By Maria Buenano
Works by well-known socialist, Karl Marx are consistently twisted to fit the molds of radical social justice reform. Ideals pertaining to justice, inequality, and humanity are manipulated to advocate for agendas presented as moral and just, despite having little basis in morality or justice. Those opposing these radical social agendas are reported as oppressive, disingenuous, and void of compassion. The idea that to be morally and objectively good, an individual must be an advocate for socialism, is one that has infiltrated academia on nearly every level. Today, children are educated that the only way to achieve justice is through the full implementation of Marxism to control not only the way such “justice” is carried out but also the way it is interpreted by society.
Justice is not a blanket term that can be applied to any form of fixation, although it is commonly used as one in political and academic circles. Marxism rests on the working class; therefore, its ideologies must be promoted through the lens of systematic oppression to incite the sort of uprising required to implement socialism to its fullest extent. A crucial part of this implementation relies on using the word “justice” as a blanket term, which would ideally be used so flippantly that the value of true justice diminishes until the only form of justice that remains is a figurative sense of social reform. “Social justice is the notion that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social opportunities irrespective of race, gender, or religion. Distributive justice refers to the equitable allocation of assets in society. Environmental justice is the fair treatment of all people concerning environmental burdens and benefits. Restorative or corrective justice seeks to make whole those who have suffered unfairly. Retributive justice seeks to punish wrongdoers objectively and proportionately. And procedural justice refers to implementing legal decisions in accordance with fair and unbiased processes.” 1
The idea that justice is not exclusive to any selective moral judgment, or better yet, can be chopped up and divided into interpretations, promotes a stigma of nihilism. Justice is not social, economic, political, restorative, nor retributive. Today, true justice remains a moral antiquation, one of degradation and reparation, instead of a virtue that ought to be marveled. “Social justice warriors” scream for justice without considering the true and proper use of the word. Social justice is not impartial, nor is it morally sound. To put any word in front of “justice” negates the meaning of the word in its entirety. To be utterly fair or just in every regard is to be inhuman, and striving for such a feat by no means equates social justice nor elevates socialism. To blanket a term such as justice relies on the inability of human error. It allows for the watering down of the true meaning of fairness and its inherent consequences, none of which facilitate equity of outcomes.
Marx pushed the idea that poverty and inequality, among other forms of monumental “injustice,” are a byproduct and inherent principle of a functioning capitalist society. In a sense, he was right. Because the ideals which perpetuate any free-market system rest on the freedom and autonomy of individual risk management, poverty and inequality are produced yet not necessarily permanent if an individual sees its change to be appropriate. This is the factor that is overlooked in the quest for social justice—the idea that an individual may choose their inequality and bear its consequences willingly. The idea that an autonomous individual would choose to be oppressed if it served him is unheard of in this new age of raging social justice reform. Systematic oppression is so prominently promoted as a Marxist ideology that any person who opposes it is labeled an immoral capitalist. To break it down, some level of moral judgment must be exalted in the sense that human nature inevitably takes precedence over any social or economic system in place within a society. For example, if an autonomous individual is rewarded for being in poverty, he may choose to stay in poverty if it so benefits him. In other words, he may choose to stay “oppressed” for the sake of personal gain, whatever that may be. Ultimately, human beings are self-serving. Some individuals are content with living in poverty and with barely getting by, while others are not. In any free market system, this is not evidence of systematic inequality and oppression, but rather evidence that autonomous individuals rule their lives differently. Individuals have different values and different views of success. To force equality of outcome is to rob individuals of the freedom to choose their fate, even if that means choosing inequality.
Ultimately, inequality is not an inhumane projection, but rather one of justice. It accounts for the notion that each individual is unique and likewise holds unique values, ideas, and propositions. This is partly what it means to be human, and removing this sense of individuality cripples society and leaves it void of innovation and true progress in any social regard. The picture of a truly “human” world is commonly painted by Marx as one which is “beyond justice,” lacking any form of unjust capitalist structure whatsoever. 2 3 Marx believed that individuals could be humane without believing in morals or virtue, which is counterintuitive to the true value behind justice. He also formulated that social structures, including morality, stem from economics, which alludes to his lack of moral developmental theory. For Marx, social issues remain a consequence of the immediate economic community, meaning that justice should be carried out for the monetary betterment of society as a whole. This idea of social justice is portrayed as ethical, despite ignoring human nature and the premise of individuality, which uniquely fractures it. To be human is to live in a constant state of inequality, which is why having the freedom to rule one’s own life is valuable. Without this freedom, the incentive for individual success would dwindle, leaving the community worse off in the end. Consequently, Marx gravely miscalculated the influence of human nature in his version of radical humanity. As a result, his “ethical” theories are void of significant substance in any realistic realm or societal structure. 4
To combat the way Marxist ideologies are bent to suit the political narratives prevalent in academia, understanding the meaning of words in their entirety is crucial. Justice requires neither a premise nor a condition. Inequality should not be taught as the antonym of justice because what is unequal is not always unfair. The infatuation with equity of outcome is derived from the same misleading ideologies that drive the social justice movement today. It is what ultimately diminishes individuality and the beauty in the uniqueness of each human being.
4. Peffer, R. (1990). Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice. PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY: Princeton University Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt7ztr74
Maria Buenano has many passions aside from being a testament to American liberty. She is an entrepreneur and student who is studying Business and Organizational Leadership at Valencia College.