Relating the issue of equality of women and men to justice protects women from becoming oppressors themselves. The challenge is not simply to provide women equal opportunity to participate in the present racially, economically, and politically oppressive social order. In this case, women might not be oppressed categorically, but certainly all people would continue to be oppressed through society’s institutions. Rather, the aim is to create new thoughts and structures which not only embody the truth of the equality of men and women, but embody justice in its totality, in all social systems, eliminating oppression in general.
There are many habits of thought that need to be overcome and replaced for this change to take place. One in particular is categorizing, comparing, and labeling people. Many relationships between individuals involve the tendency to place one person as better, and thus, dominant, and the other as worse, and thus dominated. This obviously leads to an inappropriate exercise of power, leading to oppressive attitudes and behaviors. Justice, oneness, and equality are needed to purge out these habits.
The social structure most affected by the intersection of equality of sexes and the concept of justice is in the institution of the family. The family – the basic unit of society – is civilization in miniature; and as humanity undergoes a maturing process, it, too, must profoundly change. It is the social space in which individuals learn habits, qualities, attitudes, behaviors, and values. Current conceptions of family that include a space of dictatorship dominated by one adult, a space of absolute loyalty to the exclusion of others, a space of liberalism centered on each person’s self-gratification, all are inadequate for humanity’s needs, and inconsistent with conceptions of oneness, justice, and equality of men and women. The same principles that guide the advancement of civilization should likewise apply to the development of a family.
As justice and equality of sexes becomes the governing principles of family life will love flourish, will each individual develop their spiritual capacities, and will children learn habits of thought and behavior that will be carried on into the building of mature social structures.
6 replies on “Intersection of Justice and Equality”
“The family – the basic unit of society – is civilization in miniature; and as humanity undergoes a maturing process, it, too, must profoundly change. It is the social space in which individuals learn habits, qualities, attitudes, behaviors, and values. Current conceptions of family that include an space of dictatorship dominated by one adult”
Families are oligarchies where parents set the rules for children. And while they would prefer to reason with the children, it is generally acknowledged (and borne out by science) that children have less developed cognitive and emotional capacities. So from time to time parents must coerce children. This may or may not be in the child’s best interest (that depends on the quality of parents), but it’s generally accepted that coercion is an acceptable parenting tool.
If family is civilization in miniature, the one of two things must be true of civilization:
a) Some duly selected leader(s) of civilization have the moral authority to coerce individuals.
b) Coercion by the leader is never just, thus parents should not coerce children. (Do your homework or sit in timeout.)
This may be a false dichotomy but I was wondering what everyone on this forum’s thoughts were as to this question. It seems like it might be worth exploring together.
Stimulating thoughts, thanks for sharing. There is plenty of science that shows that a child’s brain is still developing its cognitive abilities (you may be aware of the studies that show that the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for goals/planning/decision making/understanding consequences/social behavior, does not fully form until one’s early twenties–at least not at this stage of humanity’s development). In my own view, a large part of a parent’s job is to ensure the proper development of their child’s brain–making sure children are capable of making goals, carrying them out, making healthy decisions, understanding the consequences of their behavior, and numerous other functions, etc. But I’m not sure that this necessitates coercion. It’s true that coercion often happens in families, and that it may be a socially acceptable form of parenting, but of course not everything that is socially acceptable is preferable. There are also scientific studies that show that highly coercive and excessively structured environments are detrimental to psychological and neurological development.
I think in general there’s a difference between coercion/force and loving, but firm discipline. There may be times when parents are more stern with their children than others, but even this is intended to form proper neural patterns that help a child understand that something is very wrong (ex: a parent yells at child when a child runs into the middle of a busy street–this is teaching the child the severity of their actions). The problem comes when parents employ this type of sternness too often, and children begin to think that every little thing has a serious consequence. However a parent can discipline a child with love and positive reinforcement as well, which is generally understood to be more effective by psychologists and neuroscientists. Your example of “do your homework or sit in time out”, in my opinion, is actually an example of loving discipline more than coercion. Coercion implies not giving someone any choice in the matter–but in actuality, the child has the choice to not do their homework if they wanted… they could sit in time out. But they know that sitting in time out is worse, so they choose to do their homework, and eventually they develop neural patterns that reinforce the discipline to study. Eventually they no longer need their parents to give them the “time out” ultimatum, and as parents also teach children that education is highly important and that the progress of individuals and society depends directly upon it, their motives for studying become more profound.
Leaders/governments can operate in the same way–there may be times where a government or leader needs to make an urgent decision for the collective. This could be viewed as coercion in one sense, but if a government’s actions are moderated by the qualities of justice and equity, and the government has the best interests of society at the heart of all decision making, then it could be viewed in the same light as parents sometimes making decisions for their children–it’s actually a form of love. As you stated, it depends on the quality of parenting, and in this case, the quality of governing.
“I think in general there’s a difference between coercion/force and loving, but firm discipline.”
Loving, but firm describes your motives, not your actions. Loving force is still force.
“there may be times where a government or leader needs to make an urgent decision for the collective”
Can you offer some examples?
“This could be viewed as coercion in one sense, but if a government’s actions are moderated by the qualities of justice and equity, and the government has the best interests of society at the heart of all decision making, then it could be viewed in the same light as parents sometimes making decisions for their children–it’s actually a form of love.”
Don’t you think it’s dangerous to liken the populace to children and the leaders to parents? I’m an adult. What decision do you think I will make that you feel the need to correct? Assuming I’m not infringing on the liberty of others. Can you make me do things that you think are in my best interest, but I don’t? Do you know my best interests better than me?
It is a parent’s responsibility to educate children through Justice which is upheld by two pillars: reward and punishment. Discipline is necessary if the child is to be educated in reading and writing. Institutions of society mandate that all children under the age of 12 attend some form of schooling. Analogously, parents and societal institutions set laws that discipline their young for their own well-being.
Unrestrained liberty leads to sedition. Prosperous human civilization requires submission to restraints that protect us from our own ignorance, laws that guard us against our own harmful tendencies.
Very interesting. Laws that guard us against our own harmful tendencies.
Should drug or alcohol be outlawed? Should fatty foods? Who determines these laws and the scope of punishment?
You don’t have to spell out a complete list. Just give me some examples so I can get an idea of where you stand.
Aren’t drugs illegal? I would think having heroin illegal is in people’s best interest.