Social Justice: Noble goal?

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CorruptUser
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Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:15 pm UTC

This is a continuation of an OT subject from one of the news and articles threads.

So, what are the end goals of the social justice movement? Is there one single end goal in the movement with many subgroups focusing on many compatible subgoals (eg, food justice versus black lives matter), or are there multiple conflicting end goals within the movement?

More importantly, if we can determine what the end goal is, or if there are multiple goals, is/are this/these goal(s) truly "good"?

Personal Goal
My own view as a right wing social democrat/left wing classic liberal is that a more "fair" society is one in which people's income is representative of what they actually added to the rest of society minus the cost of social services to ensure that everyone can add to society. For example, Doctor fixes your leg, it increases society by the equivalent of $50000, Doctor gets $20000 and you are "improved" by $30000 as a result, Doctor then pays $8000 in tax so that your neighbor can go to school and improve society by more than that $8000. Society should also work to prevent rent seeking in the form of that Doctor and his friends getting together to raise the price of leg surgeries to $45000 (part of why I'm inherently suspicious of unions). Government uses taxes to provide protection, emergency services, bare bones healthcare, the minimum food and shelter necessary to contribute (starving people make for poor workers), basic education (includi subsidized college), research, infrastructure (roads garbage water sewer and yes Internet), and really anything else the free market can't provide properly.

Conflict with social justice
The issue I seem to have with the social justice movement is regarding income inequality. I don't see it as a necessarily bad thing to have large inequality; so long as the people with low incomes are reflecting low productivity and high incomes reflecting massive value to society, and not because of rent seeking such as monopolies lowering wages or lobbyists rigging the upper incomes, and there are institutions in place to ensure that the people with low incomes are that way not from force or circumstance. But it seems to me that a lot of the social justice movement, rather than just campaigning against people having undeservedly obscenely high incomes, are also campaigning against obscenely high incomes in general. Howard Zinn said when I went to see him, "I'm not against people being rich, I'm against people being very rich". Me, "I'm not against people being very rich, I'm against people being very rich through making society poorer".

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby doogly » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:04 pm UTC

The general campaign against obscenely high incomes is probably driven (for many people) by the empirical observation that these huge inequalities always come from things like rent seeking and anti free market forces. In order to get wealth so sequestered, something contrary to the smooth, free flow of commerce has happened.

I think a key distinction that is important to me (and likely also to you) is the position of being anti-capitalist while being quite pro-commerce. Trade is great! Pricing things based on supply and demand is not only great, it is the only thing that makes any sense! Markets are great, they should exist and be free! Capitalism, though, defined more narrowly as an economic system placing primacy on the *having* of capital, and the generation of wealth based on what you *have* rather than what you *do* or in any sense contribute, is going to always push things towards inequality.


To address the general question, people are all over the place. "Social justice" is a very big tent, it's hard to generalize.
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:19 pm UTC

I would venture that social justice is a broad umbrella term encompassing a lot of different concepts and ideas, some of which may be mutually exclusive, or strongly disagreed upon by different members of the movement. I don't think these sorts of movements typically have end goals per se--I would say that they have goals, which are direct, actionable things that they want to do (eg. legalize gay marriage) and they have ideals (everyone receives equal treatment under the law) that are not actionable, but are sort of the defining parameters of the movement.

Income inequality is one way that historic prejudices and privilege tends to get reinforced. For example, people like to say that one of the ways to escape poverty is through education, and this is certainly true. However, generally speaking, the best schools are attended by the children of the wealthiest. This is true both of public schools (where, in the United States in particular, school funding is tied to property taxes, so wealthier neighbourhood schools get better funding, as well, better neighbourhoods, lower crime rates and drug usage, etc. tends to attract better teachers and people with more money tend to have more flexibility about choosing where they live and which schools to send their children to), and certainly of high-end private schools that have tuition fees well outside what the average person could afford. This is also true at the post-secondary level--the easiest way to get into a top university is to have a parent who went to that university, especially a parent who is a wealthy donor, and these universities tend to have, as a consequence of their wealthy client base, better instructors, better labs, and better networking opportunities for their students with other wealthy individuals. So consequently, while education is in principle is a way for the poor to get ahead, in practice, it can also enhance existing social barriers. Another side of the income inequality problem is the taxation problem, namely that the richest people (and corporations) often tend to pay a much lower marginal tax rate than people with much lower incomes and less wealth--the famous example being that multi-billionaire Warren Buffett has admitted to paying a lower tax rate than his secretary--due to various tax loopholes or ways of moving money around that are accessible to the rich but not so much the less rich (not to mention that certain types of income that tend to form a larger part of the income of the wealthy such as capital gains and dividends being taxed at lower rates than income from labour).

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:34 pm UTC

Fun fact; adjusted for race wealth disability, etc, most private schools perform more or less at the same level as public schools. The wealthy going to private schools is segregation of sorts, not superior education. Also I'm going to take the opportunity to call you out on privilege because why not; the biggest barrier to escaping poverty was not lack of education, but lack of basic medical care. Turns out physical and mental retardation from parasites and diseases hurts a lot. You are taught that education is the most important...

