An Essay On Justice


Justice is a concept that involves people getting what they have coming to them. In a sense, the good reap rewards, the bad reap punishment. This essay will examine justice in its many forms and explain the benefits and shortcomings of each form.

Justice can be broken into three major categories: social, personal, and supernatural. Social justice includes a government's legal system, personal justice involves the a person's own ethics, and supernatural justice refers to karma, benevolent gods, and the like. I'll address each one in detail.

Social Justice

Social justice is the largest and most important form of justice to most societies. It entails the act of setting up a system of laws established by the society itself, and then having officials enforce the laws. Social justice is usually influenced by the dominant religion and governmental group.

This is usually a major benefit to the people because it establishes an ethical code of conduct for the masses. Through social justice everyone knows what's right and wrong according to their peers, and they will be able to understand the disciplinary action that will be placed on them if they go against those laws.

The major problem with this system of justice is that it allows the majority to create the terms of justice and the ethics of the minorities will usually be treated as less important, or completely ignored. This can be seen in many societies with controversial issues. Euthanasia is a good example. The majority may think it euthanasia is wrong and pass laws punishing those who assist others in suicide. These laws are viewed as ethically correct to the masses, however for the few who think that euthanasia is an acceptable practice, they are now considered wrong. Thus, social justice is for some and not for others.

Personal Justice

This happens to everyone regardless of their moral values. Personal justice, sometimes called a conscious, occurs when a person has an emotional response to their actions as a product of a person's upbringing and their learned ethics. The view of personal justice is usually similar to the justice of the society a person was raised in, but as a person matures and experiences life and other cultures their personal ideals of justice usually change.

For example, most children are brought up thinking that stealing is wrong because the society they grew up in feels that stealing is wrong. Thus, the personal justice for that person is that thieves should be punished. However, in growing up a person may see that certain corporations have unethical business practices and they may then feel justified to steal from them to hinder that company's growth.

Personal justice is very helpful because it conforms to a person's own ethics. Everyone is different and changing thus making social justice clumsy and hard to work with on an individual scale, but personal justice will always be fitting to a person's own beliefs because they are part of a person's beliefs.

Of course, this can be a major problem for other people if a person suddenly feels justified that they should be the homicidal king of the world. This is one reason why total Arian governments tend to fail. Personal justice can also be a problem to those who take it too hard. If a person does something that they feel is very wrong, they may never forgive themselves for it and then their personal justice will plague them for the rest of their lives.

Supernatural Justice

It is believed by many people that justice is controlled by a god, energy, or force. It is also believed that this entity is infallible and exhibits perfect justice. Ask a Hindu what justice is and they will explain Karma to you, ask a Christian and they will explain Judgment Day. These are both examples of a form of justice that goes beyond human intervention being controlled by a supernatural force.

Most people who believe in supernatural forms of justice take comfort in the fact that justice will be served to everyone and are also deterred from doing what is wrong because they fear the supernatural justice being brought upon themselves. Most people who don't believe in a supernatural form of justice believe that it is a human creation designed to scare people into doing what a religion deems as right, and that people are more sedated in the thought that a god or similar entity will punish the wicked for them.

Assuming that supernatural justice is real, then people don't need to worry about justice at the social or personal level because it is already taken care of for us. This is obviously beneficial to all people because in the end every one will get what they deserve whether it be good or bad.

If supernatural justice is merely a human creation then you have a problem because some people may become apathetic about justice thinking that justice will be taken care of by a higher-power when in fact it won't. For example, Christian teaching says to turn the other cheek and not pass judgment on people. However, if the Christian god doesn't exist then justice will never be dealt with in a Christian society and the wrong-doers will never receive punishment.


This essay isn't meant to claim that one form of justice is better than the other. The essay's purpose is to objectively point out the benefits and flaws of each form of justice making it easier to compare them. Everybody would agree that justice is important in our lives regardless of the form it takes, but you'll notice that none of the forms of justice are without flaw. It then becomes important to find a system of justice for a society to function properly and prevent disorder.

Personally, I feel that the ideal form of justice would mean an increase in personal justice, a decrease in social justice, the removal of supernatural justice. I think that justice would work better if people were taught to be more responsible for their own actions, thus the increase in personal justice. However, I feel that there is a necessary need for social justice to remain because people need to be kept in check by their peers in order to prevent chaos. I would like to see the removal of supernatural justice because until the supposed entity actually explains to me how it decides what's right and wrong, I'd rather just take my chances without it.