Friday, November 17, 2006

Philosophy 101

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a new friend of mine who said she sometimes has trouble deciding how to vote. She says that she is basically conservative, but she doesn't follow events closely enough to be informed and must rely primarily on her uncle for advice.

As far as I can tell, the vast majority of people in this predicament are there not because of a lack of watching the news, but because they have not taken a look at their values at the presuppositional/philosophical level and tried to figure out how they apply to politics. So here is lesson #1

From the wikepedia definition of "social Justice" (I am more and more impressed with this site's attempt to be neutral in it's definitions):

Social justice refers to conceptions of justice applied to an entire society. It is based on the idea of a just society, which gives individuals and groups fair treatment and a just share of the benefits of society.

Social justice is both a philosophical problem and an important issue in politics. It can arguably be said that everyone wishes to live in a just society, but different political ideologies have different conceptions of what a 'just society' actually is. The term "social justice" itself tends to be used by those ideologies who believe that present day society is highly unjust - and these are usually left-wing ideologies, advocating a more extensive use of democracy and income redistribution, a more egalitarian society and either a mixed economy or a non-market-based economic model. The right-wing has its own conception of social justice, but generally believes that it is best achieved through embracing meritocracy, the operation of a free market, and the promotion of philanthropy and charity. Both right and left tend to agree on the importance of rule of law, human rights, and some form of a welfare safety net (though the left supports this to a greater extent than the right).

The "right" and "left" are names given to the two most prevalent political orientations in modern Western society, but many other political outlooks have existed in the past or exist today in different societies, and they usually carry their own specific ideas about social justice.

Social justice is also a concept that some use to describe the movement towards a socially just world. In this context, social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality. So a very broad definition of social justice is that "social justice reflects the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society". It can be further defined as working towards the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of background, have basic human rights and an equal opportunity to access the benefits of their society.

So where do you stand on the concept of "social justice?" Answering that question will set you strongly in one direction or another.


At 3:48 PM, Blogger The Dr. said...

Social Justice rocks, but I like their old stuff better.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Scott Klajic said...



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