The injustice of "social justice"
I have never felt comfortable around academics who throw out the word "social justice" because it always seems restrictive and self-serving. Once I hear a group of social "scientists" employing the term, it generally means that are looking for reasons to favor some groups (almost always Democratic constituents), while excluding others. Hayek explains why he is not a fan of the term in his book on the topic:
I have now become convinced, however, that the people who habitually employ the phrase simply do it as an assertion that a claim is justified without giving a reason for it....
What I hope to have made clear is that the phrase 'social justice' is not, as most people probably feel, an innocent expression of good will towards the less fortunate, but that it has become a dishonest insinuation that one ought to agree to a demand of some special interest which can give no real reason for it. ...I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice.'
We all have our own idea of social justice. My form of social justice is a little different. I would have people keeping the money they earn without the force of a gun to their head with orders to turn larger and larger amounts of it over to the government as they become more successful. I would also call it socially just to have people pay for their own health care without mandating others by force to pay for them.
Is the current form of "social justice" with its emphasis on government force for some special interest groups but not for others really justice? Not in my book and certainly not in Hayek's. But read the book and decide for yourself what you think of "social justice." Hayek might just change your mind.
Labels: interesting books