Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Brief Look into Politically Correct Injustice

My latest community editorial for The Telegram appears in today’s edition of the paper.


Politically Correct Injustice

We all believe in justice, right? Everyone treated fairly and nobody left out, right?

"Justice" sounds simple but we all know it's not that simple. It starts with a caring heart and a watchful eye, to say the least. The rest of the justice formula demands serious thought, a lot of hard work and a process.

I propose today we focus on a little careful thought about what the word justice means. Dictionary aside, I'd say it means treating people according to the truth of who they are and what they've done.

Since I've included the "truth" word I'm obliged to include the "God" word because what is considered truth must always have a reference point outside our own personal—and human—subjective opinion. Otherwise we might fail at justice because of personal bias or human error. After all, who knows more about ketchup than Heinz and who knows more about man and his challenges than the Creator of man?

Not coincidentally, that's the way Western civilization has viewed the relationship of truth and justice for centuries. This approach has served to keep our society strong and safe. In fact, many famous jurists have acknowledged that the Ten Commandments comprise the foundation of common law and the free world's justice system.

Without a foremost respect for God's version of the truth we would not have been able to bring to justice those who massacred Jews in the name of 'superiority' and 'purity.' Their politically correct injustice served political ends but did not line up with the truth and therefore led to the worst kinds of crimes in society.

Similarly, the fight to lead the Blacks out of slavery was a justice movement founded on God's version of the truth about man. Slavery and racism in America were also examples of politically correct injustice where sadly even certain Christians tried to use the bible to justify their outrageous conduct.

Our society also has its own versions of politically correct injustice—always aimed at the other guy though and not ourselves. Consider the crisis in our healthcare system—including the spinoff "truth" crisis at Eastern Health—and also the scandal of pauper's wages for home/elder care workers. Both are fundamentally justice issues and not simply financial predicaments. Why? Because we have agreed as a community that our own personal convenience and prosperity takes precedence over providing to the most vulnerable and needy of our fellow human beings the same treatment we, and certainly God, would advocate for ourselves.

Similarly with poverty. But not simply the extremely narrow version espoused recently in St. John's by religious leaders aiming to abolish such injustice. Yours truly showed up with an opinion that since a child's right to life precedes the right to food and clothing these leaders ought to also be on record for abolishing the politically correct injustice of abortion. Within minutes, and before saying a word, I was immediately identified through a phony handshake, arrested and confined to a paddy wagon for the duration of the news conference. How's that for political correctness? No matter—a small price to pay for exposing the unpleasant truth.

And there's the rub. A society that closes its eyes to the truth will surely be blind to its politically correct injustices. Justice simply cannot be separated from the truth. It's no coincidence that the courtroom demands we "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me God."

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