As for wealth sequestration, yeah, a lot of billionaires are practically poster children of the excesses of capitalism and so forth, like Trumps and the Waltons. But for every poster child of the need to eat the rich, there's another poster child of the exact opposite, of the American Dream self made billionaire; Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc. Of course no one is completely self made, and even if they actually did build their bootstrap factory out of gumption alone, they relied on skilled workers and customers who did not. This, the ultra rich are indeed beneficiaries of social programs.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:06 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:As for wealth sequestration, yeah, a lot of billionaires are practically poster children of the excesses of capitalism and so forth, like Trumps and the Waltons. But for every poster child of the need to eat the rich, there's another poster child of the exact opposite, of the American Dream self made billionaire; Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc.


Millionares are largely boostrapped folks. Grew up poor, but had ambition. Billionares, though, do have a vastly more significant skew, and if memory serves, a majority of them did actually come from monied parents. Well, at least millionare parents, which counts as monied in my book.

Note that Gates, while his parents were indeed much less well off than he is, were not exactly impovershed, and he may not make the ideal example here. There's a range to what is a reasonably doable leap in station, and it is broad....but it does appear like it's quite difficult to go all the way from utterly poor to billionare.

Still, millionare ain't bad. I'm going to be one, and I grew up poor. Ain't that hard.

CorruptUser wrote:This is a continuation of an OT subject from one of the news and articles threads.

So, what are the end goals of the social justice movement? Is there one single end goal in the movement with many subgroups focusing on many compatible subgoals (eg, food justice versus black lives matter), or are there multiple conflicting end goals within the movement?

More importantly, if we can determine what the end goal is, or if there are multiple goals, is/are this/these goal(s) truly "good"?


My view is that "Social" is a word appended to a thing to describe something that is not that thing, but that it's advocates would like to be viewed like it.

Social Justice instead of Justice.
Social Media instead of Media.
Social Science instead of Science.

Fuck Social Justice. Pursue actual Justice.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby doogly » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:10 pm UTC

Your view is really, really stupid.
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:12 pm UTC

doogly wrote:Your view is really, really stupid.


Why do you need to label something social justice instead of justice?

If it holds up under the latter definition, does not calling it justice suffice?

And if it does not, why should we want it?

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby doogly » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:20 pm UTC

The use of adjectives adds clarity to conversation, generally. As broad as social justice is, it's still not nearly so broad as discussions about "justice."
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:28 pm UTC

There are critics of social justice who argue "if it's justice, don't waste time with 'social', if it's not justice, it's injustice". This argument is bupkis. We have "particle physics" and "astrophysics", but we don't say that using the descriptor is either "wasting time" or a euphemism for "not physics". The "social" is a descriptor, saying there is more than one side to "justice" and that the people are focusing on the social side rather than criminal justice or food justice or anything like that.

I disagree; we have our own goals for the ideal society, and right and wrong are based upon whether the actions brings us closer to those ideals, but the ideals themselves are not objective. Just throwing "justice" after whatever it is you are after is laziness at best and deciept at worst; it's implying that YOUR ideal is the ONE TRUE IDEAL, and anything else is PURE EVIL. Real world is not simple. "Just" and "unjust" are what society says they are, based on a combination of possibly contradictory ideals and other shortcuts, to do what society generally agrees is best.

If society says "letting rapers off with a small fine" is injustice, it's unjust. But if society says the raper should get 1-5 years depending upon circumstances, and he gets 2 years, you shouldn't turn around in a "criminal justice" movement claiming that justice is him getting the death penalty, because what was done was criminal "justice".

If society says "women should get the same pay for the same work", and there's indeed a gender pay gap when adjusted for education age etc, there's injustice. But if society says it's ok for there to be income inequality for different work, and there is, then it's not injustice and to turn around and call it injustice is manipulation and lies.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:40 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:35 pm UTC

The idea that "social justice" is a narrowly defined goal is something I take issue with.

It's...incredibly broad, and can describe damned near anything.

We have had discussions throughout much of history as to what Justice actually is. And...justice is inherently a social function.

Name one thing that is under the purview of Justice, but not Social Justice.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:42 pm UTC

Murderers going to trial. That's criminal justice. It becomes "social justice" if sentencing is affected by race, but if race age and gender are roughly independent of sentence severity, it's not a social justice issue.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:55 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Murderers going to trial. That's criminal justice. It becomes "social justice" if sentencing is affected by race, but if race age and gender are roughly independent of sentence severity, it's not a social justice issue.


Ah, so "social" does not mean "part of society" but "equality" then, yes?

Because how we sentence folks is absolutely part of both society and justice.

And, in practice, good luck ever finding any actual examples that are not biased by race, age, gender, money, or some other factor. In practice, criminal justice is routinely cited as part of social justice. So, in actual use, it is not distinct, no.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:28 pm UTC

"Social justice" is an ill-defined collection of movements as often classed as such from outside as from within. It is also the proper term that we have for that nigh-arbitrary category.

Is there a proper category of fallacy for arguments that demand that every compound literally contain those elements and only those elements enumerated in the constituent words? (I hope it is, itself, misleadingly named; kettle logic is neither logical, nor about kettles!)
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:38 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Fun fact; adjusted for race wealth disability, etc, most private schools perform more or less at the same level as public schools. The wealthy going to private schools is segregation of sorts, not superior education.


