Living Without Justice

Justice may well be the very first inkling of moral law that blossoms in the human soul. Siblings at a very young age are quick to note discrepancies in parental approbation, quick to recognize any inconsistencies in rewards and punishments, quick to imagine any injustice. As I write this I’m remembering my youngest granddaughter at a mere 18 months of age, tearfully objecting to her sister enjoying a lollypop  -- “Julia lolly!” Her sister had saved hers from the night before; Violet had wolfed hers down, so she had no case to prosecute, but she certainly thought she did; her moral conviction was strong.

That sense of moral outrage never leaves us; it is as inherent in the human character as is the love of beauty and the need for affection. Governments exist partly to protect us from outside invaders, but more importantly to dole out justice -- to punish those who break both natural and cultural laws. That’s why we have police, why we have codified laws, why we have juries, lawyers, and prisons. Our internal compass demands that evil be held accountable.

Justice is the point at which we homo sapiens connect with God. We were created in His image, and God is perfect Justice, but the Fall, Adam and Eve’s disastrous decision, left us all with a disease of the soul that’s worse than anything COVID can do to the body. Until we agree to accept God’s arrangement for our forgiveness we are out here in a justice-deficient zone, and no amount of law will create even a reasonable facsimile.

Law can, however, keep things semi-manageable, if -- and this has turned out to be a big “if” – if those impacted by the laws of the land respect that law. If they don’t  -- well, we’re seeing the result and it’s terrifying.

A little over a month ago here in southern Oregon, we started seeing weather predictions calling for a strong windstorm in the valley. This was a big deal because we rarely have wind here. By the time we got to Tuesday of that week, the wind was ripping up the Bear Creek Greenway at 40 miles an hour.  Simultaneously some individuals (officials have found eight combustion sites) set fires along the creek and the wind ripped the fires northward for over 15 miles, destroying in its wake over 2,000 residences and most of two small towns. Four people died in the fires that burned over 3,000 acres of this densely populated little valley. One person has so far been arrested, but we know that BLM/Antifa had a presence here; they had set up camp in our most central public park, but the police kicked them out just days before the fires.  This fire -- the Almeda Fire -- was the result of a lack of respect for law, for life, for property, and all of us who live here feel a strong and angry need for justice. Not for revenge -- that’s different -- but for accountability, for wrong to be set right.

A drive through the affected areas brings most people to tears. The devastation makes it clear that we’re in a war; that we’ve been attacked in a guerilla operation that our justice system doesn’t seem able to handle. Our news agencies don’t appear to be all that interested -- we hear news about cleanup operations, but nothing about a search for the arsonists.

That’s just one example. Look now at what’s happening with our political situation. My sense of justice is appalled that Joe Biden could possibly be elected president. I’ve been angry about him since he plagiarized that speech decades ago (As a classroom teacher plagiarism is especially offensive.), and now we have a smoking gun on his outrageous, treasonous corruption and half the country just shrugs, makes up yet another Russian collusion lie, and goes on rampaging through our cities like they were the ones being wronged.

My sense of justice is also appalled that good people who were only doing the job they were assigned, have been arrested, charged, and convicted of “crimes” that everyone knew they weren’t guilty of. I’m horrified at what’s happened to Michael Flynn, to Carter Page, to Roger Stone, to George Papadopoulos. There is nothing fair about the way they’ve been treated. If it can happen to them, it can happen to any of us; if there is no justice for them, there is no justice for us.

And there’s nothing just about the way our president is being treated. There is nothing fair about the way the “debates” have been set up, nothing fair about the ridiculous accusations made against Trump -- all of which have been debunked, and yet his detractors still bring up Russia and Ukraine as if those manufactured scandals were real. The media’s consistent malfeasance in its reporting on Trump’s policies, accomplishments, and plans for putting America back together again just leave me slack-jawed. The media prevarications about our president prevent justice.

That is because the heart of the idea of justice is truth -- absolute truth, above and beyond human frailties. We can’t have justice without truth and this progressive idea that truth is relative, adjustable, disposable, and personal makes justice impossible. District attorneys across this country are refusing to prosecute rioters because those attorneys, who are supposed to be on the side of justice, agree with the perpetrators’ twisted view of truth. You would think that justice needs to be served by punishing those who have destroyed lives and businesses and property, but if untruth rules the day, it will rule over “justice” as well.

If the left, which consistently denies truth, wins in these upcoming elections, we will see the final death throes of both justice and truth. Already, when the Hunter Biden laptop surfaced, we witnessed an almost instantaneous denial not only of the truth but of our right to decide for ourselves. The left censored that information so quickly that they couldn’t possibly have taken the time to research the allegations themselves. They took no time to analyze signatures, watch videos, look at photos, or read the emails. They just clamped down on the story, locked it in a cage hoping that the story would die just as the Benghazi story slipped quietly away, as Hillary’s email scandal dozed off to nothing, as the Russia hoax has gone unpunished.  And perhaps this Biden mess will also fade, but we’d better hope not.

The moral outrage that’s boiling up all over this country is reaching a flashpoint, and whatever this election brings, the lack of truth and justice in our government -- the government that’s supposed to be protecting truth and justice -- will bring about a conflagration that’s really hard to think about. We must walk a narrow path edged on one side by the Constitution and its limits on government and on the other side by the necessity of cleaning out that government at the local, state, and national level. We can’t break the constitutional limits, but we have to weed out evil that’s sprouted because of the disdain for that Constitution. Our personal, and national, inherent demand for justice must be met, and if it is not, our society is doomed -- not just doomed to live without fairness, without protection, without freedom, but a society without those essentials will eventually collapse.

We really can’t live without integrity. Trying to do so makes us crazy -- witness the spokespersons for the left; they’re very sick people. We can’t even sustain life without justice, for without it there can be no production, no commerce, no society at all. God had good reason for creating us with a strong hunger for fairness, for fidelity, for justice that is as close as possible to His own.

Deana Chadwell is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing, logic, and literature.

Image: Pixabay

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