Justice Questions

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Questions of Justice

  1. What is Justice?
  2. At one time or other the following principles have been proposed for the distribution of benefits such as property, rights, privileges, and other opportunities and burdens such as taxation and responsibilities:
    1. To each person according to birth (feudalism)
    2. To each person according to free market exchanges (capitalism)
    3. To each person according to need (Socialism, Communism)
    4. To each person according to effort
    5. To each person according to social contribution
    6. To each person according to merit (meritocracy)
    7. To each person according to status (Caste, Slavery, Gender)
    8. To each person according to principle of maximizing public utility (Utilitarian principle)
    9. To each person according to principles and practices that evolve through tradition and practices in a community (Communitarian principle)
    10. To each person an equal share (Idealized equality)
    11. To each according to serendipity (Arbitrary)
  3. In US, 1% of the population own a third of the Country's wealth, more than 90% of population. Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State and Utopia, suggests that simply knowing that the Forbes 400 have billions while others are penniless doesn't permit the conclusion about the justice or injustice of the arrangement. Further, taxing away progressively whereby some one like Michael Jordan who earns $31 million are required to pay substantial sums to the state forces him to make a charitable contribution against his will. Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is stealing whether it is done by robin Hood or the state. How do you justify such taxes?
  4. The Government of Canada have announced plans to spend 2 billion on prisons over the next 5 years in the face of declining crime statistics and will ot provide extra dollars to Provinces for Long-term Homes in the face of increasing requirements for such home to cover an aging population. Many seniors beleive that they know best how to spend thert dollars rather than paying increased taxation dollars. How could you suggest that they might be happier in providing collectively for the population?l
  5. What is the relationship between Justice and Social Justice? Justice and Afirmative action.
  6. The concept of rights is often restricted to what are referred to as negative rights - the right not to have some one liberty curtailed - the right to religion, right to free speech etc. The concept of positive rights include the rights or guarantees to certain things. These may include such things as subsidized education, state subsidized housing, health care, and even the right to a job with the obligation of the government or individuals to provide one. A common objection to providing such rights is the argument that they violate the negative rights of the citizens; rights to not have something done for you, such as for example, taxation to pay for such programs as described above dispossesses individuals of property. Proponents of positive rights, by attributing the protection of negative rights to the society rather than the government, respond that individuals would not have any rights in the absence of societies—a central tenet of communitarianism—and thus have a personal responsibility to give something back to it. For the most part, Communitarians emphasize the use of non-governmental, such as private businesses, churches, non-profits, or labor unions, in furthering their goals. To what extent should KACL assume responsibility for positive rights not directly related to disability such as housing, recreation and transportation.
  7. Modern theories of justice attempt to seperate questions of fairness and rights from questions about honour, virtue and moral deserving. Principals of justice are chosen that are neutral about ends and leave people to choose their own ends. Central to Aristotle's political philosophy are two ideas: 1. Justice is teleological; defining rights require us to detrmine the telos (the purpose , end or essential nature ) of the social practice in question. 2. Justice is honourific; to reason about the telos of a practice is, at least in part to rreason about what virtue it sould honour or reward. Aristotle suggests that justice means giving people what they deserve. In order to determine who deserves what, we have to determine what virtues are worthy of honour and reward. He believed that we can't decide what a just constitution is without first reflecting on the most desirable way of living. By contrast modern philosophers argue that principles of justice that define our rights should not rest on any particular conception of virtue or of the best way to live. Should a just society seek to promote the virtue of its citizen or should citizens be free to choose for themselves the best way to live? (Sandel 2009 Page 9)?
  8. In Michael Sandel's What's the Right Thing to do(Page 184) is the story of Callie Smart, a popular freshman cheerleader at Andrews High School in West Texas, who had cerebral palsy and moved about in a wheelchair inspiring football players and fans at junior varsity games. At the end of the season she was kicked off the squad and at the urging of some other cheerleaders school officials indicated that she would have to try out like everyone else in a rigorous gymnastics routine involving splits and tumbles. The father of the head cheerleader claimed that he was concerned for her safety but Callie's mother suspects that the opposition to her daughters inclusion is motivated by the acclaim Callie received. Should Callie have to try out like everyone else despite her disability? What kind of resentment might motivate the head cheerleader's father from Callie's presence on the squad?
  9. Another case studied in Sandel is that of Casey Martin, a professional golfer with a circulatory disorder that caused considerable pain and risk of hemorrhaging and fracture. Martin asked the PGA for permission to use a golf cart during tournaments. the PGA turned him down citing its rule prohibiting carts in professional tournaments. In the case which Martin took before the courts some of the biggest names in golf testified in the case arguing fatigue is an important factor in golf tournaments. Physiology professional calculated that the energy expended on walking an 18 hole course was ''nutritionally less than a Big Mac". (Sandel 2009, Page 203)
  10. Winnipeg Child and Family Services v. G. (D.F.), SCC File No. 25508. held that a pregnant woman's liberty could not be curtailed to protect her unborn fetus from harm from alcohol or drugs. Do you agree with the "fairness" of this decision to the woman, to the child or to society?
  11. The following question was drawn by a Mayoralty candidate at a All candidates forum held at Super 8 September 27 2010:
    Are you aware of difficulties in securing public accessible transportation for persons with disabilities in Kenora especially after 6.P.M. What commitment are you prepared to make to improve the situation?
    His public answer, paraphrased; I would much rather had another question but couldn't trade it off. I wasn't aware there was a problem. There is Handi-Transit.

