So, I guess it turns out I’m a “social justice warrior.” At least, that’s what an angry emailer called me. (On the same day, I was also called a “cuckservative,” so I’m on a roll!)
All because, in this podcast on EconTalk, talking with my good friend Russ Roberts, I said the following:
Well, there are institutions that we can judge about their performance behind the veil of ignorance, or, as Montesquieu talks about slavery, separate from individual acts. And the test is that: Does it satisfy the test that if I didn’t know what my position in the society was, I would say, ‘Yes.’ That’s the sort of society that produces a set of outcomes that I think are consistent with justice. Now, it may still be true that there’s no way of getting there; it’s not obvious whether redistribution is just because of the [incentive] problems that it causes. But I don’t think that social justice is a nonsense concept. Hayek said it was like a moral stone. But that’s one of the reasons that I write for Bleeding Heart Libertarians. I actually think that our side–whatever that means–should take the problem of social justice a little more seriously. And that’s one of the reasons that I’m so interested in this appalling institution of slavery–was that it was constructed by people who themselves were interested in justice. And who made a defense that, when you look at its complexity and the logic of its construction, is actually pretty hard to attack directly if you grant the premises.