No Other Coin But Justice

Nobody asked but …

William Faulkner wrote, in Absalom, Absalom — ” … what conscience to trade with which would have warranted you in the belief that you could have bought immunity … for no other coin but justice?”

This reveals to me the greatest failure of the idea of justice — it is incomplete, indelibly so.  We can only purchase compensation with the coin of justice, we cannot undo the wrong which occasioned the need for justice.

This is not, however, an argument that, falling short, justice need not be done.  Certainly the guilty, having violated the non-aggression principle (NAP), for instance, must face the music.  All I am calling for is that we never forget that a wrong plus a penalty never make a right.

We must remember that the NAP guards forbidden territory, it does not post a fare for passage into the territory.

— Kilgore Forelle

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