Not all recent conservative BYU speakers have been canceled. Rob Jenkins, a father of BYU alumni and professor of Georgia State University, spoke to the BYU Tocqueville Society on April 7.
Jenkins, who has written at the Daily Wire, Town Hall, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, spoke to BYU students about the dangers of conflating true justice with “justice” with qualifiers. His speech was titled, “‘Social Justice’ is No Justice.”
Starting with a discussion about the concept of virtue being the golden mean, set out by the Greeks, Jenkins said that “discipleship” as well is “finding the middle path” much like balancing between the extremes of cowardice and foolhardiness to find courage. Justice, he said, is the same. While those on the right tend to value justice, those on the left tend to value mercy.
As he went through his slides, he gave examples about how the left manipulates “language” with terms such as “transphobe” or “marriage.”
Jenkins said, “Leftists love to talk about ‘justice.’ But they are constantly trying to redefine it in their favor by adding modifiers or qualifiers.” To this argument Jenkins proposed, “[O]nce you add a qualifier, you change the meaning of the word.”
He explained how social justice, as defined, is not true justice as it is meant for individuals, but is for social groups.
While connecting “social justice” with “equity,” Jenkins explained that there are three kinds of equality. These are equality before “God,” the “law,” and of “opportunity.” Equity, on the other hand, is “equality of outcome,” which he said is linked with social justice concepts on the left.
Jenkins ended with an admonition to advocate for true justice, which “entails speaking out against injustice.” He said that we as students must live “with honor” and “speak truth, however difficult or unpopular. When you see genuine injustice, you must speak out against it.”
Jenkins told the Chronicle, “I had a great time speaking on the topic of Justice to students, faculty, and guests at BYU. Everyone in attendance was very polite, most seemed engaged, and many asked thoughtful questions or made incisive comments, which I appreciated.”
“I’m happy to report that free speech and civil political discourse are alive and well at Brigham Young University!” he concluded in his statement.
Editor in Chief at the Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.