Tuesday, as I was signing my brother’s PGP keys, I mentioned that in the case of the dirty bomber (Jose Padilla), when compared with the American Taliban (John Walker-Lindh) shows how money can buy justice. John Walker’s parents had money where Jose Padilla was “just” a street thug. John Walker has been charged in a civil court. Jose is being detained indefinatly in military custody without being charged. Both are American Citizens.

Mert said he had been thinking about different bases for justice and he shared his taxonomy with me:

  • Divine mandate God’s favor is explicitly sought and affirmed.
  • Tradition Divine mandate, Reason, Money, or Power is taken for granted; if Divine mandate is taken for granted, it will soon be lost and another basis for authority will take its place.
  • Reason Tradition exposed and “improved,” and order is pursued; or Divine mandate analyzed; the smartest wins. Often, reason is used for the sake of other ends and thus irrationality prevails.
  • Money Whoever has the most property wins.
  • Power Whoever is most threatening wins.
  • Anarchy Nobody wins; radical injustice.

When he mentioned this to me, I said that I prefer Anarchy to Money or Power as the basis for justice. I really don’t like Reason as the basis for power, either. You shouldn’t win because you are clever. So, give me Anarchy or Tradition (a Divine Mandate is an option, but you’ll have trouble convincing me that you have one). I am an Anarchist in the Orthodox Church — what did you expect?

Thinking some more on this, our entire paradigm can be based on any of Tradition, Reason, Money, Power, etc. It is often a mix of these different aspects.

Somewhat reated, AKMA points to the Gyges’ ring story from Plato and it seems related to basing justice on power — that is, this is no basis for true justice.

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