Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

"Social Justice" Claim

Rate this topic


0096 2251 2110 8105
 Share

Recommended Posts

Objectivism defines justice in the context of Ethics, not Law or Sociology.

I understand that, however I am merely stating that in a law textbook you will most likely find a definition of justice very close to the objectivist definition (ie, based on proper moral conduct) whereas in a sociology textbook you would find a definition of social justice which deals strictly with economic and social equality.. my point was only that justice (as understand in law and objectivism) is very different than "social justice"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know, that's what I was disagreeing with.

Then perhaps I am misunderstanding Objectivism's definition of justice. the way justice has been described to me in my classes deals with the respect of people's rights and the principles of proportionality (ie, giving people what they deserve) and integrity (not giving into the whims of random emotions)... these are very similar principle's to those which are described in the Objectivist definition of justice unless i am misunderstanding it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then perhaps I am misunderstanding Objectivism's definition of justice. the way justice has been described to me in my classes deals with the respect of people's rights and the principles of proportionality (ie, giving people what they deserve) and integrity (not giving into the whims of random emotions)... these are very similar principle's to those which are described in the Objectivist definition of justice unless i am misunderstanding it.

Justice is the objective judgement of the character and actions of men. The criterion by which we judge people is Ethics.

Criminal justice is one form of justice, where the judgement is performed by the State, and the criterion is limited to the person's respect (or lack thereof) of individual rights. That doesn't mean that's all justice is, in fact that's a form of justice most of us never end up dealing with. But we are nevertheless subject to justice on a daily basis, every time someone evaluates our character or actions, and treats us accordingly.

As for "social justice", that's a poorly defined term leftists like throwing around. It's not justice as a whole (since I doubt even mosts leftists would want the State to control every single human interaction, to make sure "social justice" is present, by for instance forcing women to have sex with the men the State deems deserving of it), and it's not criminal justice, which is limited to punishing rights violations. It's just a means for them to enact their whims through force, without admitting what they're doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Justice is the objective judgement of the character and actions of men. The criterion by which we judge people is Ethics.

Criminal justice is one form of justice, where the judgement is performed by the State, and the criterion is limited to the person's respect (or lack thereof) of individual rights. That doesn't mean that's all justice is, in fact that's a form of justice most of us never end up dealing with. But we are nevertheless subject to justice on a daily basis, every time someone evaluates our character or actions, and treats us accordingly.

As for "social justice", that's a poorly defined term leftists like throwing around. It's not justice as a whole (since I doubt even mosts leftists would want the State to control every single human interaction, to make sure "social justice" is present, by for instance forcing women to have sex with the men the State deems deserving of it), and it's not criminal justice, which is limited to punishing rights violations. It's just a means for them to enact their whims through force, without admitting what they're doing.

ahh I see your disagreement now. the legal definition of justice is incomplete. in that way I agree with you. nevertheless, I would still usually point to the legal definition of justice since that is the one which proponents of "social justice" are much more likely to respect. as much as I do hold objectivism's definition of justice to be much more complete it is still not very often accepted in a debate, regardless of it's validity. and unfortunately, i do not have time to go into an extensive discussion on objectivist ethics with every person who i wish to disagree with on social justice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ahh I see your disagreement now. the legal definition of justice is incomplete. in that way I agree with you. nevertheless, I would still usually point to the legal definition of justice since that is the one which proponents of "social justice" are much more likely to respect. as much as I do hold objectivism's definition of justice to be much more complete it is still not very often accepted in a debate, regardless of it's validity. and unfortunately, i do not have time to go into an extensive discussion on objectivist ethics with every person who i wish to disagree with on social justice.

Unfortunately, it is the justice statists seek to replace (the justice of being a billionaire, if you have provided millions with products they love and are willing to buy, etc., and the justice of not being hired as a bank manager, if your personal debt is through the roof, or the justice of not getting to keep your house if you can't pay your mortgage, etc.).

And most Americans understand that justice, on a gut level. But their sense of life is being eroded, every day, by the intellectuals who have rejected it in favor of their own altruist morality, and the kind of perverted justice that comes with it. If we don't replace those intellectuals with the kind that can explain what real Ethics and real justice are to the general population, it will be lost. Maybe for a few generations, maybe for another thousand years, just like it was lost during the Dark Ages.

