Thomas Sowell recently expanded his political glossary from what he’d written in two parts—see the link here. Here are excerpts from the next two editions:
A Political Glossary: Part III
If there were a Hall of Fame for political rhetoric, the phrase “social justice” would deserve a prominent place there. It has the prime virtue of political catchwords: It means many different things to many different people…
Surely most of us are repelled by the thought that some people are born into dire poverty, while others are born into extravagant luxury — each through no fault of their own and no virtue of their own. If this is an injustice, does that make it social? […] If it is an injustice, it is unjust from some cosmic perspective, an unjust fate, rather than necessarily an unjust policy, institution or society.
Making a distinction between cosmic justice and social justice is more than just a semantic fine point. Once we recognize that there are innumerable causes of innumerable disparities, we can no longer blithely assume that either the cause or the cure can be found in the government of a particular society.
A Political Glossary Part IV
What is behind [perverse policies]? Theories, ideologies and presumptions of superior wisdom and virtue. It has been known for centuries that there are people, especially among the intelligentsia, who love humanity in the abstract but are not all that concerned about what happens to the actual flesh-and-blood human beings who are subjected to their grand visions and policies.
As T.S. Eliot said, long ago: “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”