Laws of unintended consequences afoot
April 6, 2023
To The Eagle:
Another writer’s recent comments that “social justice as practiced is a political nightmare and a perverted concept of actual justice that artificially balances natural inequalities in unjust ways” is in many ways accurate and in some ways, not so much. ‘Woke’ initially referred only to matters involving the oppression of Black people and has expanded to include many other iterations of ‘social justice.’
Conservative Republicans have turned ‘woke’ into a Swiss army knife of intellectual laziness used to describe, deflect and denigrate all things liberal. His cheap shot at gay husbands and dismissal of systemic racism notwithstanding, there is much valid food for thought in Moneyhan’s letter. Lets unpack a few of its contents.
First- “Social justice as practiced is a political nightmare” - because Republican conservative leaders and professional GOP agitators have grotesquely politicized and mischaracterized it. They are successfully scaring the crap out of susceptible, uninformed, conservative parents by lying that their children are being taught ‘social injustice’ and sexual perversion in school. Yes, it’s an artificially created Republican nightmare.
Republican legislatures’ “parent’s bill of rights” intend to give parents what will soon become complete control over what their kids learn. I can think of no better way of dumbing down the nation, considering national rates of adult illiteracy and parental child abuse. I offer no apology to parents now educating their progeny at home. You’re just substituting the public schools’ wider knowledge base with your own version of parental ‘indoctrination.’
Next - “Perverted concepts of actual justice that artificially balances natural inequalities in unjust ways.”
Kidney dialysis was once experimental and limited only to select patients. Medical ethics committees decided which patients ‘deserved’ dialysis. The selection criteria were biased towards White, male, employed, family breadwinners. The lives of the destitute, females, and the unemployable were perceived to be of lesser ‘value.’
A more ‘natural’ solution to choosing who would live or die would have been a random lottery.
Inequities in life outcomes often reflect the effects of bias. Our attempts to mitigate poor outcomes by attempting to engineer a more just society are apparently running afoul of the laws of unintended consequences.