Moving Towards Totalitarianism in Our Pursuit of Social JusticePursuit of various visions of social justice probably accounts for most human misery. What’s more, the historical pattern that has emerged has been one whereby one form of injustice is replaced by one that is far worse. Russia’s 1917 revolution expelling the Czars, and their injustices, ushered in Lenin, Stalin and a succession of brutal dictators who murdered tens of millions in the name of the proletariat revolution. The injustices of Chiang Kai-shek were replaced with those of Mao Tse-tung; Castro’s ousting of Batista or Ayatollah Khomeini’s toppling of the Shah of Iran produced regimes far more brutal. In Africa, after independence, the injustices of colonial powers were replaced with those of brutal dictators. The slaughter of nearly 200 million poor souls, not including war deaths, during the 20th century, was a direct result of pursuit of visions of social justice such as income equality, promoting the common good and fighting the so-called evils of capitalism. As if by design, measures taken to produce what was seen as the good society lowered both the common man’s human rights protections and his standard of living.
By contrast, after the American revolution, we laid the groundwork that produced the world’s freest people. However, for most of the 20th century, we have been losing ground. If you ask the question which way are we heading – away from totalitarianism or towards it – there is no question that, by tiny steps at a time, we are heading towards totalitarianism and arbitrary governmental abuse and control. Some Americans are naive enough to think that the oppression seen in other countries can’t happen here. But let’s not forget that the countr…
…t determine what is or is not moral conduct. In Nazi-Germany, there were laws that required the reporting of a person hiding a Jew. In our country, the Fugitive Slave Act made assisting runaway slaves a crime. In apartheid South Africa, hiring blacks for certain work was illegal. In the former East Germany, assisting people in their efforts to escape to the West was illegal. Would any decent person demand that any of these laws be obeyed? Decent people must always ask: Does the law have a moral basis?
Liberty is not mankind’s normal state of affairs. Liberty is fragile. Our liberties are under siege because most Americans are ignorant about our Constitution and its philosophical underpinnigs. Thus, we fall easy prey to political charlatans and quacks all too ready to exploit this ignorance in their quest for power and to satisfy popular visions of social justice.