HomeLecturesCoursesDiscussionResearchVideoShopJoin

PTBurke-in-the-study.jpg Thomas Patrick Burke
President, Wynnewood Institute

Is Social Justice Just?
8/9/2008

Is there a justice for society different from ordinary justice?  Justice is the basic virtue of society.  But at the present time our society is attempting to operate with two very different conceptions of justice.  Our ordinary, everyday, traditional idea of justice has always been based on individual responsibility and on the right to own property, but "social justice" abolishes or weakens both of these in the interest of societal equality.  This abolition carries over into civil rights and human rights, which have been profoundly changed.  The current fate of the Boy Scouts in Philadelphia, dispossessed of their ancestral home because they do not conform to the city's rules prohibiting discrimination, illustrates dramatically the conflict between ordinary justice and "social justice."  It is only one example among thousands.  While "social justice" has brought some benefits to some people, it is at the great expense of many others.  Economically, social justice is a form of protectionism.  The great economist Friedrich Hayek wrote, "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'."


Learn more about Prof. T. Patrick Burke.

Read the text of the lecture.
Watch the video of the lecture.