Iusta . . . ab iniustis petere insipientia est.
(Plautus, Amphitruo 36)
It is foolish to seek justice from the unjust.
pron = YOOS-tah ahb in-YOOS-tees PEH-teh-reh in-sih-pee-EHN-tee-ah ehst.
Comment: It certainly feels foolish to seek help to make something right from the very ones who have wronged you. And it is likely a
waste of time. The ones who have been unjust in their treatment are
going to be quite unable to redress the needs of the oppressed because to do so would mean to find fault in themselves, own it, and then seek a solution that would be contrary to their own disposition.
That is why we have in the US courts that are supposed to be free from biases so that they can render justice to those who have been denied justice. Just yesterday, though, I heard a news report on our Supreme Court's treatment of an environmental issue. The court was behaving according to the politics of its members: liberal justices were behaving one way, conservative just the opposite.
Martin Luther King, Jr and others who worked in the Civil Rights Movement must have wondered if they were fools seeking justice from the unjust. Gay people in the US must be wondering the same thing these days.
Justice did find a voice in the Civil Rights movement, and it has many other times in this country when it has been sought. So, those in our country who wish to eliminate "activist jusdges" usually mean that they want judges who see things their way. In my opinion, these are dangerous times with talk of changing our justice system, or doing away with justice as we know it.
Plautus' line begs a question: are there just people from whom the oppressed can seek help?
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive