"The only thing that permits us to acquiesce in an erroneous theory is
the lack of a better one, analogously, an injustice is tolerable
only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice."
A Theory of Justice, 1971
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- choi, philippines      
A thought-provoking as well as realistic statement which implies that there are degrees of justice and the maximum level of justice that may be achieved at any given time is constrained by the actual circumstances of life in any given society.
 -- Ahmed Jamal Anwar, Dhaka     
    True, well said Ahmed
     -- M. Brown, Florida     
    Sadly most often the injustice deemed to be the greater one is the one that is inlicted on you and yours. Thus we destroy the earth rather than practicing sound earth friendly practices. The mantra "think globally act locally" comes to mind and is a good one for learning to treat the earth justly and to not think of self only.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    This is the politician's trick that the end justifies the means. The problem is that once the end is realized, the injustice that got us there remains in place. That is how we got all these alphabet soup government bureaus and offices that keep growing. But don't be fooled: the means ARE the ends the powers-that-be want to impose, and it never 'ends.' Thumbs down because this is a cop out.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Better red than dead and choose the lesser of 2 evils comes to mind. Once an unlawful act or any injustice is implemented it becomes institutionalized so as to lose all understanding of truth, liberty and freedom. The quote's dumbing down effect has eradicated from the general society's consciousness the reasons explaining why compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, governmental larceny, fiscal immorality are unlawful and unjust.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    This is simply pragmatism without principles. There is only right and wrong, justice and injustice and injustice should never be tolerated by anyone with principles. Those who tout an injustice in order to rectify a so-called "greater" injustice are merely perpetrators of retribution and revenge.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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