For the most part, I agree with this, although the segregation factor is important, particularly at the university level. First, it's worth noting that a university education at Harvard is worth a lot more than a university education at a random public university, even if the actual quality of education the student receives is the same--hiring committees, graduate school candidacies, scholarships, etc. will look much more favourably on a Harvard applicant solely because of the prestige of the university. The second is the networking effect. If you want to be a successful investment banker, say, it's much easier to do so if you go to Harvard, not simply because your application will be looked on more favourably, but because it is also much more likely that you will encounter people who are children/friends/relatives/colleagues of investment bankers and thus it will be that much easier for you to be able to get a job/internship in your field compared to a similarly accomplished person at a random campus.

Also I'm going to take the opportunity to call you out on privilege because why not; the biggest barrier to escaping poverty was not lack of education, but lack of basic medical care. Turns out physical and mental retardation from parasites and diseases hurts a lot. You are taught that education is the most important...


Fair enough, health (and nutrition, of course) are certainly critical factors in social mobility. This again, is something that skews to the already established wealthy. I'm curious, though, if you feel this way, why you believe that the government should only provide "bare bones healthcare", rather than more comprehensive care. I don't have the figures to argue this one way or the other, but my understanding is that there's actually at least some reason to believe that a system with excellent preventative care (France) is quite cost competitive since emergency care is much more costly and disruptive to people's lives.

As for wealth sequestration, yeah, a lot of billionaires are practically poster children of the excesses of capitalism and so forth, like Trumps and the Waltons. But for every poster child of the need to eat the rich, there's another poster child of the exact opposite, of the American Dream self made billionaire; Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc. Of course no one is completely self made, and even if they actually did build their bootstrap factory out of gumption alone, they relied on skilled workers and customers who did not. This, the ultra rich are indeed beneficiaries of social programs.


For myself, the issue is less of whether or not someone can become a multi-millionaire billionaire in the first place, but rather about how the tax system deals with the wealth that they acquire. The idea that someone can make twenty million dollars per year and be taxed at 10% is really strange to someone who makes much less than 1% of that amount and is taxed at ~20%, especially given that the marginal utility of wealth is greater the less you have. I would love to see a tax system that 1) treats income from all sources equally, 2) has minimal deductions beyond a basic personal amount, and 3) taxes corporations based on local revenues (at a very low rate) rather than local profits (since profits can be moved whereas revenues cannot).

I do think it is worth noting that, according to Thomas Piketty, wealth concentration at the moment is nearly as high (or as high? I read the book quite awhile ago) as it was in the Gilded Age just prior to populist revolutions of the 19th and 20th Century.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:46 pm UTC

I am, mostly, irked about the ill defined portion of it.

It ends up being a particularly vague word/category. I'm not even sure that phrases like those in the OP of "the social justice movement" are reasonable. It isn't really a movement proper. It's just a bunch of different people with a bunch of different goals(often conflicting). And this isn't something special to our time frame. The same existed hundreds of years ago. They just called it Justice, then. It's utterly normal for there to be conflicts in society over what society should be*.

But, if I can peg any commonality to this particular round of it, it's the principle of equality. This is still pretty vague, because what you're looking for equality in matters a great deal, and hell, a lot of those fights are very old.

We can narrow it down to say, income inequality as a more concrete topic. Or wealth inequality, if you prefer. But those things are really something of a subset of social justice, even if commonly cited examples.

I like that my categorizations have at least some sort of clear label, or defintion, or something. If they lack all of those, they're pretty rubbish as a categorization, are they not?


*And apparently, social justice doesn't describe ALL such visions, further confusing the issue. What does and doesn't count seems to be wildly subjective.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:53 pm UTC

I consider vaccines and other public health programs (iodine fortification, water filtration) such a basic that even a bare bones health system has them. Preventative is also a friggen basic. As is things like broken bones and so forth. Things that should be paid for Out of Pocket? Elective surgery, IVF, cosmetic procedures, etc (restorative isn't cosmetic though). I also think abortion should be subsidized, but that's a battle not worth fighting.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:02 pm UTC

Swapping over to evident topic of income inequality, rather than the categorization topic.

LaserGuy wrote:
Also I'm going to take the opportunity to call you out on privilege because why not; the biggest barrier to escaping poverty was not lack of education, but lack of basic medical care. Turns out physical and mental retardation from parasites and diseases hurts a lot. You are taught that education is the most important...


Fair enough, health (and nutrition, of course) are certainly critical factors in social mobility. This again, is something that skews to the already established wealthy. I'm curious, though, if you feel this way, why you believe that the government should only provide "bare bones healthcare", rather than more comprehensive care. I don't have the figures to argue this one way or the other, but my understanding is that there's actually at least some reason to believe that a system with excellent preventative care (France) is quite cost competitive since emergency care is much more costly and disruptive to people's lives.


This is the reason that is consistently trotted out, yet to provide such a system, more money is inevitibly needed. In the case of The Affordable Care Act, it takes the form of the mandate. There is a wealth transfer taking place between the healthy and the unhealthy.

Note that preventative care is a complex issue. Many factors other than ability to pay determine if it actually happens. As an example, even when people are wholly covered to go to the dentist, they still go less often than dentists reccomend. Probably because they hate going to the dentist.

