“Doing the Right Thing” by Michael, J. Sandel
Sandel shares different views of justice. For example, he mentions price gouging, a concept that he asserts emphasizes the structure of justice. He posits that the concept underpins three key aspects. First, it maximizes happiness among many people. Often, happiness is usually associated with financial welfare. The second aspect is respect for individual freedom, which underpins the need for people to be allowed to exercise their freedom by doing what they believe is right. The last aspect is engaging people in discussions or formulating policies that promote virtue. The second example of what entails justice, according to Sandel, is the case of the executive pay. Sandel asserts that begrudging a person because he or she has achieved success is wrong. Additionally, it is morally wrong to reward a certain class of people for failure, particularly at the expense of others. In the case concerning the runaway trolley, the sacrifice of one person for the common good of many may sound right but is not justified. Every life is valuable hence; killing one soul to save money is not justifiable. Lastly, the example of Afghan Goatherds brings into perspective making the right decisions irrespective of their outcomes.
The case involving the Afghan Goatherds is indeed more sophisticated as opposed to the trolley example since it involved making difficult decisions pertaining to the life of innocent lives. The incident of Afghan Goatherds occurred in 2005 and involved four American Navy Seals who had been deployed for a secret mission in a foreign land. Their objective was to monitor, capture and probably kill a leader of the Taliban who was believed to have close ties with Osama Bin Laden. The Navy Seals believed the capture of this Taliban leader would perhaps destabilize the Taliban organization.
The Navy Seals camped on a Mountain ridge, which they believed was a strategic point for monitoring the village where the leader of the Taliban resided. Unfortunately, about three Afghan goatherds, one aged about 14 years saw them. The soldiers were in a dilemma since their mission was a top secret and they boy could compromise their entire mission by revealing their hideout. The only alternative to uphold the mission and remain safety in their hideout was to take out the boy. It was a difficult decision to make, but the only alternative. However, it was morally wrong to terminate the threat, that is, the goatherds because they posed no threat and were unarmed. Therefore, the ethical question in such a case is whether killing innocent lives for the common good of everyone was the right choice. Instead of killing them, the goatherds were subjected to torture. According to the concept of egoism, one should pursue his/her interest irrespective of the impact caused on others. The action taken by the soldiers was justifiable given that it was meant for the greater good.
Initially, I thought that the concept of justice entailed rendering just treatment and offering due reward indiscriminately. However, the three examples illustrated by Sandel challenged my perception of justice. Foremost, I realized that justice entails making decisions based on the prevailing circumstances. How a given situation is solved may differ with another based on their underlying factors. Furthermore, another individual may perceive what a given person may term as justice as an injustice. To this end, the definition of justice may lack a standard definition. As such, justice depends on how a person assesses a given situation before making a decision.