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In the society, there are many contraptions of justice. The people that assume that they are acting in the interests of justice often represent other interests that are not related to justice in any way (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). This approach to justice means that the society’s definition of justice is not really representative of the real ideals of justice on the other hand, the justice as it is commonly known is a contraption and a vague mirage made to distort and camouflage the interests of the dominant powers.
This trend is common in the society and in the global economic mechanizations. The international community works to ensure that the interests of some of the powerful allies are always attained under the guise or façade of justice. When it comes to this point, the definitions of the actual means of justice fail. The injustice that is committed behind this smoke screen always ends up replicating in the future since the only possible product of injustice is injustice. The paper will look at the instances where the community commits actions that are by far seen to be in just under the presence that they are committing a good cause. The paper will examine the various instances when the justice in defeated by the conventionalism that the society is accustomed to.
The war on drugs is a major practice all over the communities that live in the urban areas. The police are always out looking for the people that perpetrate this trade in the poor sections of the cities (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). Sometimes the police are seen to be reluctant with the provision of a universal and an all lasting solution to the menace. The approaches that the police use when dealing with the drug users and the peddlers are often seen to be brutal and inhuman in most of the instances. These approaches end up hurting the people that are supposed to be rehabilitated into better citizens. The users are by large the victims of the presumed quest for justice. Therefore, the treatment of the drug users leads to the paradox of whether the society is keen on the provision of justice in the society.
In most of the cases, the drug raids are undertaken in the times when the society is going to an election period. This means that the political class is not keen on the attainment of a long terms solution to the drug problem. On the contrary, it means that the status quo is good for the leaders since it provides them with another item on their political manifestos. The same politicians are known to cut deals with the big members in the drug trade. They may fight a faction of the drug dealer terrains in order to benefit the other drug leaders who like vultures will come and benefit from the devastations on the territories of their enemies.
However, to the common person, the approach is perfect since it is seen as a forward step towards the cleaning up of the streets. Behind the pleasant smiles of the politicians and the promises of doing something on the drug, issue on the street there is many personal interests involved. The very act of cleaning the streets as a means of improving the street is representative of the different conflicting interests of the powerful members of the society.
According to Thrasymachus, the interests or the power of the powerful is manifested in the acts of justice in the modern society. Looking at the issue of the war against drugs through his lens it is evident that the political leaders commit themselves in the war out of the interests that they hold (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). Some of the interests of the people may be institutional or personal. In the case of the institutional interests, the war against drug is often undertaken in order for the regime to maintain a legacy or to have the chances of reelection.
The political class is often implored by the people to act on the issue of drugs on the streets but they are reluctant to act until when the attainment of the goals of the people and the institutional interests coincide. In most of the cases, the coinciding of the interests of the parties involved does not take place until the reelections. At this point, the administration is seen making effort towards the eradication of the practice yet the option was on the table all through.
Hurting the victims is seen as a move towards the reduction of the drug menace in the street too. However, this is just but a display of the power of the leaders. The police will hurt the drug users who are also victims if one looks at it from another angle. The users are treated in an unjust manner. This leads to the hardening of the victims against all the rehabilitation attempts.
When it comes to this point, the injustice that the victims received in the first instance leads to the creation of new forms of injustice in the future is guaranteed from the actions that the police undertakes (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). The brutality manifested by the approaches used by the police in the fight against the drugs will definitely lead to the creation of a misplaced notion that the best way of conquering the drug war is by the use of violence.
However, the irony of the matter is that the police use the same approach repeatedly yet they anticipate a change in the results. The approach that the government has about the creation of streets that are free from the drugs is unjust. This means that the government is just perpetrating more injustices in the future through the approaches that the police and political elites in towns and in the cities adopt. The only remedy of the vicious cycle of injustice in the society is by changing the approaches towards the users of the hard drugs where it is more accommodative and understanding than it is now.
The government has to break the chain where it treats all the users of the hard drugs with unmerited harshness. The change of approach promises the potential gain where the trend of drug use will be broken. The society has to change its view of the police treatment and the general approach of the government towards the issue (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). This is a crucial part in the reduction of drug use in Canada since the silence of the people and the assumption that the injustice that the police users when dealing with the users of the hard drugs is a warrant for the prevalence of the vice in the society.
In the drug campaign manifested in Canada, the views of Thrasymachus are more relevant than the ones fronted by Plato. Thrasymachus opposed that the quest for justice in the society is a manifestation of other major aspects that touch on the just society today. Justice is more than the act. Justice in the society is a means for the attainment of the goals of the powerful people. the people in positions of power may states that they take certain courses of action for the purpose of justice or the attainment of the common good for all the people.
