Warning Regarding Use of the Term Social Justice
Published Jan 22, 2012  printer-friendly

          Words are intended to reflect ideas. They have no meaning in and of themselves, but depend on the idea being expressed, the purpose of the expression, and the context in which they are spoken. Words can also have various meanings at different times in history. On a college campus today, the term Social Justice is typically meant to signify a set of political values and a political agenda associated with those who are termed left, liberal, or progressive.

Signatories :

          Robert Hunsaker, M.A. (Psychology) University of Utah: “Counseling and Social Justice” Acad. Quest. (2011) 24:319–340 DOI 10.1007/s12129-011-9242-y.

          Linda Gottfredson, Ph.D. (Sociology) Johns Hopkins University:  “Pursuing patterns, puzzles, and paradoxes." General Psychologist, (2010) 45, No. 1 (Spring), 26-32.

          Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. (Philosophy) Indiana University: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (2004).

          Lester Hunt, Ph.D. (Philosophy) UC Santa Barbara: Character and Culture (1997).

          Tibor Machan, Ph.D. (Philosophy) UC Santa Barbara: The Promise of Liberty: A Non-utopian Vision (2008).

          John Agresto, Ph.D. (Government) Cornell University: Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions (2007).

          Paul Hsieh, M.D. (Radiology) University of Michigan: Co-founder, Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine ( Former Assistant Professor of Musculoskeletal Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

          Joe Cobb, M.B.A. (Economics) University of Chicago: "What Do You Mean 'Us,' Mr. President,"  

         John Earl Haynes, Ph.D. (History) University of Florida: In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage (2003).

         Howard Blitz, M.A. University of Arizona: Founder and President:  

         James R. Edwards, Ph.D. (Economics) University of Utah: Regulation, the Constitution, and the Economy (1998).

         Jan H. Blits Ph.D. (Political Science) The New School for Social Research: Telling, Turning Moments in the Classical Political World (2011).

         Daniel B. Klein Ph.D. (Economics) New York University: Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation (2012).

         Beth Haynes, M.D. (Emergency Medicine) University of Cincinnati; Founder of The Black Ribbon Project: “Social Justice and Medical Ethics" available at

          Walter Block, Ph.D. (Columbia University) Economics: "Social Justice, Rights, and Isolationsim," Ludwig von Mises Institute (May 30, 2000), available at

          Dan Greenberg, J.D. (Arkansas University): Member of Arkansas House of Representatives and current president of the Advance Arkansas Institute.

          Rosanne DiZazzo-Miller, DrOT (Occupational Therapy) Nova Southeastern University: Professor, Wayne State University.  

          Dave Garthoff, Professor of Economics, Butchetel College of Arts & and Sciences, The University of Akron

          Pascal Salin is a French economist and professor at the Université Paris-Dauphine. He is a former president of the Mont Pelerin Society. Most recent publication: Revenir au Capitalisme Pour Eviter Les Crises (translation: Going Back to Capitalism to Avoid Crises) (2010).  

         Robert L. Campbell, Ph. D. (Psychology) University of Texas: Coauthor of "Moral development theory: A critique of its Kantian presuppositions," Developmental Review, (1996), 16, 1-47.

         Thomas Burroughes: a financial journalist, including work with Reuters, The Business and Market News International and currently an editor of a wealth management publication in the UK.

          Paul Postal, Ph.D. (Linguistics) Yale University: "Noam Chomsky and the Quest for Social Justice" available at 

Statements That Corroborate This Social Justice Warning

         Ilya Somin, J.D. (Yale University): “It’s also worth noting that many law schools have research centers that, while formally neutral, actually focus primarily on left of center ideas. Consider, for example, the many law schools with ‘social justice’ research centers." Source:(“Are Federalist Society Speaking Engagements a Major Advantage for non-Liberal Academics?” June 4, 2011,,  accessed Dec. 10, 2011).

          Peter Wood, Ph.D. (University of Rochester) Anthropology; Current President of the National Association of Scholars: “[W]e think it is rather unlikely that any reputable program dealing with the philosophical, legal, economic, and other aspects of justice would at this moment in our history decide to label itself as a program in ‘social justice’ . . . [I]t has now become in common use just a slogan tossed around in the pep rallies of the campus left. It presumably imparts a flavor of righteousness to the daily grievance mongering, but in character it is an anti-intellectual gesture. Many, perhaps most of the people mouthing it have no larger understanding of the nature of society or culture.” Source: (“A Degree in Agitprop.” NAS website., accessed Oct. 16 2011.

         Ben Shapiro, J.D. (Harvard University): "The answer to every 'social justice' question is more taxes and regulation, say the professors. People are poor and have illegitimate children to support? Tax the rich and give money to the poor. People are unemployed? Tax the rich and pay the unemployed. A small percentage of the elderly can’t plan for the future? Make everyone pay into Social Security. A small percentage of people aren’t getting proper health care? Nationalize the whole system. If we listened to the professors, we’d be living like the Cubans already." Source: (2004-05-06). Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth (Kindle Locations 508-512). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition). 

