Justice is one of the key objectives for defining and justifying governments. There are various definitions of justice in terms of what it covers and how it defines offenses and remedies.
In my opinion, all of these definitions share a common objective of approximating how we understand how an omniscient God defines justice and how an omnipotent God penalizes. In the heavenly notion of justice, the objective is to judge the morality of the person himself, with a conclusion not only was there guilt of a crime, but a conclusion about the person’s worthiness as a being.
The goals of human-run governments is to approximate justice in terms of having as complete as possible information about the offense including the motivations and circumstances involved. Like God’s will, there is no time limit on when justice is decided, where very often justice is decided near or at the end of life. The goal is also the same: being as certain as possible we do not miss categorizing as unworthy any individual who has violated some standard of behavior.
The human mimicry of this model of justice describes this with the expression about the wheels of justice being slow.
The basic notion of justice is that there is one single solution for perfect justice: perfect knowledge of what happened matched with one acceptable remedy. Such a vision of justice motivates the current controversies about past (often long past) behaviors that offends. This notion of allowing indefinite time to fully deliver justice for past offenses permits imposing new penalties on old behaviors because now we have more information and a more modern standard of punishable behavior. By extension, we can expect these claims to be revisited in the future indefinitely as society progresses with more incriminating information and a more extensive prohibition of bad behavior.
The goal human justice systems is to conclude something finally about each person’s entire life. More specifically, to not miss penalizing any person whose behavior has fallen short of a moral life. This is especially true for successful people. If a successful person has behaved objectionably in the past, there is a perceived need to add to the past penalties to make the proportional to the future success. This aligns with the Godly notion of justice that takes into account the total person’s life where later successes can not erase the past sins. In the example of religions with a notion of final judgement prior to entry to an afterlife, the judgement will restore justice by augmenting earlier penalties by taking into account the unanticipated future successes.
This definition of justice presumes there can be successes that are unworthy due to past behaviors. There can be penalties to take away those successes to bring the person’s life outcome to match what is expected for the earlier transgressions.
I have proposed a dedomenocracy, or a government by data and urgency, as an alternative to western democracy. The concept of justice is one of the ways that sets dedomenocracy apart. Dedomenocracy is not interested in justice in the above sense. There is nothing to gain by evaluating the life-long worthiness of individuals, and in particular to be sure that the person’s life has been sufficiently penalized to satisfy justice.
Government by data and urgency places primacy on the more recent data about everything, including people. Inherent in this model is the depreciation of old information and of conclusions (or models) based on that old information.
The benefit of government by data and urgency is to maximize the chances for success or to minimize the chances for failure for current decisions. This is best achieved by optimally engaging all resources based on current capacities and on promises for future achievements.
What matters to a government by data and urgency is the advancement of the entire population. Advancing or at least maintaining a healthy community will benefit everyone including the the people considered to be most worthy. To best assure this advancement, the government needs full motivation of all persons in the particular roles that each person excels in. This motivation will inevitably reward people who have previously behaved poorly, and will likely reward them very well if their roles were particularly important toward contributing to the success.
In a dedomenocracy, I would expect there to be exactly the conditions we are complaining about today. There will be many people with far more success than others despite having less honorable histories. In a dedomenocracy, there will be no revising of past punishments to account for more recent successes.
What makes dedomenocracy different is that it focuses on injustice instead of justice. Justice mimics the final judgement of religions to assure an individual’s entire life has a sufficient balance of penalties and success to match his crimes. In contrast, the injustice perspective is to focus on the immediate resolution of a complaint where that resolution is final, never to be considered again for the same offense.
One analogy to an injustice perspective concerns an interpersonal confrontation that results in one person punching another. Assuming that the punch is not a knockout, the second person has a choice of punching back and doing so is a potential resolution to the first injustice. The fight may continue back and forth until at some point there is a cessation. That cessation of fighting can be a resolution of the injustice in the form of some type of understanding of who won or of what is permitted for future interactions. If, however, one of the people comes back later to restart the fight ostensibly to rectify justice for the earlier encounter, this new encounter is a new injustice that will play out through another fight and resolution.
In a justice model, both fights are part of one finding of justice. In an injustice model, the two fights are two separate offenses with two different resolutions.
The justice model accepts indefinite iterations of new fighting to continue to refine the extraction of justice. The injustice model refuses to connect the subsequent events as a single episode.
