Social Justice Is A Vice

Perhaps you’re familiar with the term ‘virtue signalling’. If you’re not, it is administered to people who introduce their argument by proudly displaying the virtues of empathy and compassion.

For a quick example, if the topic of discussion is islamic fundamentalism, a social justice type might preface their argument with an anecdote about how their muslim friends feel uncomfortable to go out in public in the wake of a terrorist attack. By telling such a story, they do not present an argument but rather make it clear that they are empathetic to the plight of a minority, that they are guided by feelings of love and pity.

The usefulness of this strategy is quite clear. If someone were watching the debate, it is much easier to sympathize with the nice person, the person who seems morally connected with the suffering of the disadvantaged. Moreover, it makes the person they are debating seem cold and callous, unwilling to grapple with the personal implications that their policies present.

To be blunt about it, the archetypal trait of the ‘bleeding heart’ lefty is amplified in such a fashion as to make the opposition look dispassionately inhumane or even bigoted.

Now the question is, is this strategy inherently antithetical to rational discussion?

Undoubtedly, there are a great many people who are either ignorant or unsympathetic to the struggle experienced by disadvantaged groups across the country. Such people have to be called out, as the consequences of their attitudes are real and they can be severe. People who are ignorant of the societal implications of cutting welfare, for example, have to have their ignorance exposed for all to see, as such a blind spot is relevant to the discussion. Additionally, people who are motivated by bigotry and ethnic elitism in calling for the same policies must certainly be engaged and have a spot light shone on their moral insufficiencies.

The problem is that this necessary strategy has been hijacked by ideologues possessed by the virtues of empathy.

The new social justice types have made it nearly impossible to distinguish between actual bigots and people who simply have conservative views. Look up and watch any millennial debate online, and I can accurately predict that the social justice participant will a) go on about the feelings of some minority, b) condemn the opposition for not being as obsessed with the wellbeing of said minority, and c) claim that such dispassion is not the result of a rationally calculated decision but an innate bigotry.

Indeed, we are all conscious that accusations of bigotry and xenophobia are handed out like candy on halloween in today’s politically correct culture. It seems every week a new celebrity is apologizing for a joke they made. But these accusations stem from the social justice types themselves, as they don’t merely act out empathetic possession but they are genuinely attached to it.

To understand the phenomena of name calling displayed by the social justice types, the phenomena of ‘virtue signalling’ must first be understood. More specifically, why it is so essential that the social justice types bathe in it as frequently as they can.

It is obvious that they are concerned with the feelings of the disadvantaged. As I am about to argue, they are pathologically concerned with this. And my reasoning is not original, rather, it was most famously articulated two millennia ago by Aristotle. Thus, the point I am about to make is just another example of the extreme lack of common sense within the social justice movement.

To begin we must first agree that the primary concern of the social justice camp is the wellbeing of the minority, disadvantaged, marginalized etc… This is most importantly a concern deprived from empathy. If any social justice types wish to dispute this, I would like them to make an argument without once mentioning ‘feelings’ or ‘oppression’. (needless to say, they would find it rather difficult) Secondly, I would like them to provide an alternative virtue that they are more propelled by.

Now, prima facia, it would seem I have run into a moral corner. What have I accomplished by exposing social justice for it’s connection with empathy? All I have shown is that they are good, caring people who are altruistically motivated. After all, empathy is most certainly a virtue, right?

But it’s here where any Philosophy 101 course comes in handy. Particularly, the teaching of Aristotle’s golden rule, also known as the Aristotelian middle way. This observation notices how virtue is not inherently good, but it must exist in a mean. If any virtue exists in excess or exists in depravity, then it becomes a vice.

For example, courage in depravity is cowardice, and certainly not virtuous. But courage in excess is recklessness, and again not virtuous. To act courageously is not to hide from a fight, but it is also not charging an army by yourself. True courage, is a balance between recklessness and cowardice.

The same thing can be said of empathy. A depravation of empathy leaves you heartless sociopath, but an excess of empathy leaves you blundering about naively in a complicated world. As exhibited by the social justice camp, an excess of empathy leaves you unable to condemn immoral behaviour committed by those you empathize with. It leaves you unable to criticize, to strengthen those who you look upon with empathy.

True empathy considers context, it considers the individual. It recognizes that some people perhaps are not deserving pf empathy, and that if it is a arbitrarily handed out to all those who call for it, then it quickly loses its value.

This is what has happened to the social justice camp. It has become pathologically obsessed with empathy. Again, since empathy is a virtue, it is not instantly clear why such a concern is wrong. But an obsession with empathy is inherently divisive, as it divides the world into people deserving and undeserving of it. To compound this error, the social justice types are collectivists, meaning they attribute empathy not according to individual character, but to group identity.

