Mandating a Perfect World

-By Thomas E. Brewton

Liberal-progressives’ conception of social justice always requires the political state forcibly to impose some form of equality.

Social justice, in the catechism of the socialist religion, is no more than an exertion of raw power to force people to conform to what liberal-progressives believe conditions ought to be.

Forced equality was the mode in the world’s first socialist political state, Revolutionary France. After the 1789 Revolution, France was reeling under wild swings from monarchy, to attempts at constitutional government, to the rule of street mobs. Matters came to a head with the execution of King Louis XVI in January, 1793. The Assembly’s Revolutionary Tribunal and the Committee of Public Safety announced, “It is wholly necessary to establish briefly the despotism of freedom in order to crush the despotisms of Kings.” (quoted in André Maurois, A History of France).

What “the despotism of freedom” meant was the bloody Reign of Terror. The Revolutionary Tribunal, during fourteen months of continuous sessions, condemned thousands of people to the guillotine as purported enemies of the Revolution. Altogether, more than 70,000 French citizens – men, women, children of all ages – were murdered in the name of Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood.

Today’s most common expression of social justice, espoused by Senator Obama and his socialistic minions, is redistribution of income to force a society in which, regardless of effort or merit, everyone has as nearly the same income as possible.

Senator Obama’s route to that version of social justice is higher taxes on the upper end of income producers (who already pay almost 70% of all Federal income taxes), and “lower taxes” on the poor. To say the least, this is a blatant subterfuge, because the bottom half of all tax payers pay less than 5% of all income taxes (the bottom third pay no income taxes at all), making it difficult to lower their taxes. In fact, Senator Obama proposes simply to give unearned welfare handouts to lower-income citizens, calling it tax reductions.

This sort of social justice collides head-on with the reality of human nature, and it is directly antithetical to the Constitution. As James Madison noted in Federalist No. 10:

…As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

Another aspect of Senator Obama’s social justice is affirmative action. People of favored social, economic, sexual, or racial classes are to be given preferences over people who are better qualified. Affirmative action can be imposed by legislative act, bureaucratic regulation, or judicial activism.

Even though it will mean fewer jobs and a lowered standard of living for all Americans, Senator Obama will support labor union efforts to crimp or rescind NAFTA, stop the trade agreement with Colombia (one of our strongest allies in latin America), and to impose higher restrictive tariffs and workplace regulations to protect over-paid jobs for the small minority of Americans who belong to unions.

Democrat/Socialists are unconcerned with the destructive impact of supporting union extortion. After all, unions (especially the teachers’ unions) are one of their two biggest sources of campaign contributions and campaign workers.

To see a reprise of liberal-progressive “hopes” for “change” in an Obama regime that will impose radical feminist definitions of equality, read Catherine A. Mackinnon’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

For those in today’s younger generation, Ms. Mackinnon’s name is likely to be unfamiliar. She burst upon the public stage in the 1970s, as another disturbing manifestation of the top-to-bottom reorientation of society demanded by left-wing radicals of the Baby Boomer era (among whom were Senator Obama’s friends, councilors, and political backers, Weatherman terrorist founders Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn).

According to the Legal Encyclopedia,

Between 1979 and 1989, MacKinnon was a visiting professor at a number of prominent law schools, including her alma mater, Yale. Though she was a prolific writer and a popular teacher, her views and her actions concerning pornography made her a controversial public figure. Her radical feminist theories challenged the legitimacy of the legal system and mainstream liberal thought. She argued that men, as a class, have dominated women, creating gender inequality. This inequality is the consequence of a systematic subordination rather than a product of irrational discrimination. Thus, heterosexuality is a social arrangement with men dominant and women submissive. Gender, for radical feminists, is a question of power.

In MacKinnon’s view, pornography is a powerful tool of the dominant male class, subordinating women and exposing them to rape and other abusive behavior. In 1982 she and feminist author AndreaDworkin convinced the Indianapolis city council to enact a pornography ordinance that expressed their theory of sexual subordination. The ordinance described pornography as “a discriminatory practice based on sex which denies women equal opportunity in society,” and defined it as “the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women, whether in pictures or words,” especially in a violent or degrading context. The ordinance made unlawful the production, sale, exhibition, and distribution of pornography and gave anyone injured by a person who has seen or read pornography the right to bring a civil suit against the maker or seller.

Supporters of the ordinance argued that the legislation was a civil rights measure meant to fight sex discrimination. In their view the ordinance regulated conduct rather than free speech and thus did not violate the FirstAmendment.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in American Booksellers Ass’n, Inc. v. Hudnut, 771 F.2d 323 (1985), overturned the ordinance. The court agreed that pornography affected how people view the world and their social relations but observed that the same could be said of other protected speech, including expressions of racial bigotry. To permit the MacKinnon-Dworkin approach would give the government control of “all institutions of culture” and allow it to be the “great censor and director of which thoughts are good for us.”

Mackinnon is anxious to see a socialist majority in the Supreme Court that will overturn the American Booksellers Ass’n, Inc. v. Hudnut ruling and will “discover” unsuspected feminist rights that heretofore were hidden somewhere in the deep shadows of the Constitution.

What better route to social justice than simply to order businesses to pay the wages liberal-progressives believe ought to be paid? to order that women be given more than half of all executive positions? to impose her earlier idea that all sexual intercourse, within the bonds of marriage or not, is statutory rape subjecting males to criminal prosecution?
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776

Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Thomas E. Brewton

Copyright Publius Forum 2001