Article Title:Social Justice? Yeah, Right!
Category:Comment
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:21st February 2007 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:1594
Text:Maxim recently released a report on 'social justice,' and now intends to hold a conference on the same subject. Is something wrong with this picture? In the eighties and nineties, it was all far more straightforward. When mainline Protestants and liberal Catholics talked about social justice proper, it usually meant that they were advocating remedial legislative reforms and economic redistribution policies centred on a particular constituency, which usually tended to be either Maori, the Third World poor, or victims of New Right economic restructuring and social service cutbacks here. Iain Duncan-Smith, ex-UK Conservative Party leader, tried to hijack the term when he created a Centre for Social Justice that made noises about poverty relief and the constructive role of social service NGOs, but there was a catch. For while these organisations were vital elements of non-government civil society, they were carefully ringfenced off from antipoverty legislative reform or any form of central government economic redistribution through progressive tax policies. Cue the Maxim Institute. Like Duncan-Smith, the Maxim Institute is trying to hijack the concept of social justice, using the manipulative subterfuge that Duncan-Smith masterminded in the United Kingdom. True, there are the usual questions about the associated "survey research" that the Institute used to achieve their 'results,' related to sample size, research design bias and filtered 'recommendations.' As with Nzvotes and its education booklets, the Institute once more looks like it's trying to provide alibis for the National Party, this time for their otherwise unpalatable radical social service privatisation policies. Why should LGBTs be concerned? Simply because this euphemised "welfare reform" usually involves throwing money at 'faith based initiatives' while regulating them very little, and underfunding or abolishing the Human Rights Commission and Charities Commission. Because transpeople were only recently included under anti-discrimination laws, we could risk a repeat of the following situation. Before decriminalisation, low-income/homeless gay men with substance abuse problems were forced to take 'gay conversion' courses if they sought assistance from the Salvation Army. Social justice? Or the same old injustices, under a manipulative euphemism? Recommended: Maxim Institute http://www.maxim.org.nz Social Justice Report (courtesy of above): http://www.socialjustice.co.nz Craig Young - 21st February 2007    
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