“Whatever the condition of human beings at the beginning of the species,” writes Thomas Sowell in his new book Social Justice Fallacies, “scores of millennia had already come and gone before anyone coined the phrase social justice.” And during those vast expanses of time, “different peoples evolved differently in very different settings around the world, developing different talents that created reciprocal inequalities of achievements in different endeavors.” They did so “without necessarily creating equality, or even comparability, in any of those endeavors.”
The social-justice movement has changed all that, turning the quest for equity into a salient feature of Western culture and politics. The past century has seen this pursuit shift from the fringes of political discourse to the heart of the mainstream, and its narrative now exerts a profound influence on the arts, education, and even religious institutions. In large parts of society, it has instilled the notion that human disparities are entirely the result of oppression, exploitation, and discrimination, and that a remedial equality of outcome must therefore be pursued at all costs. But the attractive vision of an equitable future can only be constructed by ignoring evidence and repeating a litany of fallacies.