This leaves us with an ideology that feels it is okay attribute guilt to people on the basis of skin colour. It leaves us with an ideology that feels recognizing and standing up for the feelings of the oppressed is a moral action that supersedes all others. And, most importantly, it leaves us with an ideology that makes it impossible for those consumed by it to understand any other point of view.

Empathy is virtuous. But social justice is a vice.

 

Trump Made The Right Call About Pride Month

I’ve read a myriad of articles concerning Trump’s decision to stay silent regarding pride month. One which caught my attention was an article published in The Independent, which ended with the horrifically ominous line “the fact that Trump did not even recognize Pride Month is an omen about what’s to come, and we need to mobilize now.” Before Che and his goons get their pitchforks, I think we should look at this soberly. The hysteric and sensationalist response from people like the the author of said article really miss the deeper point here.

Trump’s response (or lack thereof) to pride month was not an expression of homophobia, nor was it an attempt to invalidate individuals who feel that such a month is beneficial to their self-respect. In reality, it was a calculated political move. In this article I will take an approach that focuses on the political implications, not the moral ones.

The real question is, was it a bad decision? I think the answer to this question is surely no, and here’s why.

  1. He decided to not legitimize those who regard him as nothing less than an enemy.

I think we can reasonably assume that Trump sending out a celebratory pride tweet was not going to win him any favour in the social justice camp. (Here I presuppose that pride supporters also align themselves with the social justice doctrine) As I mentioned, Trump is already a homophobe to the vast majority of people on the left. Gay pride marches often doubly served as platforms for anti-Trump rhetoric; there is a nearly endless swath of pictures on the internet of people opting to carry signs slandering Trump a rally. And indeed, Trump is one of those presidents who people on the left have an assortment of derogatory adjectives always ready for; one of them primarily being homophobe.

Secondly, people who are morally obsessed with the wellbeing of LGBT people are very likely as concerned with the wellbeing of all the other groups belonging to the left’s victim narrative. Trump is not just a homophobe to these people, but he hates Mexicans, blacks, muslims, and is probably a white supremacist. Indeed, this rhetoric can also be witnessed at pride month.

The hatred of Trump expressed at pride month goes beyond the issue of LGBT. Trump has rebelled against the victim culture established by the left, and in doing so he has stepped on all the groups that willingly placed themselves beneath his feet.

I’ll put it plainly; the outrage expressed in response to Trump’s non-recognition runs far deeper than just pride month, and everybody knows this. Let’s not pretend that this is a single issue problem here. If you were to ask people at pride month why they do not like Trump, they would not stop at “he refuses to recognize me as a LGBT member”. Rather, they would continue listing their criticisms, likely site his bigotry, and conclude with a statement condemning the totality of Trump’s social policy.

All this is to say that Trump is not winning over any social justice types by recognizing pride month. It’s not going to help his ratings, it’s not going to get him sympathy, and it’s not going to suddenly make him appear like a benevolent and tolerant leader to people that already regard him as a manifestation of evil. And this is because the issue of pride month is embedded within a much larger victim narrative, and it is the rejection of this where the resentment of Trump originates.

2. The silence appeals to his base and almost all social conservatives.

This is probably the more significant reason Trump neglected Pride Month. One of Trump’s most beloved characteristics is his willingness to go against political correctness.

If Trump were to recognize pride month, it would mean he is buying into the premise of institutional LGBT discrimination. By refusing to comment, he refuses to meet them on that particular battlefield. In that sense, he is ‘speaking’ for all those who go against political correctness, as in today’s age it’s a sign of bigotry to not flamboyantly wear rainbow colours or change your profile picture to accommodate pride month. This is what Trump’s supporters love about him. He doesn’t even buy into the left’s games.

If you choose to regard Trump’s inaction as a sign of intolerable bigotry then your willfully blind to how the other half of the country feels, and such blindness is not good for anyone including yourself. The reality, as it appears to a significant amount of people, is that a) the social justice left has established a narrative that they want everyone to buy into, b) if you refuse to play along with the narrative then it is exclusively because you are a bigot, and c) political correctness and public shaming will bully you into accepting this premise or at least keep you from voicing your genuine opinion.

This is what it is important for social justice types to understand. When Trump refuses to acknowledge pride month, it is not a knock against gays, but a knock against political correctness. This refusal to play along with political correctness is what his supporters most love about him and what his ‘enemies’ most hate about him. The sooner they understand this, and the sooner they abandon their proclivity to use any excuse to call someone a name, the better; for you, for me, for the country, and for democracy as a whole.

