"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Liberal White Guilt and the Dangers of Social Justice

"I was blessed to be born a white male in an upper-middle class family and as a result, had the opportunities for success and education that many in this country do not, have not, and will not."

That's the kind of enlightened statement a modern liberal makes today to earn kudos from his peers. I won't pretend to understand it. Why feel blessed for being a white male? Should a black male or Asian female feel less blessed? What's important is that we live in a free society. We are blessed because we recognize each person's natural rights, rights endowed by God that no government or institution should infringe upon. We are blessed because we live in a meritocracy, where you succeed or fail based on the merits of your ideas and the consequences of your actions. The United States of America was set up as perhaps the first nation to recognize the importance of this.

If you want to be thankful for anything, be thankful that you live in America, where such a premium is placed on the content of your character, not class or race or religion. If you were born in many other nations or during a previous time in history, chances are you'd have your rights trampled on. Sadly, that is the history of our world, not freedom but tyranny, men ruling over men as kings, dictators, or worse. Of course, progressives are putting more and more emphasis on class and race every day, as they pursue the mythical goal of "social justice" - a frightening concept to say the least.

Justice is a definable term. We know what it means. To put the word social in front of it suggests that justice as a goal by itself is insufficient. If achieving justice fails to meet the standards of "social justice", then by such logic justice can be unjust. Since this is an absurdity, the only other conclusion one can draw is "social justice" must do something to pervert justice.

In fact, that's exactly the case. Justice is blind - the rule of law applies to each individual equally, there is no special treatment. Social justice, on the other hand, is not blind. It relies on special treatment of favored groups, social classes if you will, to have a greater weight than the rule of law. This in essence makes some individuals above the law, hardly a worthy goal or an American idea. President Obama, in nominating his candidates for the Supreme Court, has said he prefers judges who display this kind of "empathy."

If I woke up in a society ruled by an authoritarian regime, what difference would the color of my skin make? Being a white male who dissented against Communism would have obviously done me no good in Stalin's Soviet Union. Being an educated male in Cambodia would have practically guaranteed my execution by the Khamir Rouge. The desire of the oppressed is not "social justice." It's freedom from a tyrannical state. To argue for any other outcome is to argue for tribalism, which is technically a form of racism.
Protect the sovereignty of the individual and you protect every person regardless of race or religion. Our Founding Fathers understood that. So while I have never woken up thankful that I was white, I have woken up and thanked God I live in America where our natural rights are preserved and promoted.

Notice I use the word natural rights, that is those rights that aren't granted to Man by governments but that Man is born with - the right to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That doesn't include a right to a job or a car or health care, because a government would have to infringe upon someone else's liberties to guarantee such things. In fact, by creating rights to these products and services, we are actually establishing an all-powerful state that can seize and confiscate private property.

It's wonderful to show empathy and be empathetic. However, being empathetic is not the same thing as helping people. The goal of a society should be to help as many individuals as possible be self-sufficient, not dependent on others for handouts, whether charities, churches, or government. There's also a fine line between empathy and pity, often crossed by progressives.

I would argue that progressivism is a form of narcissism wherein the progressive, feeling morally and intellectually superior, prideful actually, feels pity for those who appear to be in "a lower class."  They then go immediately to work proving how superior they are by designing a system of dependence in which the poor, pitiful person must rely on them. This fails to advance civilization, and ultimately, it does more harm to the individual. The goal should be to teach others to improve themselves and take responsibility for their actions. There is perhaps no greater model for this than Christianity.

In summary, the path of the Left (as opposed to the traditional American path) leads to an unjust, morally bankrupt society with two classes of people - the oppressed and the oppressors. Liberal white guilt and social justice, no matter how good people's intentions, are two steps down a very dark and twisted road.

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