The popular phrase making the round these days is “social justice.” What is this? The internet dictionary defines social justice as “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” It adds further that within the framework of that social construct that: “individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice.” The concept of ‘social justice’ arose primarily as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by societal injustice in the Latin American context and achieved prominence in the 1970s and 1980s. It seems ironic that the term seemed to have been coined by a Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s most famous books, A Theology of Liberation (1971). I say ironic because the most vocal champions of social justice today are, for the most part, those who appear to have extraordinarily little to do with religion and even less to do with Catholicism.
As I understand it, social justice as a concept implies that we all have a ‘right’ to equal upward mobility, equal resources and even finances, and a right to equal social privilege. Inherent in the demand for ‘social justice’ then, is a demand for circumstances intrinsic to our lot in life, other than that which we have received. Those who embrace and evoke that concept logically believe that either they themselves or other segments of society that they deem disadvantaged have been “treated unfairly” by society. They, therefore, see themselves as ‘victims’ of an ‘unjust’ system. They think they have been somehow deprived of privileges in the culture to which they belong, privileges of power, position, and of property. They, therefore, lament that there is no ‘social justice’ for them. Historically, every segment of society that cries out for social justice has been one that sees itself as ‘victim.’ Thus, women see themselves as victims, the poor see themselves as victims, ethnic groups – not necessarily minority groups – and sexually deviant groups see themselves as victims of social injustice. All of these are victim categories, and today, any comment – innocent or otherwise made to any member of one of these categories, when that comment is not favorable, it is seen as ‘hate speech’ or a form of ‘micro-aggression.’
Today there is an ever-increasing mass of belligerent ‘victims.’ When God asked Eve why she disobeyed Him, she said, “the serpent made me do it.” When God asked Adam why he was disobedient, he said, “the woman You gave me” made him do it. So here we have – whether you believe it or not – an entire world filled with just two people, and neither of them would willingly accept responsibility for their behavior. They both shifted blame for their failures! More deeply, however, they both are blaming God Himself! For who made the serpent? Was it not God? Adam could just as well have been saying: “I was fine until You gave me a woman.” “You put her here, and I didn’t ask for her to come!” Ultimately, they both blamed God for their poor choice in their disobedience. Neither was willing to accept individual responsibility for their actions. They both shifted “blame” to somewhere else! They suffered for that as we are suffering from that and we are still “blaming others” for the “social injustice” we continue to suffer because of our individual stupidity!
The ‘Grievance generation’ - generation G - will have a problem with everything - past, present and future. I am not a ‘victim’ of anyone else’s ‘sin.’ I am my own man. I am responsible for myself and my life, through the choices I make. Those choices informed by sound morality will see me to success. I and I alone must account for my actions and my life. What is with all this blaming of everyone else, every other generation for the fact that I think I am disadvantaged. Get over it! Seriously!
Steve Smith, FRCP (Ed.)