“Social Justice”?

Here is a piece I have submitted to the spring issue of Towson’s Honors College Magazine. The theme for this issue is social justice:

What’s the difference between “social justice” and justice? Can something “socially just” be otherwise unjust? Why use the modifier “social” at all? Why not speak simply of justice?

In Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. 2, The Mirage of Social Justice, F.A. Hayek asserts that the term “social justice” is incoherent, because societies by their nature cannot be just or unjust. Societies are the unintended results of the interactions of millions, while only intentional action can be just or unjust. The phrase “social justice,” Hayek says, “does not belong to the category of error but to that of nonsense, like the term ‘a moral stone.'”

Worse, “the appeal to ‘social justice’ is … an invitation to give moral approval to demands that have no moral justification,” such as the demand that what some people have earned should be taken from them and given to others who have not earned it.


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One Response to “Social Justice”?

  1. Elan says:

    I would agree but add one thing. Social justice today seems to be a codeword for “more Marxism”. It is an irrational belief that government is good and can do no harm. That is why the philosophy is so dangerous.

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