Liberty and justice, two words that mean so much more than most can describe. Let’s start with Liberty:
A condition in which a man’s will regarding his own person and property is unopposed by any other will.
That my friends is the definition of liberty. When you understand the basic premise of an ideology it is then easier to ascertain the motivations of others in respect to that singular understanding.
Our government proclaims liberty and justice for all but who among us really believes (according to the above definition) that liberty is within our reach or supported by our present laws and regulations? Property ownership is always encumbered with yearly fees and taxes, some more egregious than others but all encumbrances are attached to laws that require payment with penalties that will eventually cause the owner of the property to forfeit that property if those bills are not paid. Try not paying your property taxes and see what happens. True and complete property ownership is not a part of our lives or Liberty.
Liberty is a goal to some but a realization to others that a mans will is often regulated by an others will for a variety of reasons. Society demands that we all subjugate our dreams of liberty to some extent through the process of imposing boundaries on our utopia. Liberty is a dream that cannot be fully realized and must have limits in the form of laws to balance our desire and the practicality of it’s ideals and goals.
Laws are necessary in a society that defines itself as offering liberty. The idea of liberty requires a balance of intent with all who proclaim liberty for themselves. If one among the throng fails to sustain the precepts of liberty than in a sense liberty for all is threatened. Hence the excuse for laws made to regulate those who would not or could not maintain their own liberty by requisite demands of protecting the liberty of others.
The goal of a society of liberty is perhaps like teaching to the lowest common denominator of any given group of students. It is precisely those with the greatest need that disrupt the idea of liberty for others that must be regulated to protect the vestiges of liberty for all. The more responsible individuals act and react to those around them the more liberty can be enacted for all. This process can also be explained in the terms of an individual with an overactive dog. Leash laws in some areas are required forcing the man to walk his dog in safety.
The dog does not understand but the leash actually protects his freedoms and future from devastation and disaster and protects the owner from liability and heartache. We often forget how certain laws actually enhance our liberties and freedoms, like the leash does for the owner and the dog.
But it must be understood that liberty not fully enacted is not in line with the definition. Another example and an argument used on the right and the left suggests that when an ideology is not fully implemented the potential for that ideology is never realized. The same is true with Liberty. We are allowed some of the benefits but until it is fully and completely implemented we will need laws to regulate those who would do us harm and forcefully alter our designs for freedom as defined. And therein lies the conundrum; laws my protect but they also regulate, limit and prevent the open and free exercise of individual will and choice.
The simple example of gravity and choice illustrates this problems between liberty and laws. A man standing next to a very high and rocky cliff has the choice to jump or not to jump. A sign clearly states “No Jumping allowed”. If the man jumps he disobeys the law but also looses his life and any further choices. If he follows the law and steps back the choice still remains but he needs to evaluate his position, hopefully realizing that the law (in this case) was made to protect his choice and liberty, as are many of our laws today designed to protect us from others and ourselves.
Justice: Depending on where you look the definition is open to interpretation. It is generally agreed however that justice includes an agreed to fairness that is derived from the social construct of any given society. In other words justice can mean anything from Plato’s version of an “issue from God” to Egalitarians view of equality, and John locks contention of justice being the result of Natural Law. There are others but what does Justice mean as it was written in our Pledge of Allegiance, which by the way was not adopted by congress until 1942 with the added “under god” adopted in 1954, on Flag Day.
In order to understand the term justice as used by our Founding Fathers we need to go back to the Preamble of the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the people establish Justice. We established the definition of what justice means. In our original declaration for independence we recognized the need for a new standard of Justice based on equality and our divine relationship with our Creator, endowed by Him with the understanding that we all have “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Justice for us is in the process of how we treat each other and how we view one another as equally recognized under the slogan “liberty and Justice for all.”
“For some, however, "liberty" has been reduced to a license for self-centeredness and "justice" has been diminished to mere retaliatory or punitive action.” www.ethicsdaily.com
Justice for all requires action and motivation for the benefits of others not so blessed. Justice has to include all or there is no Justice at all.
In the first time in Human History a government was created to establish the process to create “a more perfect union” between Justice and Liberty, in order that all would be benefited by the process and recognition of our endowment from God. This history was a fundamental shift away from the prevailing methods of governance. No longer did we kneel to a king or queen. No longer did we fear the reprisals of an unspoken but all powerful government (we’re talking history here folks). For the first time ever, we were given the opportunity to self govern, to vote, to engage in free speech and to make laws that would assist us in all achieving the goal of complete “Liberty and Justice for all”.
Now all we have to do is earn it….