Sat, Feb 25, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Reason in justice

Justice is the keystone of a democratic country. Just as the keystone holds together and distributes the weight of blocks evenly along an arch, the law is the equalizer that distributes justice evenly throughout a democratic society. Freedom is often regarded as the essential value. However, people commonly forget that nothing can preserve freedom except justice. You cannot have any freedom or equality for poor or rich, or for any race, without justice and the rule of law.

To maintain a stable society, the law is something that needs to be administered effectively by the justice system, including police, lawyers, procurators or judges and the government. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese justice system is still determined to a large degree by guanxi. The result is high levels of corruption and the privileges of relationship. Taiwanese can’t fully believe in our justice system, which causes a huge impediment in our continuing development toward full democracy.

Being law students means we are the ones who are likely to be administering the law in the near future. Therefore, those who study law are expected to fundamentally grasp the principles of justice under democracy, so that they are able to resolve disputes fairly.

However, there are many students majoring in law who don’t seem to understand the principles of democratic justice. They appear to only care about their academic grades and how to pass the exams as quickly as possible so that they can become judges. As a result, every day there are examples in the media of where citizens have failed either through ignoring the principles of democracy or of individuals favoring their own relationships or prejudices.

Many of my colleagues studying law say they are doing so to stand up for the poor and that’s the main reason why they want to get into the justice system. This is a noble idea. However, I cannot help but consider this answer somewhat short-sighted. Are the disadvantaged always innocent? Is it not a core idea of justice that the law is supposed to be blind with regard to race, creed, religion and income?

The law protects everyone, no matter what race he is and no matter whether he is wealthy or not. All people are created equal, especially in a just society. Even the disadvantaged who break the law need to face judgement. The law is supreme and there is no exception for anyone, rich or poor. When the law is administered arbitrarily, it ceases to be justice.

The authorities, the legislature and judiciary should operate justice according to the keystone principle of equality. They cannot correct the law or legislate just because of the common aspirations of the public, without the due process of law. This will eventually be to the disadvantage of our society.

Finally, from my viewpoint, the poor actually need more social welfare, care and education. However, when it comes to justice and law, our society should speak for equal democratic values as the best and long-term solution to help the disadvantaged. Reason must come before passion in a just society.

Hsin Ping-yang

Greater Kaohsiung

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