What do I want? Well, generally, I'm okay with taking care of the kids. Lots of preventative care up front and what not. I'm less okay for adults, barring some sort of disability. If you just drew the genetic short straw, well...that's not really your fault. Nor can we reasonably expect kids to make good long term health decisions in the same way that we expect adults to. So, I'm pretty comfortable with fairly comprehensive infant and child care.

I'm less enthused about extending that to everyone always. At a certain point, responsibility needs to shift over to the individual. Sure, give the kid a good start with education and health care, and so on, but at a certain point, some people are just bad investments, and their own decisions bear at least some of the responsibility. We can chat about if 18 is a good age for adulthood, or this kind of transition, but the point need not be exactly then...merely at some point.

For myself, the issue is less of whether or not someone can become a multi-millionaire billionaire in the first place, but rather about how the tax system deals with the wealth that they acquire. The idea that someone can make twenty million dollars per year and be taxed at 10% is really strange to someone who makes much less than 1% of that amount and is taxed at ~20%, especially given that the marginal utility of wealth is greater the less you have. I would love to see a tax system that 1) treats income from all sources equally, 2) has minimal deductions beyond a basic personal amount, and 3) taxes corporations based on local revenues (at a very low rate) rather than local profits (since profits can be moved whereas revenues cannot).


Regressive taxes are generally panned all round. At least in public. Libertarians and what not tend to favor equality in the form of a flat tax or the like, while your income equality fans tend to like a progressive tax system. Yet, regressive taxation is very common.

I note that, as sales taxes exist, revenue based taxes are exceedingly common in practice. I also note that regardless of particular tax rate arguments trotted out, in real dollars, it is quite normal for a business owner to write larger checks to the government in total than he takes home himself. Therefore, I have very little faith in any system to actually be implemented with "a very low" rate and to stay that way. This is regardless of party in power. IMO, taxes are designed not to be optimal for society, but to be complex, and to fleece as much as possible in general for the government.

Thus, regressive taxes happen because smaller businesses and poorer people are less individually able to kick up a fuss, and less able to navigate the complexity. This has persisted sufficiently long in the US that it cannot reasonably be an accident. The logical conclusion is that, regardless of what they say, both parties will cheerfully tax the shit out of everyone they can, and your best hope of dealing with this is gaining enough power to abuse the complexity/hire someone to do that for you. The more power, the more ability.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I am, mostly, irked about the ill defined portion of it.

It ends up being a particularly vague word/category. I'm not even sure that phrases like those in the OP of "the social justice movement" are reasonable. It isn't really a movement proper. It's just a bunch of different people with a bunch of different goals(often conflicting). And this isn't something special to our time frame. The same existed hundreds of years ago. They just called it Justice, then. It's utterly normal for there to be conflicts in society over what society should be*.

But, if I can peg any commonality to this particular round of it, it's the principle of equality. This is still pretty vague, because what you're looking for equality in matters a great deal, and hell, a lot of those fights are very old.

We can narrow it down to say, income inequality as a more concrete topic. Or wealth inequality, if you prefer. But those things are really something of a subset of social justice, even if commonly cited examples.

I like that my categorizations have at least some sort of clear label, or defintion, or something. If they lack all of those, they're pretty rubbish as a categorization, are they not?


*And apparently, social justice doesn't describe ALL such visions, further confusing the issue. What does and doesn't count seems to be wildly subjective.

Yeah, I wouldn't call it a "movement". Maybe in the broad historical sense, someone will later refer to the social justice movement in the way that we refer to a civil rights era or feminism. It is unquestionably not an "organization". And I agree that it makes the OP fairly meaningless.
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Swapping over to evident topic of income inequality, rather than the categorization topic.

LaserGuy wrote:
Also I'm going to take the opportunity to call you out on privilege because why not; the biggest barrier to escaping poverty was not lack of education, but lack of basic medical care. Turns out physical and mental retardation from parasites and diseases hurts a lot. You are taught that education is the most important...


Fair enough, health (and nutrition, of course) are certainly critical factors in social mobility. This again, is something that skews to the already established wealthy. I'm curious, though, if you feel this way, why you believe that the government should only provide "bare bones healthcare", rather than more comprehensive care. I don't have the figures to argue this one way or the other, but my understanding is that there's actually at least some reason to believe that a system with excellent preventative care (France) is quite cost competitive since emergency care is much more costly and disruptive to people's lives.


This is the reason that is consistently trotted out, yet to provide such a system, more money is inevitibly needed. In the case of The Affordable Care Act, it takes the form of the mandate. There is a wealth transfer taking place between the healthy and the unhealthy.


A lot of this has to do with the fact that the American medical system is a complete clusterfuck. The United States spends the highest per capita on healthcare in the developed world, and gets worse outcomes than countries with other systems. Now yes, there's issues with demographics, rural/urban, etc. that makes the American system harder to compare to a more densely populated country like France, but Canada and Australia do have these sorts of similar demographics and spend half as much as the United States for comparable, if not better, results. Part of the problem, of course, is that Americans are subsidizing a lot of the world's medical R&D, both through direct funding, and by paying significantly more for things like prescription drugs, but there's a lot of really screwed up incentives and middlemen and corruption in the system that drives up costs.

