Why is this justice? My answer: fairness and natural rights. Natural rights are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society. This is what I believed that was used to determine the case against the father. In Frederick Mark Gedick’s handout “Justice or Mercy? – A Personal Note on Defending the Guilty”, he discusses morality in defending those that are guilty.
I share the same enthusiasm that Gedicks does when he states, “I believe there is morality in defending even those guilty of the most heinous crimes, a morality that is based not on the lawyer’s role in the system, but rather on her choice to defend a person in need. ” From my example of the movie “A Time to Kill”, here the lawyer understands the father’s actions and what he was fighting for. He knew the good in his client and that if he were in position; he would have done the same thing. One of the main attributes of being a criminal lawyer is to show rationality and morality for his client.
I’ve been an advocate for is how justice was served for the 9-11 attacks on our nation. The Bush Administration has been the most controversial organization because of their response to the 9-11 terror attacks. Surely one can say that we were attacked on your nation’s soil and this is the only way but many argue that we shouldn’t have gone to war. So many young soldiers’ lives have been taken from the fight for your freedom and protection of this nation. As George W. Bush did state clearly at a news conference that, “We will bring them to Justice.
Justice will arrive at their door. ” Right there were powerful words and I still here them echo in my head the day he said it. I guess I can admit that was probably the time where I became a supporter for justice and believing in the justice system. If I were in George Bush’s shoes at the time of presidency, I would bring justice upon them as well to keep the integrity and stability of justice in line. Those who defy and break the law in an immoral and irrational way should be punished and the hard hammers of justice fall upon them.
Justice does and has worked of this nation. With all that this nation is been through with all its wars and horrific events, justice had been able to keep a balance in the world. The way justice is applied and the punishments that are deemed to be appropriate for those who break them may be established and refined, as particular cases are brought to court. Justice has defined and abided by the United States Constitution. I’m very proud of how the United States Constitution has set the parameters for the government that exists today.
The opening Preamble says it all: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ” One point made though by Frederick Mark Gedicks that he made in his handout, “Justice or Mercy? ” is the mercy of justice and the courts.
Frederick states that, “The decision to defend a criminal is, at least, a decision to defend the whole of the accused person, including the part of him that is good. ” I have a hard time digesting that theory. How can justice be thrown upon him if we look at the light side of the individual? The point being is justice addresses the negative part of the person’s actions and the crime he committed. The man defied the law and took matters into his owns hands to commit a hideous act. Clearly each act a criminal makes knows exactly what he’s doing and there’s always a method behind the madness.
It’s an irrational and illogical thought process that is devised by this person he ignores that immoral judgment that he is making. This is where the power of justice prevails. Natural Rights are based upon Natural Law. I’m a true advocate of natural law not only because it’s a man-made law but its essence and functionality. Thomas Hobbes opinion on natural law struck me as also an advocate for natural rights. In Hobbes opinion, the only way natural law could prevail was for men to submit to the commands of the sovereign. Another great point that was made about natural law is Jonathan Dolhenty.
Although I differ on some of his main points on how natural law was created from, he gives the history on how natural law theory gave rise to natural rights. Dolhenty states that the natural law theory is of the “practical order” of things and the first principle of the practical order is a principle that directs human acts in all their operations, and it will be concerned with the “good”, since we act in terms of what a least seems good to us. My belief is here one does their own good from what they have come to learn in life. My sense of good may differ from someone lse’s good just by what I think is moral and my way of thinking. On the topic of moral values, I’d like to express my understanding on moral ethics and how it exists in today’s society. I think that this topic stems from what the actions of how Justice is established in the world. From what I’ve come to learn in my lifetime thus far is the choices that we make are in a straightforward matter of personal preference and the actions that spring from them are neither moral not immoral. We then become the subject of moral debate because of the intensions behind them, the results, and their values.
Whether we think an action is moral or immoral will depend on that individual’s values and ethical arguments that they use to decide what is right. In Robin Lovin’s book “Christian Ethics: An Essential Guide”, Lovin gives the purest definition of what ethics is. Lovin states, “Ethics is the study of the choices by which we try to live a good life, is sometimes distinguished from morals, the practices and beliefs by which people live. Ethics then, is about thoughtful, reflective, and self-conscious decisions. ” Some people may raise the question, why are ethics so important? What is the point of ethics?
