Dr. Ronald Nash spent much of his academic career assessing and critiquing social justice. After years of research he offers three arguments against the growing cancer: 1. It is reductionistic and far too simplistic in its formula 2. It invariably chokes freedom and life from society and 3. Social justice inevitably gives power and money to the political class, at the expense of all others.
Social Justice is Reductionistic
“Many people think that justice and equality are equivalent. Contemporary Liberals view equality as an unqualified good.” This is surely a mistake, according to the late Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) professor. This readily becomes apparent when considering more ancient views on justice.
Ronald Nash was a contemporary at the RTS-Orlando campus with RC Sproul, both teaching apologetics and worldview. Nash’s book Freedom, Justice and the State, expounds a more robust and living view of justice than that found in liberalism.
1. If Jones does better work than any other student in the class, he is due the best grade.
2. If Jones (presumably, in this case, Ms. Jones) is the prettiest contestant in a beauty contest, she is due first prize.
3. If Jones is the first to finish the race, he is due the prize.
4. If Jones is promised something by Smith, Jones is due the fulfillment of the promise.
5. If Jones’ property is stolen or damaged by Smith, Jones is due whatever reparation is required to restore what he lost.
Clear as day from this list is the fact that what is merited and why cannot be reduced to one and the same thing. No simple formula will do; this is the problem with social justice. For it tries to squeeze all applications of justice into Karl Marx’s formula of, “From each, according to his…,to each according to his…” Time and again, we try words like, “need,” “effort,” “acheivement,” and so on. But these criteria “would fit some situations and not others.” What is owed to each man changes with different circumstances. With work and his boss, a man is owed based on the contracted wages determined, and the hours put in; with family and home, he deserves an equal slice of mother’s homemade Thanksgiving pie.