Social justice (Civil Justice)
Social justice, sometimes called civil justice, is a concept largely based on various social contract theories. Most variations on the concept hold that as governments are instituted among populations for the benefit of members of those populations, those governments which fail to see to the welfare of their citizens are failing to uphold their part in the social contract and are, therefore, unjust. The concept usually includes, but is not limited to, upholding human rights; many variants also contain some statements concerning more equitable distributions of wealth and resources.
The term “social justice” is generally so phrased in order to distinguish this particular concept from concepts of justice in law — some of which, according to their critics, are decidedly unjust in a social sense — and from concepts of justice as embedded in systems of morality which may differ between cultures.
Social justice refers to the overall fairness of a society in its divisions of rewards and burdens.
“Social Justice” is also one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party upheld by the worldwide green parties. As stated by several local branches, this is the principle that all persons are entitled to “basic human needs”, regardless of “superficial differences such as economic disparity, class, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or health”. This includes the eradication of poverty and illiteracy, the establishment of sound environmental policy, and equality of opportunity for healthy personal and social development.
“Social Justice” is a primarily Leftist and Liberal concept.
Criticism of the notion of Social Justice
Social Justice sometimes is thought to mean the promotion of equality through comprehensive government action. In practice this intervention has not often produced equitable results, resulting in favoritism towards classes of people, restrictions of personal liberty and excessive regulatory burdens. Many critics regard the guarantee of equal outcomes implicit in many social justice movements antithetical to the notion of equal opportunity, as it frequently requires special, favored treatment to arbitrary classes of people. Actual justice, they argue, holds all persons to the same standards and does not penalize success nor reward failure, but holds all persons to the same standards regardless of their race, ethnic origin, financial condition, religion or beliefs.
People concerned with social justice may hold some or all of the following beliefs:
- Historical inequities should be corrected by governmental action until the actual inequities no longer exist.
- Temporary favoritism towards some classes of people is acceptable if it advances important public policy goals.
- It is government’s responsibility to ensure a basic quality of life for all its citizens.
People who are critics of this notion may hold some or all of the following beliefs:
Favoritism as a policy is inherently unjust.
Those that succeed should not be penalized by being compelled to support those who do not.
Personal liberty is more important than government’s social policies.
Social Justice is just a cover for social engineering, which is expensive and always fails.