Sunday, September 11, 2005

Doing Harm To Our Enemies: The Just vs. The Unjust

Why do harm to your enemies when you know that all it would give back to you is the characteristic of being unjust? The way society is formed brings forth this fear for all that is unjust because no one person wants to be known as being unjust. Society has made it so that everyone who wishes to be just will not do harm to their enemies because that would be the unjust thing for them to do. This lies true for everyone except for those who wish to be unjust; for to be unjust one must first have the impression of being just if for the sole reason of being able to do total unjust things.
For fear of what society would think of them, the just man would not simply go out and do harm to his enemies because this act would be unjust. There are probably tons of people who at the moment would want to harm George Bush. If there were no restrictions and we lived in a total state of anarchy, for one there wouldn’t be someone in power such as George Bush, but if we were in total anarchy there would be nothing that would stop me from doing something so unjust as to kill George Bush. Now if this were to be done today in our society, I would be killed. Although some people may have agreed that they didn’t like the man, and would have thought bad thought about him and claimed him as their enemy, to do something so unjust as to kill someone would be unforgivable. This aspect of society holds the just man back from doing such things.
Something of the opposite is true for the unjust man. They will create this aura of justness about them and using this idea of just will climb the social ladder until they are the ones in power. With power comes the ability to be and do unjust things.
Let the unjust man also attempt unjust deeds correctly, and get away with them, if he is going to be extremely unjust. The man who is caught must be considered a poor chap. For the extreme of injustice is to seem to be just when one is not. So the perfectly unjust man must be given the most perfect injustice, and nothing must be taken away; he must be allowed to do the greatest injustices while having provided himself with the greatest reputation for justice. (361a-b)
This is the way that Glaucon believed it to be. But it wasn’t just him because after he was done he had Socrates believing the same thing( that is until Glaucon’s brother gave a different argument). But Glaucon fully believed that the unjust were the ones in power. He was very straightforward with his thoughts in believing that in order to be perfectly unjust you must first be viewed as perfectly just. This idea of being perfectly just, this aura, is given to people in power which is why Glaucon goes on to describe how if the unjust are in power then “he is capable both of speaking persuasively and of using force, to the extent that force is needed. (361 b)”
Glaucon also, using the same basis for his argument, described what it was to be a perfectly just man. It was simple that in order to be perfectly just a person must first seem totally unjust. It allows in many ways for the lowliest person who appears to be the most unjust to be, in reality, the most just man of them all. If you take this idea and stretch it a little bit. You are able to apply it to many people from our past. One that comes to mind is Jesus. He, who has so much talked about him, as far as I can tell was thought to be so unjust in his doings that he was actually killed. But in reality, for some people, this was only an act of showing how just a man can really be.
This all comes back to what keeps someone from harming their enemies through the connection of society. Everything comes back to society. In order to be unjust you must appear just, in order to be just you must appear unjust, and in order to harm your enemies you have to commit an unjust act. Society is what bound Jesus, a just man, to being condemned for what others thought were unjust actions. But what society teaches you is that it all goes back to who’s in charge. Because whoever is in charge gets to make the rules that a society is run by. And according to Glaucon those who are in power are most likely those who are wholly unjust. This makes a cycle that has remained strong throughout history. And although it has saved us from doing harm to our enemies, it has done little to contain those that are truly unjust who wield the power of society.

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