Three Political Ideas
There are only three great political ideas; all other political ideas are variations of Justice, Liberty and Equality. Recent discussions and issues reminded me of an old Firing Line show where William F. Buckley had Mortimer Adler as his guest.
Adler explained that of these three great ideas Justice was the most important and fundamental idea to guide public policy. As Adler explained, it is possible to imagine a dystopian society with too much liberty which leads to anarchy and chaos, just as it is possible to imagine a dystopian society with too much equality.
It is not possible to imagine any dystopian society that results from the exercise of too much justice.
Adler suggested that the proper way to view these three great ideas was to picture a vertical triangle with Justice at the apex and both Liberty and Equality as the points at the base of the triangle. Every conflict between equality and liberty can be resolved by a rational application of Justice.
Of course that will not solve the problem of who makes the decision and how it is enforced. Mortimer Adler's point was that we cannot even begin to have a rational discussion about political issues until Justice For All and the pursuit of Justice is the primary goal of all public policy.
Here is an explanation I found from a review of Adler's book, Six Great Ideas:
As for the ideas we act on, justice reigns supreme. Here I find Adler’s argument especially compelling. He argues that justice is an unlimited good, while liberty and equality are limited goods. The distinction comes from Aristotle. We can have too much of limited goods, while we cannot have too much of an unlimited good. Societies can have too much liberty or equality, but not too much justice.
[Edit to add link to Mortimer Adler archives: