We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The academic left has created a great deal of mischief by appropriating wholesome words for unwholesome ends. This game has been perfected with diversity, inclusion, social justice, and sustainability – all words that mean roughly the opposite of what they sound like.

Diversity on college campuses denotes both lockstep conformity on identity group politics and radical stereotyping of people by race. Inclusion means excluding anyone who dissents from the prevailing orthodoxy. Social justice often means overriding fundamental freedoms and individual rights to impose arbitrary rule by elite redistributionists. Sustainability means transferring authority to decide how to use our resources from the marketplace to ill-informed bureaucrats.

Peter Wood

(hat tip to Michael Jennison)

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    “Social Justice” first – it is based on the assumption that income and wealth are rightfully owned by “the people” as a collective and should be “distributed” according to some rule of “fairness”.

    This is incompatible (utterly incompatible) with the traditional view of justice – as to each their own (private property rights) and basic liberty.


    A lie – for there is no tolerance for the local culture or for diversity of OPINION (not many Republicans allowed in American academia).


    Used as a title for radically Unsustainable statist policies.

  • Joseph W.

    “Sustainability” means — “Zero Growth, our old slogan, didn’t sell so well. So we’ll go on opposing any new development, but we’ll sound more sophisticated by using this word.”

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I like to point out that racial ‘diversity’ logically requires anti-miscegenation laws to preserve its raw materials. This causes spluttering.

  • James

    Reminds me of this old joke:

    What’s the opposite of diversity?


  • Mike Giles

    I’ve alway felt that can be translated as: “I’ve got mine, so we can stop all this progress”.

  • Johnnydub

    You can add “Equality” when they mean hierarchy e.g. the treatment of women in Muslim communities, or the black community’s approach to gays or rap music’s attitude to women…

  • Tedd

    If we get things right, our technological and economic development will be indefinitely unsustainable.

  • john in cheshire

    Also add ‘progressive’ and ‘activist’.

  • Laird

    How about the granddaddy of them all: liberal.

  • RRS

    “Social Justice” first

    No, first, “Social Injustice.”

    If we start with what is not “just” rather than any Rawlesian or other approach as to what may be required as just conditions, just actions and just results, “Social” seems to lose its significance in the discussion.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And, of course, “gay.” *snarl*

    We do not have to play this game. We can use both a given word and its “euphemistic,” hijacked substitute in their longtime, well-understood, conventional-English (or Urdu, for that matter) meanings. We only need to make it clear, whether by the context or by explicit explanation, that we are returning to the former, more honest (and meaningful) usage.

    Of course, many people will engage in a famous chimp pastime over it, with us as the disfavored targets. But then, they do that anyway. :>)

  • pst314

    Make that “ill informed and corrupt bureaucrats”.

  • Kevin B

    What’s that fancy new phrase for eugenics? Oh yes, fertility managament.

    Nice to know that so many of our betters, like Al Gore and Prince Charlie, are ready to step up to the plate and manage our fertility for us.

  • Andrew Duffin

    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record (what’s one of those, Grandad? Oh all right then…) I will just point out that the word “social” as a prefix negates the meaning of whatever it’s used to qualify. See under “social wage”, “social cost”, “social justice”, “social worker”, etc etc.

  • pete

    Lefty academics often tell us to celebrate diversity but seem as keen as others on their wages to avoid as much of that diversity as possible when it comes to choosing where to live and where to send their children to school.

  • RRS

    Andrew D.,

    There is, of course, Hayek’s well-known essay What Is Social – What Does It Mean?

    The use of “Social” does not necessarily negate the meaning of what ever it is used to qualify or modify.
    What that qualification and modification indicates is either the intentions of the user or the inadequacy of arguments.

  • Laird

    RRS, the modifier “social” may not necessarily negate the meaning (actually, I wouldn’t say “negate” but rather “invert”), but as a practical matter that’s a pretty fair starting assumption. I can’t think of an example where that rule doesn’t apply; can you offer one?

  • RRS


    I am not sure whether this will be directly responsive to your question, but perhaps:

    If you can accept that “justice” is the performance of obligations, then one application of “Social Justice” would be the performance of obligations through social instrumentalities.

    Is that too far a stretch?

    That does not put my views in the Rawlsian or similar camps.

  • RRS

    I could expand further upon “social worker” or “social work,” if it would be helpful.

  • Laird

    I suppose “social work[er]” is an example of your point, but clearly not “social justice”, which is clearly the antithesis of “justice” as traditionally understood. In fact, I would posit that “social justice” is the quintessential example of the “inversion” rule.

  • arkleseizure

    Wandering a little off topic, Trotsky was keen on Eugenics,
    “Even purely physiologic life will become subject to collective experiments. The human species, the coagulated Homo sapiens, will once more enter into a state of radical transformation … The human race will not have ceased to crawl on all fours before God, kings and capital, in order later to submit humbly before the dark laws of heredity and a blind sexual selection!”
    Thus being bred like animals by a totalitarian progressive Elite ‘man’ will have the ‘dignity’ of no longer crawling on all fours. Its all about our dignity!. Dont know how diversity fits in to the Trot master race, but I am sure that circle can be squared.
    Didn’t Miliband’s grandfather fight alongside Trotsky in his murderous invasion of Poland?. That family dont seem to care much for the people,culture or traditions of any country that they fetch up in.

  • ‘Social work(er)’ seems to be a category error, since what we seem to be discussing are philosophical ideas, abstract notions, political positions etc., not concrete activities such as ‘work’.

  • john in cheshire

    I would suggest that the full term is ‘socialist worker’; ie some form of communist. Also, any job that has the word ‘social’ in its title should be abolished. And, what goes through the mind of someone who decides that want to be a social(ist) worker; it’s surely not an aspiration for normal people.

  • RRS

    Alisa & laird,

    (With an aside to Cheshire)

    To Alisa’s point, with her editing experience, I would defer. I go further and take her position concerning the abstract. Objective observation leads me to the subjective conclusion that there is such a thing as a Social Order.

    So what does social mean in the context of Social Order? Observation indicates it is Association (usually of interests or ideologies) in accordance with their commonalities of occurrence amongst individuals in the relationships formed in their interactions.

    Where sufficient, those commonalities of interests or ideologies are observed to produce commonalities of objectives of conduct, such as compassions, care for the sick, concern for children, the elderly and the less capable – to name some.

    Variations in cultures produce differences in associations and differences in social orders. Those variations include substantial differences in the kinds of commonalities encountered. None of this is meant to obscure the conflicts that arise and persist in associations of all kinds.

    As to the justice Laird refers to, the anthropological evidence of the need, from primitive times onward, to achieve some degree of predictability in the conduct of all members of a social order would seem to lead to the conclusion that Justice is the performance of obligations. If it is assumed to be something else, perhaps we should explain why social (or group) facilities might not be a means for satisfying or attaining that particular condition of justice described.

    Now, Cheshire,

    My daughter does psychiatric evaluations in the emergency rooms of 3 area hospitals. That work occurs in a clinical setting, but is described as social work because it deals with social problems that occur in our social order. You might change the “label” on that work, but I wonder if you would want to do away with the job.

    Unlike Gertrude Stein’s “Rose,” all that which is called “Social” is not social. For its concept, “Socialism” requires a social order. But the concept of a social order does not require and is not dependent upon socialism.