This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Ideology and the oversimplification of justice

Having delineated the various types of justice, all of which must be taken into consideration when discussing CST, we can now see that, historically speaking, the greatest offenses against justice do not come from a total rejection of justice, but rather from an emphasis on one part of justice to the exclusion of certain others. To say the same thing another way, the problem of justice has historically been one of partiality and oversimplification. This is most evident when examining the history of ideologies, which are by definition oversimplifications of reality in an attempt to solve large problems with sweeping generalizations. Capitalist ideology, for example, has a history of insisting on the importance of commutative justice (justice in exchange) while disregarding or denying validity of distributive justice.[1] Socialism, on the other hand, gives an almost exclusive emphasis to distributive justice, and consequently neglects the role of commutative justice. Capitalism and Socialism, both being market ideologies, reveal the problems inherent in naïve and simplistic worldviews which try to address all social problems in terms of just one kind of justice. This is also why the Church so often adopts the point of view of social justice: this is not because she prefers one justice to another, but because social justice involves the broadest possible view of the economic field, and is therefore capable of taking into account and ordering the other parts within it so that they can work in harmony with one another.

[1] CV, 35.

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