Social Justice and Scripture: Untie the Knot Pt.17

The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity. -Psalm 99:4a

Alexander cuts the gordian knot

Americans place a high value on equality, and rightly so. But what is equality? Is it the same as egalitarianism? Social justice? As we see in Psalm 99:4, a righteous judge favors neither the poor nor the rich, but deals equitably with all. People have the right to equal treatment under the law, not equal lifestyle. That is what the concept “equity” means: impartiality.

Some suppose that “fairness” involves taking from the rich and giving to the poor. With this as a supposition, it is understandable that they would misconstrue Scripture through a socialist lens. But Scripture speaks of equity.

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. -Isaiah 11:4

The judge’s role is not to be a benefactor to the poor. It is to save them from robbery.

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. -Ezekiel 22:29

Judgment and justice require us to remove violence and spoil, not to take exactions from the people (Ezekiel 45:9).

When Jesus was asked to side with a man against his brother to divide an inheritance, he said, “Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?” (Luke 12:14). He cautioned the man against covetousness and rejected the role of the equalizer, the interferer, or the redistributor.

But that is what the advocates of “social justice” seek. Though they will not name it clearly, what they want is redistribution of wealth.

What is “social justice”?

Via Facebook, Voddie Baucham explained that social justice is “a cultural marxist concept gaining traction in Christian circles.”

He wrote,

Seeking justice and seeking ‘social justice’ are two very different things. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know that. Thus, you have strategic marxists using terminology to advance their worldview using words that sound appealing to Christians who unwittingly jump on their bandwagon and advance their cause.”

Social justice is the view represented by John Rawls in his influential book, A Theory of Justice (1971). It is the view that there is a “social contract” between all people in a given society, and that each person owes every other a share of the “collective” production. Rawls believed the government should control institutions to create (or approximate) conditions of actual equality.

The government should control education, health care, social security, labor rights, and public services. It should heavily regulate the market, impose a progressive tax system, and impose an equality of outcome, not of legal rights.

Rawls did not seek to make men equal under the law (equity).

He sought to make them unequal under the law in order to make them equal in material possessions. By definition, the more productive would be fleeced to provide for the less productive.

Rawls’ view was considered an innovation from plain communism because he gave a modified principle of redistribution: the government should allow productive people to keep only enough of their wealth so that they continue to have incentive to produce. But the rich should be taxed as highly as possible up to this point. Their production should be redistributed as much as possible, until the point at which it would so damage the economy as to actually reduce the appropriations available for the poorest people.

Rawls view is a pragmatic adaptation of egalitarianism. Whereas egalitarianism says no one should be allowed to rise, Rawls says people should only be allowed to rise if they can be forced to bring others up with them. This view is dominant in the universities and liberal politics. It is Marxism, and it has nothing to do with Christianity.

The following articles do much to reveal the fallacies of social justice:

The “Social Justice” Fallacy? Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
by Mark Hendrickson
http://www.visionandvalues.org/2010/04/the-social-justice-fallacy-wolves-in-sheep-s-clothing/

Social Justice and Its Critics
by Matt Zwolinski
http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/social-justice-and-its-critics/

The Fallacy of Social Justice
by Carl Teichrib
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/010/10-social-justice.htm

The Human Right that Doesn’t Exist
by Sean Edwards
http://www.seanedwards.com/the-human-right-that-doesnt-exist/


 

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Appendix