Why Social Justice is Wrong to Demand Equality of Outcomes
Updated: Mar 15
A primary objective of the new progressive orthodoxy is to unmask or expose the many oppressive structures that are pervasive in Western civilization. Adherents do this by exposing inequalities and fighting for “social justice.” There is a plethora of examples as Scott Allen shows below:
Exhibit A: Laws and regulations that excluded gays and lesbians from the institution of marriage resulted in unequal and discriminatory treatment. Social justice demands that these laws, rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs about the exclusivity of marriage as one male and one female, be overturned. This notion of marriage was judged to be hateful, homophobic, and bigoted. It needed to be torn down—a dream realized in 2015 when the Supreme Court, by judicial fiat, made homosexual “marriage” legal in all 50 states. Family madness!
Exhibit B: Norms and civic ordinances that exclude transgendered people from using the bathrooms and locker facilities of their choice are discriminatory. Equality demands that all people, regardless of gender, be able to use the restroom facilities, locker rooms (and eventually, to play on the sports teams) of their choosing. After all, the notion of a simple gender binary male-female reality is oppressive, a legacy of Western, Judeo-Christian beliefs that were structurally imposed on everyone. Sexual madness!
Exhibit C: The percentage of black students expelled from St. Paul Minnesota public schools is greater than the number of white students expelled as a percent of their population. The superintendent cites the cause for this inequality as systemic racism. Others wonder if the actions of black students themselves might be behind their higher rates of expulsion, but the second “core doctrine” of the new religion, multiculturalism, stigmatizes anyone who would ask such a question. Crime rate madness!
To do so would be to commit the cardinal sin of blaming the victim. Blame must be attributed to larger social forces, in this case, structural or systemic racism endemic in American culture. The solution: Require teachers and administrators to bring down the numbers of black expulsions, without regard to the actions of the students themselves. The result: More violent and chaotic schools that make learning almost impossible.
This Un-Sapient Notion of Social Justice is Relatively New
In a previous post, Os Guinness quoted New York University professor Dr. Jonathan Haidt: “A generation ago, social justice was understood as equality of treatment and opportunity… If black people are getting discriminated against in hiring and you fight that, that’s justice. Today justice means equal outcomes… an idea that wasn’t there 10 years ago.”
Guinness summarizes this final core doctrine:
Social justice movements must each deconstruct all that oppresses its victims anywhere … They invite an attack on all accepted truths, because unmasking the social fictions is seen as a way of liberating ourselves from the oppression of socially constructed realities that have imprisoned us without our realizing it … It is an open invitation to an assault on tradition and on long-held ways of seeing and doing things. In other words, on Western civilization and Judeo-Christian beliefs.
First, there must be liberation from God and therefore from meaning and ethics, from solid institutions such as marriage and the family, and from all inhibiting categories such as “the binary opposites” of “male” and “female” … There must be liberation from nature and even from what was considered our own nature. Guinness puts his finger on an important insight when he says that the new religion is animated by a desire to be “liberated from God.” The ideological roots of the new religion, whether Postmodernism, Marxist or Nietzschean, are ultimately atheistic.
The attack on Western civilization is really an indirect way of attacking Judeo-Christian beliefs, which ultimately is a kind of rage and rebellion against God and His created order. In this sense, it isn’t new at all. It goes all the way back to Genesis 3 and the fallen heart’s desire to overthrow God and assume ultimate authority for ourselves.
Social Justice Warriors’ Chilling Effect on Political Correctness Culture
Per Allen: It has gotten to the point where people are fearful of sharing what they think about reality. In an email interview, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf engaged a 22-year-old San Francisco resident on the stifling PC culture that has grown up around that city. He made the following observation:
Disagreement gets you labeled fascist, racist, bigoted, etc. It can provoke a reaction so intense that you’re suddenly an unperson to an acquaintance or friend. There is no saying ‘Hey, I disagree with you,’ it’s just instant shunning. Say things online, and they’ll try to find out who you are and potentially even get you fired for it. Being anti-PC is not about saying ‘I want you to agree with me on these issues.’ It’s about saying, ‘Hey, I want to have a discussion and not get shouted down because I don’t agree.’
We don’t want to end political correctness so that we can say hateful things. We want to stop feeling silenced and condemned for having alternative viewpoints. We want to articulate thought-provoking, uncomfortable truisms, and not be told, ‘you can’t say that’ without even a modest effort at explaining why.
When confronting people who disagree with you, the best tactic is to prove why they’re wrong instead of shutting them up. Have enough faith in your own arguments to welcome dissenting opinions; if your ideas are truly superior, it will show. No need to get emotional, indignant, or defensive.
Why is this? Why has this new and expansive sense of student fragility spread so rapidly, but only among Millennials who are currently living or working on college campuses? Lukianoff and Haidt tried to explain the recent spread of trigger warnings and micro-aggression theory by examining broad historical trends, such as increases in protective parenting that began in the 1980s, and we examined more recent changes in federal laws that pressured universities to over-police language use on campus.