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'Social Justice' Is About Anything but Justice
by David Solway
Most people are blissfully unaware of the havoc wrought by our misnamed “Social Justice” and “Human Rights” ideology until they are themselves hit by a summons, a legal suit or a ruling in law that deprives them of their peace of mind, robs them of productive time and leaves them substantially out of pocket. It is like being struck by a bolt of lightning while believing oneself to enjoy adequate shelter. My wife and I have been struck by such unexpected intrusions into our lives on three separate occasions over the last few years.
Indeed, the first strike was like a political klaxon alerting us to the perils of telling the truth in a climate of moral evasion and widespread hypocrisy. We received a notice of defamation from a large Muslim organization in response to a candid article my wife had written when she was editor of Freedom Press Canada, an online journal run by my publisher at the time. This was our first experience of lawfare in action. Apprized by legal council that a court case could set us back two or three years and up to a quarter of a million dollars with little to no prospect of winning, we had no choice but to settle. Since we live in a country in which Muslims are regarded as innocent victims of bigotry and anti-Islamophobia legislation is pending, the alternative would have been bankruptcy.
A short while later, my wife found herself once again under siege as the result of a complaint of discrimination brought by a disgruntled student before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The charges were baseless and plainly refutable by email records and other evidence. The fact that there was “nothing there,” as our lawyer commented, did not deter the HRT from pursuing a hearing. After two years of our living under a cloud of anxiety, the case went to mediation and the charges against Janice were “disappeared.” (The proceedings are described in her recently posted Fiamengo File series.) But the legal fees were astronomical and, since we were not engaged in a Civil Court trial but an HRT tribunal operating according to its own arbitrary laws, the costs were not reclaimable. We asked our lawyer whether we could counter-sue the student for defamation and related damages, but it turns out that, unlike the process in Civil Court, HRT complainants are protected from “reprisal.” “My experience was just a little glimpse,” Janice wrote in an introductory comment to the video, “into how a society becomes totalitarian when it decides to work outside the law (or too often, now, even within the law) to create ‘justice for the weak’ rather than justice for all.”
More recently, we found ourselves once again victimized by the Social Justice cult in the form of its residential tenancy boards. We used to rent out a small apartment whose monthly yield was in effect transferred to our mortgage -- until the tenant decided to stop paying his rent. Generally speaking, the tenancy boards are set up to protect tenants, who are regarded as society’s casualties, members of an oppressed class or prey of a pitiless economic system dominated by businessmen and landlords. After five months of non-payment of rent, several checks bouncing like basketballs, innumerable broken promises, and no indication of anything ever changing, we were forced to hire an eviction agency, supply a ten-day notice, pay for a Writ from the Supreme Court, and finally retain the services of a bailiff.
As if this were not enough, we were shocked to learn that the tenancy laws required us to assume the costs of removing and storing the defaulter’s furniture, which amounted to several thousand dollars more. In the sequel, lost revenue and ancillary expenses, including repairs to the damage caused by the tenant, cratered our resources. If we did not have a credit line that allowed us to meet our mortgage costs, our house would have been repossessed by the bank.
The financial tally of these three events, apart from the years of lost time and continual stress, amounted to a crippling sum we could ill afford. But since we are obviously bigots, racists, homophobes, transphobes, white supremacists, what have you -- readers know the drill -- and part of the one percent to boot, merciless capitalists and oppressors of the weak and helpless, exploiting Muslims, students and tenants with ruthless unconcern, the blow was surely well-deserved.
What we have experienced is merely one small example in a cascading avalanche. I know of seven couples who have endured similar or even more egregious ordeals at the hands of the Civil Courts and Social Justice Tribunals, in one appalling case absorbing a penalty of several hundred thousand dollars. Extensive research into the history of the Tribunals has confirmed the inequitable devastation these outfits wreak -- to take just one instance among a burgeoning number, a Nigerian Christian compelled to pay $12,000 in damages to a Muslim couple about to leave his rental unit. His transgression? Failing to remove his shoes when showing the apartment to a prospective occupant, a violation of Islamic ritual. “We don't have a justice system,” comments one viewer of Janice’s video. “Instead we have a system of laws.” The difference between the two has become increasingly undeniable.