However, the human nature is not popular for the placement of the interests of the common people before those of the individual. The government is an institution and it may have its institutional goals. However, the greater sources of the direction intensity and purpose of the acts of justice in the society comes from the people that are in the government.
The fight against drugs in Canada is a manifestation of how the interests of the powerful may affect the mode of action and the course of action itself in the society. The politicians use the war on drugs to gain political mileage (Plato. & Bloom, 1991). This means that in the event that eh interests of the politicians are removed from the fight against the drugs in Canada, the war my lack its direction and vigor.
The evidence supporting this assertion is comes from the timing that the politicians use to increase their fight on the drugs. In most of the cases, the war against drugs is vigorous after the first term in office of the politicians who are seeking reelection. It also evident during the campaign for first timers in the parliament. This means that the justice seen by the common people is second to the attainment of the interests of the people.
Plato. & Bloom, A. D. (1991). The republic of plato. [New York]: Basic Books.
Plato gives a prominent place when it comes to the idea of justice. Plato depicted dissatisfaction when it came to the prevailing degenerating conditions that existed in Athens. Plato lived at a time when the Athenian democracy was at the verge of ruin, and, in fact, it was the one that was ultimately responsible for the death of Socrates. It is important to note that, in his writings, Plato gives special emphasis when it comes to the idea of justice. He argued that justice often comes very near to the work of righteousness and morality. Plato was able to contend that indeed justice is a quality of the soul and that it is a virtue where men often set aside their burning and irrational desire to taste pleasure as well as get selfish satisfaction through the things they possess (Nichols, 1987).
Socrates in a bid to shed some light on the nature of justice argues that justice often implies superior characters as well as intelligence. However, injustice is the opposite; it often means that there is a deficiency when it comes to superior character as well as intelligence. Consequently, with this line of thought it can be argued that a man is often wiser because he often acknowledges the principle of limit.
However, like the Athenian society, there are certain things that exist in the current society where people learn to engage in and believe that they are unjust and injurious to the health of their society (Lampert, 2010). There are some of these practices which, unfortunately, are legal in the community and consequently they allow people to act in ways that they do.
These practices often corrupt and make the soul unclean. According to Socrates in the Republic, the most important task in life is taking care of the soul. Socrates held the belief that the soul of a person constituted the real person. The soul was at the center of the character of a person and consequently it was what made a person to be who he or she was. It is the soul that is often the basis of one’s thoughts, values, decisions, and feeling (Nichols, 1987). The state of a person being either wise or foolish according to Socrates also believes to the soul. Just as the body is clean, there is a need to also a need for the soul to be clean, this is through methods such as introspection as well as getting rid of one’s ignorance. An unhealthy soul is a soul that is ignorant of the true priorities when it comes to life. For this reason, Socrates believed that indeed the most important task that people have in this world is the realization of their full potential as people as well as to whom they are (Lampert, 2010).
The society is not perfect the emotions of the society are often faster than intelligence, for this reason it is easier for a man to have sympathy with a suffering person as compared to have sympathy with a thought of how the situation can be looked into and, therefore, solved. The society has taught me that it is always right to give something to the beggars in the street. In fact, the people who do this are angels in the eyes of the society and the holders of good virtues. However, this action is injurious to the soul. This is because; at the end of the day this decision is detrimental to the beggar.
He or she often gets a few coins from the exercise of the day but never a stable income. This is because, in the modern life, the competition for place makes one go where he or she knows can get some money to survive. Therefore, instead of the society supporting ways in which the beggars can be rehabilitated and taught income generating skills, it encourages detrimental activities that always keep the beggars from hand to mouth. Therefore, at the end of the day misery and poverty will be what the beggars have; this is because the society encouraged the wrong way to help them. In a way, when donating money to the beggars, which is often the loose change that one has, one practices and exercise which in turn leads to a paralyzing effect over the whole nature of men. This is because the action repetition is done over and over again, and the society holds this as a virtue while it is not.
Just as in the Athenian society, the current society has put a lot of emphasis on individualism and private property. Rich people have always been the mentors of people in the society. They are the ones that lived the flashy lives and guaranteed airtime on the radio and television. Socrates in the Republic warns about the lifestyle of the guardians. He argues that they love money so much in a way that makes their soul unhealthy and carriers of dangerous diseases. In the pursuit of richness one forgets his or her purpose in life, which is to understand oneself, and, therefore, deviates from the cleanliness of the soul.
In the society that we live in, this is the same case, private property and individualism, which are core ideals, have crushed the true path of individualism that is desirable for the soul. In place of this, it has set up an individualism that is totally false and unhealthy for the soul (Nichols, 1987). When one travels the world and sees starving children one realizes that the current individualism has debarred some parts of the communities from being individuals by letting them live in inhumane conditions. A man’s personality has changed it is no longer measured by the virtues, and values that one possesses but instead the amount of money that one has in his bank account. This has gone to the extent that it has become law where offences against a man’s property are often more severe than those again the person. Property has become the true test of complete citizenship.
