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Justice Justice

June 29th, 2011 - 10:41 am

I demand justice justice.

No, I don’t have a stutter. What I want is justice for the word “justice” itself.

Because, you see, “justice” has been hijacked by the American left and is now their exclusive weapon. It is no longer a politically neutral word; whenever you see the word “justice” — especially preceded by another noun — it invariably is meant to convey some far-left position.

A History of Crimes Against Justice

The degradation of “justice” started with the phrase “social justice,” a concept which was originally only a religious term but which was later adopted (and re-defined) by the American left to have political connotations. Use of the word “justice” as a leftist buzzword was given a big boost in 1971 with the publication of A Theory of Justice by philosopher John Rawls, which focused on “justice” as the axle around which liberal thought rotated.

Let a Hundred Justices Bloom

In the mid-’70s, the end of the Vietnam War deprived the professional left of its main protest topic, so they cast around for something new to whine about. In the absence of any glaringly urgent crisis, such as a war, they settled on a scattershot array of issues which could be unified under the generalized label “social justice.” Any aspect of American society which was insufficiently leftist suddenly needed a good dose of “social justice” to rectify things.

This overall blanket term was OK for a while, but with the arrival of the new millennium there was a rapid expansion of the “justice” concept. With breathtaking speed, justice-related terms proliferated exponentially in the early 2000s, and within a decade it became nearly impossible to even keep track of all the different “justices” we were expected to achieve.

The trend started with the two justice titans: “economic justice,” and “racial justice.” And someone must have thought: Why stop there? Soon we started seeing demands for “environmental justice” and “reproductive justice.” And then the floodgates were opened. The global warming scare brought us “climate justice“; the drive for socialized medicine became “health care justice“; amnesty for illegals transmogrified into “immigrant justice“; and on and on it went. By now we have

food justice
housing justice
gender justice
workplace justice
farmworker justice
urban justice
media justice
disability justice
transformative justice
birthing justice
prison justice

…to name just a few. Go to any protest or visit a left-wing Web site and you’ll find dozens more “justices” that need immediate resolution.

Want to give your hobby the veneer of righteousness? Just think of a noun, affix the word “justice” after it, and voilà: You’re part of the solution! Yes, it’s that easy.

Language Molestation

In fact, the abuse of “justice” has become so widespread that you can immediately identify the political slant of any group just by looking for the word “justice” in their name or literature; if they prominently feature justice, then they’re left-wing; if they don’t, then they’re not.

Of course, this was part of the plan from the beginning: to use language as a weapon. Find a word that everybody likes, with a universally positive vibe, and then use it relentlessly and ungrammatically as a catch-all euphemism for socialist goals. We want justice, thus we must be the good guys! And any group that isn’t for some kind of justice must therefore be in favor of injustice, and as a result must be the bad guys.

Don’t think for one minute that such linguistic gymnastics are accidental. The left puts an immense amount of effort into branding and framing and public perception. And they’re quite self-congratulatory about the whole process: they invariably think their wordsmithery has worked to shift public opinion leftward.

But of course those of us outside the bubble see that it doesn’t work at all. When you abuse a word like “justice” (or another good example, “rights”), all you succeed in doing is to contaminate the word’s original connotation. So that by now, when average Americans see the word “justice” in a political context, they don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling like they used to, but instead see a giant flashing neon sign that says “LEFTIST EUPHEMISM.”

Each word only has so much accumulated credibility that you can expend before you drain it dry. Poor old “justice.” By now it has been so misused and molested that it’s not only been drained dry, it’s acquired an entirely new connotation — and not a good one.

Which is exactly why we need a new movement — let’s get justice for justice. The word needs to be saved from the clutches of its abusers and restored to its former glory.

Justice justice now!

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