"If the major opportunities for future growth of government lie in the area of conventional taxation, are there any defenses available to the citizenry? ... Perhaps the most fruitful advice comes in two parts. The first piece of advice is to avoid war and the rumor of war: this is history's greatest boon to the tax man. ... The second piece of advice is to seek ways of inhibiting government's ability conveniently to increase its collections. Possibly the very increase in that ability that is in prospect can be turned to account by a constitutional provision which forbade the income tax, and perhaps even the storage of information regarding individual incomes by third parties, including government." ~ Benjamin Ward
Social Justice Warriors Are Assholes
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
The Social Justice Warrior (SJW) phenomenon has gotten a lot of discussion lately. There is more to it than first appears.
SJWs operate primarily through social disapproval, although like almost any interest group they also enlist government in their cause, if they can. An example of the latter is telling landlords who they must rent to. Of course there are also dodges to get around such meddling. Anyway, this article is not about the government side of the equation.
In his book, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill railed against social disapproval. Obviously he thought it as important an opponent to liberty, as any government action. Social disapproval must have been very strong in his day. Somehow though, I can’t agree with his main point, mostly because social disapproval does not violate NAP; this is so even though some people have lost their jobs through it. Disapproving of somebody is not aggression. Talking about it is not, either.
Years ago, social disapproval was a tool used primarily by Christians. Their free-thinking opponents were for “anything goes” and “do your own thing.” Nowadays, social disapproval is used primarily against Christians; they are now getting a dose of their own medicine. Strangely, those formerly in the mindset of “do your own thing” are now the ones wielding the social disapproval bludgeon. I guess it has morphed into “do my thing”! This is the normal progression when a class or group of people, formerly without power, finally gets their hands on some of it. The old principles and virtues get kicked to the curb. These people don’t look or act like John Lennon any more. Don’t expect humans to be consistent; they ain’t got it in ‘em.
For all the carping about SJWs now being against free speech and for political correctness, a perfectly free society would probably have a lot of SJW activity. When there is no government to regulate society and define its norms, social disapproval will expand to fill the role. So this latest bit of it (outside the government interventions) is hardly unexpected. We experienced weak social disapproval for quite a while and got used to that, but it seems to be back with a vengeance lately. Oh, well . . . .
One thing that social disapproval violates, if not NAP, is MYOB (minding your own business). Just because social disapproval is permissible in a free society, does not mean one is not an asshole for wielding that tool. Yes, sad to say, there still will be assholes in Libertarian Paradise. In the old days the people telling dark brown people not to use water fountains reserved for “whites,” or objecting to Jackie Robinson, were expressing social disapproval, and they were also being assholes. These days the people complaining about triggers are expressing social disapproval and being assholes as well. They are the spiritual descendants of Bull Connor back in the 1950s and 1960s (granted, Connor was in government, but I’m talking about his mindset, not his occupation).
Social disapproval can be a useful tool, though a bit crude. The Mormons have used shunning to keep their communities effectively all Mormon, and this is thought a good thing for Mormons (no doubt with some dissent within their ranks about it). However, the reluctance of being thought an asshole is perhaps enough to keep its use to a low roar. Though a tool for regulating society, it turns out it is self-regulated as well.