Crime and Punishment

Social Justice or Revenge?

August 15, 2016

Multiple Pages
Social Justice or Revenge?

Over the weekend in Milwaukee, a black cop shot and killed an armed black man. In response, throngs of howling blacks rioted, looted, committed arson, and randomly attacked whites.

If that makes no sense to you, that’s because you’re not an idiot.

While the blood was still flowing and the cars were still burning and the white people were still being dragged from cars and beaten into tomato paste, multiple cognitively dissonant apologists for urban dysfunction trotted out a hoary 1967 quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

If I am making the correct inference from the Right Reverend Dead Dr. King’s words, this riot would never had occurred if “social justice” had been achieved.

What the HELL does that mean?

As a congenitally and resolutely antisocial person, I have a vague grasp of what is meant by “social.” To mangle a biblical quote, wherever two or more are gathered, that’s where I’m not.

But as a pathologically logical person, I blanch at the vagueness of the word “justice.” The more I hear it used and abused, the more it seems to be a dishonest synonym for “revenge.”

“The world’s finest engineers would be incapable of devising a machine that could measure injustice in specific increments.”

None of the Milwaukee rioters was victimized by the shooting. According to reports, the victim had a long criminal history and was turning around to point an illegally acquired gun at the black cop when he was shot dead in his tracks.

Excuse me for having oodles of grey matter and almost no melanin, but I fail to see the injustice here. Was the cop expected to simply allow himself to be murdered in the service of some dimwitted mob’s reptilian notions of “justice”? I’m not a mind reader, but I suspect his family would have considered that to be very unjust.

And that’s the problem with the word “justice”—it is entirely subjective. It cannot be quantified. The world’s finest engineers would be incapable of devising a machine that could measure injustice in specific increments.

Despite the fact that the term “social justice” has zero inherent meaning, it is not only fools that are fooled by it. It chaps my freckled hide to hear otherwise intelligent people wax on and on and frickin’ ON about “social justice” with roughly the same intellectual precision as if they were yabbering about ghosts or astrology.

But we currently inhabit an upside-down, inside-out, parallel-universe world where people mistake the subjective for the objective. When rumpled socialist nebbish Bernie Sanders was asked last fall whether black lives matter or all lives matter, he shrugged as if irritated at even having to be asked: “Black lives mattuh,” he said in his rusty Brooklyn accent as if it were a settled scientific fact.

But it’s not a fact. It’s an opinion. It can’t be proved. And the modern state of public discourse is so emotionally juvenile and intellectually bereft, I am required to explain a concept that kindergarteners should be able to grasp.

As much as I don’t want to crawl into the minds of the dunderheaded Milwaukee rioters, I suspect that they beat and burned and smashed and slashed due to some half-baked notion that all of their problems were due to “injustice” rather than, oh, the statistically high possibility that they never met their fathers. Pretending that you’ve been victimized by “injustice” must be a soothing balm for the wounded souls of congenital losers.

A highly troubling thing about the concept of “justice” is that I’ve never heard anyone so much as attempt to define exactly when it will be achieved to their satisfaction. Since “injustice” is indefinable, so is “justice.” The quest for justice appears to be insatiable. Whoever gets a little bit always seems to want a little bit more. Despite how much they insist that “social justice” is a real goal, they keep moving the goalposts. The finish line always looms dimly over the horizon, and even though we’ve “come a long way,” there is always more “work to do.” No one has ever specified exactly when justice will have arrived and everyone can breathe easily without worrying that they’ll be sucker-punched or have their house burned down due to some nonfunctional moron’s unquenchable sense of personal grievance and barely concealed shame.

What’s worse, justice appears to be a zero-sum game. It always seems to come at someone else’s expense. Due to some dumb sense of righteous retribution for American slavery—which Asians had no part in—modern Asian students must surrender 450 SAT points to receive the same consideration as a black student for admission to Harvard.

In most cases, I suspect that black students would consider that to be socially just, while Asian students would deem it a grievous injustice. For the most part, social justice depends on whether you’re throwing the punch or getting hit by it.

The oft-chanted mantra “No justice, no peace!” carries an implied threat. If you don’t give us justice as we define it—and you don’t even get a right to define it, because you’ve been designated as the perpetrator of injustice—we will burn your whole city down. That’s probably why MLK posited an either/or selection between “social justice” and rioting.

It is no accident that the loudest proponents of “social justice” are either willing dupes or outright beneficiaries of unchecked government power. According to a 2006 statement by the United Nations Division for Social Policy:

Social justice is not possible without strong and coherent redistributive policies conceived and implemented by public agencies.

Friedrich Hayek, who called social justice a “mirage,” claimed that its end game was “a government with totalitarian powers.”

In a dystopian nightmare fantasy, I imagine myself standing before a rabid crowd of social justice warriors, barking at the subliterate, brainwashed throngs through a megaphone:

“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


“Exactly how would you measure ‘justice’?”


“How much justice is enough?”


“So why don’t you all get jobs, quit eating my taxes for breakfast, and shut the hell up?”

[rioting and looting commence]


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