This weekend Stoicism Today has been kind enough to run a piece that I wrote titled “Stoics Do Care about Social Justice: A Response to Irvine.” I won’t re-post it here—instead I invite you to head on over and check it out! Here’s the tl;dr:
“We believe that no man or woman can be moral (or Happy) unless they work tirelessly for the benefit of all humanity. Justice and Benevolence must be a guide to all of our actions.”
I’m not the only one who’s been talking about Stoicism and activism, however. Over the past couple weeks in particular, the Stoic community has seen quite a bit of discussion over what a Stoic relationship to activism and injustice could/should look like.
- Chris Fisher, “Step out of the Epicurean Garden and into the Stoic Cosmopolis,” Traditional Stoicism, 05 July, 2016.
- Bill Irvine, “How would the ancient Stoics have dealt with hate speech?,” Oxford University Press Blog, 08 October, 2016.
- Christopher Gill, “Can you be a Stoic and a Political Activist?,” presentation at Stoicon 2016, 15 October, 2016.
- Greg Sadler, who led a rich conversation on anger and Justice during the last 15 minutes of his Stoicon 2016 workshop on “Struggling with Anger? Useful Stoic Perspectives and Practices,” 15 October, 2016.
- Massimo Pigliucci, “Stoicism and Social Justice,” How to Be a Stoic, 25 October, 2016.
- Matt Van Natta, “Quick thoughts on Racism, Safe Spaces, and Protest,” The Immoderate Stoic, 27 October, 2016.
Needless to say, the authors of these articles & talks don’t all agree on the specifics of how to put social engagement into practice! I think the conversation itself is much-needed, however.
Some of us are trying to build a dedicated space for taking this conversation further. If you’re interested in the topic of Stoicism and Justice/Benevolence, please join us in our new Facebook group, “Stoics for Justice!”