End of the Republic

The American Republic is in decline. The decline is self-inflicted, a sort of suicide by choice. Why are people deciding to follow the "Road to Serfdom" over the "Road to Freedom"?

Location: Chesapeake Beach, MARYLAND, United States

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

An introduction to social justice

I have not been blogging for a while... my bad. I will "get back on the horse".

I wanted to discuss the topic of social justice. Social justice is defined in two different ways these days. There are those who think social justice will be achieved when we have equal educational opportunities for all, equal access to social services (health care, pensions, etc.) or (on a more extreme side) even equality of outcomes. On the other hand are those who believe that social justice simply means equality before the law.
The two definitions of social justice are mutually exclusive. If the country is to practice the first theory of social justice (equal opportunity, etc.), then the government (or other agency designed to dispense social justice) necessarily has to treat those who are better off (have more opportunities) differently than those who it deems are "in need" of assistance. In other words, the government does not view all people as equals. It views some people as the chattel it uses to obtain resources and others as recipients of the redistributed "opportunities". The government does not start with the premise of "all people are equal" - think about it. If the government started with the premise of "all people are equal", then there would be no need for any form of redistribution of wealth or of opportunity. Those who support this theory of social justice do not want all men on an equal footing before the law. They want the law to be enforced differently for different people. Some will benefit from the law and others will have to pay the cost.
The other definition of social justice only treats people as equal before the law. Neither equality of opportunity nor equality of outcome are important. Essentially, this theory comes from the idea that mankind is not perfect in the execution of his judgment. If we were all perfect (and made perfect decisions), then our outcomes would all become equal in the long run. We are not perfect beings. Some people will make better decisions than others. Some people will make their own opportunities. The result is an unequal distribution of ideas, wealth, and chance. The unequal distribution of intelligence and the ability to put it to a productive use leads directly to inequality in "material terms". Where does the government fit in this realm? Its only role is to make all citizens equal in its eyes. It merely protects them from theft, fraud, or any kind of coerced wrong-doings. All citizens are equal in its eyes. What I mean to say is that all citizens are equally worthy of its protection. This theory of social justice does not benefit the many at the cost of a few. At the same time it does not benefit the few at the cost of the many. The government benefits all equally. As for who pays the cost, I will write a small blog on public finance in a free society shortly.

What kind of society would you like to live in? One where the government (and its use of force) can treat some people differently than others or one in which we are all looked upon as equal citizens?

The Matz

Monday, December 06, 2004

Seems like Mr. Individualist is up to something! Probably drank too much Ethiopian wine. Lucky guy!

On some fun

I have been a little remiss in updating this site and responding to questions as of late. I am doing some research on a few issues and points raised in prior discussions. I am also enjoying the holidays and my family and friends.

Thanksgiving was pretty sweet. I really like it when there is no vomit involved with Thanksgiving. My brother came into town from Indianapolis. It was wonderful to spend a few days with him. I had a really good time. I think he did, too!
My sister came down from Baltimore with her friend for the evening. I felt a little bad for her because she does not eat pork and since our turkey was slathered in bacon and stuffed with sausage....
My friend Sanju made a re-appearance after about 5 years. We saw him a few weeks before Thanksgiving and invited him over. I think he had a good time hanging out with us after all these years. He and I share the same birthday too!
My other friends came over with their newborn baby. I got to hold him for sometime. I feel I had a lot to be thankful for.
My take on Thanksgiving is this: It is a celebration of our production. Over the entire year we have worked really hard. Thanksgiving is the time of year to have our friends and family over and celebrate the fact that we can have a Tur-duck-hen. Why? Because we have worked hard to acquire it. Nobody gave it to us. Even our relationships with our friends and family are the result of working to maintain them and make them flourish. We earned all of that food and all of our friends! Thank you Turkey day!

My company's holiday party is coming up and my wife will miss it. She is going out of town on behalf of her work.... Talk about a role reversal. As a result, I invited my sister to the Christmas party. Call me a dork if you want. I think I have another thing to be Thankful for: I have two wonderful women who can stand me long enough to go out for an evening!

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce a friend of mine from around the world: Mr. Individualist. I met him last January while in Ethiopia. I was so glad to encounter a similar mind. I hope to have him over to my house one day - perhaps for Thanksgiving. We always had good discussions and I do miss his company and support. It is difficult to find people who THINK in our line of work. I think I will post a picture of him next!

Let's see.... Where have I been. This will quickly catch up all of you who are not up to date with all of my travels.
South Africa
Cape Verde
Dominican Republic
St. Kitts & Nevis

I hope to visit a lot more soon!
Now - to post that picture!

J. Thyme Matz