Given the protest movement that erupted from the senseless and immoral killing of George Floyd, I have been thinking about justice lately. The struggle for justice is the hallmark of a civilized people, and so it is right that we should be mindful of what it is and, even more so, what it demands.
Justice is love in action. To act justly is to chisel away whatever holds back or disfigures love. Any nation dedicated to justice must be rooted in a predisposition toward loving kindness for one another, but kindness is not complacency. It is respectful, but never acquiescent to what is wrong for the sake of shallow propriety. It is well spoken, but never silent in the face of persistent calamity.
The exercise of justice necessitates wisdom, for the just person must be able to discern right from wrong action in chiseling away all the evil in his world. Therefore, a just nation is exercised in wisdom, and it is dedicated to the virtuous habits that lead to greater wisdom. Virtue is the end product of education, inquiry, artistic expression and moral disposition. Therefore, a just nation is committed to education and creativity in the arts and the natural sciences, and it is supportive of any and all religious or philosophical systems that provide for a moral perspective on life.
A just nation is a nation of citizens committed to doing the common good. Anything short of that is not a just nation, but rather a collection of self-interested and warring factions blinded by their own presumptions. The cry for justice is the first step in relearning how to love one another and in rebinding ourselves to the common good. There is no lasting peace without justice. There is no community without justice. There is no progress without justice. In the end, there is really no viable choice for mankind but justice.