The Courts Cannot Have It Both Ways

Next year, 2025, marks 80 years since the end of World War II and the terrible atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. Each year over 2 million tourists visit Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland to see first-hand the devastation that a society is capable of when its people lose sight of another’s humanity. It’s a frightening reality, but the atrocities that quickly led to Auschwitz could happen again. That’s why we need to know more than just what took place but how and why. Only then can we work to ensure such atrocities don’t happen again.

In the following short video and in-depth article, Andy considers the ironic justice of one of the last Nazis to be tried for failing to act on his conscience. This story provides the historical backdrop for discussing how Auschwitz was made possible and highlights key areas of concern in North America, particularly Canada, that need to be taken more seriously.

Auschwitz is an example of how an individual, government, and even a whole society can go morally off-track over time. This is where freedom of conscience is indispensable. The health of a society requires the freedom—and responsibility—of individuals to course-correct as they listen to, and act on, the convictions of their conscience.

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In 2022, Andy Steiger presented a paper at the World Congress in Philosophy Law that was recently published in the Supreme Court Law Review of Canada called, Rights and Responsibilities of Conscience: The Courts Cannot Have it Both Ways.

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