Helping the poor becomes economic justice. If they’re minorities, then it’s racial justice, itself a subspecies of social justice. Saving the environment becomes environmental justice, except when it’s about climate change in which case it’s climate justice. Caring about young people is actually about fighting for intergenerational justice. The very laws of space and time are subject to spatial justice and temporal justice.
He doesn't like the downstream implications of this semantic change - nor do I.
There’s one last disadvantage I’m having trouble putting into words, but which I think is the most important. A narrative of helpers and saviors allows saints. It allows people who are genuinely good, above and beyond expectations, who rightly serve as ideals and role models for others. A narrative of justice allows, at best, non-criminals - people who haven’t broken any of the rules yet, who don’t suck quite as much as everyone else. You either stand condemned, or you’re okay so far.
I thought that captured an idea very well that I was on the edges of but had eluded me.
It was also interesting to learn about Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota dystopian Sci-Fi novels. Not that I'm likely to pick up any new fiction these days, but just to see an interesting idea out there. If anyone has read it, give us your impressions.