The Limits of Liberty, the Non-Aggression Principle, and Draconian Lawsuits – The Line Between Social Justice and Tyranny
The Constitution protects our Liberty, but the law has placed limits on this. Those limits are sometimes enforced with large legal fees. To what effect this promotes social justice, and to what effect this harms social justice by creating opposition is debated.
What do I mean by this? I mean, when you tell a person they have to bake a cake, or have to cater a wedding, or have to use certain pro-nouns when addressing a person, you both protect the victim of the discrimination and limit the rights of the aggressor. In some settings, specifically formal positions, it only makes sense to limit speech (essentially enforcing a simple non-aggression principle with law). The limitation of inalienable human rights is within the realm of reason, as everyone from Locke, to Jefferson, to Mill, to Rand agree that even “the state of nature” itself includes basic limitations when it comes to aggression.
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Two Philosophers Compared. Not everyone sees things the same way, but post-1776 America we have some general consensus. This video will help you understand where core liber-(fill in the blank) principles come from.
The question is, “when do we turn the other cheek, when do we enforce an eye for an eye, and when do we get lawsuit happy and cross the line?” It is the extent of limitations and the mechanics of their enforcement, and not the concept of limitations, which is being debated.
Limits on liberty may be justifiable on their own, but when the rules are enforced with a fee that far exceeds the mean after-tax income of the average American (such is it seems is common today), it becomes a power so strong that the average citizen is forced into submission by fear of monetary penalty rather than consent. This essentially makes dissent, be it in good taste or not, financially impossible for the average citizen.
This “backing of a wounded animal into a corner” has a corrosive effect on democracy and pulls the less empathic citizens toward societal extremes (often the far-right, and often by the far-right waiting in the wings with hateful messages thinly veiled under the guise of classic liberalism / libertarianism). (Ex. the worst of America’s south in Lincoln’s time were states-rights liberals, they wanted “the liberty” to own slaves).
This is to say, when lawyers descend upon those espousing bigotry, even in the name of justice, and the damages sought exceed the realm of what an average person would find reasonable, it creates an angry faction who feels their rights are being infringed. Not only does it create this faction, but it creates an opposing faction who struggles to justify the actions taken against them, thus jeopardizing the image of the very group that is supposed to be being protected.
Go far enough and we have the famed “Politically correct as a form of tyranny“, the South Park season comes to life, and those on a centered constitutional left-wing are left scratching their heads and wondering where they fit in. Some social liberals, not fully understanding what the modern American libertarian party (who’s base largely has a right-wing ideology) means when they say “states rights”, think, “hey, maybe I’m a libertarian” (if there was a social libertarian party in the U.S. I would be making a clearer distinction).
The Philosophy of South Park – Wisecrack Edition
Social justice is not a simple issue, upholding a Hamiltonian limited constitution, and even a more socially liberal but still Laissez Faire Jeffersonian style, has long been replaced by FDR, Keynes, Clinton and social liberalism. This is generally praised for feats like 64’s Civil Rights, but when it goes too far and becomes “tyranny with a smiley face”, it threatens not only our democracy, but the good names of social liberalism and social justice themselves.
If the issues is Civil Rights V. States Rights, when the issue is basic human rights, I will stand with LBJ and MLK every time. If this is about an un-winnable legal battle to the tune of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, often to the expense of the tax payer, against lawyers and legislation arising from the federal level, I have to stand back and think. States and extremists may push the hand of legislators and courts who value social justice, but responding with too strong a hand threatens the higher ground on which the protectors of social justice stand.
There are no easy answers, and I’m not trying to give you one. Rather, this is just food for thought and debate.
Social justice — is it still relevant in the 21st century? | Charles L. Robbins | TEDxSBU
TIP: This might be hard to understand today, but classic liberalism, social liberalism, and modern libertarianism are all born from the same thing. That is John Locke’s brand of liberalism. Although we can trace the ideas back to the Greeks and beyond, a quick study of Locke shows where Jefferson got his ideas, where the non-aggression principle comes from, how humans lived in a state of nature, and why we have the consent to be governed, and generally help us understand why we are all butting heads over the balance between liberty and government. We can look to Locke, we can look to Mill, but not even the most fervent “social warrior” should be forgetting their roots.
POLITICAL THEORY – John Locke
FACT: A search for “social justice” on YouTube turns up almost strictly right leaning libertarian-minded videos (they are the one’s who coined the term “social justice warriors”). This is to say, my theory that pressing these issues too hard is strengthening a political faction of those who feel threatened seems to be backed up by the internet. When the very same people who fought for social justice threaten it with overreach, we find ourselves on a painfully ironic slippery slope. Critical thinking is needed, discussion is welcome below.