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The Paradox of Equal Justice

The Paradox of Equal Justice

Ralph Nader

Almost every day, entertainment, sports, media, political and even some business organizations are jettisoning their top officials and incumbents after reported accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assaults of their subordinates. They’re not waiting for prosecutors, courts or regulators to take action. “Get out now” is the first punishing order. Then the work product of these asserted offenders—whether music, comedy shows, etc.—are often scrubbed, and recipients of political contributions are under pressure to give these sums to charity.


I enrolled in a graduate school law class nearly four decades ago. The professor signaled the end of each class session by saying “Irrespective of what we discussed today, the first question to ask is HOW MUCH JUSTICE CAN YOU AFFORD ?”

More true today than ever ?


From the article:

“…companies themselves…get away with fines that appear large but are far less than the ill-gotten gains…”

Adding insult to injury, the tax code allows most fines to be deducted from gross revenues as “ordinary and necessary business expenses.”

Ending that deduction would go a long way toward ending corporate abuses.


Paying for lobbyists and fines are just part of corporations’ cost of doing business…with excellent return on investment (ROI).


The common man, like his primordial ancestor, does not react (emotionally) to abstractions. That’s why we can be unaffected by hearing that thousands die lingering deaths each year due to lack of health insurance, but be traumatized by the sight of one person being smashed to death by a car.


We have never had “…equal protections of the law and equal justice under the law.”, largely because of the natural human subjectivity that you point out above. The law should be unaffected by emotion, theoretically. However, the law itself is an artificial construct, written and interpreted by humans, and enforced (or not) by humans, selectively. That being said, we must always try to adhere to the standards of fairness and objectivity, as being in the best interests of society at large.

Some laws, being artificial constructs, do not serve the best interests of the society (Example: the “Jim Crow” laws of the late 19th and early 20th century South, among others).
That is why the Founders made provisions for Repealing laws that were determined to be unconstitutional. Even then, faulty decisions have been made, such as bestowing “personhood” on the artificial entity that is a Corporation.

This gets to the crux of what Nader is talking about, namely that Corporate crime, even when it results in exponentially more death and damage, is never held responsible for its crimes to the extent that individuals are, and this is manifestly unfair!


Meanwhile the GOV is ridding itself of the Clean Air Act which was created to monitor and enforce mercury and hydrogen cyanide plus other toxic chemical polluting the air. The communities which are forced to live near the 147 oil refineries in the US are subject to increased sicknesses and birth defects. Our food is polluted with pesticides, nitrates and ammonia from chemical fertilizers. “Conversely, there is increasing evidence that food production is also threatened by air pollution. Ozone precursor emissions (nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds) are of particular concern for global food security as these compounds react to form ground-level ozone.” Farmers who pick our food and live near the fields are subjected to overhead dusting of crops.


Industrial HOG producers in North Carolina are allowed to spray cesspool feces and urine on the people who live nearby. North Carolina congress just past a law restricting lawsuits against Industrial Hog Farmers. “Agricultural states, such as Iowa, Texas and North Carolina, have some of the strongest statutes that favor corporate-owned farms.”

Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder is free as a bird while the residents of Flint Mi continue to suffer the effects of his decision to poison their water supply.


In today’s America, if one listens closely, we can hear the ghost of John D. Rockefeller moaning in capitalist pig ecstasy!


Thank you for the links, and for the reminder that, while all eyes are on the Trump Circus of Insanity, ALEC and GOP lawmakers are steadily ruining the quality of life for most people, by their slavish worship of Big Money.

My pleasure and than your for what I consider a complement. There are many astute characters here in the CD community. It is too easy to become distracted when our passions are ignited in the rage that the times are invoking.

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Sorry, maybe just my personal preference, a minor point, but I loathe categorizing people into classes.

The reason people do things is mostly that there is an expected result. Why did the actresses go into hotel room? They were focused on the job interview.
Businesses exist to make money. Other issues such as reputation, market share, and quality are strategies that play on the side. So if the industry believes seatbelts are too expensive and will raise prices pointlessly, they won’t add them. It is the government’s role to 1)create research and 2)laws for public protection, and 3)government-funded incentives. Our businesses are not set up to protect the public. That is optional.
Research has recently been suffering from compromised interests.
In a capitalist system, I think the best way out of a bad business situation is 4)competition, such as solar competing with fossil fuels… Of course, that too is becoming difficult beause the injuring industry is connecting strongly with clawmakers.

I had heard decades ago that the world was running out of oil. So sorry that isn’t the case.

We will not have any hope of justice in this country, until it is exposed for what it is; a military dictatorship! And all past presidents and the present president are indicted as war criminals!