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Commentary: ‘Social justice’ is a euphemism for ‘tyranny’

Deep down, I’m just a simple, provincial lawyer

So, the powerlust that motivates what is called “the social justice crowd” has always been something I couldn’t fathom. I gave up trying to understand their motivation decades ago.

In rereading John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” though, I may have finally found the understanding I was seeking. The most powerful passage in the poem is when, upon his expulsion from Heaven, Satan wakes up next to the burning lake in Hell and delivers a monologue to rationalize his situation.

In that monologue, he utters the classic line, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

That desire to reign in Hell, I believe, must be what drives all those who advocate for positive rights, such as the right to health care, as opposed to negative rights, such as the right to free speech.

Logically, something like health care cannot be considered a right. After all, if one person has a right to do nothing, yet still receive free health care, then so does everyone. But someone has to actually provide the health care, someone has to invent and manufacture pills, and someone else has to create the wealth needed to pay for it all.

Yet all those people have the right to do nothing while someone else provides for their health, too. So, creating a right to health care for all ultimately must lead to no health care for anyone.

Until that point was reached, though, what would happen if health care were to be recognized as a right is that a new class would arise – the class that gets to order Doctor A to provide health services to Citizen A, and Citizen B to pay for it.

In other words, someone gets to reign in Hell; and the social justice crowd wants to be the ones who do.

A right to state-provided legal representation in civil cases would be no different. Some lucky citizens would get free lawyers; some poor citizens would have to pay for them; some lawyers would have to provide the legal services; and someone would get to decide who are the chosen ones, and who has to be the saps.

The social justice crowd wants to reign in Hell, and be the ones to make those choices.

That would be a much cushier job than setting up a law practice and doing the hard work necessary to get and keep clients.

Thus, by returning to Milton’s classic work, I finally discovered that speaking of positive rights is just code language for expressing the desire to reign, rather than to serve.

And that “social justice” is just a euphemism for “tyranny.”


  1. O.k., I can say more: Check it out at about 2:30 in to the clip.

  2. This column is well-stated and accurately sums up why so-called positive rights should be cast onto the dustbin of history as yet Another Bad Idea.

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