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Critical reflection on Justice

In this critical reflection paper, I have chosen to analyze justice. Apart from being one of the four cardinal virtues, justice is an important political as well as moral concept. In this paper, it will be argued that justice is the most basic of all virtues that have helped western countries to set themselves apart from the rest of the world by ordering interpersonal relationships that cumulatively have played a role in building stable political societies. In these civilizations, the meaning of justice goes its dictionary or etymology definition. Its application has led to the attainment of the preferred political society as well as building the desired character of citizens.  In this paper, the application of justice in social and ethical decision-making will be analyzed. Apart from using the theories of justice as developed by different philosophers over the years, analysis of its application to controversial social issues will be conducted.

Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues frequently extolled not only in Catholic teaching but in the scriptures as well. For instance, this virtue is the main focus of the Ten Commandments. Moreover, Christianity is based on the faith that the Just One laid down His life for the sake of the unjust to bring them back to God.  As a moral virtue, justice involves a person constantly being willing to give his or her due to their neighbors and God. Towards men, justice requires that the individual respects the rights of other people. Moreover, practicing justice requires that people build harmony in their human relationship with the aim of promoting unity for the common good. The just man that the scriptures and Catholic teachings refer to is distinguished from the unjust through uprightness of his conduct and typical right thinking. Therefore justice involves many varied ideas such as honesty, fairness, and truthfulness.Critical reflection on Justice

Justice is crucial to human flourishing because it is through it that human beings assume their responsibilities and give what is due to others. As it is taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the respect for the rights of other people is achieved by observing justice. Additionally, justice is crucial for the establishment of harmonious human relationships through equity and the common good in the society can be achieved. Even to young children, the role of justice is evident. These children perceive that even when playing with their friends, there should be an element of fairness. Moreover, they recognize that while some things are right, others are wrong. For justice to prevail, it follows that the rights of every person must be secured.  It is also worth noting that each individual is responsible for upholding justice in cases where objective truths do not exist. In such a scenario, human beings are responsible for creating morality, which then becomes subject to them. In the Christian doctrine, however, morality is considered to be both fixed and objective. Therefore, while the theory of relativism may argue that what is considered right today could be viewed as wrong tomorrow, justice does not change. The search for justice involves both responsibilities and rights. Both of these requirements are correlated. For instance, the rights of one person will place an obligation on those around them. On the other hand, the responsibilities of that person are as a result of the rights of other people.Critical reflection on Justice

Justice can be analyzed in light of a wide range of socio-political contexts, especially in the United States. In the social context, justice requires that all people be valued equally. One of the core principles of justice is that all human beings have to be accorded equal worth in possessing certain rights. Previously, this theory has been used to solve a number of social issues. As an illustration, the ancient American society did not accord women equal rights as men. Apart from being considered as physically weaker than men, women were not allowed to vote. In other societies, they could not be educated and were not allowed to conduct the same social-political functions as men. Although the situation changed over the years with the empowerment of women who now enjoy basically the same rights as men, there are several other socio-political contexts in the US that still wrestle with a moral question of justice. The continued health disparities and lack of health equity in American society, for instance, stems from a lack of justice.

According to Braverman, social inequality is a condition that arises in a society as a result of citizens having unequal access to services or benefits. An example is the health disparities that have, for many years, affected socially disadvantaged groups (Braveman 149). A closer analysis of the current healthcare situation reveals that the inequalities that have persisted for many decades are systematic but also plausibly avoidable. Although they reflect social disadvantage, they arise from lack of justice in the society. Rather than reflecting variations in health outcomes, the prevailing health disparities imply injustice as a result of lack of fairness and disregard of the fundamental concepts of justice in which need is not used as a key determinant when allocating resources for health. Over the years, the well-being of the worst of societies has continued to deteriorate.

The disparity that exists in America’s health system is a clear indication of unjust health difference. When such a situation is preventable, allowing it to persist is unjust and, therefore, signals lack justice.  The social group differences that exist in the country based on races reflect that health resources and risks are not evenly distributed.  The term health injustice or inequity is applicable when describing racial disparities that have remained persistent in the US infant mortality rated.  When compared to the whites, the mortality rates among non-Hispanic blacks are three times higher. These differences are attributed to avoidable differences in access to health care and education.Critical reflection on Justice

There are compelling reasons to believe that justice could help to alleviate health disparities in the US healthcare system. Moral concerns emerge from the continued health differences in the country on the basis of race, a person’s ethnicity, and other social factors. The current situation may offend the notion that some people have of justice and fairness. Without a doubt, the existing health differences are objectionable from the perspective of human rights.  Through the United Nations General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, health became enshrined as one basic human right. Since then, different treaties, domestic laws, and the constitution has reflected the need to provide quality healthcare to all the citizens of a country. Although different countries including the US value health equity, they are far from achieving it. Using justice to alleviate this problem would require that ensuring that the numerous resources and outcomes involved get evenly distributed across all social groups.

Various federal and state health agencies should develop effective public policies that will support the realization of the set objectives. It is generally accepted that there are numerous factors that go beyond the state’s or the federal government’s control that influence health. Therefore the right to health does not mean that all the citizens have the right to be healthy. However, all the American citizens including African-Americans and Hispanics have the right to enjoy the same high standard of mental as well as physical health that white people enjoy. To achieve this, however, all the people involved will have to adhere to the ethical concepts of justice that would require health resource allocation be done on the basis of the existing need. The result would be equal access to quality and cost-effective care for all Americans irrespective of their social or economic background.Critical reflection on Justice

Another approach that could help to combat the health social problem is collecting disaggregated data about the distribution of health and associated opportunities in a given population and analyzing it by means of the unbiased lens to determine factors that reduce or increase opportunities to be healthy. From such a study, socially-determined health inequalities can be determined and the information used by policymakers to come up with successful interventions. Additionally, health equity could be achieved by addressing gender inequalities, especially among the disadvantaged groups. Moreover, special focus should be directed toward promoting the health of racial groups that have constantly been identified as the most vulnerable. There is evidence that the inequalities in health have systematically prevented certain population groups such as the Native Americans and blacks from ascending the economic and social ladder. Therefore, there should be increased political commitment and action and promotion of awareness to address the prevailing injustices that have made these groups lag behind.

It is evident that the cardinal virtues of justice entail human beings rendering what is due to others and to God on a constant basis. Its main pursuit is to ensure that the rights of all people are observed. Through it, human beings flourish since they assume responsibilities and give what is due to others. Lack of justice in the US health system, however, has resulted in major disparities that affected the disadvantaged groups negatively. These inequalities stem from injustice given that although they plausibly avoidable, they have not been fully addressed. Consequently, the well-being of the worst of societies has continued to deteriorate. This is in opposition to the basic principle of justice that requires we take care of other people.Critical reflection on Justice


Work Cited

Braveman, Paula A., et al. “Health disparities and health equity: the issue is justice.” American journal of public health 101.S1 (2011): S149-S155.