« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
cepts of justice require the state to furnish op-
However prevalent the sentiment that more than equality of right to use his opportunities
is due to any one, it is not an instinctive sentiment. The contrary is the fact. Unless we are dominated by some other sentiment than justice, we instinctively yield assent to Aristotle's proposition that the prize flute should be awarded to the best flute player whether opulent or indigent, literate or illiterate, citizen or slave. A group of small children exploring the fields and woods for wild flowers will concede to each what flowers he finds whether by his better eyes or better luck. So with groups of small boys fishing in the streams and brooks. In games of cards for stakes, the players do not expect to hold cards of equal value and they concede the stakes to the winner, whether won by his greater skill or superior cards.
Also there is an instinctive sentiment that the evil results of one's own conduct should be borne by him alone. If one suffers loss through his own misjudgment, incapacity, or want of care, then, whatever the precepts of other virtues may require, we do not feel that justice requires us to bear any part of that loss. On the
contrary, we feel instinctively that he should bear the loss alone, that it is the natural penalty for his lack of judgment, capacity, or care. If my neighbor neglects to insure his house and loses it by fire, I see no reason why he should not bear the loss alone.
In this connection, perhaps I should not omit to notice references often made to the rights of labor, the rights of capital, property rights, and personal rights, as if they were different in their nature and importance. I do not as yet see such difference. All rights are personal rights, and the right of each to control his labor, his savings, his person, and his property is the same. I am not yet convinced that the right of the laborer to make use of his labor is superior to that of the capitalist to make use of his capital; that, whatever his greater need, the right of one without property is superior to that of one who has property; that the right to get is superior to the right to save. It is also loudly proclaimed that "property rights" are of little importance com
pared with "human rights," unmindful of the truth that the right "of acquiring, possessing and defending property" is, as much as any other, a human right and, as such, necessary to be maintained if the race is to rise above its primitive condition of poverty. However, I do not see that the differences, if any, affect the general question of individual rights.
The conclusion I arrive at is this: Society, and with it the race, cannot survive unless it restrains to some extent individual freedom of action, nor can any particular society long survive if it carry that restraint too far. It should, therefore, ascertain and maintain the line, the equilibrium, between necessary freedom and necessary restraint. It is only by such action of society that justice can be established and the welfare of the race be advanced. This brings us to the question of how and by what instrumentalities society can best perform this momentous task, the securing of justice. This will be considered in the next chapter.
JUSTICE CAN BE SECURED ONLY THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL ACTION. THE BEST FORM OF GOVERNMENT
N the present state of civilization society
cannot act effectively for determining and maintaining the line, the equilibrium, between necessary freedom and necessary restraint, or in short, justice, except through some governmental organization with power to define and enforce. Appeals to altruistic sentiments will not suffice. This truth was recognized by the framers of our federal and many state constitutions, in naming first among the purposes of government the establishment of justice.
Any government, however, or rather those entrusted with its administration, may through mistake or wilfulness do injustice to some of its subjects. It has often done so in the past and