Between Idealism and Reality

The Justice Paradox: Between Idealism and Reality

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Have you ever pondered what binds the fabric of society together, preventing it from unraveling into chaos? At the heart of this intricate wave lies a concept as ancient as civilization itself: justice. But what happens when the scales of justice tip, when fairness becomes a mirage in the desert of societal norms? This article embarks on a riveting journey into the realm of justice, exploring its multifaceted nature and the pivotal role it plays in balancing individual rights with the collective good.

“The nature of justice as both moral virtue of character and a desirable quality of political society, as well as how it applies to ethical and social decision-making. For example, for Plato, justice is a virtue establishing rational order, with each part performing its appropriate role and not interfering with the proper functioning of other parts. Aristotle says justice consists of what is lawful and fair, with fairness involving equitable distribution and the correction of what is inequitable.”

 There are different types of justice:

  1. Retributive justice: Based on the term retribution, meaning to seek punishment or vengeance.
  2. Distributive justice: Focused on achieving equitable allocation of assets, resources, privileges, and powers within a society.

According to Michel Rosenfeld, in his book “Just Interpretations. Law between Ethics and Politics”, “…as the means to strike a fair equilibrium between self and other, justice confronts the paradox of having to be at once both universal and singular. To be fair to the other, justice must consider him or her in all this or her singularity; but to strike an equilibrium between self and other, justice must avoid speaking a language that transcends the peculiarities of all the selves that come within its sweep….”

World Justice Project affirms, “An estimated 5 billion people have unmet justice needs globally, including people who cannot obtain justice for everyday problems, people who are excluded from the opportunity the law provides, and people who live in extreme conditions of injustice.” Additionally:

  • 1.5 billion people cannot obtain justice for civil, administrative, or criminal justice problems.
  • 4.5 billion people are excluded from the opportunities the law provides.
  • 253 million people live in extreme conditions of injustice.

Let’s review some examples of social justice: “The gender pay gap; income inequality; climate change; food insecurity; the refugee crisis; universal healthcare; poverty; gender-based violence; state violence; threats to the trans community; eroding democracy; political extremism; cybersecurity threats; reproductive rights; racism.”

The University of Kansas recommends 14 ways to advance social justice in our community:

  1. Examine your beliefs and habits.
  2. Educate yourself about social justice issues.
  3. Discover your local organizations.
  4. Take positive action in your own community.
  5. Harness the power of social media.
  6. Attend demonstrations and protests.
  7. Volunteer.
  8. Donate.
  9. Get involved with politics through civic engagement.
  10. Make your voice heard on the local radio.
  11. Investigate what’s happening at local colleges or universities.
  12. Invest responsibly.
  13. Support artists, writers, and activist who speak out against injustices.
  14. Be kind, understanding, and compassionate.

In the end, justice is more than a legal principle or a moral guideline; it is the very foundation of societal harmony and individual dignity. As we move forward, let us carry the torch of justice with unwavering resolve, illuminating the path for future generations in their quest for a fairer, more equitable world, for you, for us, for our neighbors.”


“Justice Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

“Measuring the Justice Gap.” World Justice Project, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Soken-Huberty, Emmaline. “15 Social Justice Issues We Must Address.” Human Rights Careers, 4 Dec. 2022,

“15 Ways to Advance Social Justice in Your Community.” KU SOE, School of Education and Human Sciences, University of Kansas, 28 June 2021,

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