Monday, March 11, 2013

Social Justice quote for the day from F.A. Hayek

Since the medical progressive leadership has at least nominally enshrined the pursuit of social justice as a ethical requirement for all physicians I think it is appropriate to at least look at what various prominent philosophers have had to say about the concept of social justice. Such a look is justified if for no other reason that the various polemics promoting a social justice imperative for physicians were bereft of any consideration  of the impressive body of thought which rejects social justice  as a meaningful concept.

FA Hayek's writings are  prominence in that regard .The following quote is from his lengthy treatise "Law,Legislation and Liberty" Volume 2,The Mirage of Social Justice"

"[I]n...a system in which each is allowed to use his knowledge for his own purposes the concept of `social justice' is necessarily empty and meaningless, because in it nobody's will can determine the relative incomes of the different people, or prevent that they be partly dependent on accident. `Social justice' can be given a meaning only in a directed or `command' economy (such as an army) in which the individuals are ordered what to do; and any particular conception of `social justice' could be realized only in such a centrally directed system...In a free society in which the position of the different individuals and groups is not the result of anybody's design--or could, within such a society, be altered in accordance with a generally applicable principle--the differences in reward simply cannot meaningfully be described as just or unjust." (pp. 69-70)

One Sociology text book version of what the concept of social justice  typically involves is the following:

  • Historical inequities insofar as they affect current injustices should be corrected until the actual inequities no longer exist or have been perceptively "negated".
  • The redistribution of wealth, power and status for the individual, community and societal good.
  • It is government's (or those who hold significant power) responsibility to ensure a basic quality of life for all its citizens.
Those precepts while standard fare in the social democracies of Europe could not be more different than the notion of justice expressed in the U.S. constitution and in the thoughts of John Locke.

 Why the views of classical liberalism should be excluded from medical ethics without discussion and the standard welfare state progressive's notion of social justice be included is by no mean clear nor was a cogent argument for that presented in either the New Professionalism on the new ACP ethics.
 


No comments: