Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Rant on the Failure of Social Justice part 1

We have heard the words social justice thrown around in political conversations, but specificity is missing regarding its context. Social justice, which has been hijacked by socialists, can be defined as; a philosophical concept/cause which promulgates fair and equitable treatment within a societal construct. The corollary of impartial redistribution of advantages and disadvantages acts as the impulsion which drives the mechanisms of this collectivist egality. In addition, determinants that act as auxiliaries must also be considered because they are essential in instituting a "just" society - I will name a few.

Equality of condition: The principle of equality of condition endeavors to eliminate economic disparities, which, as socialists claim, creates an imbalance in material conditions on an interindividual level. The principal methodology employed is the “equalization of income,” and to ensure equitable distribution progressive taxation, a subset of this system, is instituted to increase the tax rate as the taxable amount increases. In a simpler explication, those individuals with a higher percentage of income are deemed to have more disposable income, therefore their tax percentage is higher than those individuals in lower income brackets. In economics this rationale is referred to vertical equity.

Another rendition of the principle of equality of condition can be found in, Thomas Christiano'sAn Argument for Equality. It is a differing opinion to be sure, and I must state that the entirety of the piece is intellectually incomplete, if not turgid with his formulaic concepts.

The Principle of Equality of Condition

"The principle of equality of condition is itself a first order principle. It says that how much a person ought to receive of some important good can only be ascertained relative to what others can receive."

"As I understand equality of condition, it is a principle of justice. It states that individual persons have rights to equal shares in some fundamental substantial good. This principle is a comparative principle of justice: it makes the share that each person has a right to a comparative function of what others have rights to."

Equality of opportunity: Equality of opportunity is an elastic conception that states;

.... a descriptive term for an approach intended to provide a certain social environment in which people are not excluded from the activities of society, such as education, employment, or health care, on the basis of immutable traits. Equal opportunity practices include measures taken by organizations to ensure fairness in the employment process. A basic definition of equality is the idea of equal treatment and respect.”

Relative deprivation: “Relative deprivation is a situation in which a person is deprived of something which they think they are entitled to, while another person possesses it. The deprivation is relative between the two parties as a person possesses the item while the other does not. The term can be used in social sciences to describe feelings or measures of economic, political, or social deprivation that are relative rather than absolute. The concept of relative deprivation has important consequences for both behavior and attitudes in a society, including feelings of stress, political attitudes, & participation in collective action.”

One's desideration to construct a just society through theoretical contrivances will collaterally manifest liberty depriving machinations. This is not justice in its pure sense, it is the reallocation of labor and wealth by channeling it to idle, compulsory claimants. Taxation in any form is in direct violation of negative liberties, as proportional allocation almost always disallows a comparable advantage to those disproportionately carrying the tax burden.

Another question exists whether equality of condition reduces relative poverty, and under theoretical examinations it does – but its failure lies in empirical evidence. The equality of condition benefit can create an adverse disincentive within the field of work ethics. The desire to work harder to better one's position in life is stifled when entitlements are given without the requisite labor needed to obtain it. And if the principle of equality of condition was so beneficial at staving off economic disparities why is our welfare state increasing in size? Are the rich not bled enough? What will be the foreseeable damage to our gross domestic product?

Friedrich Hayek once stated;

"From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time."

"Our argument will be that, though where the same must use coercion for other reasons, it should treat all people alike, the desire of making people more alike in their condition cannot be accepted in a free society as a justification for further and discriminatory coercion."

In a blogging forum a person once stated that it was high time that people of affluence were forced to pay for their crimes of stepping on "people's necks" to get their wealth. Obtuse to say the least. Any individual who predicates their position from this standpoint does so by; argumentum ad ignorantiam - arguing from ignorance. I am not advocating that we should let people drown in their own misery, what I am advocating is a shift in the methodology that we use to achieve the result. Government is not the answer, in fact, it perpetuates the inequality we are trying stop.

Arguments against free markets and supplanting it with socialism are in themselves flaccid, for a true free market system has never been realized because of governmental intrusion. Some of the greatest achievements in human history have been accomplished without government oversight, or the government acting as the agent of impetus. Human ingenuity seeks its originality within the faculty of the mind's eye. And this is an additional failure the principle of equality of condition neglects to consider, much less cultivate.

In support of other bloggers to share their viewpoints, I would like to offer,
The Conservative Hideout 2.0. Take some time and look at this blog, read
some articles, and post some comments. Thank you


Forgotten Liberty said...

Americans have forgotten that we don't have guaranteed and equal results in a free society, what we have are guaranteed and equal rights. The more we try to obtain equal results for everyone the more liberty we lose.

the Liberty Pen said...

Thank you for the comment. I couldn't have said it better, or more concisely. I absolutely agree with you.

Dr. Dave said...

Where's "equality of oxygen intake"?

What? That's not in the Constitution?


Wait...what country do I live in again?

the Liberty Pen said...

The equality of oxygen intake is in the cap and trade bill. I hope you're taking care of your carbon footprint Dr. Dave!!!!

Matt said...

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

-Benjamin Franklin

The more I read of the Founders, the more I respect them.

the Liberty Pen said...

Excellent quote Matt.

anticsrocks said...

"The Constitution says I can think the dude in the White House is a socialistic moron."

Well, that isn't a quote from our founding fathers, but I think it should be.

But to you article, Liberty. Excellent, but then again I would expect no less from you.

the Liberty Pen said...

While it is not a quote, I do consider it to be judicial interpretation. And that's okay.

BTW, thank you for the kind words.

edgycater said...

"Social justice" is one of those terms that sounds so desirable that folks feel they must support the notion. In reality, the term is an oxymoron in its current use. There is no justice in denying opportunities or rewards to those who work hard to achieve (or even those who blindly stumble into it) and divert them to individuals who are less talented or who do not work. True justice is allowing individuals to reap the fruits of their labor.