Social justice

concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society
(Redirected from Social Justice)

Social justice is the concept of fair and just relation between the individual and society.

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  • 'But whom do I treat unjustly,' you say, 'by keeping what is my own?' Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.
    • Basil of Caesarea, I Will Tear Down My Barns, in Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 69
  • This is the beginning of a social movement in fact and not in pronouncements. We seek our basic, God-given rights as human beings. Because we have suffered — and are not afraid to suffer — in order to survive, we are ready to give up everything, even our lives, in our fight for social justice. We shall do it without violence because that is our destiny. To the ranchers, and to all those who opposes, we say, in the words of Benito Juárez: "El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz." [Respect for another's right is the meaning of peace.]
  • We are suffering. We have suffered, and we are not afraid to suffer in order to win our cause. We have suffered unnumbered ills and crimes in the name of the Law of the Land. Our men, women, and children have suffered not only the basic brutality of stoop labor, and the most obvious injustices of the system; they have also suffered the desperation of knowing that the system caters to the greed of callous men and not to our needs. Now we will suffer for the purpose of ending the poverty, the misery, and the injustice, with the hope that our children will not be exploited as we have been. They have imposed hunger on us, and now we hunger for justice. We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.
  • I am not boasting when I say to you that I know the pulse of the people. I know it better than all your newspaper men. I know it better than do all your industrialists with your paid-for advice. I am not exaggerating when I tell you of their demand for social justice which, like a tidal wave, is sweeping over this nation.
  • Following this preamble, these shall be the principles of social justice towards the realization of which we must strive:… 2. I believe that every citizen willing to work and capable of working shall receive a just, living, annual wage which will enable him both to maintain and educate his family according to the standards of American decency. 3. I believe in nationalizing those public resources which by their very nature are too important to be held in the control of private individuals… 5. I believe in upholding the right to private property but in controlling it for the public good.
  • In this nation there is ample room for everyone to profit according to his merit provided he is willing to work. Henceforth our national motto shall be ‘security for all.’ Henceforth our laws will be so written and so executed that financial privileges for the few shall disappear. This is what is meant when Mr. Roosevelt said: ‘ Among our objectives I place the security of the men, women and children of the Nation first. These words indicate the philosophy which will guide our President during his tenure of office. It is the philosophy of social justice which is about to vanquish the sophistry of greed and of individualism.
  • Social equality and economic protection of the individual appeared to me always as the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.
    • Albert Einstein, in "My Credo", a speech to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932), as published in Einstein: A Life in Science (1994) by Michael White and John Gribbin, p. 262.
  • I wish neither to deny reason the power to improve norms and institutions nor even to insist that it is incapable of recasting the whole of our moral system in the direction now commonly conceived as 'social justice'. We can do so, however, only by probing every part of a system of morals. If such a morality pretends to be able to do something that it cannot possibly do, e.g., to fulfill a knowledge-generating and organisational function that is impossible under its own rules and norms, then this impossibility itself provides a decisive rational criticism of that moral system. It is important to confront these consequences, for the notion that, in the last resort, the whole debate is a matter of value judgements and not of facts has prevented professional students of the market order from stressing forcibly enough that socialism cannot possibly do what it promises.
Merely pointing to the fact that some people have a lot more than others ... invites the response “So what? Those who have more aren’t hurting anybody; you’re just appealing to envy.” By contrast, being able to show that those who enjoy a higher socioeconomic status have to a considerable extent achieved and maintained that status by forcibly expropriating and oppressing the less affluent provides for a far more effective indictment. ~ Roderick Long
  • Merely pointing to the fact that some people have a lot more than others is less compelling as a critique; it invites the response “So what? Those who have more aren’t hurting anybody; you’re just appealing to envy.” By contrast, being able to show that those who enjoy a higher socioeconomic status have to a considerable extent achieved and maintained that status by forcibly expropriating and oppressing the less affluent provides for a far more effective indictment.
    • Roderick Long, "Left-libertarianism, market anarchism, class conflict and historical theories of distributive justice," Griffith Law Review, Vol. 21 Issue 2 (2012), pp. 413-431.
  • We are fighting to impose a higher social justice. The others are fighting to maintain the privileges of caste and class. We are proletarian nations that rise up against the plutocrats.
    • Benito Mussolini, “Soliloquy for ‘freedom’ Trimellone island,” on the Italian Island of Trimelone, journalist Ivanoe Fossani, one of the last interviews by Mussolini, March 20, 1945, Opera Omnia Benito Mussolin, vol. 32.
  • Fascism establishes the real equality of individuals before the nation… the object of the regime in the economic field is to ensure higher social justice for the whole of the Italian people… What does social justice mean? It means work guaranteed, fair wages, decent homes, it means the possibility of continuous evolution and improvement. Nor is this enough. It means that the workers must enter more and more intimately into the productive process and share its necessary discipline… As the past century was the century of capitalist power, the twentieth century is the century of power and glory of labour.
    • Benito Mussolini, Four Speeches on the Corporate State, published by Laboremus, Roma, 1935, pp. 39–40. Eric Jabbari, Pierre Laroque and the Welfare State in Postwar France, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 46.
  • We've been talking mainly about the problem of social justice within one society. The problem is much more difficult on a world scale, both because the inequalities are so great and because it's not clear what remedies are possible in the absence of a world government that could levy world taxes and see that they are used effectively. There is no prospect of a world government, which is just as well, since it would probably be a horrible government in many ways. However there is still a problem of global justice, though it's hard to know what to do about it in the system of separate sovereign states we have now.
    • Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 8. Justice
  • Islam prescribes the bases of social justice. It insures that the poor have claims on the possessions of the rich, and it lays down a just policy for government and finance. It does not need to numb people's feelings and does not call on people to abandon their rights on earth and to expect them only in the Kingdom of Heaven.
    • Sayyid Qutb, Sayyid Qutb and Islamic Activism: A Translation and Critical Analysis of Social Justice in Islam (1996), p. 16
  • The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust; nor is it unjust that persons are born into society at some particular position. These are simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions deal with these facts. Aristocratic and caste societies are unjust because they make these contingencies the ascriptive basis for belonging to more or less enclosed and privileged social classes. The basic structure of these societies incorporates the arbitrariness found in nature. But there is no necessity for men to resign themselves to these contingencies. The social system is not an unchangeable order beyond human control but a pattern of human action.
  • Throughout the world, change is the order of the day. In every Nation economic problems, long in the making, have brought crises of many kinds for which the masters of old practice and theory were unprepared. In most Nations social justice, no longer a distant ideal, has become a definite goal, and ancient Governments are beginning to heed the call.
    Thus, the American people do not stand alone in the world in their desire for change. We seek it through tested liberal traditions, through processes which retain all of the deep essentials of that republican form of representative government first given to a troubled world by the United States.
  • When the President supports those courts which declare that the people have no power to do social justice by enacting laws such as those I have above outlined, and when he opposes the effort to give to the sober judgment of the people due effect, as against the decisions of a reactionary court, then he shows himself a reactionary. When the President characterizes a moderate proposal to render effective the sober judgment of the American people, as against indefensible and reactionary court decisions in favor of the privileged classes, as “laying the ax at the foot of the tree of well-ordered freedom,” then the President is standing against the sane and moderate movement for social justice; he is standing in favor of privilege; and he thereby ranks himself against the Progressives, against the cause of justice for the helpless and the wronged, and on the side of the reactionaries, on the side of the beneficiaries of privilege and injustice.
  • Various sociopolitical movements are oriented to the nostrums of ‘social justice,’ favoring entitlements for all those with economic disparity. They struggle for what is scientifically impossible: equality of outcome. They want everyone to end up with the same amount of wealth—billions of people all possessing the same numerical affluence.
    • L.K. Samuels, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action, Cobden Press (2013) p. 72
  • A cosmic injustice is not a social injustice.
Compare to, e.g.:
  • The difference of development, North and South, is explained as a sort of working out of cosmic social and economic law. ... In this sweeping mechanistic interpretation, there is no room for the real plot of the story, for the clear mistake and guilt of building a new slavery of the working class in the midst of a fateful experiment in democracy.
  • Justice, under capitalism, works not from a notion of obedience to moral law, or to conscience, or to compassion, but from the assumption of a duty to preserve a social order and the legal “rights” that constitute that order, especially the right to property. … It comes to this: that decision will seem most just which preserves the system of justice even if the system is itself routinely unjust.
    • Curtis White, “The spirit of disobedience: An invitation to resistance,” Harper’s, April 2006, p. 32.
  • Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?

See also

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