By Dark Politricks
I have been running this site for just over a year and a half now and whilst I have received many comments both good and bad.
I have been labelled everything from a Tea Party Supporter to a Communist and have been attacked for being anti-semitic as well as appearing on numerous “I love Israel” Twitter follower lists.
In fact just like the little instructions that you get with any prescription medicine that warn against conflicting and diametrically apposed side effects such as “may cause constipation or diarrhea” it seems that it is impossible for someone to run an alternative news site without having every article being linked personally to you in some way.
As I explained in one of my earlier hit piece responses > “Just to set the record straight” my site is dedicated to free speech and alternative view points whatever their political angle. The stories I run may come from right or left wing sources but the one thing I hope they all have in common is that they are alternative in the sense that they are offering different view points on subjects the bought and paid for main stream media often ignore.
Unless my name is at the top of the article then it is illogical to link any political beliefs, judgement calls, or support of any organisation, political party, country or action by said groups to my own beliefs. I have tried to lay out my own beliefs in a number of articles including the helpfully titled “What I believe In”.
However one point that keeps getting raised time and again is the sentence I have in my sidebar that says “The site also promotes free speech, Internet freedom and Social justice“.
The term “Social justice” seems to raise the hackles of a number of commentators, mostly American, who believe that it means that I must be some kind of communist who wants to steal all the money from the well off to give to the poor. One commenter said the following:
I am on the fence from what I read on this website but the words Social justice doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling up my pants leg. There is mention of Ronald Reagan so there might be hope yet for my visits to this website found by “accident”.
As well as comments such as these which seem to put the term in the “he must want to steal my money and give it to the local tramp” box I have been asked constantly online to explain what I mean by the term Social justice.
This seems a fair request because as with a lot of terms banded about by politicians and political commentators words such as Social justice have different meanings depending on a number of factors.
These include the political perspective you may already have, the types of radio station, TV channel and websites you visit and any pre-existing bias or life experience you already have. Therefore as my site attracts readers from all sides of the political spectrum it is not unusual for people from apposing points of view to see terms such as Social justice in either a glowing or derogatory fashion because of this.
Before stating how I see the term lets look at some existing definitions.
Fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice. See also civil rights.
And from a sociological perspective as proposed by the likes of philosophers such as John Rawls and taken up by center left parties across the world the term Social justice can be applied to some or all of the following depending on who you are talking to:
- Historical inequities insofar as they affect current injustices should be corrected until the actual inequities no longer exist or have been perceptively “negated”.
- The redistribution of wealth, power and status for the individual, community and societal good.
- It is government’s (or those who hold significant power) responsibility to ensure a basic quality of life for all its citizens.
Now I suspect that many people might squirm in their seats when they see the term “redistribution of wealth” as this term can be used to scare people into believing that their hard earned wages are going to be taken away to help feed the lazy and undeserving.
Now you might be like Maggie Thatcher in that you don’t believe in such a thing as society, but whether you believe in total individualism with no common good or just believe that the interests of your own family always outranks the interests of those less well off than you, it is clear from historical examples that an I’m all right jack attitude to life and the people who live around you is not actually in your own best interests let alone society as a whole.
I come from the UK where we have a long history of social injustice, class hierarchy and inbred power structures that pass down from heir to heir. I believe in a meritocracy where people who work hard and help themselves and others to succeed benefit from their own hard work.
However our country did not start out like that and a true meritocracy can never be achieved when families who gained their massive wealth hundreds of years ago from robbing, raping and pillaging are still able to benefit from these illegitimate gains by passing them down the family line.
A primary example is our royal family who are admittedly good for tourism but who exemplify what I hate most about the current injustice in our society. Not only do I have to submit a portion of my wages each month to pay for their mansions, foreign holidays and lavish lifestyle but they are literally above the law in that justice cannot be applied equally to myself and the Queen or any of her family because they are the “Crown”, and the Crown is the dispenser of justice in the UK.
