Diversity becomes a moral end in itself. If all variations of human beings are not present at an event or in an organization, it is seen as prejudiced and discriminating. But this does not apply to members of the majority, who are increasingly not welcome.
The University of Pennsylvania removed a portrait of Shakespeare, on the grounds that Shakespeare is not sufficiently diverse, and replaced it with a portrait of the black lesbian poet, Audre Lorde.
As capitalism is recognized as a cause of inequality, and thus oppression, it must be replaced. These days, progressives do not usually specify what capitalism is to be replaced by, but presumably they are impressed with [irony alert] the great benefits socialism brought to the people of the USSR, Mao’s China, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, North Korea, and Cuba.
Hurt feelings are the “social justice” criteria for what is and what is not allowed. You may not say anything that would hurt someone’s feelings; if you do, you must be punished.
Finally, diversity of opinion in the social justice university is forbidden: opposition to social justice is never reasonable opinion, but evil. Disagreement with the principles of social justice identifies such critics as sexist, racist, homo-lesbo-transphobes, xenophobes, and fascists.
Universities used to be fonts of knowledge, charged with disseminating the known and seeking new knowledge. But progressives have brought great progress to the university: progressives know all the answers, and that the problem is not to understand the world, but to change it.
Welcome to the “social justice” university. Its orientation is expressed by the School of Social Work, at Ryerson University in Toronto:
School of Social Work is a leader in critical education, research and practice with culturally and socially diverse students and communities in the advancement of anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti- colonialism/ decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles.
Many universities are not as candid as Ryerson, but often their positions are much the same. Many have established “equity and inclusiveness” committees to oversee “just practice,” to disseminate “correct” views through literature, posters, and re-education workshops, in some cases mandatory. They also sanction faculty members who express unacceptable views. Schools of education ensure that their graduates will be inculcating their school pupils in the principles of “social justice,” and in identifying the deplorable “multiphobes” in their families and communities. American schoolchildren have been taught by teachers determined to discredit America, that slavery was an American invention and existed exclusively in America — a staggeringly counter-factual account.
What do progressives intend under the label of “social justice”? What theories and policies have they made the central task of the university to advance?
The first goal to be advanced is equality, by which they mean equality of result, as opposed to equality of opportunity — which is often inadequate and needs to be addressed. Thus, to advance economic equality, progressives advocate redistribution of wealth, taking money from those who have it and giving it to preferred others. (“The problem with socialism,” as the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pointed out, “is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”)
Progressives also recognize that equality of result contradicts individual freedom, and that individual freedom will have to be suppressed supposedly for the collective good. Coercion is necessary to enforce social justice goals. A social justice friend recently argued that cars should be replaced by public transport, and that people should live in central cities rather than suburbs. When it was pointed out that housing and transport choices indicated North Americans seem to have a strong preference for suburbs, and that they prefer driving cars to taking public transport, he replied that they will have to be forced to live in cities and use public transport. This is an actual the plan of the United Nations, known as Agenda 21.