There are just two problems with social justice: it’s not social and it’s not justice. So says Noah Rothman, Saving Elephants’ guest and author of the new book Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America.
Noah walks us through the evolution of the concept of justice in the West to show how some political activists (perhaps unwittingly) have twisted it. Social justice may be well intentioned and be useful as a philosophical perspective. But when applied to practical politics, the results are anything but just. Perhaps most surprisingly, social justice is no longer chiefly a tool of the Left, as some groups on the Right are learning how to wield the weapon of retribution.
In a society governed by “social justice,” the most coveted status is victimhood, which people will go to absurd lengths to attain. But the real victims in such a regime are blind justice—the standard of impartiality that we once took for granted—and free speech. These hallmarks of American liberty, already gravely compromised in universities, corporations, and the media, are under attack in our legal and political systems.
Social justice is a creed born of grievances, some of them undoubtedly valid. But Noah shows that tribalism and the fanatical pursuit of retribution threaten to destroy a political culture that is historically unmatched in its friendliness to justice. Social justice is an ideology that runs counter to the American ideal, and it must be stopped. And on this episode Noah offers some guidance on how it might be stopped.
Noah is the associate editor of Commentary, a journal of scholarly opinion and analysis that has been in continuous publication since 1945, a contributor to MSNBC/NBC News, and a widely followed commentator and guest on such notable shows as Tucker Carlson Tonight and Real Time with Bill Maher. He graduated from Drew University with a degree in Russian studies and political science and received a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations from Seton Hall University. He lives and works in the New York City area.