I note that, as sales taxes exist, revenue based taxes are exceedingly common in practice. I also note that regardless of particular tax rate arguments trotted out, in real dollars, it is quite normal for a business owner to write larger checks to the government in total than he takes home himself. Therefore, I have very little faith in any system to actually be implemented with "a very low" rate and to stay that way. This is regardless of party in power. IMO, taxes are designed not to be optimal for society, but to be complex, and to fleece as much as possible in general for the government.


While this may be true for small business, it is definitely not true for larger ones. It's pretty much the same problem as the middle income brackets face--high net worth individuals have more options to lower their taxes and can draw their income for sources already taxed at lower rates. So you can have a situation where someone making $80k per year is taxed at a higher marginal rate than someone making $800k per year, and likewise a small business generating $1 million in revenues is taxed at a higher rate than one making $1 billion in revenues.

CorruptUser wrote:I consider vaccines and other public health programs (iodine fortification, water filtration) such a basic that even a bare bones health system has them. Preventative is also a friggen basic. As is things like broken bones and so forth. Things that should be paid for Out of Pocket? Elective surgery, IVF, cosmetic procedures, etc (restorative isn't cosmetic though). I also think abortion should be subsidized, but that's a battle not worth fighting.


Fair enough. When people say "bare bones" in this type of context, I usually take it to mean "Emergency room is covered, but going to see the doctor for a regular checkup is not".

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby leady » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:26 am UTC

Social Justice in my opinion has multiple issues

a) What on earth it is. Hell its close to impossible to define either word without being completely subjective, let alone the combination. Even justice can at best be defined with a base set of objectives rule that are subjectively arrived at. My version of social justice is "what is mine is mine, what is yours is yours" and other variations on the theme, but that's not even close to the standard version :). I have the exact same issue with the word "fair". These aren't vague concepts, they are largely undefined at all.

b) The biggest though, is the scope in its common form. Its massively expansive in its scope yet remarkably narrow in it execution. By this I mean that the topics that are considered for social justice cover a wide range of different elements of the human condition and yet within those topics the specific groups and ideas covered are very narrow. There are lots of examples that will derail the discussion, so i'll go for one that is less likely to.

Social justice in its economic form is taking economic activity from the successful and giving to the less successful. But why stop at economics? after all in most western nations we aren't talking subsistence but QoL with regards to economic social justice. So what other things are unjust (i.e. dealt a crappy starting hand) in the world and are a major detriment to QoL? - here are a few..

Short men
Tall women
Being the youngest in the school year
Being male and having red hair
Not being attractive
Not being funny

and whilst several of these have defined economic consequences (and far more definitively proven ones than the normal focus), the social consequences of them are enormous. However there are no social justice movements to address any of these. I suspect because trying to address them rapidly leads to ugly or ludicrous conclusions (how exactly do you get ugly people an average partner) and most critically, because social justice is at least as much about virtue signalling as addressing injustice.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:23 pm UTC

Not seeing the trouble tall women have. Then again, giantess fetish, sort of.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Mambrino » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The idea that "social justice" is a narrowly defined goal is something I take issue with.

It's...incredibly broad, and can describe damned near anything.

We have had discussions throughout much of history as to what Justice actually is. And...justice is inherently a social function.

Name one thing that is under the purview of Justice, but not Social Justice.


Well, I heard the term 'Social Justice' (as it is used today) first time applied as a pejorative (meaniehead) against some largish group of people mainly based on Tumblr and Twitter. Possibly on Reddit for the first time, but since then in so-called Rationalist / LessWrong -related blogosphere. (Actually, nowadays I see term most used on LessWrong-sphere, like recently I was linked to a comment thread about how there's Kuhnian grand level of memeplex-shift disagreement of methods of logic, valid reasoning and sound arguments between them and rationalists, as proved by a vivid description of an adventure of an rationalist trying to have an argument about usefulness of physical exercise in some meaniehead blog comments.)

I really don't really know the history of the origins of the term, but surely the fact it's today also defined by people antagonist to its ideas using its worst proponents as examples that set the norm at least adds to confusion. In general, even in a charitable reading, it sort of acts like an umbrella for generally leftist ideas, the good, the bad, and the ugly perversions of both.

Also, most of the discussion here seems to concentrate on the economics, which kind of seem to gloss over that lots of the issues labelled as "questions of social justice"are about identities, cultural and others, and especially minority identities. Today when I read the front page of NYTimes, the relevant social justice of topic of the day seems to be about something about the race in US higher education. The sexual and gender identities and more traditional feminists points are common, let's say, topic of political arguments throughout the Western world.

Here in Europe on the very current immigrant issue the political trenches are quite aligned according to the typical left / right (pro- / against-) 'social justice' line, except that exact word is not used in the immigration context (in our local dialect, the term a la mode today to describe the leftist enemies are - once for a while - different variations of feminists and cultural-marxists, or to attempt a translation of local terminology, 'tolerancists'). However, to my eyes it seems more like an language shift caused by the domain problems shaping the discussion and its vocabulary than genuine difference on ideological level. The same politicians and other persons that would be known as 'social justice' are pro-immigrant, but we get 'immigrant' -related terminology, not the 'social justice' -terminology to discuss the thing with.