Thus, it was a good political decision, as it appeals to his base and all those who go against political correctness, and it puts the battle elsewhere instead of the battleground predetermined by Trump’s detractors.

to everyone protesting canada day

Is it racist to celebrate Canada’s 150?

This post is dedicated to people who would answer this question in the positive, and all those who would be sympathetic with such an answer. I myself think that is a rather silly question to ask in the first place, but it is an important one nonetheless, if only because a large enough population believes in its validity. Thus, I promise to take this question seriously.

This is a question that is asked in reference to the past and present struggles of Canada’s indigenous population. In the eyes of  those who voice concern, Canada is a country built upon colonialism, cultural genocide, broken treaties and indigenous exploitation. There is enough evidence of the dismissive attitude the colonizers had towards the natives that it can’t be ignored. Even worse, this dismissive attitude manifested itself in actual genocide on more than one occasion. And that doesn’t account for the federal attempt to ‘kill the indian in the child’ with the now infamous residential school project.

But one of the first things I can’t help pointing out is the hypocrisy packed into such an interpretation. I am of course alluding to the reductionist attitude it takes to come to such a conclusion. Let’s just consider the type of people who are protesting Canada’s 150. We can say, rather definitely, that they are social justice types. If there is a conservative protesting Canada’s 150, it is safe to assume it is for a completely different reason. So let’s just consider the social justice types for a moment.

They seem to have an ideological loop hole that allows them to have nuanced and informed perspectives, and demand reciprocal nuance and knowledge in debates; on some topics. But on others, that demand for a complete view of the issue is washed away in a wave of blind passion. Let’s run through a few examples.

If you were to reduce the refugee crisis to the problem of islamic fundamentalism, they would call you a bigot. If you were to reduce the disproportionate african-american incarceration problem to violent black culture, they would call you a bigot. But if you reduce all of Canada’s history to the abuse of natives, they call it social justice. This is the hypocrisy I am referring to.

This is a larger problem within the social justice mindset. When it comes to understanding the plight of disadvantaged groups, they have endless time to analyze and interpret economics, social alienation, family dysfunction, health problems etc… But when it comes to understanding the perspective of the advantaged, they reliably reduce it to a) power and b) ethnic (usually white) supremacy. A big contributor here is that to social justice types, the ‘advantaged’ are alternatively called the ‘oppressors’. And fair enough. In the case of the colonial treatment of Canada’s natives, as I have already conceded, oppressive is an adjective which sufficiently paints the picture.

But isn’t it an injustice to reduce all of Canada’s history into that single struggle?

This is where I see compromise as a viable outcome. If you go hear the indigenous perspective on Canada’s 150, a universal complaint is that we neglect the indigenous history in favour of the European one. To them, to say Canada Day is fundamentally about the formal establishment of the country is to ignore the aforementioned oppression. But in response to this, they tell a narrative that is fundamentally about the native-colonial conflict. And this is where the problem emerges. Their solution is to replace the romanticized interpretation of Canada Day put forward by the colonizers, with the nightmarish interpretation of oppression put forward by the natives.

How about both sides just acknowledge the reality that both historical narratives are similarly true and and false. It is appropriate for Canadians who are proud of their colonial heritage to acknowledge the injustices felt by native populations. But it is also appropriate for Canada’s natives to acknowledge their own privilege. Canada is without a doubt one of the greatest countries in which an individual could live, and it is because of colonization that this is true. If someone wishes to dispute this statement, I would like them to point me to a country that isn’t of the west. Also, if they think how the British treated the natives is as bad as it gets, they boldly display their ignorance of native populations unfortunate enough to be colonized by the Spanish.

Thus, I just want to abolish two fundamentalist interpretations of Canada’s history. Sure, the romantic and utopian story that will be told, and the proud and benevolent feelings of those who celebrate the 150 might be neglecting a bit of history to say the least. But the genocidal and malevolent story told by the social justice types is just as negligent and just as ignorant of the realities that colonialism has bestowed upon the world.

To conclude, no, it is not racist to celebrate Canada’s 150. It is at minimum indecent to ignore or downplay the losses of native communities in the creation of Canada as we know it today. But it is just as indecent to suggest that all of Canada’s history is merely another example of the evil oppressor and the benign oppressed.

group think and safe spaces

A classic interpretation of the spread of ideas is to point out how analogous the process is to the spread of disease. That is to say that any disease which wiped out millions of people must have its origin in a single individual. Another interpretation of idea spreading relates more closely to Dawkins idea of meme; any given idea swelters fractionally in the hearts of a mob of people, and though a single individual will articulate that idea it is hardly an individual process.

