No Justice, No Peace!
During most protests by the political Left, the slogan “No Justice, No Peace”: gets used: quite often. It’s a fine sounding slogan. It rolls off the tongue quite nicely. It makes a good chant (especially if your fist is in the air). It sounds logical, perhaps even poetic (in a simple sort of way).
It’s a slogan I’ve: heard many times over the years. It is a slogan mostly used to unite the political Left (with some exceptions). After typing the slogan into my computer search engine I found “No Justice, No Peace” used in various headlines from organizations like Socialist Alliance, Socialist Worker, many anti-Israeli pro-Palestinian sites.
It’s also a slogan that you hear quite frequently from Jesse Jackson, Cornel West and of course the always entertaining Al Sharpton.
The only problem is, the statement makes no sense.
It is quite obvious that you can have peace without justice. Most of the world’s totalitarian regimes have enjoyed peace without justice. The idea is quite simple. You simply shoot or send to the gulag anybody who disturbs the “peace” and tranquility of the collectivist state. It was a technique that worked rather well for the Soviets as well as the Nazis (until the National Socialists: went to war).
For the Soviets the aim was to get rid of the “enemies of the people.” This included the rich (unless they were in the communist party). The great British philosopher Bertrand Russell used to call for peace during the cold war by saying “Better Red than Dead.” Russell’s peace without justice viewpoint was answered by the great Russian anti-communist Alexander Solzhenitsyn when he replied “Better to be dead than a scoundrel.”
For the National Socialists the aim was to rid Germany (and later the world) of inferior races, thus bringing “peace” to the Fatherland. Like the communists the aim was the same; to create a perfect society by weeding out the undesirables.
If the Germans would have succeeded there would have been peace in the world. But it would have been a peace that ignored the humanity of countless millions. There is always peace in a graveyard.
It is also quite obvious that you can have justice without peace. World War II was anything but peaceful, but it was just. Try asking a veteran who ran up the beach at Normandy in the face of German machine gun fire. Did he feel peaceful on that fateful morning? Every war and revolution in history has been unpeaceful. There was very little peace during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WW1, WW2, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.
In fact, when we try to determine which wars (if any) were just, we NEVER rely on the criterion of peace, because unjust wars can eventually end in peace as easily as just wars. The critical question (among many others) is whether the goal of the conflict is just.
If it is possible to have peace without justice and justice without peace, then what should we do with such a slogan? I say we should get rid of it. But instead of removing it and thus leave a hole that would be later filled with an equally absurd slogan, it would be wise to come up with one that really works.
My recommendation: No Truth, No Justice. Since it is impossible to have truth without justice, or justice without truth, the slogan would be internally consistant. And who knows, If we fight for truth: and justice long enough we might find ourselves being given a very special gift…