    Private conversation with Executive Director of KACL after the forum, paraphrased: We certainly can't afford to pay tax dollars to every problem that come along. I am honest. I won't tell you that I am going to do something if I am not. What is the problem here?

  12. The following question that drawn by a candidate for Kenora City Council in an All Candidates forum:
  13. According to CMHC the average cost of a single rental unit in Kenora is around $650. The shelter allowance available to a person with a disability is around $450 per month. This means that such a person is required to take about $200 from his $550 to cover his rent leaving him or her about $350 per month to live on. What commitment are you prepared to make to improve the situation?

    The candidate choose to shift it off as a Provincial responsibility.  He indicated that it wasn't easy balancing the City's budget and noted the city's current budget of $80,000 for Handy Transit  and the fact that the city currently subsidizes $1.62 for every $2.00 fare paid by riders. Difficult as it this might seem, try budging $350 for all your basic living expenses.

    Under the Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Act, Ontario is making the province accessible for people with disabilities by 2025 which will break down in key areas of every day life including Transportation. What should KACL do to encourage its municipality to comply earlier than latter?

  14. What is the relationship between justive and human rigthts? What improvements in achieving Human Rights should KACL be prioritizing? What criteria do we use- Most important right? Biggest gap is enjoyment of right? Greatest difference with Non-disabled?
  15. International Human Rights*
    1 Nondiscrimination U2, E2, C2
    2 Life U3, C6
    3 Liberty and security of person U3, C9
    4 Protection against slavery U4, C8
    5 Protection against torture U5, C7
    6 Legal Personality U6, C16
    7 Equal Protection of the law U7, C14, C26
    8 Legal remedy U8, C2
    9 Protection against arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile U9, C9
    10 Access to independent and impartial tribunal U10, C14
    11 Presumption of innocence U11, C14
    12 Protection against ex post facto laws U11, C15
    13 Privacy U12, C17
    14 Freedom of movement U13, C12
    15 Asylum U14
    16 Nationality U15, C24
    17 Marry and family U16, C23
    18 Protection and assistance of families U16, E10, C23
    19 Marriage only with spouse's consent U16, E10, C23
    20 Equal right of men and women in marriage U16, C23
    21 Property U17
    20 Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion U18, C18
    21 Freedom of opinion, and expression U19, C19
    22 Freedom of assembly U20, C21
    23 Freedom of association U20, C22
    24 Participation in government U21, C25
    25 Social security U22, E9
    26 Work U23, E9
    27 Just and favourable conditions of work U23, E7
    28 Trade Unions U23, E8, C22
    29 Rest and Leisure U24, E7
    30 Adequate standard of living U25, E11
    31 Health U25, E12
    32 Education U26, E13
    33 Participation in cultural Life U27, E15
    34 Self-determination E1, C1
    35 Protection of and assistance to children E10, C24
    36 Freedom from hunger E11
    38 Compulsory primary education E14
    39 Humane treatment when deprived of liberty C10
    40 Protection against imprisonment for a debt C11
    41 Expulsion of aliens only by law C13
    42 Prohibition of war propaganda and incitement to discrimination C20
    43 Minority culture C27
    Rights explicitly mentioned in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (C), or International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (E)


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See also Justice (http://retson.ca/justice.html)

Equality (http://retson.ca/equality.html)

Beauchamp, Tom L and James F. Childress (2001) Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5th Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Comte-Sponville, Andre (2001) A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues, New York: henry holt and company

Grayling, A.C. (2009) Ideas that Matter, London: Orion Books Ltd

Rawls, John (1999) A Theory of Justice (revised edn), Oxford: Oxford University Press

Sandel, Michael J (1982, 1998) Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, 2nd,Cambridge: University of Cambridge

Sandel, Michael J (2009) Justice, What's the Right Thing to Do? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux