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I have heard this term bandied about whenever the Egyptian demonstrations are mentioned.

asked Feb 01 '11 at 17:30

Prometheus1's gravatar image

Prometheus1 ♦
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For background on "social jistice," refer to the Wikipedia article on that topic. The article begins:

Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being.[1][2] The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli in 1840 based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and given further exposure in 1848 by Antonio Rosmini-Serbati.[1][2][3][4][5] The idea was elaborated by the moral theologian John A. Ryan, who initiated the concept of a living wage. Father Coughlin also used the term in his publications in the 1930s and the 1940s. It is a part of Catholic social teaching, Social Gospel from Episcopalians and is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party upheld by green parties worldwide. Social justice as a secular concept, distinct from religious teachings, emerged mainly in the late twentieth century, influenced primarily by philosopher John Rawls. Some tenets of social justice have been adopted by those on the left of the political spectrum.

For information on "anti-concepts," refer to that topic in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. The essence of an anti-concept is a "package-deal" of concepts that confuse and confound one's thinking by mixing conflicting concepts together into a single "package" that may be difficult to separate into component parts.

If "social justice" is an "anti-concept," one must ask what conflicting elements it attempts to unite into a single disarming "package." From the Wikipedia excerpt above, one can identify "equality and solidarity" mixed together with "human rights" and "the dignity of every human being." That certainly would appear to fit the meaning of an "anti-concept." Objectivism observes that one cannot uphold and protect individual rights and human dignity by trying to make everyone "equal" and in social "solidarity." Objectivism also focuses on individual rights, which isn't necessarily the same as human rights, particularly if or when the latter is interpreted to mean abridging the individual rights of some in order to grant other kinds of "rights" to others.

Note also that the expression "social justice" itself attempts to elevate the concept of justice to the "social" or "societal" level. Justice, as a virtue in Objectivism, focuses on individuals -- how individuals are evaluated by other individuals. Social justice tends to suggest some sort of "justice" by an entire society (in "solidarity") toward individuals within the society, i.e., between a society and its members, on the deeper premise that individuals are allegedly always part of a society and beholden to it, with the well being of the "society" as the fundamental "value," and the individual "members" as merely the pawns of the society.

The Lexicon topic mentions "polarization" as an example of an anti-concept. An editor's comment at the end of the Lexicon topic also states:

Some other terms that Ayn Rand identified as anti-concepts are “consumerism,” “duty,” “ethnicity,” “extremism,” “isolationism,” “McCarthyism,” “meritocracy,” and “simplistic.”

"Social justice," being a little older in its roots (and a compound expression in the first place), seems somewhat easier to separate.

answered Feb 04 '11 at 15:19

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Feb 01 '11 at 17:30

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Last updated: Feb 04 '11 at 15:19