Integral Social Justice

Originally published at:

In this stunning 3 hour discussion, Ken Wilber offers his own views around healthy and unhealthy forms of social justice, praising the healthy and legitimate efforts to enact social justice over the generations while noting how much of today’s broken discourse around social justice is helping to perpetuate multiple forms of injustice.

Anyone invest the time to watch this entire discussion? I had an unexpected day off, and I’m very interested in the necessary evolution of social justice, so I dove in.
Most of the discussion was Integral 101 with, IMO, not enough of a deep dive.

I appreciated the analysis of unhealthy green and the regression to amber, as well as the call to balance freedom and equality.

In his articulation of intersectionality and the oppression Olympics, Ken emphatically articulates a “broken green” hyperfocus on victimization that leaves out pro-social qualities in individuals and groups. Where I’ve seen that most is in people with attachment-based trauma at the intersection of minority status(es). I have not seen that hyperfocus/deletion in folks with secure attachment. I’ve witnessed many people in LGBTQ communities calling out the oppression Olympics for years, while seeing others fall into that trap and propagate it. The bigger issue in immature minority subcultures, LGBTQ from my view, is cancel culture which causes fragmentation of groups and scapegoating of members due to psychological splitting into “all good/all bad” maladaptive thinking. Shouldn’t attachment-based and systemic traumas be included in an integrally informed analysis of the maladaptive manifestations of social justice warriors?

What surprised and frustrated the most was the argument Ken presented that poverty in Black communities is tied to the absence of fathers, which he ties (citing a sociologist) to social programs that reward(ed) women for having a fatherless home. What?! (As if people aren’t smart enough to lie by not marrying to collect welfare.) Thank Goodness and Truth, Corey used a rare entrance into the discussion to bring up the war on drugs and disproportionate arrests and incarceration of Black men. Yes! Sadly, Ken quickly batted that away, essentially stating that those dynamics haven’t changed between the 60’s (when a minority of Black homes were fatherless) and now. True, but what HAS changed is that incarceration rates per capita have roughly quadrupled or quintupled, disproportionately affecting men of color. That’s a fairly well known fact, but one that Ken didn’t seem to know and Corey didn’t counter with. Bummer.

Thoughts? Anything else you appreciated or found problematic? Anything you would add to the discussion about what got us into this mess and what’ll resurrect the baby after throwing out the dirty bathwater?

Illiberal, broken green gets so many things wrong with their broken social justice, but we can distill it to just a few principles:

  1. Projection: Projection is not well understood in the western paradigm. It’s the idea that within a cultural narrative, what you accuse others of usually reflects something of what you yourself are guilty of. Broken green project their own biases onto their application of social justice. They don’t get it that they too are bigots in exactly the same way that they assume everyone else to be a bigot. Anti-white racism is still racism. Anti-male sexism is still sexism. White lives matter just as much as black lives do. Fascists masquerading as anti-fascists is a stunt that only Antifa (Fasctifa) have been able to pull off. And so on;
  2. Complicity: Are women in Saudi Arabia (and the Middle East), really, unilaterally oppressed by men? Or, when mothers raise their sons to be dominating successes, does it not follow that the men they’ve raised will return to oppress another day? When women are denied the right to drive… is it the men that demand these terms, or is it the privileged matriarchs that dictate the traditions that they train their sons to apply? And at what point does entitlement, like the privilege of being chauffered around by men, become oppression, like the denial of the right to drive? Or, more universally across most cultures, at what point does the entitlement of being provided for, become the denial of equal opportunity in the workplace? Equal opportunity is all that is needed… equal outcome is bias. Primary nurturers, across all cultures, have a lot to answer for… what goes around comes around;
  3. Neo-Darwinian determinism: Throughout all our cultural contradictions and contortions, Neo-Darwinism, with its assumptions about objective truth, has much to answer for. Culture is a unity, not an arena of competing truths where survival-of-the-fittest provides the basis upon which “objective” truth is established at the top of the hierarchy. Why is culture-as-unity important? We can quote Peirce’s words “the man is the thought” (Peirce 1931-1966, CP 5.314) and extend it to culture. More specifically, the culture is the thought… there is much to unpack here, well beyond the scope of this simple post… but briefly… it relates to shared cultural logic, identity, and a shared understanding of what matters (pragmatism, Peirce);

All these points are inter-connected, not separate. Like complicity, shared cultural logic, and the projection of cultural identity. When one is complicit in a cultural logic (narrative), one projects cultural values in the assumptions that relate to cultural unity, and in this, everyone’s complicity ensures the cultural values that become “enforced” as the given, projected truth. And those that don’t conform, pay the price. Broken green (who make no effort to distance themselves from Fasctifa) are enforcers of cultural reality, they are not gentle snowflakes. THEY are the haters, and the problem with hate speech laws is that it is the haters who most want to implement them. Hate speech legislation is just a means by which the haters criminalize those that they hate, which is anyone that disagrees with them (see what I mean about “projection”?).