This Site

Entire Web




Home > Issues > I Recognize Justice; Therefore I Am

"I Recognize Justice; Therefore I Am"
by Daniel Newby, October 16, 2005
(Amendments on September 7, 2011)

"Are all men and women equal in their intellect? Certainly not. Are they equal in skills and talents or physical abilities? Of course not. We are equal in our capacity to understand justice and injustice. For what is mankind without this awareness or recognition? What good are thoughts if they bear no universal consequences?

Summary: It is a masculine, humane struggle to be just. Indeed, justice is our most serious matter and requires our consistent attention. For to the extent that we refuse this contest, we are no more evolved than are animals.



1. Do We Have a Right to Be Unjust?

2. Recognition of Justice as a Prerequisite to Humanity

3. Justification Versus Toleration

    Dealing with Social Injustice

    Crimes of Thought

    The Issue of Abortion (Infanticide)

Conclusion: Struggle or De-evolve


1. Do We Have a Right to Be Unjust?

We use various means to describe it: natural law versus violation of natural law, good versus evil, justice versus injustice, or right versus wrong. Regardless of the terminology, most of us concur that there are behavioral laws or ideals that operate in our universe. Most of us would concur that our Creator, or some universal source, has endowed mankind with the right and/or power to make significant moral choices.

The words could be phrased more eloquently, but the majority of people share some common ground here — from which they may, if they so choose, build upon. Moving forward from this common ground, consider whether mankind has the natural right to make the wrong, or unjust (the term we will use in this article), choice. We can draw a distinct difference, for the right to choose does not necessarily equate to a right to act without any universal consequences.

If our natural rights extended to the commission of injustice, then there would be no injustice, and anything man did would either be just or indifferent. In other words, if we were always justified no matter how we acted, then no natural, moral laws would govern our behavior. If this were the case, our conscience would be unnecessary and there would be little or no need to waste our time wondering whether there were anything beyond ourselves and our personal whims.

We could express this in a slightly different way: While we have been empowered to select an unjust course of action, we do not have the "right" to behave unjustly.


2. Recognition of Justice as a Prerequisite to Humanity

We can argue — ad infinitum — the particulars of what precisely constitutes justice and its opposite, injustice. This debate provides the essence of political conflict, and likewise supplied the motivation (at least initially) for this article.

But if we can accept that justice and injustice "exist" or have tangible meaning that manifests itself in some form of universal consequence, we have what amounts to a unique, shared philosophical foundation — a foundation apparently unknown to all other creatures on the face of our planet. The oft-repeated phrase, "I think, therefore I am," pales in comparison to the potential of this foundational power: "I recognize justice and injustice; therefore I am."

We cannot prove definitively that animals do not think or do not have some semblance of self-awareness. Some dog owners may take issue, but it can be argued that animals do not operate with the same awareness of justice and injustice that human beings can manifest (when they so choose). This additional awareness or recognition, when employed, distinguishes us from the rest of the Animal Kingdoms and gives meaning to humankind. As echoed in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Are all men and women equal in their intellect? Certainly not. Are they equal in skills and talents or physical abilities? Of course not. We are equal in our capacity to understand justice and injustice. What is mankind without this awareness or recognition? What good are thoughts if they bear no universal consequences?

Without this ability (or gift), we are no more evolved than any other animal, and we should harbor no higher expectations of one another than we do a rat or a vegetable. With a respect for this ability, and a commitment to nurture it, we can theoretically ascend to the greatest heights of the universe.


3. Justification Versus Toleration

Let us travel one step further and consider how this foundation plays out as we interact with one another. When we witness injustice, does it necessarily follow that we have a natural right, in all cases, to stop that injustice? Here is where our foundation starts to break down and where we lose people — and lose them fast. Consider a few examples.


Dealing with Social Injustice

Based upon our previous assertions, it could easily be argued, for instance, that it is unjust and immoral to allow those who cannot help themselves to suffer endlessly without attempting to provide them some form of assistance. If there is something higher than ourselves, then it stands to reason that we are in some way obligated to attempt to assist each other when we are able. To fail to do so would be unjust.

In response to this injustice, statists advocate that we collectively compel one other to financially assist those who cannot help themselves. And they appear willing to stop at nothing to implement such force. If we were justified in using whatever means were necessary to prevent injustice, then their position would be correct.

Those too callous to feel inherent reluctance to exercise such force, need only consider the dismal historical results such force has exerted on previous societies. Those more sensitive and open to common sense and reflection would wonder: Do we really have an inalienable right to compel others to surrender their property whenever we witness injustice?


Crimes of Thought

The American Jurisprudence of the past ideally bases punishment on the perpetrator’s actions, whether the act was premeditated or accidental, and whether there was malicious intent. Today militant homosexual and minority race groups seek thought crimes legislation that adds enhanced penalties based upon the thoughts and philosophies of the perpetrator.

Most people would agree that it is unjust to hate other people simply because of their skin color, gender, or physical appearance. How can someone help these traits? But do we have the right to punish people because they unjustly hate? Should we punish them for their thoughts in addition to their actions and intentions?

If one does not inherently cower from such a proposition, one need only consider the gulags of the former Soviet Union and the racks of the Catholic Inquisition. Mankind is hard pressed enough to judge the actions and motivations of others. He is entirely inept and incapable of judging and punishing the philosophical thoughts of others, and to attempt to do so would be inherently unjust and foolish.


