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The Telos of Truth and the Telos of Social Justice Lead Inescapably to the Constrained and Unconstrained Visions

Conflicts arise at many American universities today because they are pursuing two potentially incompatible goals: truth and social justice.

According to some versions of social justice, whenever we observe a disparity of outcomes between races, genders, or other groups, we should infer that injustice has been done. Haidt challenges this view of social justice and shows how it sometimes leads to violations of truth, and even justice.

Haidt concludes that universities should be free to pursue whatever goals – truth or social justice – they want, but that they should make it clear which of these two goals is their “telos” – their highest purpose. – [ From the YouTube summary of the video: Two incompatible sacred values in American Universiites, Jon Haidt, Hayek Lecture Series ]

The incompatible teloses of truth and social justice create two distinctly different logical threads which lead as inescapably as two separate rows of standing dominos to two equally incompatible conceptions of the values of liberty, equality, justice and fairnes.  They lead to two incompatible world views; two incompatible visions of what human nature is, can be, and should be.  Those two conceptions and visions have been the driving forces of political struggles and culture wars in Western civilization since The Enlightenment if not longer.  They are identified in the following table:

The Telos of Truth leads logically to… The Telos of Social Justice leads logically to…
Process-based liberty, equality, justice, and fairness Outcome-based liberty, equality, justice, and fairness
Negative liberty, equality, justice, and fairness Positive liberty, equality, justice, and fairness
One set of rules that applies, and is applied, the same for everyone Different rules for different people depending on their membership in perceived victim/privilege identity groups
Rule of Law Rule by Man (i.e., social engineering or levelling)
Constrained Vision Unconstrained Vision, Cosmic Justice
British/Scottish/American Enlightenment thinking, traditions, values, and principles European/Continental Enlightenment thinking, traditions, values, and principles
Conservatism Progressivism (aka American Liberalism)


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Venn Diagram of Liberal and Conservative Moral Foundations

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An Interpretation of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory

This sidebar lists a series of posts which together make up an essay relating Moral Foundations Theory to today's politics, and even a little history, as viewed through The Independent Whig's six-foundation moral lens.


Venn Diagram of Liberal and Conservative Moral Foundations

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