During the past few years the subject of social justice has come up for debate in several nations. Often there is a wide discrepency between talk and reality.
For instance, in 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said, “I am convinced that growth of employment, rising of the wages, pensions and stipends, as well as ensuring of the target aid will further promote strengthening of social-economic balance and stability in Ukraine””
The following year, Ukrainians discovered that Yanukovych’s personal estate covered an area half the size of Monaco, had a five storey mansion, a greenhouse, a sports car filled garage, a park, a private zoo, a golf course, a helicopter pad, and even a pirate ship used to entertain guests and dignitaries.
How do we avoid double-talk of politicians and go about the actual business of achieving social justice? In order to have some semblance of a peaceful, harmonious society, social justice must be in the mix. There should be some real efforts made towards acceptance, freedoms, and equality for every person regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or ability. If a group is left out, there will eventually be discord.
Social justice is a virtue that is manifested that brings about personal responsibility to work with others for some level of common good. It’s a process that enables discussion about our institutions and our participation in them to help us address issues of social inequality. The aim is to provide access to what is beneficial for individuals and society at large. The short definition being the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within society.
A major sticking point is balance. How much social justice can be administered so that it doesn’t tip into full out socialism or conversely, total neglect and hands-off policy? There will always be people born into great advantage and other people born into great disadvantage.
Political dogmatism of either left or right has gotten in the way of achieving a satisfactory balance. Instead of providing constructive solutions, the left and right have insisted that society should follow particular ideal forms that conform to political opinion. Will we follow pure socialism or will we follow pure capitalism? Perhaps the answer is somewhere in between or neither one.
We have often failed at social justice when fairness is “imposed” and when fairness is left up to the “market place”. The results have varied between resentment of those who have been required to be fair and displeasure by people who have been neglected or oppressed.
It seems that we will not be happy if social justice is only the domain of governments. On the other hand, there is a lack of resources for private charities to fully address the issue. Again, it looks like a shared approach could be the best method. Private organizations, individuals, and governments can work towards a reasonable social justice model.
The policies need not be set in stone but should be flexible enough to allow for varying natural and social conditions. More and more it looks like the solutions for inequality require the input and output of everyone involved. The solutions are not partisan, sectarian, nor any other “ism”. The democratic method of ironing out differences and finding a happy medium seems best for now.
The point is, there is an overabundance of social injustice in our world. It’s time to continue our efforts to enhance Social Justice. Everyone can take part.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from Helen Keller: “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.”