Is justice determined by society?

The word justice often inspires a picturesque sturdy code of morals and rules that we all must abide by. However this could not be further from the truth, throughout human history justice has changed and morph with our moral standards. I would argue that a man killing his wife for sleeping with another man  has the same authority and moral right as does a judge for sentencing that same man to 20 years in prison. Justice isn’t physical and it exists equally both in the man killing his wife and in the judge sending him to jail. Justice is nothing more than power used to uphold an ideology whether it be ‘my wife only sleeps with me’ or ‘murderers are to be strictly punished’. The civil rights movement showed us that society changes do does justice, a similar civil rights movement by the homosexual community for the right to marry displays society’s views can determine what injustice is to a community as well as justice. These examples show justice changing in a largely positive way (I guess this is a matter of perspective), but this has not always happened however shown by the rising of the Third Reich in Germany and the resulting tragedies. These varying examples of justice changing makes it clear that justice has a fluid and  double-edged blade nature.

Justice can be seen to change as society’s views also change. Justice is entirely based on the community’s code of morals and is simply an enforcing of an agreed ideology. This is true whether the community is New York City or a small farming town. The Civil Rights Movement began with Rosa Park’s refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, a rule that was considered ‘justice’. The purpose of this social change of morals and idea of justice was for equality among races. And once again we see that justice can change on a whim.

Justice can be contagious and can spread amongst different communities. An almost identical plight that the African American community went through is now currently being experienced by the LGBT community for an identical purpose of equality. The civil rights movement had enormous effect of the Western World perception of minorities and changed the United States of America forever. This sympathy for the marginalized people fighting for their rights shows that an idea of justice can be contagious. The ideology of equal justice spread first to the black communities and now to the LGBT community. However this only furthers the cause that justice has to be questioned in order to validates its existence.

Justice’s morphing and changeable nature has been taken advantage of by the mighty and powerful countless times. This influence by leaders on society- and thus justice as well- has had the consequence of ending in the greatest tragedies in humankind. The Holocaust is regularly seen as the defining injustice committed by humans in the modern age. But how is that the Nazis and the German people did not see this and stop themselves? This answer is that justice cannot be utterly trusted. The Third Reich is looked down upon with such repulsion because they exposed the morally bankrupt self centred animals that we are. If it wasn’t the Jews it would have been another minorities to which Hitler would have rallied the Germany people against.

In conclusion, Justice is a double edged blade. The evidence of the civil rights movement and LGBT fight for the right to marry proved that as society changes so does justice and that differing versions of justice can be contagious or can die out. Lastly the example of the Holocaust and the Third Reich showed that justice can be manipulated. Yes, justice is determined by society but this does not imply a democratic system. A version of justice can change at any moment by the power of a charismatic leader (whether it be Martin Luther King or Adolph Hitler). Justice’s changing nature is a powerful feature of human civilisation which is essential to society and but must be approached with caution but not shunned.



Thanks for reading.


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