About the Legal and the Just
By Rodney Dodsworth – March 2, 2016
Modern Leftists have used and abused the term “justice” in too many ways to count. Whether it’s social justice or environmental justice or any one of a plethora of other fuzzy forms, I haven’t run across any attempt to actually define the term. By keeping the definition ambiguous, the Left can use it in any way they wish, meaning in a way that supports their immediate goals.
A few months ago I managed to call in to the morning C-Span show, Washington Journal. I asked a guest from the Progressive Policy Institute, “what constituted social justice in America; how would I recognize it when it arrives?” To my initial surprise, he was momentarily flummoxed. The “deer in the headlights” look gave away the difficulty of answering an outwardly simple question.
His answer was that social justice could never be reached!
In retrospect, it makes sense that something that cannot be defined cannot be attained.
As opposed to Leftists who cannot define their goals yet are willing to destroy society in order to reach them, the statesmen of our Declaration of Independence had no problem with the term “justice.” They also differentiated between that which is just and that which is legal.
As wonderfully explicated in Paul Eidelberg’s On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence, just laws are in accordance with the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. On the other hand, legal statutes are drafted, passed and signed into law according to the constitution of the nation.
Thus, there is one world standard for justice. On the other hand there are as many standards for legal statutes as there are nations.
World opinion in 1776 regarded the Declaration as an act of treason. Little to no distinction was made between the legal and just. To be legal was to be just, and revolution is always illegal.
But our Founders appealed to higher authority, the highest of all. They didn’t ask the world to judge their actions, but appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions . . . “
It is the comingling or equating of the just with the legal that allows minds with totalitarian leanings to sink nations into misery. It ensconces majority rule, the stronger over the weaker with the patina of legitimacy. It is the rejection of this distinction between the legal and the just that dignifies all forms of tyranny such as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
Our Framers insisted that the purpose of government is to secure our unalienable, Natural Rights. That is the essence of justice. They also wrote that free government demands the consent of the governed. That is the legal.
Together, the just and the legal make for societal happiness. It can be no other way.