Dullness is the First Principle of Justice

Complexity

Every theory of justice should be boring and dull. Dullness is what justice is all about. “It depends on”, “it’s complicated”, “it varies”, “it’s very nuanced”, “it’s somewhere in between” should be the phrases populating any philosophical work on justice. Clear and simple principles, even if arrived at through nuanced and complex reasoning, are an injustice to the concept of justice.

Justice is about the boring middle. For instance, justice is not about equality, because “it depends”. Giving all students, no matter what their ability or effort or accomplishment an equal grade offends our conception of justice, even if in general we view equal treatment as fundamental to justice. Neither is justice about rights, or better it’s not only about rights. Rights are important, as is equality, but in primitive or dysfunctional societies without an adequate justice system it may be best from the point of view of justice to hand over a pedophile to the parents of his victim.

Clear, absolute and immediately comprehensible principles that are true no matter the context and that allow for no exceptions are tempting and often propounded as the essence of theories of justice – although not of most sophisticated ones. And yet such principles are always wrong to some extent and in some circumstances. But then what about torture, slavery, murder and rape you may ask. Well, most of us would concede that there can be extreme cases in which torture is acceptable, even if only in theory (think of ticking bomb cases). We condone forced labor on a massive scale in our prison systems. Not only do we condone it – our allowing it could be considered a moral shortcoming – but there may be good reasons, moral reasons, for it: teaching people skills, fostering a sense of community etc. While there’s probably no good reason for capital punishment, other cases of murder can be morally justified: self-defense only being the most commonly accepted. And rape? While I can’t see any good reason to rape anyone in any circumstance, we do accept that there’s rape in our societies. No theory of justice should claim that we have to do everything possible to avoid any and all cases of rape that currently occur in our societies. Trying to do that would mean giving up other important rights such as privacy. We do and must accept some amount of crime. Hence any theory of justice has to be non-ideal. Ideals are useful but only take us so far. It should be considered lazy to limit yourself to an exhortation of utopia, no matter how well you argue for it.

Even theories of justice that do allow for wishy washy nuance and boring contextuality often posit a small set of grand principles as a basic ground of justice. They permit exceptions, but rarify them. The nuance and complexity they allow is in the exceptions or in the build up to the clear and simple principles, not in the principles themselves. Theories such as those of Rawls are typical of this. The voluminous body of criticism that has followed the publication of A Theory of Justice proves my point. Not all of that criticism was justified, but some of it was – notably that of G.A. Cohen but others as well. Nobody today accepts Rawls’ principles of justice as they are stated in A Theory. We all see the complexity that Rawls avoided or ignored, for example regarding incentives.

The problem, of course, is that there’s no audience for dullness – I know what I’m talking about here. So people are tempted to strive towards simplicity and clearness. That’s OK as long as there’s a thriving community that can offer criticism and nuance. The problem is not the producers of theory, but the audience. Producers can and perhaps should offer clear and simple principles, on the condition that they have complex and nuanced justifications, but the audience should be aware that it never stops there. Unfortunately, it always stops there.

Advertisements

One thought on “Dullness is the First Principle of Justice

  1. 1. In Russia, there is no strong left opposition. Party Zyuganov – racist.
    Why?
    Answer.
    a. Dial google site for Russian “Sochi Dargins” will come out on the site of the St. Petersburg branch of the party Zyuganov racist slander article annoying ethnic Dargin titled “How a Russian Caucasus”
    Attend to that in the Nogai steppe (where are Neftekumsk and South Sukhokumsk) descendants of Russian colonialists (who Bole than indigenous Nogai) becomes smaller than Dargins
    b. dial the search site Yandex “Magomedov tram” will come out on the Russian slanderous Caucasophobia
    at. in close to Zyuganov’s party newspaper “Soviet Russia”, “kavkazofobskaya article Caucasian ridge problems”

    2. In the Russian fascists in power – Zhirinovsky, Minister of Tkachev as an example
    Fascists from Russia sometimes like evrosoyusche power in the United States, a fascist Alexei Navalny in 2008 proposed to close the Chechens and Ingush in the ghetto

    3. Let us promote the idea. Seychs almost everywhere in the world the state gives a person 100% set of civil rights upon reaching a certain age. It is necessary to demolish the medieval anachronism. The rights should be tied to the level of development and scholarship

    4. According to information available on the territory of St. Petersburg, Bryansk region passed an unconstitutional ordinance (the AKP), according to which at night are prohibited from being on the street by people under 18 (!) Years. This contradicts the basic law of Russia – the Constitution, Article 27 on freedom of movement. In addition: 1. Under current law people have the right to start work at the age of 14, to have sex with 16 years, to use public transport to 7 years. A closer look we see that: – The law does not prohibit part time in private, such as for example, help in plumbing work or setting up computer equipment. ACP prevents the implementation of a permanent employment or part-time because it is possible to return to the place of residence to part-time work at any time of the day – the AKP prevent sexual and personal life of the citizens, since the law is not regulated, what time should commit acts of intimacy, acts of intimacy is allowed to do at any time, in any dwelling, respectively, can not be regulated by the return from the meeting – Citizens have the right to use public transport, long before 18 years of age, respectively, prevents the return of the AKP in the residence with good transport links. And if long-distance trains arriving in the city of residence of a citizen in the night? 2. Many citizens are forced to help elderly relatives, which are moved through the city 3. Nonresident citizens often come back at night in a hostel in the city study of native settlements 4. The citizens formed a negative image of the police and the state as a whole (the risk that young people protest can go to the extremist community) 5. Discrimination contributes to mental illness, aggravates social problems may be a factor of depression and suicide crimes 6. The citizen is not obliged to carry a watch, have hours and hours to be able to use. So this is a gross violation of national and international. 7. Moreover, it is a violation of the Russian Federation adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Articles 2,7,9,10,12,17 pact (since 16 years, people have the right to privacy), 18,21,22, 26 Please distribute, write to the United Nations in the Court of Human Rights, the President of Russia, the Russian prosecutor’s office, the investigative committee of Russia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s