Thinking Through Preserving Democracy, Law and Justice

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This is an ongoing review, taking it chapter by chapter, or so. This post covers chapter 5, Law and Justice. While I generally try to be apolitical until the political sphere and the religious sphere clash, when Energion asked me to consider reviewing this book, I took the chance to do so to engage in a discussion which does far too often come in close contact with the Church. Each of these posts will discuss just various points within the chapter.

In this chapter, Hushbeck takes on the modern creation of American society into one that uses the legal system as a means to make money. Frankly, there isn’t much in this chapter which I could disagree with, not his thesis here, nor his examples, nor even his outcome. My concern, only, is that Hushbeck seems to be against the Tort system completely. He focuses heavily on the asbestos lawsuits, which I have first hand knowledge of. My paternal grandfather worked in the pipe fitter trades in Baton Rouge since the 1960’s. It was during this time that Corporations slowly became ‘citizens’, and while one side of that coin is the protections and freedoms afforded individual citizens, the other side is that they also answer to the same punishments. By that, I mean that many of these companies which used asbestos have been shown to have known about the dangers of asbestos and refused to do anything to protect their workers. The author is correct that many workers who show no lasting effects of asbestos have sued the companies leaving little recourse for those whose life will be or have been cut short due to purposed corporate malfeasance. My grandfather was among the first to sue and win due to the cancer which is caused by asbestos. His life was cut short just a few months later.

He highlights that the focus of the civil justice system is no longer really about justice, at least the justice as understood by the Founders. Lasting Justice is not about collecting monetary value for the damage done, although this is a part of if at times, but about correcting the issue which has led to injustice. There are plenty of lawsuits which can be shown to bring about real justice (in the civil courts), and often times see the wronged rewarded. But that must not be the goal of the civil courts. Monetary awards only allow the justice to be sold, not corrected. This cannot be done through laws, but must come through a change in culture, where the first thought when a wrong has been committed is not about the checks to be received, but the checks to be employed so as to see that the issue doesn’t arise again.

While, again, I would suggest that a more substantial amount of evidence be presented, Hushbeck is correct, and like the previous chapter, has presented his argument and conclusion which is dead on.

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