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A Dialogue on Social Justice

Written by Gary North on July 14, 2014

What Is social justice? Economist Walter Williams has an answer.

“I keep what I earn, and you keep what you earn. If you believe that you deserve some of what I earn, please explain why.”

Dr. Williams is skeptical about the motives of those people and special-interest groups who demand that politicians and tenured bureaucrats be empowered by law to threaten violence against those who benefit from voluntary exchange, all in the name of collective justice. He is also skeptical about the results promised by the defenders of such intervention.

We live in an era in which voters have elected politicians who vote for programs of state intervention. People with badges and guns threaten those who prosper through exchange. Yet, lo and behold, economic inequality is still with us. But what we find is this: those who get very rich seem to be able to avoid the long arm of the law. In fact, they seem to be the beneficiaries of it. A century after the Progressive movement gained its greatest triumphs — the Federal Reserve System, the federal income tax, and the direct election of U.S. Senators — there is still economic inequality. The spiritual heirs of the Progressive offer a solution: more of the same.

Those of us who remain skeptical of the Progressives and their heirs propose a rollback of the power of the state.

If you get individual justice, there will be greater social justice. That is our position. We are beginning to get a hearing. Meanwhile, the West’s economy is in the hands of unelected central bankers and the few dozen major banks, which central banks represent. We are told that we need central banks in order to insure the independence of banking from politics. The defenders of social justice actually believe this — all in the name of mass democracy. What we have are the most powerful cartels in history: commercial banking cartels.

Consistency is not one of the strengths of those who defend social justice.

To understand the rival positions better, imagine a debate between a political liberal and a skeptic.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Liberal: I come in the name of The People.

Skeptic: Which people?

L: The Downtrodden, The Dispossessed, The Exploited, The Victims of Malevolent Forces Beyond Their Control.

S: You mean swing voters on welfare.

L: I would not put it that way.

S: I didn’t think you would.

L: You are an apologist for the unregulated free market.

S: I am an apologist for private ownership.

L: You mean “Every man for himself.”

S: I mean “Every man with his own.”

L. Some people have more than they need.

S: I have a solution for that.

L: What’s your solution?

S: Sufficient economic growth, so that everyone has more than he needs.

L: But some people will still have more than others.

S: You are shifting the argument from “more than he needs” to “more than others.”

L: They are the same thing.

S: No, they aren’t.

(For the rest of this dialogue, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

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6 thoughts on “A Dialogue on Social Justice

  1. The only things that society owes anyone is a lawful society, an education, and opportunity. Wise people need no more. Fools will waste anything more. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  2. ccfonten says:

    And if you listen to the libs/democrats/Marxists running around out there, they are the only ones who have a heart (they care!) about the poor, whatever the victim du jour is for the month!
    Just because many in this country believe that welfare should be a hand UP not a constant hand OUT!
    But of course everyone will notice that they want to take money from only the ones selected especially for this….and it ain't them!

  3. Thank you, Dr. North.

  4. peleus212 says:

    I'm entitled to keep what I earn and your entitiled to keep what you earn, you want some of what I earn I've got some yard work you can do. Folks that are on welfare should be drug tested and not allowed to vote. It is not objective for them to vote when they are taking handouts, who do you think will stay in power the folks giving the handouts!! That my friends is part of the problem, they don't vote Santa Claus out of office

  5. This is excellent, Gary. Thanks. It reads like Peter Kreeft, whom I enjoy greatly.

  6. I'd amend that to read: The only thing that society owes anyone is a lawful society. No one is owed an education (this smacks of the need for compulsory taxpayer-funded schools), and opportunities present themselves to those who are looking for them. But I'm in basic agreement with you. Thanks.