“Social justice” has become as much a part of the liberal narrative in America as “choice.” Not surprisingly, neither concept actually means what the dictionary says it means. Both are just examples of the left’s nefarious habit of co-opting positive labels for their negative beliefs. Liberals know that if they call their foundational beliefs what they really are, the general public will be so offended by them that opposition will mount. Call abortion “murder” or “infanticide” or homosexuality “sodomy” and the practices sound much less attractive than what liberals call them: “choice” and “gay.” Which brings up an interesting point: If you can’t call something by its real name, you must be ashamed of it or embarrassed by it. But that is another article for another day.
What liberals mean when they use the term “social justice” is you have it and I want it without having to work for it. Concepts associated with so-called social justice are redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, and big government. Social-justice liberals think government is the answer and free-markets are the problem. Socialism is the preferred governance structure of social-justice advocates. Social justice liberals resent the perquisites of wealth enjoyed by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and others who reap the benefits of successfully investing their time, talent, and brains in the free market; not to mention the risks they take in accumulating their wealth.
Social-justice liberals think the wealth earned by successful people through working hard and smart and taking major risks should be redistributed among those who have risked nothing and who have done nothing to earn it. Social-justice liberals can bloviate for hours about the inequities of life and how it is unfair for some members of society to be wealthy while others are poor, but they overlook a minor detail in their pronouncements: many of the people who now enjoy wealth were once poor themselves. They also overlook the obvious fact that life is unfair to everyone in one way or another. For example, I wanted to play in the NFL but certain lacked certain prerequisites: size, speed, and talent. These shortcomings were determined at birth. Is that fair?
The reason many of the one-percenters in America are now wealthy is because they did not sit around whining about their condition in life and expecting the government to give them what they have not earned. Successful entrepreneurs in any field accept that life is not fair and they know you cannot build a better life on excuses. They also know that government is not the answer and that they deserve only what they have earned. Hence, instead of sitting back and whining about their condition in life or expecting the government (meaning employed taxpayers) to subsidize them, they take responsibility for their lives and do what is necessary to improve them.
But social justice liberals have a different perspective. They believe—against all evidence to the contrary—that life can be made fair through the redistribution of wealth. They also believe that the appropriate engine of redistribution is the federal government. But there is a fundamental problem with redistribution of wealth by government fiat: What this approach to “social justice” really amounts to is taking earned wealth from productive people who generate it and giving it to unproductive people who have not earned it and do nothing to generate it; a questionable endeavor from several different perspectives. Redistribution of wealth, then, is just another less offensive term adopted by liberals for what amounts to legal theft.
Redistribution of wealth by the government does not change the fact that some people in society will have it better than others. It just changes who those people are. Big government just results in government officials being the ones who enjoy the perquisites rather than the hard working people who generate the wealth that pays for them. The concept is known as socialism and in a socialist society government officials hold the power, enjoy all the benefits, and decide who gets what in a nation of ever diminishing resources.
As to redistribution of wealth in a social-justice society, there is eventually no wealth left to redistribute because it has all been sucked up by a voracious, ever-growing government sector where it is siphoned off to feed fat federal bureaucrats who resemble Jabba the Hut in a suit. America and Americans need to face some hard truths. Several have already been stated earlier in this column (e.g. success is not built on excuses, people deserve only what they earn, and life isn’t fair). Another hard truth is this: The government could take every dime away from the successful entrepreneurs who now enjoy wealth in this country and give it to the poor people who hand-wringing social-justice liberals claim to be concerned about and within five years those who were given wealth will be poor again and those from whom it was taken will be wealthy again.
What social-justice liberals refuse to accept is that you cannot give what must be earned. Some people inherit wealth, but the majority of millionaires in this country started out at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder and worked their way to the top through initiative, drive, ambition, hard work, smart choices, personal responsibility, refusing to make excuses, and turning their back on government “assistance.” This option for building a better life is just as available to poor people in America today as it was to those who once were poor but who by dint of applying themselves have now built better lives.