Tuesday, 5 July 2022

"Justice consists first not in condemning, but in admiring..."

"Justice consists first not in condemning, but in admiring -- and then in expressing one's admiration explicitly and in fighting for those one admires....
    “It is, if anything, more important to praise and reward the good than to condemn the evil. To speak up and to fight for the men who are right and who represent rational values.
    “Granted, the evil must be fought and condemned … but then, brushed aside.
    “What counts in life … and this is the issue, of course, of the potency of virtue … what counts in life is the good.
    “They are the men who create the values life requires. They are the men mankind relies on. They are the men whose virtues and achievements must be acknowledged above all, if justice is a virtue, and if life is the standard.
    “So it is important to tell Plato, for instance, that he's wrong. But it is more important that Aristotle hear somebody who recognizes that he is right.
    “It's important that James Taggart not get away with the fraud that he runs Taggart Transcontinental, but it is more important that Rearden find someone who can understand what he is achieving.
    “The first duty of justice is to acknowledge and defend the good.
    “And in this respect, I might point out the whole of 'Atlas Shrugged' is a passionate act of justice.”

~ Leonard Peikoff, composite quote from his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and lecture 'Objectivism and the Moral Foundations of Government' [hat tips Felipe Lapyda and Robert Nasir]

1 comment:

MarkT said...

I entirely agree with Peikoff’s emphasis on rewarding the positive rather than punishing the negative, and it’s something that many of us, particularly Objectivists need reminder of. But I’d say rather than just admiring, justice is primarily about taking action - returning value to someone you get value from. This is usually done without explicit admiration being expressed, particularly in NZ.