Re[2]: The Violence Solution

Guru George (
Tue, 30 Dec 1997 23:28:20 +0100

On Tue, 30 Dec 1997 11:25:55 -0500
"Abraham Moses Genen" <> wrote:


>My concern, in this limited instance, is the hopeful expansion of the
>legal -- and social paradigm -- to include the understanding that true
>equity resolutions necessary for the creation of an ideal social order are
>best focused on relieving (or eliminating) a society of as many of the
>inequities that exist among its members as may be possible.

One can understand that there are inequalities of wealth, luck, position,
etc., etc., and that you might want to even those out. But why call
this a matter of *justice* rather than matter of plain old inequalities
of wealth, luck, position, etc., etc?

Are we to take it that the produce of society as a whole is controlled
(and/or should be controlled) by some central authority - and that we
have social injustice because that entity isn't doing its job (of
distributing the produce of society equally) right?

In response to this it must be remarked first of all that, as a matter
of plain old justice, the produce of society is already owned by the
individuals who produce it, and not by any central authority. Secondly,
I don't see how the central authority can escape the charge of

The purpose of law as usually understood is to keep the peace, to
resolve disputes, etc. This is a *procedure* for which an objective
standard is needed. Why does the law now *also* have to be used as a
tool to do this totally *different* job (which has no objective standard)
of evening out social inequalities? The one is a formal procedure, the
other is a substantive, utilitarian action: why mix them?

The thing about injustice is that it requires a perpetrator. In the
case of the inequalities you mention, there is no perpetrator, precisely
because those injustices are *unintended* consequences of (usually) perfectly
just social interactions.

It was nobody's intention that people vary in the degree of power they
have over the world and themselves; so there is nobody to catch, bring
into a legal system, and punish.

Seems to me that the whole purpose of this concept is to justify the
initiation of force to attain one's preferred social distribution. Only if a
matter is legal is the use of force generally seen as justified, so
social inequalities have to be insinuated to be something like the
result of a kind of "injustice" in order to have the use of force to sort
them out justified. Quite frankly, this stinks. In a legally free and
just society, social inequalities, inequalities in power, are *ACCIDENTAL*.
Therefore they require not a legal remedy but concerted remedial action
*within the law*, in the sense of justice as ordinarily understood.

Better simply to say that you see people born with unequal chances, or
whatever, and appeal to peoples' sense of decency to do as much as they
can to even things out voluntarily. This sense of decency isn't a sense
of injustice except to the wooliest thinkers, but simply a desire to
lend a helping hand.

With regard to government, the best thing the government can do is
catalyse voluntary solutions, and then only in the direst emergency
"fill in the gaps".

Due to legitimate expectations, we couldn't move to a system like this
immediately, but it ought to be the ideal we move towards.

There is actually a tremendous amount of good-will out there in the
world. All people need are efficient, workable channels for them to
pour their hearts down. "Social justice" seekers ought, IMHO, to devote
their undoubted passion and good will to creating such channels (with
the *just* help of government, where necessary) rather than worrying the
fabric of the economic system with pseudo-legal solutions to a pseudo-legal

Guru George