Can you imagine what would happen if I drunk 10 pints of Stella got in my car and then mowed down a crowd of old age pensioners waiting to get on the bus home killing some of them. I would be pilloried in the press and banged up for a good many years of my life. However replace myself with the Queen, Prince William or Charles and imagine that they carried out the exact same act. We would never even hear of the event happening and no form of justice would be applied no matter how many people were killed by their actions.
For me social justice means proper equality under the eyes of the law and that would include the rich and powerful. As for re-distribution of wealth we already have it, it’s just that the money is taken from the poor to be given to the rich.
It is no wonder many people have been out on the streets of London over the past months demonstrating against the huge international corporations who use expensive lawyers and legal loopholes to escape paying their fair share of tax when we are facing massive cuts to services that millions of people depend on.
Social justice to me would mean that people paid their fair share and the poor were not asked to bail out the rich when they bankrupt the country. We find ourselves in the strange situation where a small super rich elite of bankers and their friends have literally lost trillions of pounds gambling with our money on the stock market and then have been bailed out by the taxpayer.
Social justice to me would mean that some of these bankers would actually be in jail and not collecting their multi million pound bonuses and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
I don’t know many people who would disagree with the sentiment felt by myself and millions others who are going to spend the next years suffering due to our government choosing to cut back on hospitals, schools and other local services just so that they can waste billions bailing out other countries who have got themselves into a mess such as Portugal, Greece and Ireland. Add to that our recent excursion into Libya and continued war in Afghanistan and I am not sure we should be wasting £400,000 every time we fire a Tomahawk missile into Libya to help of an al-Qaeda supported insurrection.
Social justice to me is the idealistic notion that a child born to a single mother in a council estate in Hackney will have the same life chances and opportunities to succeed as a child born to a super rich family in Kensington. This doesn’t mean taking from one to give to the other but it does mean levelling out the hurdles society presents to each of us in our race of life so that they are the same height for everyone.
Is it fair that the Royal family or the Rothschilds and the many other super elites are able to use the power and wealth they have obtained over the centuries often illegally or immorally to ensure that their own offspring gain the finest education that can be bought, receive the best health care if they fall ill and finest legal representation if they get in trouble with the law and then get given a cushy job in the city purely due to family connections?
That is no meritocracy and it is total foolishness to not realise that money can buy success in life and at the very least ensure a large head-start over the kid left to fend for himself with only the state for support.
I know that the question of how to make our society fairer is a hard question to answer and a true society based on meritocracy would mean the end of inheritances and the ability to pass on your hard earned wealth and lifestyle to your offspring. This obviously doesn’t seem very fair if you have struggled all your life and want to ensure that your children are given the best start in life and I cannot ever see this form of social justice being implemented.
Whether or not you agree that our society requires some re-balancing what many people fail to realise is that if they have been lucky enough to either be born into a family with money, ambition or in a town with good schools and low crime then unless the inequality that is ingrained into our society is evened out in some shape or form they are likely to suffer from the side effects of it somehow during their lifetime.
Whether it be through their house being burgled, car stolen or their children sucked into the world of drugs due to other children using street smarts to survive. Unless the “haves” move into gated communities like they have done in South Africa the effects of social injustice are going to be felt at some stage during their own life.
Many people on the right equate the term social justice with communism and there is no lack of shock jocks and neo-cons out there who will lead you to believe that is what proponents of social justice want. However it has been proven that communism doesn’t work on a large scale as a true communist society is one in which everyone is deemed equal and involved in the decision making process. There is also no need for any form of state due to the common man owning the means of production and running everything themselves with no ruling class.
In small scale communes such as a farm or village this is often a workable solution but when you get to a larger scale the need for a governing class to organise the workers became apparent and then as the USSR proved and George Orwell described so well in Animal Farm this group of “organisers” became the new ruling elite.
Therefore I am not a communist as not only do I know that it couldn’t work on a large scale but because of man’s inherent selfish nature plus his desire to prove himself better than his peers the idea of equality for everyone and everything does not fit with the reality we find ourselves in.