There is no point in fighting only a political battle, and conceding morality to the altruists. Freedom is a meaningless proposition to altruists. In altruism no one deserves anything, let alone freedom. At best, they'll allow as much freedom as they see necessary for the "common good".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, it is the justice statists seek to replace (the justice of being a billionaire, if you have provided millions with products they love and are willing to buy, etc., and the justice of not being hired as a bank manager, if your personal debt is through the roof, or the justice of not getting to keep your house if you can't pay your mortgage, etc.).

There is no point in fighting only a political battle, and conceding morality to the altruists. Freedom is a meaningless proposition to altruists. In altruism no one deserves anything, let alone freedom. At best, they'll allow as much freedom as they see necessary for the "common good".

I agree entirely, however, in the interest of time in some cases, it is only prudent to discuss politics without getting into the ethical root of the issue. I would never "concede" morality to any altruist and if, during the debate, ethics is brought up i would certainly claim that social justice is not only a misnomer, but is immoral as well. my point was merely that sometimes i do not have time to do this

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, as if the differences between Western and other civilizations are accidental.

Fact is, they largely are accidental. You should read "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, there are quite a few very significant, and entirely accidental, factors that have led to the dominance of Western civilization.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fact is, they largely are accidental. You should read "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, there are quite a few very significant, and entirely accidental, factors that have led to the dominance of Western civilization.

Are the nations and people of Africa just the victims of a long series of unfortunate accidents?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fact is, they largely are accidental. You should read "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, there are quite a few very significant, and entirely accidental, factors that have led to the dominance of Western civilization.

We're not talking about the dominance of Western nations over other nations in some sort of power relationship. Capitalism isn't about raising one country's relative position to another. Capitalism is a generator of absolute wealth. There are certainly accidental historical reasons that one side or another prevailed in many wars and conflicts throughout human history, but the generation of wealth on an absolute level can easily be linked to the degree of respect paid to individual rights, including property rights. It's not about dominance, but raising the standard of living, and all we're saying is that that's happened more in some countries, and much of the difference can be explained by the economic systems instituted in those countries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually had a debate topic about the idea of financial aid to impoverished countries in Africa. Most people argued that we need to help the poor countries in Africa and then they can climb out of their poverty and become like America.

My partner and I had several cards backing up the idea that economic aid to these foreign countries hardly, if ever, does good for people. Corrupt leaders pocket aid money a lot of times, and in the majority of situations, aid never reaches the people because these countries don't have stable infrastructures, so food often ends up rotting on docks or aid never trickles down to the poor citizens.

In other cases, it actually hurts these countries economically to aid them. Look at it this way. These countries have, say, corn farmers who try to grow corn and profit off of it. When farmers profit, they spend money in THEIR economy and that money starts the infinite money chain. When people spend, economies grow. When we send barrels and barrels of corn to these countries to "aid" their economy, we are actually putting people out of work. The corn farmer in Africa cannot profit or compete with American financial aid. When he cannot profit, he cannot spend money. When he cannot spend money, there is no economic growth.

I can elaborate more if you need me to, but I think my point is well understood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought of something else to add right after I hit submit.

The World Cup in Africa is actually an economic boon for the people living there. Tourists WILL spend a bushel of money on African goods and will help fuel their economy that way. By us giving them economic aid, we are only "helping" the people in the short run. It will actually HURT them in the long run, as they will never learn to create their own economy, they will just be stuck relying on economic aid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we send barrels and barrels of corn to these countries to "aid" their economy, we are actually putting people out of work. The corn farmer in Africa cannot profit or compete with American financial aid. When he cannot profit, he cannot spend money. When he cannot spend money, there is no economic growth.

You must be careful, when making this argument, to be very clear that you mean that sending corn over to Africa for free is bad for the African economy. If you don't make this distinction, your point becomes an incorrect argument for protectionism.

There is nothing wrong with putting African corn workers out of work, per se. If Africa freely trades with the rest of the world and foreign corn happens to be cheaper than corn grown in Africa, the African corn industry will shrink and possibly disappear. There is nothing wrong with that, provided that we're not giving them the corn for free. If we're requiring them to buy the corn from us, then we are in essence requiring them to produce something else of value that they can use to trade with us, if they want our cheaper corn. This will encourage their economy to develop in other industries (specifically, if trade is free, it will encourage growth in those industries in which Africa is most efficient).

