In a comment to a recent blog of mine, “The Crime of Poverty” I was asked the question, “…does justice have a survival value?”. I tried to answer it and my answer became rather long. I thought, I could just as well make a post for my blog out of it. And here is my answer:
An interesting question! I would say there are different answers within a society and among societies.
Within a society, justice is important, as injustice, in the end, leads to revolution (as in France 1789 and the Russian Empire 1917). Those particular societies went under in a bloodbath. The governing elite could have prioritized justice, but the greedy, property owning elite did not want to know. The “let them eat cake” mentality led to their demise.
You can ask yourself, which are so most stable societies? The answer is the Scandinavian countries! They have created societies, through the redistribution of wealth, that are relatively more just than other societies.
The human race lives in densely packed societies today. Justice is an important part of keeping the inner peace. The hunter-gathering societies lived in clans and love among its members was sufficient justice for survival.
The storm clouds in the Western-orientated societies are already gathering. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the property owning class has become bolder and bolder. People are not happy taking note of this development.
Populous movements are springing up in many countries. They might not be the solution, but they are the expression of their frustration with the daily injustice they experience.
I learned today, that there at present 3.5 million unoccupied apartments in Spain. Yet many people have no place of abode. People are being evicted from their flats, as they can’t serve their mortgages. The system has failed them and that is perceived as injustice.
There is no social Darwinism. The Nazis believed in the survival of the fittest. The more just (not perfect) societies won the war. Darwin advocated a biological evolution only. Western societies invented enlightenment to create a better and just society. It is a work in progress and at this stage we witness a struggle of the enlightened people and the Ayan Rands of this world.
There is no guarantee that the former will win because Arthur Schopenhauer said, in a conflict between “Will and Reason” “Will” will win anytime. Still I think a just society has more chances to survive longer.