Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom and Social Justice

Not all revolutions turn out well. For that matter, most revolutions seem to go sour.

As we watch revolution on the news, it is worthwhile to discuss the differences between those that turn out well and those that turn out poorly.

Revolutions based on a desire for freedom tend to have a better track record than those predicated on a demand for social justice.

This is not simply because "social justice" is often used as a code word for "Marxism."

The difference can be described by distinguishing the goals of a society from its foundation.

I believe that social justice is a good thing. But social justice is a goal. It is an ideal to which we aspire.

The actual concept of social justice is nebulous. Different people have different concepts of social justice often based on their individual perspectives.

Revolutions that attempt to found a society on social justice tend to fail because such revolutions confuse goals with the foundation of society. A revolution might launch with a demand to struggle against a group that people see as the source of social injustice. A society that builds administering social justice against an enemy becomes a source of social injustice.

The classical liberals that founded the United States of America stumbled upon the realization the freedom serves as a strong foundation for a society.

In a free society that respects property rights, people are able to develop their own ideals and are then able to use their property to pursue their ideals.

A free society in which people hold the ideal of social justice in high esteem is more likely to achieve real lasting social justice than one that tries to build social justice into the foundation of society.

Such a free society allows people to not only discuss and define their ideals by openly invites people to use their property in achieving their ideals.

When I hear a revolutionary or progressive demanding that we fundamentally change society to impose social justice on their enemies, I fear. However, when I hear people talk about freedom and the pursuit of their ideals, then I feel hope for such people are the ones most likely to bring about a truly just and prosperous society.

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