The divide and schisms in the political spheres have all become but a source of fragmenting humanity. There is the left and the right; liberalism and conservatism; modernism and postmodernism; individualism and collectivism; secularism and non-secularism; capitalism and socialism; and, in the epistemological sphere, scepticism, rationalism, empiricism, and spiritualism.
The more the schism grows, the stronger the sense of tribal solidarity it induces. When one wonders whether there is a common, uniting interest that may have sufficient gravitational appeal for humanity to converge, happiness or pleasure arguably stands to be the only contender as the values-based final end of all human actions.
For example, irrespective of which aforementioned strand one subscribes to, generally, one would be most likely to find happiness or pleasure, or contentment, in helping another human being in a difficult situation:
- to save someone’s life
- to feed them if they are hungry
- to be able to help an impoverished person
- to be able to shelter the dispossessed.
More pleasure would surely be found in these acts than in the acquisition of abundant wealth, fame, dominance, and hierarchical power.
Excluding the fringes, for most human beings, despite the socially constructed walls of differences, this would indisputably be a common source to happiness.
Tapping into this common source can unleash a powerful universal reality that can resonate with all the aforementioned strands without any particular one feeling undermined or beliefs and aspirations compromised.
Fostering respect for human dignity
This universal reality, or language, seeks no compulsion, conflicts or refutations, but simply fosters respect for human dignity for all. Thus in itself, it stands neutral on all aforementioned strands. It can serve to invoke an appeal that draws people towards a common good, with an intrinsic value of happiness – irrespective of their backgrounds. The values which it inspires are respect, empathy, understanding, considerations, patience, and reconciliation.
The universal language of sociojusticism
We, Virtue Ethics Foundation, define this universal language as sociojusticism: a political, socio-economic moral, and philosophical concept that appeals to the human desire for happiness, rooted in social justice and humanity. It encourages and promotes global social justice and human dignity, which echoes Kantian categorical imperative (i.e. respect for human dignity as not to be using one’s own-self or others as a means, but rather as an end in themselves). Also Rawl’s theory of justice (principles that a free and rational person concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association, and the principles of justice which apply equally to all individuals). Therefore, sociojusticism encourages and promotes individual and societal concerns for humanity. It is intrinsically universal in nature thus transcending race, colour, and geography.
The idea to coin this term is essentially to have the underlying concept gathered, identified and mobilised in order to disseminate it into the wider society. As such, It is not an ‘ism’ in the usual sense ‘isms’ are perceived and subscribed. Sociojusticism surpasses the ends, usually conceived as the aims associated with ‘isms’. For example, self-autonomy in individualism, freedom in liberalism, equitability in socialism, economic freedom in capitalism. Rather, it is concerned with identifying the end all aforementioned ends promote, and are subordinated to universally and teleologically.
For example, while individualism or liberalism, as an identity, strives to promote self-autonomy as the authority which could be at odds with other isms, like non-secularism, which as an identity seeks to promote religious or divine authority; the more the identities solidifies, the more they serve as a barrier and a source of alienation.
Sociojusticism, however, identifies self-autonomy and religious authority as the primary objectives, rather than the end in themselves. It promotes the ends which surpass these objectives, namely the ones these objectives ultimately become a means to. In other words, if self-autonomy can lead one to discern the right choices for oneself along with a concern for others, and the religious authority likewise promotes living a responsible life with a concern for others. Then logically they both promote the same end. If this end can be identified as the commonly desired end, then the promotion of this end can un-solidify the constructed identities, eroding the barriers which generally serves as political and social discord.
Thus, a capitalist, a liberalist, a socialist, and an individualist can all remain firmly committed to their deeply held revered norms and inclinations, yet may realise that whilst their specific outlooks are shaped by certain values they hold dear, they can still all share certain values and concerns which are universal and are commonly held, but otherwise hindered by particular identities.
In other terms, individuals are defined by their identities. Therefore, if each group becomes rigid in their beliefs, they fail to resonate with each other and consequently fail to come together collectively to meet each other’s needs and concerns – which could ultimately yield shared happiness. Hence, the stronger the identities, the stronger the barriers, and the less likelihood of achieving shared happiness.
To conclude, sociojusticism encourages viewing all strands as commensurable, which ultimately leads to seeking the same desirable ends. Sociojusticism promotes and encourages respecting lives and dignity; protecting lives and dignity; preserving lives and dignity; empowering lives and dignity, and flourishing lives and dignity globally and indiscriminately.