Rick Henderson already has delivered a full review of Jonah Goldberg‘s latest book, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, so I’ll limit my comments here to just one of the topics Goldberg dissects.
Like the author, this commentator is puzzled by the notion of “social justice.” Since we already have “justice,” “injustice,” and a whole lot of things that are neither just nor unjust, how does the modifier “social” enhance the meaning of the main word “justice”? As Goldberg explains, it doesn’t.
A cry for social justice is usually little more than an assertion “for goodness.” “Progressive” has become a euphemism for “all good things.” But sometimes the p-word is too vague. So if you press a self-declared progressive — “What does that mean?” — they’ll respond, eventually, with something like “It means fighting for social justice.” If you ask, “What does social justice mean?” you are likely to get an exasperated eye roll, because you just don’t get it.
Social justice simply is goodness, and if you can’t see that, man, you’re either unintentionally “part of the problem” or, well, you’re for “badness.”
Got it? Good. Regular Locker Room readers might also appreciate the video clip below. In this excerpt from Goldberg’s September 2009 speech at UNC-Chapel Hill, he covers another theme from the new book: the desire for unity.