“Social justice” isn’t always about justice, either. It’s about payback. Dan-el Padilla’s proposal to bar white males from publication is just a small-niche example of a culturewide trend. When a social-justice warrior reads the classics, writes professor Mark Bauerleine, “it’s with a generalized resentment toward the past, which he sees as fraught with social injustice.” Outside the university, actress Anne Hathaway summed up the sentiment last fall when she received an award from the Human Rights Campaign. Her acceptance speech excoriated “white superiority” with a battle cry: “Let’s tear this world apart and build a better one.”
If historical periods could be open for tours, it would be instructive to visit the French Revolution, the modern world’s first social justice movement. It began with cries for “equality” and ended up slaughtering not just aristocrats but hundreds of thousands of peasants, especially in the provinces where citizens still respected their church. “Tearing the world apart” was the aim and revenge was the fuel. What remained was not a better world but a ruin.
Better worlds are built on the best traditions—not just classics, but also law and gospel. Much of what calls itself social justice would stamp “white privilege” on the heritage of the West and burn it to the ground. Psalm 11:3 asks, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" What they’ve always done: Look up, because their foundation is indestructible.