It needs to end. The continued assaults on Social Justice need to end. Once again, a perfectly natural and good thing like social justice is paraded around as some specter hanging over the world, inciting unpleasantness everywhere. In reality, Social Justice is the one thing that prevents our society from falling apart.
We have all seen the tropes: whiny, rich, college student protests about something every hard working, red blooded, tough as nails, blue collar American knows is hogwash. The memes and jokes are endless while the articles defaming the youth as “Social Justice Warriors.” Books and articles from all the talking heads and professionals about these evil Millennials and their quixotic crusades are equally numerous. But what is missed is that both the conservative pundits mocking and the small but vocal minority crusading is that Social Justice is something far greater.
First, Social Justice begins with solidarity because solidarity is the authentic action of the society and brings society to act collectively towards their common good. It really cannot function without it. When you are committed to the common good rather than simply your own or for some minority, you necessarily and sincerely seek the good for the whole society. It compels the human person outside of his self inflicted”monkey spheres“–be they the “conservative” notions of individualism or the liberal notions of socialism–and into a wider community. This is not the vague compassion we see at contemporary demonstrations of the right or left. This is the firm commitment to the good of society that compelled Martin Luther King, Jr. to march on Selma. “At another level, the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. . . It is precisely in this sense that Cain’s answer to the Lord’s question: “Where is Abel your brother?” can be interpreted: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Yes, every man is his “brother’s keeper”, because God entrusts us to one another.” (Evangelium Vitae) We are not alone and we not various conflicting and struggling groups; we are one human family, united for one common good.
Second, justice must be properly understood. The word justice comes from the Latin word ius, meaning right and duty. Justice is not something we merely dispense at our pleasure. It is the fundamental rights and duties of mankind. “A link has often been noted between claims to a “right to excess”, and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, and the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centers. The link consists in this: individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate.” (Charitas in Veritate) The rights and duties of man don’t stem from social norms, but from our very nature. The cause of justice therefore is the cause of rights and duties. When someone’s rights are being violated, the majority of the time it is because some person or entity failed to protect those rights.
So when, then, is social justice? It is the societal protection and affirmation of the natural rights and duties of man. It is not simply demanding free education or the ability to protest. It is affirming and achieving the basic human needs for people in our country and around the world. It is providing education to those who are ignorant. It is caring for the sick and the elderly. It is recognizing the inherent dignity in each and every human being and working to protect it.
Since Social Justice is such a large part of our humanity and authentic human development, it is a large part of the American Solidarity Party’s platform. From immigration, to just wages, to education, to care of the elderly, the ASP is dedicated to the whole society affecting justice for all according to a moral principle. This is not the Social Justice of memes and pointless demonstrations. This is true Social Justice, the sort of Social Justice that gave women and minorities the vote; the sort of Social Justice that seek and common good, not a common interest and; the sort of Social Justice that can make real, lasting change not only on our politics, but on our everyday lives.
After all, it worked for Poland.