It obviously isn’t possible to calculate the ratio of genuine victims to freeloaders and con men, but in almost every case that I am familiar with, the parasites are in ascendancy. Although there are legitimate claimants to compassion, many of the “disadvantaged” I have met or know of -- thank God not all -- have turned out to be lazy and conscienceless, addicts, swindlers, idlers and leeches, non-contributors to the health and prosperity of the country, most animated by a sense of grievance. It is always society’s fault, never theirs. Responsibility and personal agency are not part of their psychological make-up.
I refer to renters who don’t pay what they owe, students who don’t concentrate on their studies but have plenty of time to pursue groundless suits against their teachers, professional litigants who gain their living from the courts and Tribunals, lawyers and adjudicators profiting off the public dime, welfare recipients who wouldn’t think of applying for a job, people who fake injuries so as to continue living on the public dole, people who take refuge in narcotics rather than struggle to right themselves, members of groups with protected status who drain the public purse, lawfare specialists, women who advance their own agendas against men, often with permanent, life-altering consequences for their targets -- in short, barnacles on the ship of state, wards of the Social Justice mentality.
Though former Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismantled the more abominable measures of the Federal Social Justice Commission, he ruefully admitted to me in a conversation some years ago that he had no jurisdiction over the provincial bodies. Thus our Human Rights Tribunals staffed by Social Justice Warriors are free to continue their depredations against hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying and fundamentally decent citizens, at the price of civic degradation and social decline.
What we are witnessing is a subtle national policy of wealth redistribution under the rubric of Social Justice, a project in which society’s “losers,” the “marginalized” and special interest groups become the fiscal beneficiaries of the entrepreneurial and dynamic classes conscripted to subsidize the tax-exempt non-earners. It is bad magic for the accomplished and the capable, leading, as I wrote in a previous article on the subject, to the empowerment of the lowest common denominator until the entire system, failing a decisive change of course, must inevitably go bust. In the ongoing debate about the relative claims of justice and mercy, mercy will often trump justice, as it occasionally should, but we should remember, too, that real justice can be a form of mercy.
For it is basically immoral to steal from the resourceful to profit those who deliberately live off the sacrifice of others. As philosopher Roger Scruton wrote in The Meaning of Conservatism, “The greatest threat to just dealings between people is the attempt to remake society from above, in conformity with a conception of ‘social justice’.” It is an ideology which leads, as Nietzsche said in Beyond Good and Evil, to a “communal feeling of power” promoted by “socialist dolts and flatheads” wishing to usher in social justice movements that militate against individual autonomy and personal distinction.
As well, we might add, that prevent toiling citizens, through supernumerary taxes and wealth redistribution, from disposing the major share of their income as they see fit.
Whereas Obama’s redistributive economics had America reeling for eight years, this tactic of subversion has been festering in Canada under many different administrations. Of course, runaway social programs have also been eating away at the economic soundness of both countries since the Elysian 1960s and even before. Wealth redistribution is a key element in bringing about an unsustainable social utopia predicated on the levelling of natural differences, aptitudes, motivations and virtues among individuals.
I suspect we will be denounced by liberals and leftists as heartless conservatives, but this is merely a canard. My wife, who for many years donated one fifth of her salary to charity, is anything but a heartless conservative, and I have gone out of my way to help people in distress. We do not reject the social safety net intended to assist the unfortunate who have, as they say, “fallen through the cracks.” But helping measures must be closely and fairly monitored so that the indolent and inept do not gradually displace or usurp the productive and the competent, to everyone’s ultimate disadvantage. A difficult task, to be sure, but worth undertaking. “Social Justice” makes no attempt to distinguish the one from the other.
Unemployment Insurance (now rebranded here as EI, Employment Insurance) is a needed compensatory fallback in a market economy. A limited number of public assistance programs, scrupulously chosen and controlled, are certainly acceptable. However, indiscriminate or gratuitous re-allocation of a substantial part of licit personal revenue by a governing authority on behalf of a perennially dependent socio-economic and cultural stratum is nothing less than a socialist breach of property rights and a statist infringement of democratic principles. It is also economically calamitous. The old saw that development grinds to a halt when there are as many or more people riding in the wagon as pulling it applies with a vengeance.
As Maggie Thatcher brilliantly put it, socialism will fail as soon as it runs out of other people’s money. The egalitarian prepossession, rooted in untenable theory and programmatic envy, blights whatever it touches. And with it goes both the moral and pragmatic foundation on which the lawful well-being of a viable society relies.