The Liberty to Achieve

"Social justice" is an oxymoron -- a contradiction of terms, built on a lie.

Helen Keller opined, "Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained."

Phrases such as "social justice,"  "political justice," and "economic justice" have a certain egalitarian connotation -- which is why they are so often used as the justification for more and more big-government programs. It's clever wordplay, for we all believe in "liberty and justice for all." But isn't justice about righting wrongs?

When we think of "justice being served," the image that comes to mind is a courtroom, where everyone is judged fairly. Yet when the word "justice" is appended to antecedents such as "social," it means something quite distinct from the application of jurisprudence.

"Social justice" posits a false political premise: that the economic condition of "poverty" is an inherent societal injustice perpetrated by the inequities of capitalism against an entire social strata of innocent victims, depriving them of fundamental economic entitlements and securities -- a civil rights issue -- which further contends that the only just remedy is the redistribution of wealth to achieve societal equality.

As President Obama explained:

... the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. [O]ne of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.

We just saw "redistributive change" when Obama's "coalition of powers," despite overwhelming public objection, shoved ObamaCare into law, claiming how unfair and unjust it was that millions in our country lack health care coverage. So how is this great social injustice to be remedied? Not by any effort to increase health care availability or lower costs, but by massive new entitlement legislation mandating the redistribution of wealth. Or, as Vice President Joe Biden noted, "You may call it redistribution of wealth. I just call it being fair."

If "fairness" is misunderstood to be the forced equality of resultant circumstances or outcomes, then life obviously isn't fair, nor could it ever be: That's why bras and jockstraps come in different sizes. Individuals will always have innate physical, intellectual, and psychological differences that affect their lots in life. Everyone's life experiences differ, from when and where one is born to how someone is raised, schooling (or not), culture and customs, achievements and failures, everything. Besides, failure is one of life's greatest teachers, and without its sting of accountability, all achievement would be meaningless.

As altruistic a notion as it might be for everyone to be able to live in plenty and for no one to be in want, it is utterly naïve to believe that the mitigation of poverty -- even for equality's, fairness's, or justice's sake -- could ever be achieved by means of the redistribution of wealth. It is an exercise in futility. Winston Churchill noted: "For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." Jesus said, "The poor you will have with you always" (Mark 14:7). That's not to say that poverty is an incurable infirmity, but rather, it is the realization that poverty is but a symptom, not the underlying disease.

We are all equally born into an initial state of poverty: entering this world naked, empty-handed, hungry, unable to feed or clothe ourselves, uneducated, physically vulnerable, and 100% dependent on the provision of others for our basic survival. From that moment, as we mature into adulthood, regardless of all the circumstantial advantages or disadvantages that fate deals us, successfully making our way forward in life is about learning to exchange complete dependence for independence, individuality, and ultimately self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, far too many people never fully achieve self-sufficiency (which can still be done even on very modest means) -- or worse, they are deceived by a parasitic nanny-state into believing that self-reliance is either unnecessary or impossible. This deception is the greatest social injustice of all.

There is a vast difference between living in perpetual poverty and just being broke. Most of us have experienced, at least once, if not more than once, what it's like to be broke and struggling for a time. Being broke is a cash-flow problem. Living in chronic poverty and dependent upon government is a self-sufficiency problem. Paraphrasing the old proverb, those who are temporarily broke might only need "a fish" to assuage their hunger for a time, but those mired in poverty need to "learn to fish" so that they may eat for a lifetime.

Benjamin Franklin observed,

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

America was founded on the idea of offering its citizens the opportunity for self-sufficient lives and great achievement, not an entitlement by anyone to the fruits of others' achievements. In America we enjoy the liberty to pursue happiness, with no guarantee whatsoever of any specific outcome. Contrary to the creed of social justice, the prosperity created by capitalism doesn't cause poverty -- it cures it. Conversely, the quixotic folly of social justice's wealth redistribution only perpetuates the infirmity of poverty as it diminishes the cure of prosperity.

If government really cared about lifting the maximum number of people out of poverty, it would do everything within its power to get out of capitalism's way and let its citizens exercise their liberty to achieve ever-greater prosperity.

Robert Gelinas is a technology executive (JPE Inc. Consulting), a publisher (ArcheBooks Publishing), and the author of The Mustard Seed and five other novels.
"Social justice" is an oxymoron -- a contradiction of terms, built on a lie.

