Phi Beta Cons

Barone gets it exactly right

Writing over at NRO Michael Barone hits upon the truth regarding the Duke case — and much else — when he says that to the leftist intelligentsia, it’s important that the victim always be seen as virtuous, and that anyone from the oppressor class who is accused must always be guilty.
I suspect that this way of looking at the world stems from the incessant reiteration of that empty phrase “social justice.” In the western tradition, justice is an individual concept. People can act justly or unjustly, but they do so on their own. They do not act for or “represent” any supposed class when they act. The social justice idea, however, makes people think in terms of groups. This oppressed group doesn’t have all it deserves because some other, dominant group takes too much.
That way of thinking is rooted in an atavistic view similar to that associated with tribes who think that if any member of Tribe X does something bad to any member of our tribe, then any and all members of X are bad and deserve whatever harm can be done to them. It was a great advance for humanity when we got away from thinking in tribal terms and began thinking in terms of individuals. That advance seems to be in danger from those who insist that everything must be analyzed with respect to various “class” issues.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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