In an injustice model, the loser of the first fight even if more worthy in character will always be penalized for initiating a follow on fight even if the goal is for better justice, such as to address the unfairness that the previous winner was a better fighter.
In this analogy, there may be many resolutions within each individual fight. The resolutions may be negotiated privately, or within a small community, or within some formalized settlement. The point here is that the settlement satisfies the injustice with finality. Subsequent relations with both parties will be based on the terms of that settlement only.
Government by data and urgency consists of two parts: data and urgency.
The data of the encounter are the conditions that led to the injustice and the injustice-resolving settlement.
The injustice interpretation is not admitted as data. In earlier discussions, I distinguished observational data (that I called bright data) from model-derived data (that I called dark data) with the objective to building a data store consisting of only bright data and excluding dark data. I argued that the inclusion of dark data, data the is calculated based on past models of reality, will bias the data in favor of perpetuating old ideas and this will prevent discovery of new hypotheses that may become a better model of reality, and thus the basis for better decision-making going forward.
In this terminology, the interpretation of an injustice is model-generate dark-data. That interpretation itself is contextual in terms of models we have about human behavior (psychology, sociology, anthropology, or morality). Allowing this information of the injustice-interpretation to linger in our data will perpetuate the injustice-interpretation for future actions, thus limiting the options for future actions. In current events, the examples are denying talented and successful people from continuing their projects or career that otherwise show promise for future success.
To be clear, government of data and urgency does permit as bright-data the observations of events leading up to the then-interpreted injustice and the observation of the terms of the subsequent settlement. The only data that is excluded is the interpretation of injustice that has been settled.
The urgency part of government by data and urgency also has no interest in assessing the injustice of past events. The goal of this government is to make the best choices for the future based on information that is valid at the present. Unlike Gods of religions, human governments do not have infinite resources to extract perfect justice for each offense. Resources spent on refining the justice of past events subtracts from resources available to tackle present problems, avoiding potential catastrophes or taking advantage of current opportunities.
In a justice model, there is indefinite time to decide any particular case. We see this occasionally where we congratulate ourselves for finally penalizing some octogenarian for some offense committed when he was in his twenties. This may even be an particularly immoral and objectionable act. Like God, western democracy’s concept of rule of law is celebrated by the eventual extraction of justice for all actions.
The injustice model of dedomenocracy focuses on urgency and thus would only prosecute such old cases if all other problems facing society has been solved. However this is not the same as excusing the old behavior or pardoning the offender. Dedomenocracy uses the principles of resolving immediate injustices instead of perpetual justice.
Resolving injustices is very much an immediate action. Injustices are like a fight in that there comes a time when the fight concludes. When the loser of a fight comes back later after recovering from the first fight, the outcome of that fight will resolve the injustice of restarting the fight because the resolution of the first injustice has already been concluded. To be clear, this fight may extend to calling in authorities and going through legal action of a trial, plea-bargain, or out-of-court settlement, but in all these cases there is a point where everyone agrees that the first injustice is resolved even if from a God’s perspective the wrong person won.
Another analogy to a fight is the playing of some refereed sport. Concepts like fouls are similar to injustices. The referee will call the foul or a player may bring a foul to a referee’s attention. The referee makes a decision that may include imposing some penalty and then the game immediately continues even if the ruling is contradicted by evidence captured on camera. At the very point when the referee makes his call, the players must immediately decide to accept the decision and continue playing, or exiting the game to be replaced by another player or forfeiting the game entirely. In nearly every contested ruling, the players agree to complete the game and the final outcome of the game is the official outcome. Future games are played without regard to past contested rulings. If the same players face off in a future game, the player who felt he was wronged in the prior ruling will not be excused of fouls he commits in this game as retribution. The earlier foul was fully resolved by the earlier ruling and the acceptance of both sides to continue playing the game. Earlier fouls have no bearing on future play because of the urgency of delivering the best performance of the current game.
Government by data and urgency runs all of government like the playing of sports games.
Data from past games inform play in future games and selects the best assignments of players to roles in order to have the best opportunity to win the current game. Teams will lose fans when teams continue to dwell on previously decided fouls because the games will lose their excitement of newness.
Data from past events will inform future government. A government the continues to dwell on previously decided injustices will lose super-majority consent because the government will cease to address issues that matter in the future.
In contrast to justice that moves slowly and often has no time-limit, injustice is resolved as quickly as possible. Given the complexities and great risks facing modern government, the focus of attention should be the future, not the past.