Bottom Line: Social Justice is Incompatible with Equal Justice.

Some issues are “bottom line” issues; this is one of those. Bottom line: social justice is not compatible with equal justice. In fact, the two concepts are mutually exclusive. If a church or some private organization chooses to practice social justice because they espouse the view that one group of people deserves special treatment over another that is their right. However, when the government endeavors to do this, no matter how well meaning, it is not the way we do things in America, where the government mandate is to treat people equally.

A government’s practicing social justice is based on a premise that holds some groups of people have been mistreated, so these groups deserve special treatment by government. There is no doubt some groups have been treated horrendously in the past. But hasn’t the fight been toward equal treatment and equal justice for all?

Even if we were to agree that social justice was well meaning, we have to ask, where does it end? Several years back Seattle conducted a racial profiling study of its police. The charge was that officers were not treating all people equally, and specifically were targeting enforcement against minorities. The “correction” emphasis was on the police treating people equally, and not using race as a factor to enforce the laws. I, and I contend most police officers, agree with this tenet, and act accordingly. Incidentally, the study failed to find institutional racial profiling. That study, which was not pleasing to police critics, apparently crawled into some dark corner and died.

Now we find ourselves in a situation where the emphasis is no longer on treating people equally, as Seattle’s City Attorney so surprisingly, and passionately, stated recently on a national news program. So, where does this logically end? If we believe that certain groups should be treated differently—better—than others, for how long should that benefit (to one group of people) and punishment (of another group of people) last? At what point will the “debt” be paid? And who will determine those things?

Social justice is simply not equal justice. In fact, it seems more about some amorphous attempt to exact restitution, reparation, or perhaps even retribution, but in no way is it about the core values most Americans hold dear: liberty and equal protection under the law.

It seems the better race relations become, the harder the civil rights, crisis entrepreneurs work to widen any racial divides and create general discontent. They conflate individual racism, which certainly exists, and is likely to always exist to some degree in every racial group, with institutional racism, which America has worked very hard to eliminate. Deal with racist individuals of all races, appropriate for the circumstances—and individually.

Finally. So there is no mistake. I don’t believe in social justice, because it does not allow me to treat people equally. I believe in equal justice and have always endeavored to make it my trademark in dealing with the people of Seattle. I always do so not only because the Constitution and Rule of Law mandates it, but also because it is the right thing to do.

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  1. Peter Loyd says:

    I hate to break this to you… but Social Justice is also about equality.

    Social Justice asks that poor people pay less in fines than the rich for example, because the same “equal” fine hits the income of a poor person a lot harder.

    Is that unequal? Yes and no. Yes because a different amount is paid, but no because both the rich person and a poor person pay an equal percentage of the money they can afford to pay.

    That’s what Social Justice is: a recognition that true equality doesn’t always mean that everyone is treated the same.

    There’s a famous quote: “In its majestic equality the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” —Anatole France.

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    admin says:

    Don’t hate to tell me; stand firm and be proud of your proclamations. Nicely stated. Wrong, but nicely done. I appreciate the civil discourse. But who decides who is more or less equal than another, and who deserves what compared to another…you? Me? Someone else?

  3. Greg Graves says:

    Peter, while your comments initially sound well enough,I have to ask you if you realize a lot of the people who are rich are there because they worked very hard and were extremely disciplined over a long consistent period of time? Why should a poor person be given a house, given money, given everything for free. The rich didn’t get anything for free. They had to work hard at that degree, or that job, or that budget for several years before they got there.

    I have nothing against poor people, but I do have a problem with those who have the attitude everything should be given to them freely, which is probably how many of them ended up poor. When they do get a gift they are not even grateful, for they expect it. If we all sat around and waited for others to give us what they worked hard for, how would any of us survive? I don’t feel sorry for someone who refuses to try and then expects all their needs to be met by others if they hold up a sign.

    The Prosecuting Attorney in Seattle has some even more questionable views here. He is deciding not to prosecute people because of their race. The Seattle City Council also suggested employers not favor people who have worked hard for college degrees over those without college degrees for a given job opportunity.

    This Social Justice which is being implemented is the polar opposite of Martin Luther King’s dream of when people will be judged according to the content of their Character, and not the color of their skin.

    If social justice were applied in a classroom the teacher would be required to give everyone the same grade regardless of the fact some worked hard and some didn’t even try. This is un American and defies individual liberty and the equal justice provided to us in the 14th Amendment.

  4. You are right and your efforts are greatly appreciated, Steve.

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