Ethics helps us appreciate the choices that others make and evaluate the justification they give for those choices. Most of all it improves ones own moral awareness from a conscious examination of values and choices. Some moral choices are straight forward and others are more problematic. In all the readings that have been assigned this semester, Jonathan Dolhenty would be the ideal critic for my theory on justice. Dolhenty would first address my passion and understanding for the natural law. As he states in his handout, “An Overview of Natural Law Theory”, “We can say that the natural law is not made by human beings. Here, Dolhenty argues my theory on where natural law stems from. My response to him is yes it is man-made. Let’s consider the following points. The term natural law should not be used to simply to refer to the laws of nature which form the basis of science. It is the result of applying reason to what happens in nature. Hence, the actions that humans do in society. Our understanding of the way in which nature works is therefore constantly being modified. Dolhenty responds to my theory on how justice is a man-made law that was created to judge and discipline the ones that defy the law.
Why do I believe in that he asks? First I’d turn the spotlight back on him and quote him from his handout, “Since the law must always be some dictate of reason, natural law also will be some dictate of reason. In fact, it is law discovered by human reason. ” Absolutely, the law does dictate reason and authority. I can’t imagine a world without reason. Justice governs the principles of the law and sets out moral standards. The next point that Dolhenty addresses is my understanding of how people develop their own theory on justice and how they learn morals through experience and education.
As humans, we have the natural instincts of enhancing our minds through what we experience in life and what we are taught in education. Dolhenty being an believer and sharing the same enthusiasm as myself also says that, “All students in any grade level need to be taught of all philosophical studies and in the tradition of Classical Realism. ” Without education, without the teachings and discipline from our parents or elders, no knowledge would be passed down. In choosing one of the group issues, I thought the Martin Luther King Jr. ase was appropriate for my theory. After reading through his case, it’s apparently clear why this is a disputable and controversial case. As I stated before on my belief in the justice system, justice must be carried out to the ones who defy it. In Martin Luther King’s case, he did defy the law and took matters into his owns hands. On an admirable note, his main intensions were to stop and decease racial segregation. Being a person that doesn’t believe in racism, this was for a good cause not only for the African American race but also from a Humanitarian stand point.
As stated from the letter to Martin Luther King from the eight clergymen of Alabama, “We expressed understanding that honest convictions in racial matter could properly be pursued in the courts, but urged that decisions of those courts should in the meantime be peacefully obeyed. ” Knowing that Martin Luther King knew what he was doing, it was for a good cause in his belief and he was well aware of the consequences he was going to face. From a moral ethics standpoint, Mr. King was fighting for what he believed in and what he lived for. Again one can conclude that his actions where moral or immoral udgments. It was a different time back in the 1960’s. The world was still growing and evolving from its past wars that changed the world forever. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in his virtues that he expressed to everyone and he wanted to make people believe in him. Theses virtues were positive beliefs that he learned and practiced in his life and what he came to terms with. As Robin Lovin pointed out in his book stating what Aristotle defined on virtues is, “A virtues is a pattern of behavior learned through practice, so that it becomes part of the way a person normally tends to act. This clearly applies to what Martin Luther King, Jr. background stems from. Knowing he was a clergyman, activist and an iconic leader in the African-American civil right movement, he was raised and educated through Theological and Sociological studies. I would have to say in defending Martin Luther King, Jr. that he should not be charged for his actions and defiance to the law. I know I stated in my belief in the Justice system that justice should be carried out to the ones who defy the law there are some key elements here that exist that would justify the innocence on Martin Luther King’s part.
I would remind the District Attorney of what was stated in the United States Declaration of Independence that our forefathers wrote. As Thomas Jefferson elegantly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men (this means Black men too) are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ” With this factual statement hand written from the 3rd President of the United States, this would secure the judgment and decision on Mr. King’s fate.
The courts at the time were probably not thinking of what Robin Lovin wrote. Lovin states in his section on Society that, “More generally, both the church and the wider society have come to accept that in some basic respects all persons are equal. Each deserves to be treated with respect for his or her personal integrity and with care for possibilities that allow him or her to lead a good life. ” Again, with respect to what MLK believed in and what he fought for, Lovin expresses how we should love thy neighbor and respect and care for one another.
Of course with the religious implications that tie into this but at the time of the 1960’s, there was a thick line between men meaning by skin color. Another great statement made by Lovin that applies to this case is how he talks about living in harmony with everyone. Lovin says, “Live in harmony with nature and with other people, understanding that the limits they set on our self-chosen pursuits are not obstacles to a good life but the framework on which it can be built. ” All in all, our quest for understanding human beings and what we’ve learned as a society will continue to grow and evolve.
The moral choices people make are based on many things, but they are rooted in an understanding of the nature of the world. I’m a huge advocate for ethics, not only in the natural world but also in the work environment. The relationship between ethics and the moral life is as simple as between literary theory and the creative writer. Based on people’s immoral actions and irrational thinking, this is the building blocks for justice and how justice is defined in the world we live in today. I stand by my theory of justice and will continue to watch in daily events how justice is perceived and carried out.