Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Justice and Goodness

First of all, I think it necessary to observe that it is a very common thing for men to confound justice with goodness, and to assail the former with accusations which from their very nature could have no force whatever except as urged against the latter. How prone are people to claim rights which have no existence, or to complain of wrong where there has been no wrong at all! How extravagant are the pretensions of self-love! In its prejudiced eyes, it is a crime for you, not merely to do a hurtful thing, but also not to be lavish with what is your own. Let only your accustomed liberalities be diminished never so little—nay, let them only not be increased up to the measure of your client's greedy expectations, and lo! you will, in too many cases, have the cry of injustice raised against you; and this fancied injustice will be made the occasion of a thousand complaints, so that a very trifling accident will suffice to change into an object of execration and hatred a benefactor towards whom no true gratitude had ever been felt.

Antonio Rosmini, Theodicy, volume 1, Signini et al., tr., p. 204.

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