Helen Keller opined, "Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained."

Phrases such as "social justice,"  "political justice," and "economic justice" have a certain egalitarian connotation -- which is why they are so often used as the justification for more and more big-government programs. It's clever wordplay, for we all believe in "liberty and justice for all." But isn't justice about righting wrongs?

When we think of "justice being served," the image that comes to mind is a courtroom, where everyone is judged fairly. Yet when the word "justice" is appended to antecedents such as "social," it means something quite distinct from the application of jurisprudence.

"Social justice" posits a false political premise: that the economic condition of "poverty" is an inherent societal injustice perpetrated by the inequities of capitalism against an entire social strata of innocent victims, depriving them of fundamental economic entitlements and securities -- a civil rights issue -- which further contends that the only just remedy is the redistribution of wealth to achieve societal equality.

As President Obama explained:

... the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. [O]ne of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.

We just saw "redistributive change" when Obama's "coalition of powers," despite overwhelming public objection, shoved ObamaCare into law, claiming how unfair and unjust it was that millions in our country lack health care coverage. So how is this great social injustice to be remedied? Not by any effort to increase health care availability or lower costs, but by massive new entitlement legislation mandating the redistribution of wealth. Or, as Vice President Joe Biden noted, "You may call it redistribution of wealth. I just call it being fair."

If "fairness" is misunderstood to be the forced equality of resultant circumstances or outcomes, then life obviously isn't fair, nor could it ever be: That's why bras and jockstraps come in different sizes. Individuals will always have innate physical, intellectual, and psychological differences that affect their lots in life. Everyone's life experiences differ, from when and where one is born to how someone is raised, schooling (or not), culture and customs, achievements and failures, everything. Besides, failure is one of life's greatest teachers, and without its sting of accountability, all achievement would be meaningless.

As altruistic a notion as it might be for everyone to be able to live in plenty and for no one to be in want, it is utterly naïve to believe that the mitigation of poverty -- even for equality's, fairness's, or justice's sake -- could ever be achieved by means of the redistribution of wealth. It is an exercise in futility. Winston Churchill noted: "For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." Jesus said, "The poor you will have with you always" (Mark 14:7). That's not to say that poverty is an incurable infirmity, but rather, it is the realization that poverty is but a symptom, not the underlying disease.

We are all equally born into an initial state of poverty: entering this world naked, empty-handed, hungry, unable to feed or clothe ourselves, uneducated, physically vulnerable, and 100% dependent on the provision of others for our basic survival. From that moment, as we mature into adulthood, regardless of all the circumstantial advantages or disadvantages that fate deals us, successfully making our way forward in life is about learning to exchange complete dependence for independence, individuality, and ultimately self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, far too many people never fully achieve self-sufficiency (which can still be done even on very modest means) -- or worse, they are deceived by a parasitic nanny-state into believing that self-reliance is either unnecessary or impossible. This deception is the greatest social injustice of all.

There is a vast difference between living in perpetual poverty and just being broke. Most of us have experienced, at least once, if not more than once, what it's like to be broke and struggling for a time. Being broke is a cash-flow problem. Living in chronic poverty and dependent upon government is a self-sufficiency problem. Paraphrasing the old proverb, those who are temporarily broke might only need "a fish" to assuage their hunger for a time, but those mired in poverty need to "learn to fish" so that they may eat for a lifetime.

Benjamin Franklin observed,

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

America was founded on the idea of offering its citizens the opportunity for self-sufficient lives and great achievement, not an entitlement by anyone to the fruits of others' achievements. In America we enjoy the liberty to pursue happiness, with no guarantee whatsoever of any specific outcome. Contrary to the creed of social justice, the prosperity created by capitalism doesn't cause poverty -- it cures it. Conversely, the quixotic folly of social justice's wealth redistribution only perpetuates the infirmity of poverty as it diminishes the cure of prosperity.

If government really cared about lifting the maximum number of people out of poverty, it would do everything within its power to get out of capitalism's way and let its citizens exercise their liberty to achieve ever-greater prosperity.

Robert Gelinas is a technology executive (JPE Inc. Consulting), a publisher (ArcheBooks Publishing), and the author of The Mustard Seed and five other novels.

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