Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rosmini on the First Lesson of Social Justice

Now the first lesson social justice teaches us -- which governments nowadays have certainly not learnt nor seem to want to learn -- is that civil government with its acts and ordinances must never transgress the natural bounds of its authority, which cannot be defined without prior definition of the type of institution proper to civil government. Unless and until the sovereign rule of justice is accepted, there are no limits a government will not transgress. Utility alone, such a vague and empty word, cannot prescribe any definite limits to it because it depends on the probable evaluation of circumstances. Utility which is ofits nature variable, depends on the judgment of the person who carries out the evaluation.

Antonio Rosmini, Introduction to Philosophy, Volume 1: About the Author's Studies, Murphy, tr. Rosmini House (Durham: 2004) p. 27.