As an observer of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) for a while now, I’ve noticed certain patterns, mainly that there is a distinct lack of universality and logical consistency to the movement. To explain in brief, universality means that on an abstract level, the moral status of an act, a statement or a thought are to be applied universally to a population. For instance, if it is wrong for men to hit women, then it is also wrong for women to hit men. If it is wrong for white people to be racist, it is also wrong for people of color. If it is wrong for white people to be anti-Semitic then it is also wrong for Arabs to be anti-Semitic.
This basic principle is the foundation of the Western legal system, where we punish the act that was done, not the person who did it or their reasoning for doing so. This has been subtly undermined by things such as “hate crime” laws that punish both acts and the motivation behind them, in a sense they take into account who the victim and perpetrator are, in addition to the act.
In the Marxist perspective of a social justice warrior, the class warfare that Marx had as a central piece of doctrine as adapted to work with a string of victim classes, that are perceived as being oppressed. For instance, a Saudi royal is oppressed as being both a person of color and a Muslim, whereas a white male who is barely scraping by is privileged. In essence, each person is reduced to only their race, sexuality, gender identity and wealth for which you can apply a simple scoring system. For instance the black male who grew up in the ghetto is more privileged than the black woman who grew up with multi-millionaire parents. Because of this Marxist perspective, you are free to apply judgments regardless of universality, as each person has their value not in themselves but in the various boxes within the privilege hierarchy they belong.
This creates a system of morality and social structure that is entirely relative where no logical mind can navigate without previous instruction (usually in social justice classes) for many of us, principles are applied universally without regard to the physical signifier of a person. What I mean in this case with logical consistency is that in the case of the #Blacklivesmatter movement, they should focus both on black lives lost when they are shot by Police officers, but also on black police officers who are shot by black criminals. In the case of feminism in addition to launching a campaign of campus rape hoaxes, they should focus on the very real rape epidemics perpetrated by people of color against their own population in countries such as Syria and Libya.
This creates a situation where you get moral and logical paradoxes, where you can not use the act as a sole determinant for morality is as often done in legal systems. You cannot use deontological ethics, which frequently look to intent. Finally, you cannot use consequentalist ethics that frequently look to the consequences of an act. However, you can evaluate Social Justice Ethics against the two standards.
In social justice ethics, the rules that dictate whether an act is moral or immoral is relative to each person.
In Deontological ethics, the rules that dictate if an act is moral or immoral are constant, based on intent.
In Consequentialist ethics the rules that dictate whether an act is moral or immoral are constant based on consequences.
The subtle difference here is that while in both mainstream forms of ethics, we can create rules that would apply to every single member of a population, that can then be applied universally.
Social justice ethics on the other hand ensures that you would need a set of rules that cover all combinations of situation. For instance, if we based the law on SJW ethics, then you would need 1 set of rules for each oppressed group. For instance, if a Person of Color murders a white person you have 1 law, if a white person murders a person of color, you have a second law, and so on. The only people who would be happy with such legislation would probably be lawyers because the more complex the law becomes, the higher demand for lawyers will become.
If we compare social justice ethics to the other two main branches of ethics again:
Social Justice Ethics dictate that whether an act is right or wrong depends on the participants in the situation, their intent, the interpretation of the situation, and the situation itself.
Deontological ethics only takes into consideration intent.
Consequence ethics only takes into account the consequences of an action.
So, if a person is drowning and a deontological ethics profession tries to save them with a branch, but end up knocking them out, this was a good act as he was trying to help. If it was a consequentalist professor, it would be a bad act as the consequence is that the person drowned. If it was a social justice warrior, it would depend on the skin color, sexuality, gender identity and wealth of the helper relative to the victim, and the victim’s skin color, sexuality, gender identity and wealth. So, if if was a person of color, homosexual, who identifies as a shark and is broke drowning, who was being saved by a white, male, CIS, guy who makes $50k a year, then the act was immoral. If the roles were reversed, it would be a benevolent act. As you can tell from the former, the universal principles are applied in a logically consistent manner.
Summary and conclusions
The bigger picture is that social justice ethics is a loose framework consisting of Marxist theory as it relates to the class warfare paradigm, which dictates that the oppressed cannot be oppressors. Neglecting that in the case of the Russian revolution for instance, the oppressed rose and many became oppressors. As Orwell once said:
Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
It is strange to me that Marxist rhetoric and principles are still alive today, considering the considerable destruction the various revolutions and Marxist governments have left in their wake. Very few people today use medical cocaine or use leeches as treatments, however, ideologies and nice ideas can live in the minds of people. This lose framework is brilliant from the perspective of a rhetorician, as it is nearly impossible to debate that which you cannot know prior to the debate. The addition of the victim-oppressor dichotomy also ensures that one can always assume a victim role, and failing that engage in ad hominem attacks (DIE CIS SCUM) or various other logical fallacies to avoid actually having to debate your ideology on merit.
Human beings understand systems based on patterns and the more complex the patterns, the harder it is to learn and use the system. The reason why simple arithmetic is easier than calculus is that calculus has a larger ruleset of which you have to be knowledgeable. In the same way, a system that is entirely relative is not really a system, its a set of conditionals with constantly shifting values. The only constant appears to be that you have a class system entirely based on race, gender, sexuality and wealth. So, how do you actually weigh these values?
Is being a woman worse than being a man? Yes
Is being a person of color worse than being white? Yes
Is being gay worse than being straight? Yes
Is being poor worse than being rich? Yes
This system is workable if you do a simple additive system, where you get +1 oppression points pr box, so if you are a female, person of color, who is broke and gay, you get the max score of +4. If you on the other hand happen to be a white, straight, rich and female, then you only get a score of +1.
However, once you start introducing other values to the system, such as various gender identities, you get debates such as “Is it harder to be trans or gay?”, “Is it harder to be female than a person of color?”, “Is it harder to identify as raptorkin than being trans?” and you can never solve these debates because there are very few objective criteria.
This is why many tend to default to simple demographic sizes, to determine the aggregate size of each group, and the group that is the smallest is the most oppressed. However, this has lead to “vicimflation” where there are steadily new categories invented to ensure that your group is the smallest demographic, therefore the most oppressed and therefore has the most status.
The runaway morality of such a system of thought is simply increasing levels of imposition of minority issues on the steadily increasing majority created by the people who invents new groups. Therefore, you get 2 problems that reinforce each other.
A) People have an incentive to create increasingly small groups in order to achieve a good score in the privilege hierarchy.
B) By engaging in A, an increasing majority is created through exclusion causing increasingly small groups to exert increasingly more influence, resulting in increasingly more people engaging in A)
The reductio ad absurdum of this position is that every human being on the planet has invented an entirely personalized group, wherein they are the oppressed minority, and everyone else is the oppressive majority.
Read part 2 here: The narratives of social justice