What Makes a Just Society

Topics: Sociology, Political philosophy, John Rawls Pages: 6 (2338 words) Published: November 9, 2009
What Makes A Just Society?

Throughout history, people have been trying to create an improved, fair, and equal system of justice, not only to better society in which one lives, but to also find a sense of meaning in what responsibilities people should hold within their civilizations in order to create this just way of living. As early as the Old Testament within the Bible, we see examples of how the Hebrews formed their own justice. This can be seen in the in text of the Ten Commandments which were written in a form of law. Laws were significant even in this basic form of context, such as the Ten Commandments, which offered the ideas of right and wrongdoings and the sin for violating others for one’s own benefit. This not only harmed the person but harmed the civilization as a whole where respect was considered essential during this time among each other (honor thy neighbor). Overall, the law of the Ten Commandments was considered essential to forming a better and fair society within the Hebrew system of justice. The systems of justice do not stop here. The Greeks and Romans were known for developing a justice system which laid out rules, laws, and rights for the people to follow, and even created a justice of a trial with jury in order to make sure trials were fair for the accused criminals who did not follow the justice system. Today, we take pieces of what we have learned from centuries ago to create our own form of justice in order to maintain a better society. We use this previous basic knowledge in order to shape and help uphold our own foundation towards protecting the good of our society.

But what would I consider to be my own vision of how to make a better and more just society in today’s world using the knowledge that I already have? What would I do if given the opportunity to change society for the better? I know that citizens are not powerless, that we all the opportunity to try and make changes for the common good. We cannot create a future if we choose to remain silent and let others govern decisions for us. It is important that we choose to educate ourselves on social justice issues and act on these issues even if it is one small piece at a time. What I believe ends up making an unjust society, is our lack of knowledge. But, what happens if we do not know where to even begin in helping to change society? We first must understand the basic definition of the term “society” and “justice” in order to begin to make these simple changes ourselves. A society, defined from Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a humanly created organization that connects individuals in a common culture and social structure and those people are expected to abide by the same laws. Here, culture therefore is defined as “the knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are passed from person to person and from one generation to the next in a human group or society” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Culture can also include sanctions, values, beliefs, and material objects. Social structure, which also makes up a society, is a set of social practices such as one’s status and the roles a person plays within a social group. Moving on from society, we enter into the term “justice” in which society and justice tend to go hand in hand. Justice can be described as, “The quality of being just and fair, the principle of moral rightness and equity, and finally, the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Therefore, combining both social structure and justice we come up with the term social justice which finally can be described as the fair and proper administration of laws which conform to the natural law that all people, no matter one’s origin, gender, race, or religion, are to be treated equally and without prejudice. From what I have learned from the defined term of justice and society, I...
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