Interesting point being made:
It would be the most socially just means of funding, as well as the most economically efficient, but it will be hard to convince the voters.
You see, I always thought that \”social justice\” was what society thought was just and fair. To crib from Adam Smith: a labourer does not need a linen shirt in order not to be poor in any absolute sense. But if the society around him says that not being able to afford a linen shirt signifies poverty and the labourer cannot afford a linen shirt then in that society the labourer is poor.
Similarly, we had the Joseph Rowntree Trust report on poverty: into its second year now I think and it says that £13,500 (or so) is the amount you need not to be living in poverty. It\’s this sum that allows x number of clothes, y heating, z diet, the occasional drink in the pub and a meal out once a month. That\’s what the people in this society think is not poverty: thus it is socially just that in a rich society like ours no one should, involuntarily, live below this standard.
That\’s what I thought this social justice thing was.
Now however we\’ve got a new meaning. Here we\’ve got a majority, an admitted majority, of the people saying that a particular action would not be socially just. But Peter Wilby says that it is socially just. And what Peter Wilby says is socially just is the definition, not what society thinks is just.
Which is really rather a change of meaning, isn\’t it?