Is Social Justice Just?

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’.”

Is Social Justice Just? Article Excerpt

Few things are of more importance to a society than its conception of justice, and few are capable of arousing more intense emotion, because it is justice which provides the chief criterion for the use of force. In the name of justice people are arrested, handcuffed, put on trial, fined, sent to prison, and sometimes put to death.

But during the twentieth century a revolution took place in the Western conception of justice.  The traditional understanding of it, taken for granted in the Bible, defined in Roman law, exemplified in the daily workings of the courts of English and American common law, and commented on by jurists and philosophers from Plato to Kant, was largely abandoned.  Its place was taken by a new theory which contradicted the ancient one in almost every point.  The consequences of this revolution have reached into every corner of our lives: into the family and the relationship between the sexes, the schools, the churches, the workplace,  business and the market, the practice of charity, the English language…

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