I seldom hear anyone talking about “social justice” anymore. I used to hear it a lot. What I hear instead is “diversity” – though seemingly from the same people.
These people seem to have decided on “diversity” as the new theme of their mission. I’ve also noticed that, while justice was something these people used to “seek”, diversity is being “celebrated”.
The switch from seeking to celebrating made better sense to me once I realised that the focus of this movement has significantly narrowed.
When they were called SJWs (“social justice warriors”), they pursued justice for a wide range of people who are on the receiving end of systemic injustice, or even systemic disrespect. The people for whom justice was pursued included the poor, the disabled and chronically ill, people with mental illness, Māori and Pasifika, the elderly, women, LGBTIQ folk, refugees and immigrants of colour. Apart from women, these groups are all minorities.
When the movement switched from pursuing justice to celebrating diversity – and the SJWs became “progressives” – most of these groups were left behind. The diversity being celebrated is diversity of gender, sexual orientation and race (especially colour).
That’s it, though I should mention two other relevant developments (one quite recent):
- There is a very strong (and difficult to explain) peripheral sponsorship of Muslims, especially if they are refugees and immigrants. They’re usually non-white, of course. They are also as stridently anti-Christian as their sponsors, so that may be a part of the explanation. The inclusion of this group is strange, because “progressives” tend to be atheist or agnostic. Also strange because, if Muslims were to become influential, it would be at the expense of atheists, LGBTIQ folk and assertive feminists. Still, there it is.
- There is a more recent but fast-developing focus on young people as a worthy victim group – victims of climatic neglect, I suppose.
I’ve been wondering how a “victim group” gets to be shortlisted for sponsorship by “progressives” and welcomed aboard the Weeping Juggernaut. This is what I’ve come up with:
- Feminism, LGBTIQ and, in New Zealand, Māori have very large, well-funded and assertive lobbies. The race component is propped up by Pasifika and, more recently, by Muslim refugees and immigrants who are mostly people of colour.
- These groups (apart from recent arrivals) are already on the same page, ideologically – completely on board with the identity politics that venerates them.
- The identifying attributes of these groups are positive (in the case of women and Māori) or are at least promoted as positive (in the case of LGBTIQ).
Criteria ##1 & 2 make the work of advancing the causes of these groups much easier.
Criterion #3 is the most interesting, I think, and seems responsible for the intentional discarding of the groups left behind.
The discarded groups don’t have these advantages. Some don’t have strong lobbies, but even those who do tend to fail on criteria ##2 & 3. If they caught up on #2, by spending some time being indoctrinated at a university, they might subscribe to the ideology, but they’d still fail on #3.
While it existed, the Deaf Pride movement in the US claimed criterion #3, just as LGBTIQ does, but generally the discarded groups struggle to market themselves in a positive way. They rely on a little sympathy or compassion to motivate the correction of systemic injustice. In this, they display honesty and common sense, while LGBTIQ rely on pride and rebranding.
Some groups have had their noses rubbed into the fact that they’ve been discarded. The elderly are a good example: nowadays, I only hear about the “dignity” of the elderly (and also the very sick) in the context of euthanasia. The recently outed “OK boomer” is further evidence of the broad-based contempt for the elderly. I expect this will get worse now that the Juggernaut seems to be taking on the very young as the latest victim group: “Out with the old and in with the new” will apply to the elderly directly.
I would suggest that criterion #3 was designed to exclude the groups that have been left behind. The reason – marketing. Put another way, you have to look good on a Diversity Pride March.
The criteria for admission onto the Weeping Juggernaut have taken the Left a very long way from the social justice they used to pursue. It seems, in fact, that an ethos has been replaced by an aesthetic.