Imagine for a second that someone stabbed you. Would justice call for you to stab someone else who had nothing to do with the crime perpatrated against you? Most reasoned people would suggest not. Yet it seems that these days, the term justice is thrown around to mean exactly that. Environmental justice, social justice, racial justice, and even economic justice speaks to a system that takes from some in society, regardless of their guilt in whatever actual or perceived crime, and gives to others regardless of their injury. When I was growing up, the term justice referred to what happened when a criminal committed a crime, was captured and subsequently punished by society. Back then (not ancient history by any means), aside from the most radical, most black people didn't at least publicly agree with the concept of reparations. While they might have still been angry about slavery, racism and segregation (and rightfully so), and demanded equal rights, most agreed that reparations were a bridge too far.
So the radical fringe on the left, following the Alinsky playbook and in an effort to continue to move our equally free country in the direction of the equally miserable, disposed of the term reparations, along with it's negative connotations, in favor of a much more common and already accepted term, "justice." After all, while reparations sounds like something is broken that needs fixing, who can question a person's right to Justice? The so-called "Center for Economic and Social Justice" which goes to great pains to try and distinguish their definition of justice from charity, defines justice as "giving to each what he or she is due." Notice that there is no mention of who will be doing the giving.
But this isn't justice at all. The actual definition of the word has nothing about giving people their due. In fact as the opening theoretical suggests, the current politically correct redefinition of justice amounts to nonsensically punishing one group for the actions of another. And while those that committed the sin of slavery are long gone, and while the worst white-on-black discrimination is behind us for the most part (and the rest is already illegal), proponents of such justice suggest that all, guilty or not, pay for these sins.
This author isn't suggesting that racism doesn't still exist in some quarters, or that there shouldn't be protections against discrimination. In fact, just the opposite. Those who pose such "justice" as a modern day solution to ills of the past, or some form of compensation for the prior bad actions of this country, are no better than the slave owners, slave traders and other bigoted racists throughout history. After all, reparations, race-based "justice", affirmative action and quotas are a continuation of racism and discrimination, systemically carried out against people as innocent as those on whom it was first practiced.
President Obama's much touted Supreme Court nominee, Justice Sotomayor, was celebrated for her supposed empathy and adherance to the law. Yet one of the contentious cases (barely) discussed by the media in the run-up to her confirmation was the so-called Ricci case. Here was a situation where nineteen firefighters, eighteen of them white, one hispanic, were denied promotions because the state found that not enough minorities had passed the same exam. After being escalated from court to court and finally landing on her desk, Sotomayor, along with two other judges on a panel, claimed to feel sympathy for Ricci, but felt that the state was attempting to adhere to the Civil Rights act and thus there was nothing that could be done to resolve the case in favor of the wronged firefighters. Seems to me, granting the promotions to these firefighters who passed the states own test seemed like a more than adequet solution, but I don't claim to be nearly as smart the enlightened left. Putting aside the fact that merit should trump the color of ones skin in either direction, where exactly was her empathy? Better yet, where was the justice for firefighter Ricci? Doesn't Sotomayor's continuation of a system that discriminated against whites make her as guilty of racism and discrimination as any fat, southern white guy circa 1950, even if indirectly via affirmation of the prior court rule? Of course it does.
Not only racist but faulty, such "justice" platforms hurt race relations and diversity. How many have referred to Obama as the "affirmative action president?" Perhaps that's a crude commentary without any basis in fact (though Obama could release his transcripts!), but it speaks to the fact that plenty of hard working minorities who have acheived something with their lives are lumped in with others who might not have deserved the station they got in life. With such programs trying to artificially level the playing field, who is to say which minorities deserve what they've worked for and got there because of their merits, or merely because of political correctness? And on the flipside, those that get passed over for the sin of being born in the majority harbor the same anger as any who are discriminated against, keeping the cycle of hatred going generation after generation. And while there might have been cause for some enforced diversity years ago, the fact is that after almost 50 years of such platforms, there are still no shortage of ghettos dominated by minorities, often African American. The proof is in the pudding and the pudding proves this stuff doesn't work.
It's amazing to me how so few in the activist community have thought through the implications of practicing such reverse racism and discrimination. Or perhaps they have thought it through and just don't care. As the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right. Yet the entire "justice" platform of the modern day left intends to do just that. Where are the left's principles? Or do those principles only apply sometimes, when it is politically correct and serves their adgenda? I think we know the answer to that one. Real principles apply always, regardless of the color of the subject's skin, or what horrors his ancestry may have endured. You can't pick and choose when to be righteous. You can't arbitrarily be just for some and not all. And justice for some shouldn't mean an infringement of rights of others. That's not what America is about.
America has had a history with racism and slavery that is a massive stain on the moral fiber on our history. S ince Americans first started debating the wording that ended up with "all men are created equal," many rightly questioned the righteousness of slavery. We've come a long way since then and for the first time have a leader who a mere 200 years ago might have likely been on the other end of a whip. That accomplishment, if not the candidate himself, should be celebrated. But Americans who propose revenge on other Americans for the sins of countrymen past are merely repeating those sins and using politically correct terminology to do it.