The recent catastrophe known as ‘safe spaces’ has finally reached my own school, and the most interesting thing about this development is pondering just how this pathogenic idea manifested itself inside the minds of students, staff, and larger faculty alike.

The safe space idea itself is, to me, at this point devoid of the potential it originally had to grab my interest for any length of time. As with many ideas borne within the social justice doctrine, peeling back the logic of any particular proposition is always fun at first. Without exception, seemingly benevolent and seemingly simple social justice ideas are revealed to be populated with a bewildering amount of contradictions and inconsistencies packaged in a way that would offer a more than sufficient definition of incoherence; and that doesn’t even mention the incredible socio-economic assumptions that are made to even get there in the first place. But that’s a topic for another time; alas, all of the commonalities such ideas share are present within that of safe spaces; prima facia, safe spaces are a benevolent process which fights back against bigotry and bullying, encourages discussion in the classroom, and makes the learning environment one which students can always feel completely and entirely safe. But, as alluded to earlier, this idea manifests itself in a way that actually runs contrary to all of these supposed benefits. Let me explain.

The safe space idea is roughly this; the teachers of difficult subjects must pander their lessons to the most sensitive students in the class; if at any point and for any duration an excessively neurotic student feels uncomfortable with the subject matter being taught, then they are being effectively discriminated against and violently assaulted, and the professor must then be held accountable for violating the paper thin walls of that single students psyche. It is important to remember that matter trumps manner in deciding safe space cases; if you’re a grade 12 law professor discussing the concept of reasonable doubt regarding rape allegations, and you make a conscious effort to approach the subject as timidly and unobtrusively as possible, your effort would entirely be in vain if a single student feels ‘unsafe’ within the discussion.

And what sort of ‘accountability’ are professors to be held to? For public school teachers this is a new development, but for university professors, such an encounter results in accusations of hate speech and bigotry, hearings in front of human rights tribunals, and social media campaigns launched with the specific intent of villainizing you and ruining your reputation campus wide, and often, nation wide. Put simply, if a student feels uncomfortable in your class, you can expect a swarm of ideologues demanding for your immediate resignation. We can be sure that these same punishments are headed for public school teachers, and it is safe to assume that when they do come their severity will only increase, as high school students are even more emotionally unstable and immature than university students. (though art undergrads are really giving them a run for their money)

The reason safe spaces have managed to once again gain my attention is because, seemingly overnight, they have arisen with a vengeance at my own school. A week ago, I never would’ve believed the amount of staff and students that support this idea. Perhaps I was not paying close enough attention. Perhaps there was an outbreak of lead-filled autism-inducing water in my town that I managed to not hear about. Allah only knows.

The incident I am specifically referring to is not a professor being crucified upon the social justice cross, but a new manifestation of the safe space doctrine, or one that is new to me anyway.

We all know that the last month of high school is equivalent to the first month of MLB; they are both useless and nothing is learned. Teachers and students alike are sick of the school year and day dreaming about summer vacation. Thus, it is common for the last month of high school to be a monotonous succession of student presentations, discussions, and seminars. This is true of Grade 12 Sociology. Students get to choose a topic and give a powerpoint presentation and lead a discussion regarding it. Some of the topics in the class included social phenomena such as the wage gap and the gender spectrum.

In this class, there is a well known kid who we will just call Logan for the time being. Logan, like many young, intellectually confident (dare I say arrogant) high school lads is a natural contrarian; it is nearly impossible to gleam what Logan’s actual political views are, for he can much more accurately be expected to just argue with whatever thesis you are presenting. With the seminar topics listed above, it is easy to see how this is already laying the groundwork for an incident.

To make a short story even shorter, a transgender person gave a presentation on the concept known as the gender spectrum, which supposes that gender is not binary and perhaps not categorizable at all. As one can imagine, this is a theory, nothing more, and it is one that, rightly so, bears an incredible amount of criticism and even ridicule. Logan, during this presentation, tried his best to argue in favor of gender binary, delegitimize the gender spectrum claim, and argue against any thesis presented. Because of this, the transgender presenter broke down, began to cry, and fled the classroom. I am unsure what pronoun is appropriate here, so let’s just call this person a they. They complained to the principal, claimed that Logan had made the classroom, an unsafe space, and a meeting was called between the principal, the teacher, and Logan himself. The presenter was not to attend this meeting. Even more peculiarly, the authorities had already sealed Logan’s fate before he arrived.

He was asked to not come to class for the remainder of the presentations.

Thus, the safe space phenomena has unfortunately reached my own school.