The Issue of Abortion (Infanticide)*

On the anti-life extreme, the baby is a conglomeration of cells, is completely at the mercy of the mother’s whims, and has no entitlement until the infant breaks the barrier of the womb. This is absurd. Essentially, we are to believe that a bag of water surrounded by a thin layer of skin, defines the border of life and human rights. You’re out of luck on one side, and a full-fledged human being on the other.

These same advocates would scream bloody murder were one to reach into a Kangaroo’s pouch and kill its offspring. Never mind that the baby Kangaroo exits the womb and enters the pouch at approximately the same developmental phase as a 7-week old human infant* in the womb. It is cruel and barbaric to kill the marsupial, but a service to womanhood to kill a human infant. They will weep at the pain the marsupial budding nervous system senses, but callously disregard the silent cries of the human infant.
* Note: The terms "infant" and "infanticide" are used purposely. Part of the gamesmanship surrounding the anti-life movement involves dehumanizing the infant and the act. For more information, see an excellent explanation provided by the organization, Accountability Utah.

On the pro-life-at-all-costs extreme, infants are alive, and perhaps even endowed with a soul, from the moment of inception (or fertilization of the sperm and egg). As such, they are entitled to governmental protection equal to that of any other human being. The use of abortifacients of any kind, therefore, is murder. This includes normal birth control pills, which can artificially cause a fertilized sperm and egg to fail to attach to the uterine lining, thus terminating the pregnancy and ending the life intended by God to continue to develop in the womb
Note: As we understand it, the significant percentage of fertilized eggs that spontaneously abort are generally not viewed as the termination of life or a murder by God, but rather a natural occurrence.

There is nothing inherently unjust, or perhaps even inaccurate, with this belief of the origins of human beings. Beliefs are fine and we are all entitled to them, and there are interesting arguments made on all sides — both spiritual and secular — regarding souls, definitions of life, etc.

The problem lies in backing this belief up by force. Taken to the farthest extreme, if we collectively — via government — have the same obligation to prevent any form of murder during early pregnancy as we do later in the pregnancy, or after the birth, then there are some frightening ramifications that the pro-life-at-all-costs movement needs to acknowledge and defend.

For example, in addition to outlawing medical abortions (save perhaps in the hypothetical situation where the life of the mother could not otherwise be saved through Caesarian), the birth control pill (of which the Morning After Pill is simply an altered hormone formulation), would likewise be banned.
Note: C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, stated: "Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother's life. If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother's health, the doctor will induce labor or perform a Caesarean section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby's life is never willfully destroyed because the mother's life is in danger."

To conduct our judicial system in a general, uniform, and fair manner, we would also need to ban certain herbs that have been used to abort early pregnancies for thousands of years. We would ban hot saunas and Jacuzzis for women who engage in sexual intercourse as these have been used in the Orient and elsewhere to terminate early pregnancies. Extreme exercise could also be fatal to the early infant and would need to go.

Taken to the extreme of preventing all abortions in early pregnancies, the woman disappears and the infant life becomes all-encompassing. Under this reasoning, government becomes immense and terrible, easily tyrannizing all aspects of our lives.

Regardless of whether abortions during early pregnancy constitutes murder, it should become clear to any rational person that there are limits to our rights as human beings to prevent them. Most of us would, for instance, hesitate to imprison or execute a 13-year old who refused to carry the seed of her rapist, and instead took an herb or birth control pill.

And we would hesitate for good reason. Regardless of what others might tell us, deep down inside we would know that we are crossing the border of what we are rightfully empowered to do in this circumstance. Therein lies the difference between justifying an act and tolerating it. We might not be able to justify the actions of the 13-year old, but we must tolerate it. We would innately sense our complete inability to justly judge or punish her. (Some might term this "mercy," but we do not make such a distinction.)


Conclusion: Struggle or De-evolve

Most of us accept the notion that we are endowed by a universal source to choose how we will think and act, and that our decisions may be just or unjust: I recognize justice and injustice; therefore I am. What we often lack is the courage and commitment to critically examine how we should deal with injustices we witness and encounter. To fail to act in some circumstances is clearly unjust, and to act beyond our scope and abilities is also unjust. In what combination do we speak against it, use force against it, or tolerate it?

Historians frequently place a value upon past and present societies based upon how "civil" they are or were. Unfortunately, in recent decades, our entire notion of "civility" has been re-defined. Rather than measure justice (or mercy for that matter), modern "civility" instead focuses on how patient and docile victims and onlookers can be at avoiding justice and any accompanying conflict. This is neither just nor civil, but effeminate and debasing. Those who abuse are given an undue pass while those who cry for justice are portrayed as "uncivil" and malcontent.

We define "civil society" based upon the average inclination of its members and participants to be just in their dealings with their fellow men and women — and not merely to those who are popular and prestigious, but to those who have the least value in that society.

It is a masculine, humane struggle to be just. Indeed, justice is our most serious matter and requires our consistent attention. For to the extent that we refuse this contest, we are no more evolved than the rest of the Animal Kingdom.



Sign up!

Receive free e-mail updates and

share this information with others.


Copying Permission: Permission to reprint articles and material in whole or in part is hereby granted provided that The Helmsman Society is cited.  Feel free to share this information with others.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is for educational purposes only.  If there are mistakes, let me know so I can correct them at

Comments or questions?  Email

Copyright © 2005 The Helmsman Society.

Home | Archives

E-mail:  |  Website: