Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Monday, May 24, 2010

Social Justice

The concept of “Social Justice” is decidedly non-libertarian, non-Christian, and counterproductive. To start with the term “Social Justice” is very elastic, and appears to change based on who is using the term. For the purposes of this discussion I’ll use the summary from Wikipedia:
Social justice is also a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system.

On it’s face Social Justice is oxymoronic. How can you protect human rights through wealth and property redistribution? Leftist proponents of Social Justice do not believe in human rights.

From a libertarian point of view, Social Justice is tyranny and theft. To believe in social justice you must believe that people do not have property rights or for that matter human rights. Walter Williams in Socratic style posed these questions.
Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him?
His premise is that “I am my private property and you are your private property.” As such if we accept the idea of self-ownership it is relatively easy to determine what acts are moral and immoral. All laws are based on enforcing moral judgments. Rape, murder, theft, etc. all violate fundamental property rights.

Fundamental libertarian principles, that this country was founded on, are that you have the right to yourself, and your property, and to use that property as you see fit so long as you do not infringe upon the rights of another, and to protect yourself (property) against others who would take it. Basically that nobody has the right to anybody’s body or the product of the use of their body (labor and property) through force or fraud.

I do not understand the social justice concept of equal outcomes. How can it be morally right to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system? This concept says that regardless of how much effort an individual puts into society they deserve an equal portion of societies output. This concept intimates that even if there is no discrimination, everyone is treated justly, and everybody is given equal opportunities, if some people don’t materially prosper force can be used to give those who fail to prosper the fruits of labor of those who did prosper. The concept of Social Justice punishes people who choose to take risks, work harder, and take advantage of their natural gifts. Social Justice is anti-liberty and an attempt at a moral rationale for collectivism.

Implementing social justice can only lead to social and economic ruin. The history of economies shows that collectivist economies become so unproductive and lacking in prosperity that they don’t produce the very wealth to redistribute. That’s the self-defeating danger that social-justice elitists face as they shift private voluntarism to federal dictate. A prime example is the overall wealth of Cuba before and after the implementation of collectivism.

Social Justice is also non-Christian. The concept of Social Justice clearly violates both the old and new testaments. The Old Testament is very clear "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly" (Leviticus 19:14-16). This is where the concept of justice being blind, that all men are created equal, and that all people should be treated fairly, originates. Our system has been perverted, how else would you explain the difference in sentence of a person convicted of robbing your house of $1000 cash going to jail for years, and the rewards for bankers who robbed your house of its tens of thousands of dollars of its value.

In the parable of the talents (Matt: 14-28), three men are given an opportunity (money), one was very successful, one was moderately successful, and one did nothing with the opportunity. The man who was afraid of the master; hid the talent(money); he did not invest and use the opportunity proffered. This man was admonished and that talent was given to another to use it productively. Biblically success is rewarded and laziness is punished. Biblical redistribution of wealth was not towards those who could, but did not work, but to those who are successful so that society can grow through individual achievement. Historically in the US, this principle has been witnessed as practiced in our tax system. When Pres. Kennedy lowered taxes on the rich, the coffers of the US treasury increased. When Pres. Regan lowered taxes on the rich, the coffers of the US treasury increased. When Pres. Clinton lowered taxes on the rich, and instituted welfare reform, the coffers of the US treasury increased, and those needing government assistance decreased. From the parable of the talents we see that when people are afraid of the master harvesting where he hasn’t sown, they hide their money and the result is the riches of the master do not increase; as taxes rise under Social Justice, the wealth of a nation sits hidden and unproductive.

The New Testament is filled with actions and deeds and teaching of Jesus taking care of the needy. In the Biblical parables where He engaged the needy he called for individual action not authoritarian action. The Good Samaritan helped the wounded traveler, giving his time and resources. He didn’t round up authorities to demand 20 percent from everyone, threatening penalties if they didn’t forcibly chip in.

The parable “the rich man and the eye of the needle” is another parable which proponents of Social Justice don’t understand. They misuse it to convey class warfare against the wealthy. In this parable Christ calls on the rich man to GIVE all of his own wealth. A standard the wealthy man was unwilling to meet. The obligation which Jesus imposed fell to the rich man, not to the government. Jesus didn’t demand that authorities intervene, confiscate, and redistribute the man’s earnings.

God is impressed when His creatures do good freely, out of genuine charity. If the rich man is coerced to give his wealth, then no pleasing human act is performed. Christians are exhorted to help the needy, voluntarily. The voluntary help the people of the US provide for victims of natural disaster, cancer, etc. is legendary, we freely give more than can often be accepted. It is misguided and disingenuous to appropriate Christ’s exhortations for voluntary sacrifice as justification for welfare-statism.

Consistently the implementation of “Social Justice” does not produce the results its proponents promise. By definition “social justice” violates basic unalienable rights, punishes those who can best help society, and rewards those who would drag a society down. Our fore fathers termed those unalienable rights as Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The term Pursuit of Happiness, was used over property rights, as the term property was considered too limiting. Their writings clearly describe pursuit of happiness as the right to the product of your labor, property, and to do with such property as you see fit so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of another. Social Justice is no justice at all, as it calls to take your property and give it to others who don’t have it, even if you have acquired it justly without discrimination to any other, the mere fact that you are successful and somebody else is not, is reason enough to take your property and give it to another, the effort put into acquiring property is inconsequential.

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