Mar 25, 2022
A lot of comments on Justice Creep fell into three categories:
First, people who thought some variety of: yes, all this stuff is definitely a justice issue, and it’s good that language is starting to reflect that more. For example, Adnamanil:
So... as someone who actually does use "___" Justice, quite frequently, I'd like to say that I think it's a good thing to reframe "helping the poor" or "saving the poor" as "pursuing economic justice." I don't think it's a good thing for people to think of themselves as saviors, to me that's a really unhealthy and unhelpful mindset which results in people who aren't themselves poor thinking they can be the experts and the decision-makers, and that there is something wrong with poor people, that they need to be "saved" or "fixed." We live in a world where there is enough food to feed everyone, yet people go hungry; enough shelter to keep everyone warm, yet people go cold. To me, that says there is something wrong with our system of resource distribution, not with the people who ended up, for one reason or another, being left out of it.
Does that result in a sense of responsibility to fix the system? Yes! Does it imply that we don't live in Utopia? Yes! Because we don't. And I don't think we should pretend to. But it also implies that we *could* live in utopia. It demonstrates a real hope about the possibility of utopia. It says, "if we could figure out how to live together better, we could all have enough to eat and be warm."
Regardless of whether it is useful -and I hope it is- I think that honesty compels a clear-eyed person to talk about many of these things in terms of justice, even in the narrowest conception of justice.
The mistake in Scott’s article is assuming that these forms of justice are merely metaphors or analogies on criminal justice. Many of these are about justice in exactly the same sense that crimes are about justice- no metaphor required. Of course, they are also about being just in other senses- justice was never just about crime. For example, one can detect demands for social justice in the bible that go far beyond "wouldn't it be nice to help people", but nonetheless aren’t framed in terms of the criminal law.
Nevertheless, yes, climate justice and economic justice- for example- are also about being just in the same way laws against murder are- no stretching of meaning is required…