I'm do not to have an immigration discussion here, I'm trying to argue that attempt to define "social justice" and its goals is going to be a swamp of discussion topics. Most of the forms of socialism (in the 20th century) at least wanted to be clearly defined ideologies based on Marxist ideas (different sects had many differences of opinion about what it meant, but there was an attempt of a structure that could be debated).

"Social justice" looks in a public discussion much more like a kind post-modern fluff label stamped on most of current Western style leftism than an actually a defining ideology or a term, so it sort of becomes to difficult to discuss, because it necessarily isn't the actual point any more, not at least to everybody, not the same way the mostly same concept might have been during when, say, Charles Dickens or the Fabian Society were new forces discussing social issues. (I'm positive one could apply Wittgenteinian terminology about language to great success here.) The discussion could be more about leftism in general.

(Actually I'm not sure what was my point anymore but I spent quite much time writing this so I'll post it hoping it contributes to discussion anyhow.)

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:11 pm UTC

Yeah, I mean, it's not a movement. At all. It's a category. It's not a very useful category, but that's not on the activists somehow. It doesn't mean that they are individually conflicted or without direction or something. If you want to posit a movement of people named Susan and then discover that there's nothing that all of the people named Susan agree on ... good job?
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:36 pm UTC

Mambrino wrote:Well, I heard the term 'Social Justice' (as it is used today) first time applied as a pejorative (meaniehead) against some largish group of people mainly based on Tumblr and Twitter. Possibly on Reddit for the first time, but since then in so-called Rationalist / LessWrong -related blogosphere.


meaniehead is...somewhat more precise, by nature of it being an insult. It's invariably sarcastic, but the "social justice" part is still super vague, and it's an insult that is tossed around pretty loosely.

Social Justice, as a term, though, definitely precedes the "social justice warrior" perjorative, and thus, it seems odd to argue that the perjorative entirely defines it. The insult seems more of a reaction to the term.

I do agree that especially if we're talking in an international sense, it becomes increasingly hard to nail down any precise thing to discuss. Shit, googling the term, the first hit for me was a definition equaliting it with the work performed by social workers. Which...kind of fits, I guess? Meh. Economics seems as good as any, given the focus of the conversation that spawned this thread, and the drift so far. I'm cool with running with that, in any case.

Copper Bezel wrote:Yeah, I mean, it's not a movement. At all. It's a category. It's not a very useful category, but that's not on the activists somehow. It doesn't mean that they are individually conflicted or without direction or something. If you want to posit a movement of people named Susan and then discover that there's nothing that all of the people named Susan agree on ... good job?


Well, the term 'social justice' is often used by those who promote this thing or that as falling under that umbrella. It seems fair to blame folks for sending an unclear message. Yeah, they almost certainly know what THEY want, but if they're communicating that using extremely vague terms, that's on them.

I do agree that a conflicted message isn't at all the same as hypocritical individuals or the like, though. It does bug me when folks conflate those.

So, anyway, I need a point here...economic equality. First off, one things that irks me about this is that proponents of it tend to lack a clear goal. How much equality do you want, and why? A particular GINI index? I mean, if you nail down specifics, we can test that and stuff, but when you're as vague as "more" or "less" equality, it's harder to make that useful. And it seems most pro-economic equality sorts will, when pressed, admit they don't want complete equality in wealth OR income, but they want things to be more equal in both of those. I've yet to get an explanation of how much is enough, and why.

This makes me *very* skeptical. It's not unlike people saying they want a diet that's "more natural". Natural stuff ain't necessarily bad, but are we talking about hating on GMOs, or silly "caveman diet"s or what not? If you literally cannot nail down specifics for your goal, I have severe doubts about everything that stems from it.

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Re: Social Justice: Income And Eduction

Postby morriswalters » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

Spin the wheel and pick something, I offer a suggestion in the thread title.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby elasto » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:52 am UTC

Short men
Tall women
Being the youngest in the school year
Being male and having red hair
Not being attractive
Not being funny

and whilst several of these have defined economic consequences (and far more definitively proven ones than the normal focus), the social consequences of them are enormous. However there are no social justice movements to address any of these.

In what sense are there 'no social justice movements to address any of these'? Are you expecting some formal body with paid membership fees? Sure, the fight against racism, sexism and the like makes the headlines, but I have absolutely heard of people complaining about being the butt of red hair prejudice and the like.

And I've definitely heard of people making suggestions to deal with the issue of the youngest in the school year being disadvantaged compared to the oldest. Have these suggestions come to anything? Nope. Give me a call when politicians actually care about evidence-based policy making and those of us who care about such things can get on their case.

I suspect because trying to address them rapidly leads to ugly or ludicrous conclusions (how exactly do you get ugly people an average partner)
Huh? It's not that hard for an ugly person to get an average partner - the whole 'pick-up movement' proves that. Sure, there's a whole lot of immoral bullsh*t along with it, but at its core it's sound and non-exploitative: It's about self-confidence, brushing off rejection, and realising that the other sex is just as needy, lonely and messed up as yours.

Almost everything in your list - and the stuff that's not - has the same solution at its core: Being taught from a young age to treat people as individuals - that the differences within a group vastly swamp the differences between groups.

and most critically, because social justice is at least as much about virtue signalling as addressing injustice.
Sure, pure self-sacrificing altruism is rare in any field. You think brain surgeons don't have a little ego? That doesn't invalidate the cause of social justice (which I define as equality of opportunity) any more than it invalidates the cause of surgery.
Last edited by elasto on Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:27 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:46 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Short men
Tall women
Being the youngest in the school year
Being male and having red hair
Not being attractive
Not being funny

and whilst several of these have defined economic consequences (and far more definitively proven ones than the normal focus), the social consequences of them are enormous. However there are no social justice movements to address any of these.

In what sense are there 'no social justice movements to address any of these'? Are you expecting some formal body with paid membership fees? Sure, the fight against racism, sexism and the like make the headlines, but I have absolutely heard of people complaining about being the butt of red hair prejudice and the like.

And I've definitely heard of people making suggestions to deal with the issue of the youngest in the school year being disadvantaged compared to the oldest. Have these suggestions come to anything? Nope. Give me a call when politicians actually care about evidenced-based policy making and those of us who care about such things can get on their case.

Plus, it's like, the implication is always that this argument somehow invalidates the people doing activism for these other causes, which just ... does not compute. Some things are more popular than other things, thus, despair!
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby leady » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:44 am UTC

In what sense are there 'no social justice movements to address any of these'? Are you expecting some formal body with paid membership fees? Sure, the fight against racism, sexism and the like makes the headlines, but I have absolutely heard of people complaining about being the butt of red hair prejudice and the like.

And I've definitely heard of people making suggestions to deal with the issue of the youngest in the school year being disadvantaged compared to the oldest. Have these suggestions come to anything? Nope. Give me a call when politicians actually care about evidence-based policy making and those of us who care about such things can get on their case.


I'm pretty sure you know that's a semantic argument and you understand that there is zero real push for any of them - no 4 stories a day in the guardian etc. Obviously many people are aware they are real things, just like being bald, having narrow eyes etc etc. The school year thing alone is a life changing travesty for millions of children (I personally like the fact that every professional sportsman in the UK is a September or October child, and in the US all baseball players are February children ). An overtly real human system that actively disadvantages people both in personality and academic development for life and its just accepted. Its not the politicians that don't care, its the advocates in the public.

Huh? It's not that hard for an ugly person to get an average partner - the whole 'pick-up movement' proves that. Sure, there's a whole lot of immoral bullsh*t along with it, but at its core it's sound and non-exploitative: It's about self-confidence, brushing off rejection, and realising that the other sex is just as needy, lonely and messed up as yours.


Again I think you understand that that point is irrelevant and social justice advocates would never accept it for any of the fashionable causes. Don't get me wrong, I am a 90% suck it up buttercup person - life is not fair and can't be made so. People who generally advocate for social justice are 90% the other way.

Almost everything in your list - and the stuff that's not - has the same solution at its core: Being taught from a young age to treat people as individuals - that the differences within a group vastly swamp the differences between groups.


You'll have to run that logic by me again, how exactly does teaching kids that solve any of my suggestions with the possible mild impact on red head one?

Sure, pure self-sacrificing altruism is rare in any field. You think brain surgeons don't have a little ego? That doesn't invalidate the cause of social justice (which I define as equality of opportunity) any more than it invalidates the cause of surgery.


It doesn't invalidate the ill-defined concept, but it does speak volumes as to the motivations of the advocate i.e. that they are far less interested in actual objective application of justice and far more interested in getting membership of their own in-group. Given that this in-group is based on a sense of moral superiority, good luck on getting one to admit that its all primarily self interest :) - which in a vaguely ironic turn actually gets back to the topic title!

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Chen » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:48 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And I've definitely heard of people making suggestions to deal with the issue of the youngest in the school year being disadvantaged compared to the oldest.


Is this actually a thing? A cursory google search does find a number of articles showing data on it, but then a few others showing data which end up espousing the opposite view. Is it mainly a sports thing perhaps? I can see that where size/age would make a more significant difference, compared to overall academic performance.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby leady » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:23 pm UTC

Its a massive sports thing (insanely so from a cursory check of professional sport stars birthdays), even in those that are less contact based like proper football. In sports like Rugby its such a known bias that most clubs are trying to come up with ways to address it. Personally I think they are onto a loser, because most systems operate on feedback, i.e. the older bigger boys enjoy the game because they are big and therefore play more and therefore become better - regress to infinity

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:38 pm UTC

The term 'meaniehead' used as a pejorative is typically thrown around in an effort to undermine an efforts fight. People call the BLM protestors meanieheads, because obviously black people fighting for equality is a bad thing. People call feminists meanieheads because obviously women aren't equal to men. People call people campaigning for gun control meanieheads because ain't nobody coming for my guns.

It's being equated to 'hysterical' or 'whiny' or 'too easily offended'. And it's pretty moronic, if you take half a second to look at who is typically using it as an insult. So, sure, you dislike the term 'social justice' because it's too broad - if you want to take a semantic position here, fine.
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Zamfir » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:20 pm UTC

Personally I think they are onto a loser, because most systems operate on feedback, i.e. the older bigger boys enjoy the game because they are big and therefore play more and therefore become better - regress to infinity

In footbal, there is an even more direct feedback loop - professional clubs (in the Netherlands at least) start scouting at around age 7 to 8. And they scout mostly at the better amateur teams, which have some selection of their own. So 'promise' at age 6 can translate to a lot more (and more serious) training.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby leady » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:37 pm UTC

Aye that's the problem professional teams try to address. I think secretly they just want to find a hidden Messi (June)

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:03 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The term 'meaniehead' used as a pejorative is typically thrown around in an effort to undermine an efforts fight. People call the BLM protestors meanieheads, because obviously black people fighting for equality is a bad thing. People call feminists meanieheads because obviously women aren't equal to men. People call people campaigning for gun control meanieheads because ain't nobody coming for my guns.

