“The Bankruptcy of Justice and the Ethics of Life”
Money can’t never replace somebody’s life. Our conception of justice in this country is morally bankrupt and dehumanizing. We have created an ethical vision of life that is substantially cheap and terrifying.
True justice begins with this greatest existential question: what must we do as a community, people, and a nation to humanize and value life itself, for example, the life of the poor and the marginalized, and to ensure that all lives really matter (existential philosophy, theological ethics, sociology)?
True justice should compel us to ask another pivotal question: do I have the right of existence and the right to live in my community as a constituent member of an ethnic/racial/gender/religious group (ethics, gender studies, religion)?
True justice promotes human life at all cost by creating a non-threatening and peaceful atmosphere for the vulnerable and ensures that all members of society, especially the racialized and minoritized individuals and groups, would flourish and explore their full potential as citizens of this country (nationalism) and members of the human family (cosmopolitanism), concurrently.
True justice deals with the structures and systems in society that dehumanize life itself and undermine the worth of people as bearers of the image of God (theological anthropology, politics, government).
True justice is established on the premise that my happiness and freedom are as important as those of my neighbor, and that my future possibilities and potentials are as vital as those who live in a different community or those who belong to a different social class or racial group (political theory, economics, philosophy of race).
Justice as monetary reparation is not fully adequate and holistic. We need a better justice system in this country that is integral in all areas, aspects, and departments of human life and society. Our passion for justice is too weak. We are too easily satisfied with cheap acts of justice, which we believe to be true justice.
***I wrote this piece as a reaction to the new settlement associating with Breonna Taylor’s life and death. Click on the link to learn about it: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/us/breonna-taylor-settlement-louisville.html