Note: This is a draft and work in progress.
A just society is created by individuals whose behavior respects two fundamental rights: The right of every human being to create and experience well-being and the right of every human being to protect oneself and others from ill-being. A society becomes more unjust when individuals create well-being for themselves and others by creating ill-being for others and more just when they refuse to do so.
The members of a just society have clear definitions of well-being and ill-being. They begin to learn the importance of wisdom and compassion to well-being at the earliest possible age. They are taught that their freedom to act as they wish when their behavior cannot produce ill-being is absolute, but when it can produce ill-being, their freedom to act as they wish is limited by the equal and inviolable right of every human being to protect their selves against ill-being.
In a just society, every member has the ability to earn and the responsibility to contribute to the production of a healthy environment, a home, healthy food, safe water, clothing, quality education and healthcare, entertainment, wisdom, compassion, an effective, efficient and ethical government and all of the other essential resources human beings need to create and experience true well-being and to protect themselves and others from ill-being. In a just society, no one has the right to deny anyone else the ability to earn these essential resources.
In a just society, everyone is treated with kindness and respect. Behaviors which enhance the well-being of all are given the highest honor and support and those which decrease the well-being of all are given the greatest condemnation and punishment. Every person’s well-being is as important as the well-being of any other individual. The well-being of one individual is no less important than the aggregate well-being of a group of individuals.
Each citizen partially delegates one’s rights to create well-being and to protect oneself and others from ill-being to a government whose sole purpose is to enhance the ability of every citizen to exercise those rights through the combined strength of every citizen. Citizens empower the government through taxation and vigilant service that ensures government officials do not abuse the authority given to them by and on behalf of every citizen. The support government requires increases when threats that increase ill-being grow and decreases when threats that create ill-being lessen.
Respect for human rights are the foundation of a just society. The social contract which each citizen enters into with all other citizens must be designed to protect each citizen and their human rights. The government created by all citizens must protect each citizen, their human rights and the social contract.
People are sovereign over themselves
People have human rights
People violate human rights because they lack wisdom and compassion and those whose rights they violate do not have the ability to stop them at the time.
People enter into a social contract where they agree to respect the rights of others in exchange for respect of their rights by others. They agree that others have the right to stop them if they attempt to violate anyone’s rights. The social contract does not and cannot sanction violations of the rights of any citizen or non-citizen.
If someone chooses not to agree to respect the rights of others, they are in violation of the contract and the protections afforded by the social contract are no longer available to them. This does not mean that their rights cease to exist, or that others are justified in violating their rights, it simply means that they have willingly communicated that their behavior poses a threat to others and that people must then take appropriate measures to protect themselves in the absence of the protections created by agreement to the social contract.
In order to enhance their ability to stop others from violating rights, every member of a society combines their power to protect his or her self with the power of other members of society to do the same and creates a government whose purpose is to act on the behalf of all citizens to protect their rights and enforce the social contract.
A contract essentially says this party to the contract will do this in exchange for that and this other party to the contract will do this in exchange for that.
The social contract says that each citizen will respect the rights of every other citizen in exchange for every other citizen respecting the rights of each citizen. Government officials who are hired by the citizenry must respect those rights as well. The management of some breaches of the social contract are delegated to the government and others are handled by citizens acting in a private capacity. If government officials refuse to fulfill the responsibilities they have been given by the citizenry, citizens retain the right to manage breaches without them.
Why is the United States (and all other countries) not a just society?
- Citizens are allowed to violate the rights of other citizens
- Citizens expect their rights to be respected but do not accept the responsibility to respect the rights of others in return
- Citizens are denied their right to vote
- Citizens are not stopped when they deny other citizens access to essential goods and services
- Citizens are not stopped when they disrespect other citizens
- Citizens are not stopped when they are unkind to other citizens
- Citizens are not taught wisdom and compassion
- Citizens are not stopped when they create ill-being for others
- Citizens are not stopped when they lie
- Government officials do not protect certain citizens
- Citizens are not given equal access to quality educations
- Citizens are not given equal access to quality healthcare
- Citizens are not given equal access to police protection
- Citizens use violence against citizens and non-citizens to solve problems
- Citizens expect respect for their right to free speech as they encourage people to violate the rights of others
- Citizens are taught that some people are more important than others and are thus more deserving of kindness, respect, goods and services
- Citizens are taught that the only way for them to acquire the goods and services they need to truly create and experience well-being is by competing with other citizens for those goods and services and, if they win, denying access to those goods and services to other citizens
- Citizens are not stopped when they try to dominate, bully or coerce other citizens
- Citizens act like they have not accepted a social contract where they have agreed that other citizens have the right to stop them when they attempt to violate the rights of others.