American Elephants


What Is Social Justice Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

ObamaCare, said Nancy Pelosi, “is about life, a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue our happiness. It’s s very, very exciting thing. And it’s about wellness and prevention. It’s about the health of America, not just the health care for Americans.” “It’s going to be a glorious thing.” Forgive me, but this is complete nonsense. ObamaCare is insurance, about paying for medical care. It is, on average 41% more expensive than the policies people had. It is about government dictating what care people may have and what care is too expensive, sorry.

ObamaCare is about redistribution of wealth and “social justice.” Redistribution of wealth is clear enough. You make those who have pay more to cover the have-nots. The left has been quite sure that millions of poor Americans have been deprived of the health care that meant the difference between health and sickness, and ObamaCare is going to fix that.

This ignores the fact that by law, no emergency room in America can turn away a patient — whether they can pay or not. Hospitals will try to get paid, but they write off a lot of care. And oddly enough, all those uninsured Americans have not been flocking to the Healthcare.gov website to sign up. A large percentage of the people who do not have insurance don’t have it because they don’t want it for whatever reason. Obamacare proponents are admitting that once the program is in full force, there will probably be just as many uninsured as there were in the first place.

The Left loves the term “Social Justice,” which means many different things to different people but it is obviously “nice.” Does the term have any concrete meaning, or is it just a buzz word? Certainly it suggests that there must be some social injustice. If we agree that there is some injustice, what makes it social? For its proponents.”social justice” is usually undefined. It has been manipulated by “progressive” thinkers to mean  uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages. If people are to live free of state control, they must possess the virtue of cooperation and association.

Do we mean equal distribution of stuff? For most of us social justice implies, among other things, equality of the burdens, the advantages and the opportunities of citizenship. Social justice seems to be closely related to the concept of “equality”— fairness, equity or the equitable. From the American Sociological Review:

As I see it, social justice requires resource equity, fairness, and respect for diversity, as well as the eradication of existing forms of social oppression. Social justice entails a “redistribution” of resources from those who have “unjustly” gained them to those who justly deserve them, and it also means creating and “ensuring” the processes of truly democratic participation in decision-making…. It seems clear that only a “decisive” redistribution of resources and decision-making power can “ensure” social justice and authentic democracy.

So common good becomes the excuse for total state control. That’s how totalitarianism was built. So much for individual liberty.

Equality sounds good, but just what is meant by equality? It seems to be a catch-all justification for any number of programs that operate in a contradictory and not particularly coherent way. The Founders considered the matter and came up with a definition that has served us pretty well for 237 years:

WE hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of those Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

Instead of trying to define the undefinable “Social Justice” or “Equality,” perhaps we should devote some effort to thinking about and defining “the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I don’t think Equality and Social Justice can be defined, nor were they meant to be defined. They are “good” words to be used on the campaign trail and to make people feel that they are the victims of injustice. But life isn’t about getting happiness — it is about the pursuit. You take the assets or lack of assets you were born with and see what you can make of them with your own efforts. That’s where happiness lies, not in what a government can give you from other people’s money.

Food for thought:

From the Library of Law and Liberty: “What is Social Justice?“by Samuel Gregg
From the Heritage Foundation: “Social Justice; Not What You Think it Is” by Michael Novak
From Thomas Sowell: “The Quest for Cosmic Justice

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