          William H. Young (Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy): "[The National Association of Scholars] has identified another doctrine that schools of education, applying critical pedagogy, have imbued in teachers and teaching: social justice, defined to mean 'the advocacy of more egalitarian access to income through state-sponsored redistribution.'" Source: (“Marxist Justice and Western Civilization,” National Association of Scholars Sept. 22, 2011,, accessed Dec. 4, 2011). 

          Kenneth Minogue (Political Philosophy - London School of Economics): "It would be no surprise to a sociologist of knowledge that the social location of  belief in social justice was in academic and civil bureaucracies: basically, that is, among a set of people who (until recently) hardly knew how difficult it is how to create wealth, and who understood an economy as a static structure in which entrepreneurs make unfair profits out of the sweat of the worker" Source: (“Social Justice in Theory and Practice” in D. Bucher and P. Kelly Eds. Social Justice From Hume to Walzer (1998) p. 255).

          K.C. Johnson, Ph.D. (History): "While students increasingly don’t even have the opportunity to study American political, legal, diplomatic, or military history in college, no guarantee exists they will encounter such material in high school, either. Led by NCATE, the accreditation agency for teacher training, between 2002 and 2006, education programs around the country championed such vague criteria as a 'disposition to promote social justice' as a requirement to become a public school teacher. Those students who didn’t accept the race/class/gender approach, therefore, couldn’t become teachers. And the students taught by those properly 'disposed' would, therefore, too often enter college with a one-sided, highly distorted view of the American past." Source: (“A Conversation with K.C. Johnson,” by Carol Ionnone in Acad. Quest. (2007) 20:211–218; p. 212, DOI 10.1007/s12129-007-9017-7).

          Robert L. Paquette, Ph.D. (University of Rochester) History: "Social justice activism has not only infiltrated college campuses, it pervades academic culture at many of this country's elite institutions of higher learning. . .  At my own institution, Hamilton College, a lavishly funded Diversity and Social Justice Project, complete with its own administrative staff, offers not only more programming than any discipline on campus, but also fellowships to undergraduates "to conduct social justice internships." Such money might underwrite student activity that, say, aids illegal immigrants, secures foot soldiers for Amnesty International, or promotes the agenda of Planned Parenthood. That's what happens when Diversity people are in charge." Source: ("War over a Trojan horse" (May 26, 2009), available at 

          David Horowitz, M.A. (Columbia University) English: "The new political orthodoxies insinuated into our universities by the left are quite different. They do not derive from the traditions of a shared American heritage and culture, but are sectarian attempts to subvert both—by deconstructing the nation’s identity and by dividing its communities into warring classes, genders and races—into victims and oppressors. For academic radicals who hope to “change the world,” teaching is not a disinterested intellectual inquiry but a form of political combat. The banner of this combat is “social justice,” the emblem that signifies to the post-Communist left the triumph of the oppressed over the oppressors." Source: (Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom (2009)(Kindle Locations 284-285). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition).

          David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and two-time Oscar nominee): "To correct this observed inequality, which the Left sees as unnatural, it invented the term 'social justice.'" Source: (The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (Kindle Locations 689-690). Sentinel. Kindle Edition). 

          David Bernstein, J.D. (Yale University): "In a dramatic move, several of the law school’s aging leftists, tired of writing about their commitment to egalitarianism and social justice and their loathing of Harvard’s elitism, and eager to put their words into action and embarrass the school and their more selfish colleagues, offered to take voluntary unpaid sabbaticals next year so that their much more poorly paid comrades could retain their jobs." Source:(“Harvard Law School Laying Off Employees Due to Budget Shortfall, May 8, 2009,, accessed Dec. 10, 2011). 

          Stanley Rothman, Ph.D. (Harvard University) Government: "Yet actual efforts to promote social justice will likely raise more specific policy objections, especially in cases where the application of social justice involves redistribution of resources. To the extent that leaders in higher education promote the university as a vanguard of programmatic social justice, they will continue to clash with constituencies both inside and beyond the walls of the academy." Source: (S. Rothman et al., (2010). The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power, Politics, and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education (Kindle Locations 3440-3441). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Kindle Edition).

          Thomas Sowell, Ph.D. (University of Chicago) Economics: "The left has a whole vocabulary devoted to depicting people who do not meet standards as people who have been denied 'access.' Whether it is academic standards, job qualifications or credit requirements, those who do not measure up are said to have been deprived of 'opportunity,' 'rights,' or 'social justice.' The word games of the left - from the mantra of 'diversity' to the pieties of 'compassion' - are not just games. They are ways of imposing power by evading issues of substance through the use of seductive rhetoric." Source: ("The Left's Vocabulary" (Aug. 2004),

         Robert Hunsaker, M.A. (University of Utah) Psychology: "Why don't social justice activists, who are by-and-large academics, present the explicit nature of social justice: I suggest that it's because of the movement's most inconvenient irony: while claimiing to fight against oppression, social justice actually perpetuates its own form of oppression by seeking to impose a far-left political agenda on all mental health professionals. Social justice's most ironic turn, then, is that it seeks to erase difference, impose its values, and proclaim only one standard of ethics." Source:("Social Justice: An Inconcenient Irony," Op-Ed in Counseling Today April 28, 92008) available at


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