John Rawls has outlined two principles through which he has based his views concerning justice, in the first one; a person who is involved or affected by practice has the right to be liberated from it. In this principle, there is always a justification if one proves that they had all the reasons not to behave as required. The second one states that; inequalities are subjective and they cannot always work to one’s advantage. (Rawls, 2001) This principle describes a set of different societies that have to follow certain practices which make them be judged according to what is required of them at their respective positions. It is to be noted that although there is a difference in how resources are distributed in this principle, the results will always work out for the good of everyone concerned. The two principles present justice as freedom, equality, and the compensation of the good done. When for instance a society has set guidelines, the responsibility depends on a person’s capability and social status. In such a setting, therefore there is no feeling of discrimination. In situations where the society comprises of people of the same ability and status, they will come together and define principles that will be comfortable to them. These guidelines will always be referred to in case of a problem. Conflicts come about when the set rules cannot work and a certain party feels undermined. In that case, when found appropriate, they are revised and a fair line is drawn to suit all. (Rawls, 2001)
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When it comes to moral principles, it is expected that one has to act accordingly, whether it will be of benefit to him or not. The question of justice will mostly arise when the interests of individuals are self-centered and none of them is willing to give it up for the benefit of the other. Each one of them expects judgment to come in their favor. When it comes to a group of people with similar practices, they will follow a particular routine that has been generally agreed on. All their actions are aimed at fulfilling a particular goal. Failure to accomplish this by any of the members will be looked at as a letdown to the group and in such cases, the member may decide to detach himself from the group if he finds the conditions unbearable. Fairness and justice are connected in a way that people will feel being treated fairly when the circumstances and situations around them are satisfied and none of them feels burdened by the other. A point of justice and fairness is reached when both parties mutually acknowledge their responsibilities and are ready to work hard to achieve their goals. When it comes to justice, it is all about an individual benefiting from certain procedures. (Rawls, 2001)
Fairness involves merging the interests of individuals and drawing procedures that will equally benefit all. The interests of some individuals may not be adequately met because it is all about sacrificing for the majority. A practice is considered to be just if it is by the laid down criteria. However, may not always work and they have to make adjustments that will be accepted and agreed on.
From the two concepts, we find that when a group of people is governed by set guidelines; those guidelines are to be followed and adapted in every aspect of their lives. The rules are made collectively by these people who share similar interests. As they are being made, care is taken to ensure that they are acceptable and practical. When a conflict arises, these guidelines are referred to find a solution that will be accepted. In this case, no consideration is given to a party concerning what is suitable for him or her. However, if the set guidelines become less practical to a certain extent, they are amended and the seemingly suitable ones are put in place. When the set laws have to be frequently changed to suit a certain situation, a lot of issues may be compromised which will affect a group of people who are not influential. The rules end up favoring only those that are in a good position to protest. On the other hand, when they are strictly followed, there will be no time wasted to solve a problem; this is because the guidelines have been written down and can always be revisited in case of doubt. They also make people personally take responsibility for their actions, knowing that failure to do what is required will lead them into problems.
When we look at fairness, the procedures that are followed are not discriminative; judgment is reached after because each person has different responsibilities and capabilities. It is expected that these individuals receive what they deserve even if it is of the same measure, yet acceptable as appropriate. This principle does not require any adjustments because every case is treated as it comes considering the factors. It may be difficult though to find an appropriate solution in situations where one has to be on the losing side for the other one to gain. Something is considered fair when no one is made to suffer for the sake of the other. It may not be easy to bring together or find people who share the same interests because we live in a society of diversity and there are specific rules that will always work out justly for all. If each person has to be considered according to the need of the hour, mistakes are bound to happen that may be difficult to correct. (Rawls, 2001)
Rawls’ view of justice is contradictory and is not practical if true justice has to be found. According to him, justice is determined by laws that have been laid down by the people who share interests. However, these laws are subject to change if the parties feel that their concepts cannot work. This implies that the laws are made according to the prevailing situations which render them unreliable by the parties who depend on them. A society needs rules that they can always rely on to administer justice to them, as much as they need to be dynamic, they should not be changed to compromise the morality of the society.
The public administration has a greater role to play in ensuring that the public receives fair judgment on their actions. (Richard, 2007) When setting rules to govern the people, the administration office should have an analysis of the people’s way of life. They should understand that people have different lifestyles, cultures, and backgrounds. They should try as much as they can to provide equal services that will not prove discriminative to any individual. (Richard, 2007)
The administration should ensure that the set guidelines are adhered to and those found with any offense should be prosecuted and punished accordingly. By doing this, they will always ensure that law and order are maintained. Each person found with an offense should be given punishment to discourage repetition of the same mistake. Corruption has been a major drawback in administering justice; it has been a means that has always been used by the fortunate in society to undermine the needs of the less fortunate. If the administration takes its stand and completely refuses to engage in practices that will promote this deed, the dream towards a just society shall be realized. Peoples’ cultural and religious practices should be considered when administering justice. This will ensure that the religious values are maintained by the individuals being prosecuted.
In conclusion, no rule will always be justified as fair. With a diversity of culture and the changing values, laws are subject to change to fit the current demands. It is also true that the laws of a group of people are made by the opinions of the majority. In this case, the rights of the minority are compromised yet they are accepted as the only means of displaying fairness. (Rawls, 2001)
Rawls J. (2001): Justice as Fairness: Harvard University Press.
Richard C. (2007): Democracy and public administration: M.E Sharpe.