Thinking Critically About Social Justice

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Here’s the money quote:

“Marx proposed that a society’s morality serves the interests of its ruling class, while purporting to be universal. Capitalist societies, he argued, have a morality centred around classical liberal principles such as the sanctity of private property and the freedom from government intervention, combined with religious virtues such as the Protestant work ethic, self-reliance, accepting one’s lot, and expecting to be rewarded in the afterlife. Workers internalise these values as their morality, thus preventing them from questioning the status quo and improving their situation. Instead, they dutifully work hard without complaining, while considering attempts to change the system immoral. Morality is a tool the bourgeoisie uses to ensure that workers act in its interests, rather than in their own.

An analogous claim can be made of a social justice society, it seems to me. This is most obvious in parts of society where social justice ideology is strongest. In those parts of society, values like equality, liberation, and cosmopolitanism aren’t just treated as values—organisations of society that different people prefer to different degrees—they’re considered moral. Consequently, conflicting values are considered immoral: people who value a more competitive society, or a smaller government, or a stronger national identity, or a tougher culture, or more traditional family structures, or less immigration aren’t just regarded as having different values; they’re regarded as bad people.”

By Uri Harris


Yesterday, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a memo written by an attorney, Jayme Sophir, which determined that Google did not violate United States federal law when it fired James Damore. Sophir reasoned that references to psychometric literature on sex differences in personality were “discriminatory and constitute sexual harassment,” and on these grounds, Damore’s firing was justified. Following the release of the NLRB memo, a number of scientists on Twitter expressed alarm at the justifications provided within the memo, which appeared to relegate the discussion of sex differences outside the realm of constitutionally protected speech.



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2 replies »

  1. Uri, and Quill contributors in general, appears to walk down a well worn path of narratives. What is missing; however, is what made critical theory powerful and that is its institutional support and the extent to which it dovetailed with diaspora ascendency in the latter half of the 20th century. Not only are most critical theorists aware of the contradiction between their critical analysis and their beliefs in social justice, they are structurally aware of their position vis a vi political power and will not be cowed into losing it. The weakness of the cold-foot liberals (those who are more classic liberals and libertarian by nature) is their misunderstanding of most human groups. They firmly believe a diffirence of ideas is just that. In practice, most of the social justice conundrum simply boils down to groups with no sense of individual or universal wellbeing attacking their competition cynically and without any remorse.

  2. It’s the bullshit and hypocrisy of it that annoys me, really. The whole (perhaps inevitable) religious ting to it. I have no particular problem with someone saying, “this is how I like it, and I’m willing to shoot everyone who tries to stop me!” but the pseudo-science and lecturing makes me want to punch them in the face.

    I wish people could just admit that value conflicts exist because societies and people are different, instead of turning everything into a fucking cult.

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