Part 1 of Social Justice: an analysis has been published at Gates of Vienna. This essay began as an attempt to summarize the key arguments of Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice. This is what I had done for Thomas Sowell in “Intellectuals and Race.” As writing proceeded, however, the discussion broadened to take in topics not explicitly covered by Sowell – so while The Quest for Cosmic Justice is the inspiration for the final result and many of the points are Sowell’s, it no longer seemed appropriate to give the article the same kind of title as my piece on Intellectuals and Race.
Since social justice is driven by resentment towards the successful resulting in their scapegoating, this is very much the territory analyzed so successfully by René Girard, hence his thinking is especially relevant.
Name any human characteristic and barring two individuals, someone will be better than you and someone worse than you. To reject this is to reject Being and existence. It is nihilistic.
The article begins by distinguishing between justified resentment at unprovoked attacks and actual unfairness versus unwarranted and essentially puerile resentment. It is important to recognize that all human beings are prone to resentment at those perceived to be superior and more successful. To exist is to have limits and those limits tend to produce frustration and resentment, a point made by Jordan Peterson. One student asked last semester whether it was possible to resent God. Yes, indeed! Even Sophia, in Gnostic theology, second only to The One, is said to be driven by resentment. What hope for the rest of us?
So-called “social justice” takes this sin and evil tendency; this pathology, and turns it into an opportunity for virtue signaling. The social justice warrior will in fact demonstrate her moral superiority by feeling very sorry for “victims” and by hating the “oppressors.” How do we know to which group someone falls? Following Peterson’s sarcastic analysis; find one group who is performing better than some other group, attribute the greater success to oppression and victimizing, laud one’s own moral superiority in pointing this out at no cost to oneself, repeat forever.
Redefining justice from equality of opportunity to equality of result means attacking competence and achievement in general. The results can only be pernicious.
Part 1 also covers the issue of whether to reward “merit” or productivity, the scapegoating of white men which is easy to demonstrate with just a few facts, a critique of LBJ’s “hobbling with chains” comments, and the free market as a truth generating device. In the last case, if having women on boards produces demonstrated economic benefit to those companies, no lobbying or demonstrations are necessary. The market will simply eliminate companies with male-only boards through competition. Free market forces are a reality check on lies. Unfortunately, not only do the media, universities and the government not pay a penalty for deviating from reality, their participants commonly are actively rewarded for second reality mendacity. It is the truth-tellers who are punished.