Question #10de6

1 Answer
Nov 1, 2017

It is dependent on what is meant by just as opposed to unjust.


There are a number of criteria needed to make a law just. For example it must reflect the will of the people. In a democracy, that would mean some link between the wishes of voters and their representatives.

This in itself is open to conjecture. For example in the UK governments are regularly elected with well under 50% of those who voted let alone all the non-voters. In the USA Donald Trump became President despite Hillary Clinton polling more votes.

However in both instances these results reflect the vagaries of the respective electoral systems. Given that there is a basic democratic process in place, the result is usually accepted and so those elected have a mandate to govern.

A second measurement of a just law is that is should not discriminate against any group or individuals. All should be equal in the eyes of the law.

Most laws, but not all, in democracies would meet the criteria of being just so they are generally obeyed. However there are circumstances when laws will be broken to a level which calls into question their validity. The Poll Tax in Scotland was an example.

The Nuremberg Laws in Germany were in a sense legal in that they were passed by the Nazis who held power, but they were totally unjust as they discriminated against the Jews in every walk of human life. It was justifiable to break them but given the nature of the Nazi regime it took considerable bravery to do so.