How can it be, in an egalitarian society, that injustice to the marginalized creates scarcely a ripple? The answer I think is found at the threshold: most Australians do not recognize the original inhabitants, the stolen generations, the faceless asylum seekers, as people: at least, not in the same sense that we are people. Their humanity is of a different order.
Without the law, you can’t have society. But without the arts, you can’t have civilisation
To recognize the equal humanity of every broken spirit of the stolen generations; to see your own child in the face of every child fretting and grieving in a detention centre, would be a terrible burden. This blindness protects the privileged.
A moral crime is all the worse when it is sanctioned by law: the worst excesses of the Nazi regime were carried out under colour of the Nuremberg laws. At its best, practising law can be instrumental in achieving Justice. But there are times when to uphold the law is to betray Justice. Any society which legitimises the mistreatment of a defenceless group poses a great challenge for lawyers. We face a stark choice: we can lend ourselves to the enforcement of immoral laws, or help to resist them, and perhaps change them.
Human language has a vocabulary suited to our daily needs and functions: the shape of any human language maps approximately to the needs and activities of our mundane lives. But few would deny that there is another dimension of human existence which transcends the mundane: call it the soul, the spirit: it is that part of the human frame which sees the shimmer of the numinous.