Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Carl Becker’


Talking about justice in practice takes us into the complexity of politics (broadly used).  We must inevitably work with people in a pluralistic culture.  Sometimes we will share the same views, but for different reasons.  Other times we will have divergent views.  In his 7th chapter of Generous Justice, Tim Keller risks entering the dark room to switch the light on for us.

The Justice Card

Keller shares a story of staff members for a nonprofit deciding who should represent the agency at a conference.  Some lobbied for a senior staff member who was a female.  Others a younger man who had less experience but was particularly gifted in such situations.  Somehow, those who thought the woman should go claimed it was “a justice issue.”  It brought dialogue to an abrupt end.  The woman was chosen, but reluctantly by those who didn’t want to be called unjust.  They weren’t unjust, but this story reveals that “justice” can be person relative.

By that Keller means that people often have very different understandings of justice.  Often people on both sides of debates (abortion, tax rates, war etc.) claim they are being just and the other side unjust.  Presuppositions are at work to support these very different understandings of justice in that situation.

“Democrats think of it more in collective terms. … Republicans think of justice more individualistically.”

Our debates on issues exist because fundamentally we can’t agree on what justice is.  Many of the terms used to define justice, like “freedom” and “equality”, are equally vague.  We go chasing shadows.  Think about “harm” regarding abortion.  Pro-choice people don’t want harm to come to the woman.  This is their concern, forgetting there are other people involved in this (yes, people!).  Pro-life people don’t want harm to come to the child, the mother, the father and other people.

(more…)

Read Full Post »