If we give it to them for free, however, we are not encouraging economic development at all. We are instead encouraging economic dependence. This is why it is important to distinguish between international charity and international trade when bemoaning our putting Africans out of work. International trade shifts them to other industries, while international charity puts them out of work altogether.

Edited by Dante
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You must be careful, when making this argument, to be very clear that you mean that sending corn over to Africa for free is bad for the African economy. If you don't make this distinction, your point becomes an incorrect argument for protectionism.

There is nothing wrong with putting African corn workers out of work, per se. If Africa freely trades with the rest of the world and foreign corn happens to be cheaper than corn grown in Africa, the African corn industry will shrink and possibly disappear. There is nothing wrong with that, provided that we're not giving them the corn for free. If we're requiring them to buy the corn from us, then we are in essence requiring them to produce something else of value that they can use to trade with us, if they want our cheaper corn. This will encourage their economy to develop in other industries (specifically, if trade is free, it will encourage growth in those industries in which Africa is most efficient).

If we give it to them for free, however, we are not encouraging economic development at all. We are instead encouraging economic dependence. This is why it is important to distinguish between international charity and international trade when bemoaning our putting Africans out of work.

Very good distinction to make. I thought that financial aid or economic aid entailed that it was for free. But yes, my example applies to free aid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask him how he defined "justice". Ask him why he thinks his definition of "justice" is objective and axiomatic.

The Objectivist conception of justice is not axiomatic, insofar as it depends on certain facts about reality (e.g. that life is conditional, that we must distinguish what is good for us from what is bad, including when examining other people, etc). Objectivism is not a rationalistic system; the axioms only go so far as to establish the validity of sense perception and concept formation. After that, all of Objectivism, including the Objectivist ethics, is no longer axiomatic, but based on observable facts of reality. Remember Rand's characterization in Galts speech of each virtue as "the recognition of the fact that..." (e.g. "Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men..." etc etc).

It's a small point, but I think this is a frequent confusion of people, to think that Rand's system is entirely rationalistic or axiomatic when in fact much of it is based on data about the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw this earlier today in someone’s Facebook status:

How would you respond to this statement?

Build millions of houses? Why? Where? When did lack of available housing become an issue? Ask them about the environmental implications of this.

Educate millions of children? How? See below

Hire millions of workers? What would they do? One factor in "Underemployment", after all, is lack of productiveness (ie: you may have a job, but there isn't a lot for you to do).

-----------------------

Ask them which businesses did the investing. Did they actually name any businesses that did the investing, or did they just assume the investors were just super rich without bothering to identify the actual investors or their contributions to education.

If one of their concerns were "hiring millions of workers".. what do they think the World Cup does? Does the World Cup not need employees just as much as it's investors do? Did they not create jobs? Are there no positive economic implications of entertaining people nationwide, and perhaps even internationally?

Furthermore, ask them to be specific about the areas of the world in which they're "starving to death". Domestically? Foreign? They could be starving because of economic statism.

Dante: Thank you. I had a feeling someone would correct me on that. I should've remembered that a lot of Objectivist positions are not axioms, but rather, conclusions that come after rational thought

Edit: Whoops, sorry. I didn't realize this was the original post. Someone must have already responded much better than I could have. :)

Edit: I grammer is Gud

Edited by Black Wolf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Build millions of houses? Why? Where? When did lack of available housing become an issue? Ask them about the environmental implications of this.

Educate millions of children? How? See below

Hire millions of workers? What would they do? One factor in "Underemployment", after all, is lack of productiveness (ie: you may have a job, but there isn't a lot for you to do).

The issue with presenting an argument like this to the kind of person who is making a stink about lack of housing or education or anything like that is that they have probably already disregarded any connection to reality. when you ask them how? or why? or where? they will simply respond with "somehow, or somewhere, or because"

I'm not saying you're not entirely correct, because you are, just that I have used this argument several times against irrational people and have been met with little success.. although, in many cases it can be impossible to make any sort of rational argument against these kinds of people

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...