Is the U.S. an Unjust Nation?

by Burt on December 18, 2014

Yes, but only if we are judged by a divine standard. Indeed, by that standard we have many imperfections. One of our nation’s sins, for example, is that at different points in our history we have almost fully denied natural rights to several different groups: Blacks, Indians, Japanese during World War II, and even rich people (who were socked with a 90+ percent income tax for over twenty years). One sad lesson we have learned is that if you have a system that can deny natural rights to one group, then no other group is really safe from the political power of its government.

If we compare the U.S. to other nations, however, then we are probably the most just and most compassionate country ever to exist in the history of mankind. Our legal system, though it has had some failings, strives to protect all people and judge cases on the basis of merit. Early in our history, the U.S. became a haven and melting pot for Jews and other groups fleeing European wars, racism, and famine.

In the 1900s, we twice saved the world from itself. U.S. food and aid stopped famine and disease that struck millions of Europeans after World War I and World War II. In the case of WWI, after we had fed war-torn Europe, we literally doubled our own national debt in order to forgive the nations of Europe the debts they owed us. After WWII, we spent billions of dollars to revive industries in Japan and Germany, the countries that had started the war and had killed hundreds of thousands of our soldiers. Where else in the history of war have we ever seen the victors reaching out the hand of friendship by pumping cash into the defeated nations?

Maybe, in fact, the U.S. is too generous. President Obama is now trying to renew economic ties with Cuba. All is to be forgiven. We cut ties with Cuba more than fifty years ago because Fidel Castro seized all U.S. property in Cuba and refused to pay Americans any of the almost $2,000,000,000 that he owed them. (In today’s dollars, that amount would be more than $10 billion.) Will any of that money and property be restored to the rightful American owners? If not, what lesson does that send to other Latin American nations, which also hold massive amounts of American money and American-owned property?

If we study the Bible, the U.S. does not measure up to God’s best standard. But if we study history, the U.S. does very well, and we can see why so many millions of immigrants have come here, and are still trying to get here. Those who criticize America as unjust are rarely willing to judge themselves by the same high standard they judge the U.S.

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