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1 December 2011

Seeking Social Justice

In the last two decades, the quest for social justice, a uniquely human avocation, has gained an overriding
urgency as if to say that humanity has finally acquired a conscience. And perhaps it has? And, perhaps the
escalation in demands for justice is an abuse of a system. But can we now abandon the search for justice, even though we know that perfect justice in unavailable to us in this world? Or should we continue to seek justice against overwhelming odds at times but sometimes against one’s own inertia? Isn’t it a truism that more often than not, the perpetuation of injustice is due to inertia and not entirely due to malevolent intent?

Steadily moving towards universal justice, humanity as it expresses itself through diverse countries, constitutions, and cultures, continues to proclaim the validity of divergent notions of a just order. Within these differences lies the opportunity to exercise other values and virtues. For instance, the classics of all civilizations guide us towards the idea, language, and quest for the good in which the claims of justice are one among many other values. Some modern thinkers have complained about the loss of the language of good and its replacement by the language of freedom (Rev. George Grant). Readers might want to reflect on the hierarchy of values. Is social justice subordinate to the good? Or should social justice be the founding value for the good?

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