It's being equated to 'hysterical' or 'whiny' or 'too easily offended'. And it's pretty moronic, if you take half a second to look at who is typically using it as an insult. So, sure, you dislike the term 'social justice' because it's too broad - if you want to take a semantic position here, fine.


Except the BLM is full of self centered twats that interrupt Bernie Fucking Sanders, the one senator that walked with MLK and probably the only candidate that actually cares about black lives beyond being able to vote. It's sad because it really is a big issue that the police have mostly ignored since, hey, poor black people don't pay for new police cruisers. And really, why the fuck do we have private prisons and 3 strikes laws?

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:29 pm UTC

CU, your desire to lump the entire BLM movement under the umbrella of those obnoxious and misguided few is a pretty good corroboration for my point that lumping all people advocating for equality/justice are 'meanieheads'.
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby leady » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:50 pm UTC

BLM would get more support if it stopped using violent criminals as their poster children and its this sort of aspect that lumps it into the meaniehead grouping.

BLM is really BCLMBOIFKBWC

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:00 pm UTC

Umm, what is that acronym?

And Izzy, a group's image is based on what's seen. And what's seen of the BLM, right or wrongly, isn't all that pretty.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:07 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
elasto wrote:And I've definitely heard of people making suggestions to deal with the issue of the youngest in the school year being disadvantaged compared to the oldest.


Is this actually a thing? A cursory google search does find a number of articles showing data on it, but then a few others showing data which end up espousing the opposite view. Is it mainly a sports thing perhaps? I can see that where size/age would make a more significant difference, compared to overall academic performance.


It is a massive sports thing, and it also affects performance in other areas, though exact degree differs. All else being equal, the older child usually has a developmental advantage.

This gets back into why equality is good...and if you're looking on things from a competitive viewpoint, where you want the best folks selected for the job or whatever, it makes sense to have everyone starting off on an equalish footing.

Because otherwise, your competitive process has a big bias in it, and may not be selecting effectively, so you're missing out on a lot of potential talent.

Izawwlgood wrote:People call people campaigning for gun control meanieheads because ain't nobody coming for my guns.


This usage isn't at all typical. It pops up in other contexts a lot, but other insults and perjoratives are normal in the gun debate. Calling them "gun banners" or "gun grabbers", or rolling through a list of liberal epithets(if you're in a particularly uncivil/right wing venue) is normal, but meaniehead would be an odd choice.

Izawwlgood wrote:CU, your desire to lump the entire BLM movement under the umbrella of those obnoxious and misguided few is a pretty good corroboration for my point that lumping all people advocating for equality/justice are 'meanieheads'.


There is a very real police problem, and yeah, it's widely recognized, but the loudest and most reported on people/incidents tend to be highly biased toward those who happen to fit the obnoxious label.

Those sorts of people glom onto protests. There are folks you'll see protesting constantly in DC. The banner changes, the people don't.

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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:43 pm UTC

leady wrote:Again I think you understand that that point is irrelevant and social justice advocates would never accept it for any of the fashionable causes. Don't get me wrong, I am a 90% suck it up buttercup person - life is not fair and can't be made so. People who generally advocate for social justice are 90% the other way.

Then Christ, argue for that, instead of trying to claim that the people who disagree with you are hypocrites because they don't ... disagree with you enough?
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Re: Social Justice: Noble goal?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:00 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
leady wrote:Again I think you understand that that point is irrelevant and social justice advocates would never accept it for any of the fashionable causes. Don't get me wrong, I am a 90% suck it up buttercup person - life is not fair and can't be made so. People who generally advocate for social justice are 90% the other way.

Then Christ, argue for that, instead of trying to claim that the people who disagree with you are hypocrites because they don't ... disagree with you enough?
No - that's a pretty terrible view to hold. Ha ha, suck it up black people, you've got separate water fountains how bad could it be?

Tyndmyr wrote:This usage isn't at all typical. It pops up in other contexts a lot, but other insults and perjoratives are normal in the gun debate. Calling them "gun banners" or "gun grabbers", or rolling through a list of liberal epithets(if you're in a particularly uncivil/right wing venue) is normal, but meaniehead would be an odd choice.
Guess we've had different experiences. I'm from Chicago - every time I've suggested any measure of gun control to my relatives talking about how horrible the gun violence is they call me an meaniehead.

leady wrote:BLM would get more support if it stopped using violent criminals as their poster children and its this sort of aspect that lumps it into the meaniehead grouping.
FFS

CorruptUser wrote:And Izzy, a group's image is based on what's seen. And what's seen of the BLM, right or wrongly, isn't all that pretty.
The efforts to discredit a movement because you don't like how some of it's members are protesting is old hat. Do better, seriously. Yes, there is >0 childish BLM protesters. There were >0 childish Occupy protesters. It's a very weak point to make to argue the movements validity.
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