I recently read Judith N. Shklar's book The Faces of Injustice
(Yale U.P., 1990). This excellent essay
about the difference between misfortune and injustice would not
appear to have much to do with government ethics. But there turns
out to be much relevant food for thought.
The principal difference between misfortune and injustice lies in
how people perceive and interpret events. Those who cause suffering
have serious blind spots that make them interpret the event as
unavoidable and unfortunate, when in fact they are responsible
either for the event or for doing nothing to prevent or fix the
situation that led to the event.
This difference is at the heart of the way high-level local
officials deal with government ethics. They do not see their misuse
of office as causing suffering. They say, to themselves and others,
that what they do is in the public's best interest, implying that
the public is wrong to see their misconduct as wrong and damaging.