Does Justice Means Equality? Does justice mean that everyone is equal and receives the same thing? This is a very tricky question. Three months ago I did a workshop in which a professor told me a story about parents with 2 children. One of their children was successful, while the other wasn’t. They have raised their children with all the money they have got and finally the time comes when they have to inherit their wealth to their children. The unsuccessful child asked the parents, “Mother, Father, I want you to inherit all your wealth for me.” The parents then asked, “Why?” “It is not fair if my older brother and I got the same amount of wealth that you both possessed, because then, he will still be richer than me.” The parents were just looking at their child when they realized something.
The father told the son, “I have raised you and your older brother with the same amount of money. I put you both in the same school since you were little. I put the same amount of money, love, and compassion in order for both of you to get whatever you guys want. It is not about money. If you told me that it is not fair if I inherit you and your brother the same amount of wealth, you are truly mistaken.”
What do you guys think about the idea above? I personally think that people nowadays have mistaken the word justice for equality. Justice means fairness, and being fair doesn’t have to mean being equal. It is wrong if the parents inherit all their wealth to the unsuccessful child, and not give anything to the successful one. It is not fair, nor equal. Fairness is about getting the appropriate resources for your needs. Fairness is not linked to the idea of egalitarianism in which all people are equal, should get the same, and should be treated as equals. The idea of fairness as everyone ending up receiving the same amount of everything, no matter how hard they have tried, given deeper thought, is not fair at all.
You guys might be wondering why I bring this topic up. I’ve been looking at a lot of problems in our society in which a lot of people argued, “It is not fair if everyone ended up equal, no matter how hard they’ve tried,” and the other side argued that “justice means every single people should be given equal opportunities in order to achieve their goals.” Well, I think both statements are not completely true. As a human being, I feel like it is also our responsibility to help those who need help. Not every single person in this world was born with such fortunate wealth that their family possessed.
Therefore, the existence of social justice is used to narrow the gap between those who are considered to be richer and those who are considered poorer. It is used by the government to ensure that people get the minimum amount of their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and security that a human has to have. However, again, it does not mean that all humans need to be equal. Let the meritocratic system run. Let the one who tried his or her best, succeed. Or otherwise, we–as humans–would not want to work on the best parts of ourselves as there is no incentive to work on it.
Let us help the poor, let them be helped by the one who has the ability to help. But, limit it to the maximum level of what they need. Or otherwise, we—as humans—would not want to work on the best parts of ourselves as there is no incentive to work on it.