December 4th, 2012

Urban scape

Rendering Unto Caesar: The Case in Favor of Social Injustice‏

The issue of social justice has been bandied about by a variety of pundits with their personal spin on the matter. Libertarians absolutely detest the idea as a way to shackle the hands of "honest" business folk with oppressive costs and practices. Roman clerics have come out with arguments that social justice healthcare changes violate their religious freedom. Some have even argued that social justice programs are anti-egalitarian because they treat victims and perpetrators differently. The most fascinating opposition comes from militant Marxists who see social justice programs as a stumbling block to violent revolution. In effect, libertarian opposition conforms to the proverbial sale of rope to the revolutionary hangman.

Militant Marxists would like to see the disparity between rich and poor reach a boiling point. Social justice programs prevent this from happening because they lower the burden on the poor with a social safety net. Not all Marxists agree with these militants. Those that are reform minded favor non-violent means of achieving their aims. (After the revolution, the reformers will be duly purged from party ranks as running dog lackeys of the bourgeoisie. Marxists who know what is good for their long-term survival will side with their militant brethren and with libertarians in opposing social justice reforms.)

What exactly is social injustice and when did it start? One way to describe social injustice is with economics. It is a condition where a small segment of the population benefits from a disproportionate share of surplus production. It leads to a minority of people in possession of the lion's share of material assets. The condition reinforces itself with a tendency for the minority group to grow its share as the majority share shrinks. The majority eventually becomes indebted to the minority for generations to come with a dwindling ability to make good on the debt.

When did this state of affairs begin? From a biblical perspective it began when Adam and Eve were forced to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows. From an anthropological perspective it began long before the time of Adam and Even when the earliest agrarian cultures preyed on surrounding hunter/gatherer cultures for slave labor. This state of affairs existed between Iroquois and Algonquins at the time of the European invasion of the American continent.

What is your favorite reason for promoting social injustice?

Links: Religious coalition on reproductive justice voting. Samuel Gregg on limiting the definition of social justice. Bruce Trigger on Native American history.
Godzilla, default

Alternate History Scenario: The European War of 1938:

Historically speaking World War II began in 1939 following a Nazi-Soviet Pact to partition Eastern Europe, and this led to six years of disastrous modern warfare that wrecked multiple continents. However there is a historical irony that if a general European war had come earlier in 1938, the Nazis would have been crushed in six months due to lacking anything of the resource base to sustain a multi-front war at that time. The cause of this is familiar from that 'Peace In Our Time' speech, namely Hitler's attempts to nab the Sudetenland. Hitler actually wanted a war at this point, but he was not able to secure it due to the conference, so he'd be all for the inauguration of a general war over Czechoslovakia.

Yet in this case he'd face Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, and the United Kingdom arrayed against him, as well as a potential other front in Spain. In this case Hitler's army had the practical ability to sustain a war for six months against an alliance too massive for it to be simply crushed. Hitler would no doubt have found like Saddam in 1979 that Sudeten Germans were less enthusiastic about Nazi invasion in reality than they were in the abstract, and given the willingness of the Anglo-French alliance to fight historically this might lead to the irony that the Czechoslovak/Nazi War would have ended in the biggest victory won by the Czechs since the Hussite Wars (a cynic might note their only victory won since then). All the same in a mere six months Nazi Germany would have been defeated and its military power destroyed, but in a process that only takes six months and would not produce the massive battles of the historical war, strategic bombing leveling most of Europe, or a Holocaust.

So what would happen in this alternate scenario starting seven months in? No Hitler, the Palestinian Revolt is still going on, Franco's rise may well be averted altogether by virtue of being lumped into WWII in this scenario, no Holocaust to make the Yishuv gain a legitimacy that was never its to claim to begin with but at the same token some cities like Salonika retaining Jewish majorities, and the only major European totalitarian left is dear old Uncle Joe who claims the prestige of 'victory.' Would the world have exchanged one set of problems for another, and if so what kinds of problems would these be?

Alternate scenario: a non-9/11 world

OK, here's the most obvious alternate history scenario one could possibly come up with.

So here's the set of events (or more like, lack thereof).

1) Sometime in the late 90s, Osama bin Laden dies of some stupid infection, or cancer, or something like that. Let's say extensive fapping to porn videos inside his bunker. Al Qaeda never carries out the 9-11 plot, and people in New York go about their business as usual on 9-11-2001, their biggest concern being that the tickets for Michael Jackson's 30th career anniversary gig have been sold out. Bush Jr never attacks the Taliban, so they continue to rule in Afghanistan, where the Afghan Northern Alliance resumes its feud with them (after blaming the assassination of its leader Ahmed Shah Massoud on them, an event which indeed happened on September 9).

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