The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Meeting #3 Wrap-Up

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 11 September 2008

Last night’s ASUA meeting was fairly uneventful. Two new presidential appointments were named (including Adam Lewis, the president of Mock Trial), and ASA provided a bit more agitprop justifying the doubling of the ASA student fee.

However, there was one presentation worth dwelling on a little bit longer: a presentation from the Social Justice Programs wing of the CSIL. If you haven’t noticed, the phrase “social justice” is nearly an epidemic on campus: we have a social justice movie series, a social justice theatre troupe (?), a social justice center, and social justice workshops. Why is this a problem? Don’t listen to me; take the words of one of the preeminent thinkers of the last century, Frederick Hayek:

I am certain nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after the mirage of social justice.

In fact, the second volume of Hayek’s masterwork Law, Legislation, and Liberty is entitled “The Mirage of Social Justice.” To elaborate briefly, the concept is fairly simple: social justice is concerned with “inequality and social injustices found in our society.” Yet we are not speaking about individuals, but groups; it is not the impoverishment of one, but the “impoverishment” of “Hispanic Heritage.” Ultimately, individuals are meaningless; what matters to social justice advocates is how wealth is shared across races and cultures. Their guiding value is not liberty; liberty, to them, is irrelevant when compared to the correction of inequality. It is redistributive, and ultimately tyrannical.

/steps off soapbox

Since this month is “Hispanic Heritage Month” (along with National Preparedness Month, National Cholesterol Education Month, and Women in Medicine Month ), CSIL will be building a “mock border” on the south side of the Mall, to “bring awareness” about border issues. In fact, the program will be sponsoring a trip to the border to gather trash, which they will bring back to make the faux-border “more realistic.”

Senator Mighdoll asked the right question: “What exactly are we making students aware of?” The program claimed to not “have a specific agenda,” but stated that they would focus on “social justice issues, which mostly consists of the humanitarian side — migrant deaths, where these deaths happen, water access issues.” Exactly the stuff that public policy should be concerned with, right? One of the speakers gave a shout-out to “economic issues”, but sadly she wasn’t pressed on the catch-all phrase — I’d suspect that, from a “social justice” perspective, this mostly consists of how our poor immigrant can’t afford to eat organic.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out; obviously, I’m skeptical, but I’ll try reserve judgment until the thing is actually constructed.

Image courtsey of Flickr user ImperfectTommy

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3 Responses

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  1. Garrett said, on 12 September 2008 at 1:12 am

    They did the same thing back in November/December 2003 with a project called “Border Dynamics,” which basically consisted of a piece of wall much like the one in your picture with large figurines that appear to be pushing on the wall from all sides, some looking to be in desperation and others gladly acting as if an oppressor or something. Wells Fargo sponsored the whole thing.

    It was also accompanied with the presentation of an independent film entitled “The Gatekeeper” (http://www.gatekeeperfilm.com/) and a visit by its writer/director/producer/protagonist-actor John Carlos Frey. I showed up late and couldn’t watch the whole thing, but it basically entailed a right-wing racist Mexican-American U.S. Border Patrol agent rebelling against his Mexican heritage in the midst of racist white people and mistreated illegal immigrants. So much for avoiding stereotypes.

    The ugly whatchamacallit eventually got moved over to the concrete courtyard at Harvill for a good period of time where it just sat and probably got skated upon.

  2. Garrett said, on 12 September 2008 at 1:17 am

    Looks like I got the date wrong; it was more like September 2003. Nonetheless, the old web page about it is still up.

    http://www.union.arizona.edu/csil/gallery/borderdynamics.php

  3. […] first contention came over a dispute of funding for the Desert Lamp’s favorite program, Social Justice. This is the usual sort of funding appeal — SJ thought that the […]


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