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Social justice cannot be achieved without ethical leadership

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Scale of Justice

The achievement of Social Justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society. Social Justice rooted in values of equality, justice, respect for diversity and self-autonomy and fairness is more important now than ever amid various global crises that continue to threaten the very moral fabric our communities. Whether in America or the Middle East or Africa, the quest for social justice is not a new movement. It is one rooted in the fabric and history in every corner of this world.

The promotion of social justice through public institutions is a deeply rooted tradition. Throughout history, the advances made by humankind have been conceived by great individuals including scientists, political leaders, philosophers, and even ordinary inspired citizens, and implemented by institutions. However, positive trends in achieving social justice are reversible. Individuals, institutions and forces driven by power, greed and corruption can undo what are clearly political and social gains.

One of the major setbacks of achieving social justice whether it is ending racial discrimination, achieving gender equality, protecting the rights of migrants, refugees and immigrants is the lack of ethical leadership displayed by those in political power. We continuously have a subset of people who ascend to political power who sincerely lack the moral and ethical compass needed to lead. Too many people are suffering under the hands of leaders who are morally bankrupt and lack the ethical understanding to lead. The failure to actively pursue justice is not without consequences. The neglect of the pursuit of social justice in all its dimensions translates into the acceptance of a future marred by violence, repression and chaos.

Before any form of social justice can be achieved one must first understand the importance that ethics play in doing what is right. Ethical leadership is rooted in trust, respect for individuality and self-autonomy, integrity, fairness, justice and leads by example. As you can see, [add comma]the definition of Social Justice is also rooted in the same beliefs and values as Ethical Leadership. Ethical leadership also has four key principles: have respect for persons, never intentionally inflict harm (non-maleficence), do the greatest good for all (beneficence) and treat others equitably. If as a leader you have failed to upkeep the principles of ethics then you have also failed in actualizing social justice.

Why is ethics important when it comes to leadership or perhaps social justice? Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a course of action that will yield greater good for others. As a reminder, a politician is someone who holds elected office. The main duty of a politician, whether from local offices to executive, legislative, and judicial offices of regional and national governments, is to keep up with the needs of the public during their duties. Specifically, politicians represent the political, financial, administrative, economic, educational and other interests of their communities and represent those interests on a legislative level. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice. However, if we study many of the global injustices around the world, we see a number of political leaders who have a distorted view of politics, public service and ethics altogether.

The legitimacy of a political leader lies entirely within their capacity to serve the community. Social justice is impossible unless it is fully understood that power comes with the obligation of service. However, setbacks occur more regularly than advances; in this fast-moving world, the majority of societies and political regimes, even those founded on democratic values, have problems achieving and maintaining social justice. The only way social justice can be achieved is by the protection of civil society to flourish, remain independent without governmental influence, and for those in public office to lead by example with ethics and integrity as their compass.



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