The issue of justice and how it coexists with morality have always been a pertinent topic for discussions and arguments. Often moral actions are considered to be just, and just actions to be moral. It would be reasonable to assume that justice and morality don’t operate independently, and they significantly overlap, although they can come into conflict sometimes. Justice has emphasis on the effects of certain actions and the weight of these effects. Morality, on other hand, is more about the actions, the rightness or wrongness of it based on cultural and societal context in where the morality exists. Principles of justice work primarily with what has happened, as the consequence of an action, while morality often relies on predicting the future, as a preventer of an action; it is concerned with conforming to the code of principles. Despite the differences in these concepts, justice and morality both exist to pursuit the least pain and the greatest pleasure for everyone. Justice and morality are not mutually exclusive and go hand in hand with each other.
Principles of justice are built on the foundation of moral ideas of the community. Laws, as means of achieving justice, are supposed to be built on the basis of moral assumptions as well. It is evident that law and justice should reflect the morals of the society. Martin Luther King Junior in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” asserts that laws must be saturated with a moral sense in order to be just: “A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”(382). In other words, law and morality cannot be seen as separa...
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...al and everything changes with time. It is essential to have the ability to be flexible and be able to bend the accustomed principles in order to be just and moral in relation to others, as we live in times of such a great diversity of opinions. What one thinks is fair and ethical, might be unjust and immoral for the other. Ideally, that is where the law comes in to mediate the divergence of opinions, if the law itself is just.
A theme of justice and morality will never be obsolete, as it is in the core of all communities. Therefore King’s letter is topical today as it was fifty years ago; and it continues to instruct today as it will tomorrow. It inspires to break free of bias, despair and disappointment; to use nonviolence for justice and peace: “I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek” (391).
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