Just Society Essay
Just Society :
Does Plato Believe There can ever be a Just Society?
In answering this question I first need to describe what a just society would consist of. A perfect state can only be lead under perfect conditions. Civil Society would be a better name for this state. A just state would be made up of three parts. First, a state is a structure with parts that work together like an organism. If the parts do not work well together then the whole thing breaks down. It must have virtues and voices. It can be wise and brave. The state must have everyone performing their jobs to their best ability. For a state to be just the people within the state must also be just. A man is just when he has a well ordered soul because then you will do the right thing by performing good and just actions. A soul must be allowed to perform its proper function. In a state you cannot define justice by a man because a man can decay into ugliness. Instead you must define justice based on forms.
Plato says that the forms are eternal and everlasting. What constitutes an unjust society is a lack of knowledge. So ignored to create a just society we must educate people. The society must be well rounded in their education for if they are not they will have problems in society. A society must be fit, participation in athletics, they need to be sensitive to prose poetry and have knowledge of mathematics and science. Education cannot be on specialties, but everything mind, spirit and body. Having a well-rounded education will help people to communicate in all areas. The more you know in many different areas the better overall communication a society has. One of the reason there are inequalities in a society is due to lack of knowledge. Everyone in the society must to some extent be a philosopher because they seek education and knowledge. A just society must also have a just ruler. A just ruler would need to be a philosopher. He would have to offer honest leadership which reflects the will and knowledge of society. A perfect society must have temperance, knowledge and wisdom. In justices occur because of a lack of knowledge resulting in greed. In order to get rid of injustice everyone in the society must be educated starting at birth. Women and men need to be equally educated in a well-rounded fashion in order to promote a just society.
In asking if this society could ever work the answer is no. The only way it could work is if all of society is willing to accept knowledge and work hard for education. Even though there is no such thing as a truly unjust society a totally just society will never happen until people are willing to work for it. Another reason there can never be a perfectly just society is because everyone's perception of just is different. We know that the idea of justice is there, but to explain it to where everyone agrees to the idea would be hard to achieve. However, in trying to find true justice the society becomes stronger and more just. Expressing individuality that benefits or hurts a society however, reflects assertiveness, incentive, thought and creativity which strengthen the society.
If a society ever got to the point of being just, the society would no longer have greed, drive for a better life, it would not have poverty or wealth. The society would just stop. There would be no more invention, growth or change. The only change from Plato's time to ours is technology. We are still searching for the perfect government, the question of who is better than who is still asked and education is still a major principle to whether or not you are successful.
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The concept of a just society is rather an abstract concept than the concept that has ever been implemented in the real life. In the history of the mankind, it is impossible to find a society which could be defined as just. At the same time, people always strived for justice and the just society was the ultimate goal of many political and philosophical movements. In the 20th century, the civil disobedience concept was shaped as the efficient and just method of the struggle of oppressed people to re-establish justice in the society and to make the society just.
However, the concept of civil disobedience as means of the creation of a just society is highly controversial and has both opponents and proponents. The supporters of this concept (Coopers and Lybrand, 1997, p.210) argue that civil disobedience is a logical response of citizens to action or inaction of the state and law enforcement agencies, while its critics (Albertson, 1999, p.167) totally deny it.
Firstly, critics of the concept of civil disobedience argue that civil disobedience undermines the existing social order and the concept of the supremacy of the law. Secondly, opponents of civil disobedience argue that disobedient people are disrespectful of the principle of majority rule.
In this regard, it is important to remember about the dualism of law (Ardent, 1972, p.53). In actuality, this means that existing laws are not only imperfect, but they cannot ensure the equality of all citizens and, what is more, they cannot ensure the equality of all laws. As a result, Hannah Ardent argues that there are higher, supreme laws and inferior laws (Ardent, 1972, p.53). Such a hierarchy of laws is very important factor which influences consistently civil disobedience because people cannot fully exercise their rights and liberties as long as there is a dualism of laws and there are higher laws.
In response to the criticism of civil disobedience as an act violating the principle of majority rule, it is possible to argue that disobedience is not an act of one individual only. According to Hannah Ardent, disobedience is a group action (1972, p.54) that means that people are united by some idea or goal which make them disobedient. At this point, it is important to distinguish civil disobedients from conscientious objectors. Therefore, civil disobedients always have their common opinion which unite them and make them oppose and disobey to the existing laws (Ardent, 1972, p.56).
At the same time, it is important to remember that the civil disobedience is not a direct challenge to the law and the existing social order; neither it is the challenge to the majority of the population. The reason and primary cause of the growing disobedience is the loss of governmental authority which contributes to the growing doubts of people about governmental legitimacy. For instance, law enforcement agencies cannot cope with such important problems as drug trafficking and other crimes.
As a result, the authority of the state is totally undermined that raises mass disobedience, which does actually imply the violation of laws. In fact, it is rather an indication of a significant loss of the law’s authority. Moreover civilian disobedience can arise only when a significant number of citizens have become convinced in ineffectiveness of law and when law opposes to moral norms of people.
Ardent, H. (1972). Crises of the Republic. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
Albertson, S. (1999). World Economy. Ottawa: Kingston Books.
Coopers, G. and Lybrand, M. (1997). Generating Economic Growth through Young Technology Companies. New York: New Publishers.
Danaher, C. (1999). Seven Arguments for Reforming World Economy. London: Routeledge.
Russell, G. (2004). Modern Philosophy and Society. New York: Random House.