In part 1, Scott Allen wrote that today’s ideological social justice sweeping the West is a dangerous worldview rooted in atheistic philosophy. It diminishes the reality of human beings as unique individuals, takes aim at the family and is anti-American. In part 2, Scott gives six more important observations about “social justice” ideology.
Social justice ideology hides behind innocuous euphemisms and redefined words, and manipulates human empathy.
Social Justice ideology is deceptively branded by a variety of innocuous euphemisms, including “Social Justice” and “equity, diversity, and inclusion.” It is “antiracist” and believes that “Black Lives Matter.” Only haters, bigots, and white supremacists could oppose such things. Yet, none of these words or phrases mean what you might think. In fact, the ideology inverts them. For example, “equity” means equality of outcome, which demands various forms of social engineering whereby different groups are necessarily treated unequally. Diversity is strictly limited to categories of skin color, sex, and gender identity, and doesn’t apply to diverse viewpoints within groups. If your skin is black, you are expected to think and act “black.” This isn’t diversity, but oppressive conformity. “Inclusion” certainly doesn’t apply to members of so-called oppressor groups; rather, such individuals are expected to exclude themselves or be forcibly excluded. This same manipulation of language is applied to words like “justice,” “racism,” “marriage,” and “white supremacy.” Older, established definitions have been jettisoned, replaced by new definitions that promulgate the ideology. Social Justice ideology also manipulates our natural human empathy, and twists it in service of the ideology. Whether it is pushing the false narrative of “hands up, don’t shoot,” or repeating, mantra-like, the words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe,” it advances by manipulating strong emotional responses, while bypassing reason, facts, and evidence.
It is hostile to the foundations of free, self-governing nations.
Proponents of Social Justice ideology have utter disdain for traditional liberal values such as respect for individual rights, free speech, religious liberty, property rights, and personal achievement. Zinnia Un, the Director of the Department of Equity and Inclusion for the Tigard-Tualatin School District near Portland, Oregon, describes systemic oppression as an amalgamation of “colorblindness,” “individualism,” and “meritocracy.” These and other traditional values are social ills to be eradicated. In the summer of 2020, the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History released an infographic describing the hallmarks of systemically oppressive “white culture,” including:
- The individual is assumed to be in control of their environment
- The traditional family
- Emphasis on the scientific method
- Objective thinking
- The importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition
- Hard work is a key to success
- Goal oriented
- Work before you play
- Respect authority
- Plan for the future
- Delayed gratification
Are these “white” values, or, are they ancient biblical values that have shaped cultures over millennia? While Social Justice ideology decries “white culture” as an oppressive evil, the real target of its contempt is Judeo-Christian civilization and its foundation: The God of the Bible.
It advances by fostering divisions, hostility, and grievances.
If we are not creations of God, made in His divine image, then there is no “human nature” we share in common. There is no basis for social unity. If we are defined by our “identity groups,” and these groups are in a never-ending, zero-sum competition for power and domination, then there is no basis for forgiveness or reconciliation. The inevitable result is division, tribalism, and enmity. Wherever Social Justice ideology takes root, whether in schools, churches, businesses, or families, the result is always the same: conflict and polarization.
A key tactic of Social Justice advocates since the 1960s has been to invent and normalize “identity groups” including such ill-defined categories as “Hispanic” and “Asian-American,” not to mention “White.” These groups are then classified as either “victim” or “oppressor” with various penalties accruing to oppressors, and benefits to victims, such as advantages in hiring, government contracts, school admission, and social services. Because victimization is incentivized, many are constantly on the lookout for some way to bolster their victim status. They are hypersensitive, ready to take offense at the slightest “microagression,” and even resort to hate-crime hoaxes in some cases.
It repudiates the aims of the civil-rights movement.
Martin Luther King Junior famously dreamed of an America where his children would be judged by the content of their character not the color of their skin. How different this is from the ideology of Social Justice, where the very notion of “colorblind” is viewed as hateful and oppressive. Social Justice ideology, instead, promotes racial essentialism. It elevates sex, gender identity, and skin-color to the very pinnacle of human identity. For proponents of critical race theory, all that is important about you can be known by your skin color, with judgments made on that basis alone. Let’s call this what it is: racism. By repudiating colorblindness, Social Justice proponents renounce Martin Luther King’s famous dream, and the civil-rights movement he fought so hard to advance. Social Justice ideology isn’t about healing racial divisions but exacerbating them, which is exactly what is happening in America as this ideology expands its influence.
It is revolutionary and totalitarian.
Advocates of Social Justice ideology talk constantly about their commitment to “deconstruct” and “dismantle” various social systems, structures, and norms. At a 2018 Human Rights Campaign awards banquet, Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway spoke for many when she declared, with tears in her eyes, “Together we are not going to just question this myth [referring to the “hegemonic narrative” imposed by dominant white, straight, males], we are going to destroy it … Let’s tear this world apart and build a better one.” At heart, the ideology of Social Justice is revolutionary, and the revolution it seeks is based on the pattern established by other totalitarian socialist revolutions in places like France, Russia, and China. The tactics used in this revolution reflect the ideology’s rejection of historic Western, liberal traditions. It isn’t interested in civil discussion, compromise, argument or debate. Rather, it utilizes highly coercive power tactics reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution: speech codes, bullying, shaming, and “cancel culture.”
It is deeply entrenched in our systems of education.
The advances that Social Justice ideology has made in the culture are largely the result of focused, strategic efforts to embed it within our systems of education, both K-12 and higher education. Our teacher training schools are strongholds of Social Justice ideology. Dropping any pretense of religious neutrality, the Biden Administration Department of Education is pushing hard for public schools across the nation to indoctrinate students in a deeply anti-biblical “Social Justice” curriculum and pedagogy. In a May 2021 article in City Journal titled “The Child Soldiers of Portland: Public schools are training children to become race-conscious revolutionaries,” journalist Christopher Rufo exposes in great detail just how deeply entrenched Social Justice ideology is in three Metro-Portland school districts. The same thing is happening all over the country, hidden behind nice sounding words like “diversity” and “antiracism.” Thankfully, some states, like Idaho and Tennessee, are banning critical race theory-based education.
It’s past time for Christian parents and educators to fight back. The future of our children and our nation depend on it. Not only do we need to eradicate Social Justice ideology from our systems of education, we need to rediscover our own rich, biblical educational tradition that aims at virtuous self-government, wisdom, and human flourishing. A great place to start that journey of rediscovery is by reading the latest book by my colleague Darrow Miller, Don’t Let Schooling Stand in the Way of Education: A Biblical Response to the Crisis in Public Education.
- Scott Allen