What is “Social Justice”?

By: Allan Wallace

Today, the call to “Social Justice” has devolved into a self-righteous temper tantrum thrown at politicians demanding that they “do something!” This childish, demanding behavior makes the complainers feel good about themselves as if they are doing something constructive that will help. Of course, begging the government to solve all our problems never works because getting Bureaucrats and Politicians involved always has the unintended consequence of making things worse, not better.

Initially, the term “Social Justice” was coined by Christian Ministers and wealthy parishioners who believed it was their Christian duty voluntarily to use their resources to help the poor and needy. They also advocated and encouraged all in the middle classes to give whatever they could, little or much, and do likewise. They wanted to correct or lessen the impact of the injustices found in any society by lifting up those who had fallen down and those who had been trampled down.

This group of Christians believed that if each individual Christian, and as many others as they could influence, freely chose to devote themselves to the Biblical call to charity, there would be three huge benefits. This devotion would not only help the unfortunate and downtrodden but bring about a Christian revival and create a freer and more equitable society.

In the many decades since, the meaning of “Social Justice” has morphed into a catchphrase for collectivist ideologies (Populism) that all use government coercion to attain their goals. The idea of “Social Justice” has changed from a large group of individuals voluntarily banding together for the common good to total dependence on the government. Social Justice has become a call for bureaucrats to define the common good, to decide what each person’s share is to be, and to distribute it “equally” by their own rules (after taking their 60% to 80% cut for their overhead).

Modern social justice has devolved into begging the government to use its power to Force all of us to be more just, to force an unnatural equality. These efforts have consistently failed miserably, and they always will. Our only hope is to return to the voluntary form that changes individuals’ lives and to create a movement to keep it going. The choice we face is to beg the government to Force us to be better humans, or we can become better humans and do the work ourselves.

The closest that humanity has ever come to creating a governmental system that embodies social justice was when the founders of this nation wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights. As noble of an effort as it was, it still failed to achieve social justice. Whenever a more collective form appeared to achieve social justice, it was just that, an Appearance with no substance. You can achieve the appearance of economic justice by destroying all wealth, but all that accomplishes is to make everyone Equal in Poverty.

The original idea of “Social Justice” has merit and is honorable. Many individuals voluntarily pooling their resources to correct injustices and lift people out of poverty is far nobler than the government forcing resources from some people to “help” people living in poverty to remain dependent on government/taxpayer largess. It is true that people need a hand-UP far more than a hand-out.

It is immoral for Christians and their churches, or anyone else, to shrug off their individual responsibilities to a collective government.

NOTE: This article not only exposes what the call to Social Justice has become but is also a call to action for each of us to DO social justice according to its original meaning, voluntarily and using our own resources.

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