Monday, March 28, 2016

Hayek on the Concept of Social Justice


There I go, reading F.A. Hayek again. He's that subversive white, male, heterosexual, conservative, bigot who is best known for his work debunking Keynesian Economics. Keynes' ideas form part of the foundation of modern "soft" or "democratic" socialism. John Maynard Keynes was a mathematician, turned economist who founded the theory of government tax and spend economics in order to even out the economic highs and lows.

For example, it was a Keynesian idea, back at the beginning of the Obama administration, to try to spend our way out of the recession. The result, of course, is a 19.2 trillion dollar debt, a continuing stagnant economy, and layers upon layers of spending that far outstretches the government's tax revenues.

One of the damaging ideals of this type of spending is the underlying concept that government can somehow create "social justice" for all Americans.

Such a concept of social justice far extends beyond mere equality under the law, it demands that the scales of justice be tipped in favor of those who are less fortunate.

The problem with social justice dogma stems from the basic problems of government interference in human affairs. The bureaucracy of government simply cannot respond fairly to all people. In order for social justice ideology to function, it must always view humans in terms of oppressors and oppressed. The problem, of course, is defining which is which, then defining how to "equalize" the injustice.

This is the sort of thing for which a government bureaucracy is particularly inept at accomplishing.

Back to Hayek, who had a few things to say about the dangers of basing government ideology on the concept of social justice.

According to Hayek, "the phrase 'social justice' is not, as most people probably feel, an innocent expression of good will towards the less fortunate," but has become "a dishonest insinuation that one ought to agree to a demand of some special interest which can give no real reason for it." This is dangerous in Hayek’s view, because "the concept of 'social justice'... has been the Trojan Horse through which totalitarianism has entered."

In the US, I think, we don't worry enough about the possibilities that our government could easily, and in a very short time, become a totalitarian state.

This is a real problem because, as Hayek pointed out, the ideology of social justice undermines the concept of the rule of law. When government power expands to demand social justice, it redistributes wealth, power, and justice in an arbitrary way. It alone determines who is just and who is unjust. In doing so, these arbitrary judgments become "irreconcilable with the rule of law."

The ideal of of a government of laws and not of men is all that stands between a free society and totalitarianism. Our current government, with the ideology of social justice, undermines the rule of law and threatens our free society.