John Barbero 1945 – 2010 »« Sestak: Can’t Spot a Flaming Liberal

Defining Social Justice

The term social justice is thrown around like crazy these days.  I have to be honest, until a couple of years ago, the term really didn’t mean anything to me.  There is really no definition for it and it used in so many varying ways.

Which is why I was glad to see an article by Dr. Paul Kengor on the subject recently.

Most exasperating is that many who speak the language of social justice really mean “economic justice.” Unlike traditional practitioners of social justice, whose occasional noble interests ranged from prison reform to child-labor laws, many modern practitioners seek wealth redistribution, “living wages,” progressive income taxes, and an eternally-widening net of federal government power and central planning; they are inclined to class interests rather than human rights. And, by their estimate, achieving economic justice requires collectivism. They invoke social justice not to try to resolve conventional social differences as much as class/income differences.

Kengor poses some great questions you can ask your friends when they start talking about social justice:

We need to probe deeper: What do you really mean by “social justice?” How would that translate into policy? What kind of government control and taxation do you have in mind? Do you really mean “economic justice?”

I always found clear definitions helpful when having a conversation.  Besides, how can you talk or debate about something without both parties starting off with common definitions of words and terms.

Kengor cites another article that was very enlightening about the history of social justice – well worth the read if this is a topic of interest to you.

July 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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