In the current society, property often confers immense distinction, honor, respects, titles as well as other pleasant things. The negative issue about this desire and mad craze for property is the fact that a man can kill himself literally by overworking himself with a bid to secure property (Lampert, 2010). The society has tilted the scales and people continue to work wearily as well as tediously and accumulate more property than he or, she requires. On the other side of the fence, sits people that are starved to death and have no inch of property to their name. This according to me makes the soul unhealthy. The regret of this society is that it has been constructed on a basis where one is forced into certain groove- a groove where he or she cannot freely develop what is fascinating, delightful and wonderful. These are the essential qualities that a soul needs to have in order for it to be healthy. Therefore, with the focus on the property and false individualism, people miss the true joy and pleasure of living (Nichols, 1987).
In conclusion, Socrates put it clear that a good person cannot be harmed by other people. People can physically hurt each other, however; it is important to note that what Socrates was truly referring to was the real person; the soul. The soul cannot be physically hurt it can only be harmed when one becomes vulnerable and susceptible and changes his or her beliefs, perceptions on life and values (Lampert, 2010). There are laws and regulations both written and unwritten that exist in the society which contribute to the harming of one’s soul. Such laws and actions according to my view constitute injustice.
This is because they help in the oppression of a set group of people in the society, and they also do help in making the society better by enforcing key virtues and values needed to keep it sane. There is a need to have a control of the property that one owns. This will be counteracting the injustice that exists in the society. After all, according to Socrates, private property makes on insecure which is a disease of the soul. A wealthy businessman is often at the mercy of things that are beyond his or her control. For example, if the wind blows an extra point, or his speculations go wrong, then he might find himself a poor man and his social position deleted. This should never be the case when it comes to a society that is just.
Nichols, M. P. (1987). Socrates and the political community: An ancient debate. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Lampert, L. (2010). How philosophy became socratic: A study of Plato's Protagoras, Charmides, and Republic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The world over, almost all societies are ruled by one code insofar as matters of public opinion are concerned: the majority is right. Accompanying this obnoxious school of thought is the firm opinion that the minority is wrong. In many societies, the individuals that hold opinions and ideas among the minority are considered being wrong. Social logic dictates that there is no way so many people can all be wrong, and similarly no way so few individuals can be right. While this opinion is held in high esteem in virtually every society on the face of the earth, it is wrong. This is because the majority plays judge, jury and executioner on the opinion of the minority. The ideas and opinions of this group are easily disqualified without being subjected to proper analysis and interpretation. While this sits pretty well with the majority in society, it often does more harm than good. It seems logical that the majority of the populace should have the final say, but this should preside after the minority’s point of view is given considerable thought, as well.
Many at times, the opinions held by the majority are the results of the influences of the powerful in society. This often includes the government, the rich and the tycoons. These powerful players in society use their vast resources to influence public opinion from the grassroots upwards. In essence, there is no such thing as public opinion. The opinion that the majority in most situations holds is the result of pressures and influences from those in positions of power. The reality that those in power have the ability to influence the school of thought that many individuals adopt is a powerful tool that is regularly put to work.
According to Plato’s The Republic, Thrasymachus posits that justice in any society is a depiction of the interests of the powerful (1960). This argument is, more often than not, true. In any society, justice in placed in the hands of a few individuals (Reeves, 1998). In many societies, the judiciary is charged with the task of overseeing justice (Morton, 2002). While many judicial organs claim to be independent of governmental influence, it is impossible to believe that many of the decisions they make are made under free will. The government, in this case the powerful player, can easily influence the justice process.
The government’s opinion is the one that will be considered just and right. Based on this premise, Thrasymachus makes complete sense. The justice that is dished out is often the progeny of the powerful who are really in control of the situation. According to Thrasymachus, this is not really justice, but instead just a handing down of the opinions of the powerful (The Republic, 1960). In the case of the majority always being right, then Thrasymachus’ argument holds water. By influencing the opinions of the majority, then the powerful are, in essence, presenting their opinions as the ‘publicly acknowledged’ opinions that are irrefutably right (Plato, 1960).
Plato, on the other hand, bears a different perspective on the matter. According to him, a community ruled by justice is one that lives a good life. Basing oneself on this, then it is safe to say that the ‘justice’ dished out through the opinions of the majority is right and that it fosters peace and harmony in the society. Thrasymachus greatly disagrees with this point of view because the opinions and ideologies of the majority are not the children of free will, but rather those of puppet masters that control public opinion, By having a misconstrued view on justice, Plato also has a flawed view on injustice.
