to society Not only have different nations and individuals different notions of

To society not only have different nations and

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to society. Not only have different nations and individuals different notions of justice, but, in the mind of one and the same indi vidual, justice is not some one rule, principle, or maxim, but many, which do not always coincide in their dictates, and in choosing between which, he is guided either by some extraneous standard, or by his own personal predilections. For instance, there are some who say, that it is unjust to punish any one for the sake of example to others ; that punishment is just, only when intended
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HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. 83 for the good of the sufferer himself. Others maintain the extreme reverse, contending that to punish persons who have attained years of discretion, for their own benefit, is despotism and injustice, since if the matter at issue is solely their own good, no one has a right to control their own judgment of it ; but that they may justly be punished to prevent evil to others, this being an exercise of the legitimate right of self- defence. Mr. Owen, again, affirms that it is unjust to punish at all ; for the criminal did not make his own character ; his education, and the circumstances which surround him, have made him a criminal, and for these he is not responsible. All these opinions are extremely plausible ; and so long as the question is argued as one of justice simply, without going down to the principles which lie under justice and are the source of its authority, I am unable to see how any of these reasoners can be refuted. For, in truth, every one of the three builds upon rules of justice con fessedly true. The first appeals to the acknowledged injustice of singling out an individual, and making him a sacrifice, without his consent, for other people's benefit. The second relies on the acknowledged justice of self-defence, and the admitted injustice of forcing one person to conform to another's notions of what constitutes his good. The Owenite invokes the admitted principle, that it is unjust to punish any one for what he cannot help. Each is triumphant so long as he is not compelled to take into consideration any other maxims of justice than the one he has selected ; but as soon as their several maxims are brought face to face, each disputant seems to have exactly as much to say for himself as the others. No one of them can
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84 UTILITABIANISM. carry out his own notion of justice without trampling upon another equally binding. These are difficulties ; they have always been felt to be such ; and many devices have been invented to turn rather than to over come them. As a refuge from the last of the three, men imagined what they called the freedom of the will ; fancying that they could not justify punishing a man whose will is in a thoroughly hateful state, unless it be supposed to have come into that state through no influence of anterior circumstances. To escape from the other difficulties, a favourite contri vance has been the fiction of a contract, whereby at some unknown period all the members of society engaged to obey the laws, and consented to be punished for any disobedience to them ; thereby
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