Therefore capitalism as we find it seems to be more in suiting with man’s basic desire to hunt and gather in a modern context where hunting has been replaced with working in call-centers and offices and gathering has been replaced with traipsing round the shopping center at weekend.
This does not mean however that the current capitalist way of working is perfect and it currently leads to a small percentage of winners who own the majority of the wealth and the rest of us who fight over the scraps. Whilst it is easy to see why those people in the winning group would fear any kind of re-balancing that would reduce their wealth and power it is the only way of levelling out our chances of succeeding in society without going down the route of revolution.
It is rare that I meet anyone who has actually lived on both sides of the fence and those that have had it all and lost it or come from nothing to succeed are often more susceptible to ideas about levelling out society in some fashion due to their own experiences than others who have only seen one side of life.
When you have always had everything you required, never needed to go into debt just to feed yourself or woken up on a park bench or on a mates floor without a penny to your name it is very hard to imagine what life would be like if you ever found yourself in that situation.
It is quite easy when you are at a public school surrounded by other privileged students and getting dropped off in the morning by your banker dad in his new BMW to look down on those kids at the local comprehensive on free meals who have to walk miles every morning just to get there because they cannot afford the 60p for the bus.
If all you consume is right wing media that denounce the millions on benefits as scroungers whilst calling out for more money to be spent on wars then you are only going to confirm pre-existing beliefs and it seems that only a sudden wake up call caused by a divorce, job loss or massive loss of wealth would change such a perspective on life.
When you have no family support network and live alone then the sad truth is that in our current society the state does offer the only safety net and help that many people can obtain. Whilst it would be great if our society was full to the brim of humble, kind, welcoming people ready to cross the road and help a stranger without a second thought the sad truth is that we don’t.
Therefore the final piece of the social justice puzzle that I think is missing is a proper support network for everyone who needs it.
However much I hate the fact that my tax money is going to towards imperialistic wars across the Middle East and to prop up dictators who are currently our friends but who next month we might be firing million pound missiles at I am perfectly happy to pay my tax knowing that a percentage of it goes to help society in general.
I don’t mind at all that I pay a proportion of my wages in national insurance for my own support network i.e NHS health care, social security and old age pension and that another portion of my income tax goes to help pay for those who cannot look after themselves due to disability or temporary job loss.
I am also not happy that our tax code is so complicated that the richer you are the less tax you pay due to legal loopholes that £500 an hour lawyers spend their lives hunting for. Simplify the tax codes and reap in the rewards.
Big companies like Topshop and Vodafone are avoiding billions each year that could be spent offsetting the injustice inbuilt into our society by improving our schools and health system. If an international company wants to do business in this country then they should have to create a subsidiarity based here and pay full tax on all profits made from doing business in our market.
Not too much to ask is it?
I believe in a reformed meritocratic capitalist system in which every man and woman is considered equal under the same laws and in which the life chances of every new born baby are the same no matter where or who they happen to be born to.
I believe that the wealthy minority that have lorded over us for generations due to stolen wealth and inherited privilege are removed from the reigns of power and that everyone has an equal chance of obtaining success and long life due to an excellent state school system and proper funded NHS paid for by fairer taxes.
The current redistribution of wealth from the poor to the wealthy must stop immediately and the bankers who got us into our current financial mess need to face real justice as well as being made to pay back to our society through the confiscation of their million pound bonuses.
If you worked for a bank that has been bailed out by my tax then you should not be getting a million pound bonus whilst I face longer waiting times at my local hospital and denied treatment for a treatable illness purely due to the lack of money caused by your greed and mistakes.
I admit that this article doesn’t really address too many of the “hows” when it comes to implementing social justice in the UK but it hopefully gives those people who question what I mean by the term some idea of what I believe it means.
If you don’t like what I have said then feel free to comment, this is after all a site dedicated to social justice AND free speech.