Plato claims that injustice exists where harm exists, and that injustice leads to more injustice are obnoxious. This is because he generalizes the vast array of situations that are capable of presenting themselves in the society. Using this argument, one may them argue that injustice without any harm caused is not injustice. His argument also fails to address the true boundaries of ‘harm’. Is it only physical, emotional or spiritual harm or do other parameters of measuring harm such as unfairness count as well?
Who exactly as the recipient of this harm? Is it the wronged individual or is it self-inflicted harm on the perpetrator. His claims that injustice exists where harm exists do not make sense. This is because they take on a general point of view and fail to highlight specific scenarios that confirm the validity of these claims. As in the case of the majority always being right, Plato’s argument holds no water. This argument, in essence, claims that there is no injustice in the minority being sidelined, or the powerful influencing the opinions of the majority. In reality, his definition of justice begets injustice.
In my opinion, Thrasymachus’ point of view is logical and true. This is because, in reality, the societies we live in are designed to maintain the status quo. As a result, individuals and organizations that find themselves in positions of power are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo. Upsetting the status quo would only mean that these powerful factions no longer wield the power they have become so accustomed to over the years. The most elaborate manifestations of such efforts are in play in almost every government in the world.
The desire to remain in control of the masses sees the governments create their own definitions of justice and injustice (Reeves, 1998). Unfortunately, the well orchestrated government system coerces the masses into accepting these lies as gospel truth. Consequently, the masses live on lies that they fully believe to be truth. Many governments have become accustomed to hiding under the guise of ‘national security’ or ‘for the good of the state’, but in reality it is only for the good of a few individuals. The need to balance power among all the central players in the government such as business magnates, powerful politicians and foreign allies, sees many governments concoct a definition of the truth that suits all these parties. The feeding of this truth to the majority of the masses creates a rift between consenters and dissenters of this opinion. Inevitably, the minority (dissenters) are sidelined and considered being wrong due to the fact that they do not fall in line with the opinions of the majority.
Another clear depiction of Thrasymachus’ truth is in the press. The press is charged with the duty of reporting the truth and informing the masses. However, many press organs and institutions have failed terribly at this job. The world over, governments are known to subtly control the owners of the media, and thereby control the press. By controlling the media, the government is able to determine and regulate the kind of stories that will be given priority and time in the media (Reeves, 1998). From magazines, to newspapers, to televisions and books, the government controls the ‘truth’ that the masses are fed on every day. As a consequence, the media is able to influence the opinions of the majority, and, in turn, achieve their desired outcome.
One of the most elaborate scenarios of the media being the tool of the powerful to influence majority public opinion is in the onset of wars. Down South, the United States of America has been actively involved in the war front. Since the times of the Spanish war where Hearst played a central role in influencing the public to back the decision to go to war, there has been very little change (Hemingway, 1938). The use of the media in drumming up support for governments to engage in war is a classic example of the reality that the majority bears the opinion of the powerful.
Many at times organizations and individuals that stand to benefit heavily from war are at the epicenter of this ‘support committee’. This maintenance of the status quo is essential in proving that the justice society witnesses every day is, in fact, “the advantage or interest of the stronger”. The powerful in society are known to control the opinions of the majority. This subsequently means that they control the dispensation of justice in all matters regarding public opinion. Having the ability to skew the opinions of the majority in their own favour only highlights the truth that the majority is not always right. The truth is that the opinions of the majority are almost always the products of the powerful.
In accordance with Thrasymachus, justice in society is truly the advantage or interest of the stronger. The powerful in society, led by the government, have ensured that they maintain the status quo in the society. Their money and power translate in a camouflaged but lethal ability to manipulate all organs at their disposal. These efforts culminate in the realization of their desires. The belief that the public puts in the media is greatly betrayed when the media bows to these powerful individuals and organizations. They report what they are told and only parrot the words of these powerful individuals and organizations. Justice is, in reality, an illusion. The illusion that justice has prevailed is enough to keep a hungry mob at peace. It is this feeling that the rich and powerful in society strive to control. By determining what is just, they are able to control the opinions of the majority. In truth, the powerful only use the majority to realize their interests or to gain advantage in society. This renders the notion of justice a variable one because justice is whatever the powerful deem it to be.
Hemingway, E. (1938). The Spanish War. London: Fact.
Morton, F. L. (2002). Law, politics, and the judicial process in Canada. Calgary, Alta: University of Calgary Press.
Plato, . (1960). The Republic. Baltimore: Penguin Books.
Reeves, R. (1998). What the people know: Freedom and the press. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
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