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The battle had been raging on, his allies being injured around him and others still pressing relentlessly forward, yet Flying Man Blue, “Blue Kid” as many knew him, had found himself virtually untouched. Doing all that he could to keep the ship of this skirmish righted, to keep the fight going and ANVIL pinned down.
He was grateful, then, for the way that Prince Cosmo and Casu Marzu, even when they couldn’t immediately secure their objective, moved on to offering further covering fire - no, that wasn’t the word for it.
They were being absolutely brutal, hitting the forces of ANVIL with everything their Stands had, things that Blue couldn’t ever hope to accomplish, trying to break through the massive defenses that their support, Aaron Kirk and Perseus Drakos, had laid out, to capture the commander (but that damned D’arcy was well protected too), to push forward into winning the fight in an absolute blaze of glory.
Yet even then, the MFAs were holding out. They were being worn down, clearly putting everything they had into fighting to protect D’arcy Taymor and her fellow union muscle even as they’d managed to secure Nova’s tracker…
They could leave at any time. Blue dodged a crossbow bolt, hurrying up to a rooftop alongside some of his uninjured underlings. They could die every second they’re here. I’ve told my guys not to hold their fire if they approached, and yet..!
Casu rushed forward, then, despite his grave injuries. In the process, something fell out of his costume… A microphone, or something? Had he been bugged?
“Alright! I’m gonna get you now, you got that?!” Casu called out, bloodied and standing before a rain of bullets. Prince Cosmo, meanwhile, tried to stay ducked out of range while his Stand did the hard work; by keeping safer, he’d been less hurt. “Cosmo, get another car ready! We’re going to punish this union and finish our-”
“Huh?” Casu asked, turning around.
“You heard me,” Blue answered, looking around, “this isn’t worth it for a weird little Nova machine!”
“But… But Blue!” Casu made an alarmed sound. “If that happens, then I’ve failed again! I can’t-”
“You’re still alive, dammit! That’s success enough! Get out of here while you still have your lives, all of you! The only thing we can do here is get more people killed!”
Prince Cosmo understood, and Sayo, his Stand, did as well. He’d come here to keep Casu from doing something recklessly ‘heroic,’ and in this moment, that meant suddenly tossing a barrier in front of him, blocking a final volley of gunfire as most VALKYRIEs listened, and as Sayo swiftly struck Casu in the back of the head.
As the PMCs fell back, Cosmo and his stand dragged Casu to safety, not looking towards Perseus and Aaron as they finally took the opportunity to cut away.
“Your boss isn’t going to like this much…” The Astrophysicist warned Blue Kid as he moved Casu to safety, popping open a first-aid kit and looking around for a field medic. He had fought with all he had, but he was of course more willing to survive, lighting up a cigarette. “He would’ve kept going until something broke. Really wanted those trackers…”
“Yeah, well fuck him.” Blue answered curtly. Cosmo, in clear agreement with the sentiment, nodded, even not resisting as the Flying Man retrieved the bag of those SLs had already collected himself, looking at the bug that had fallen from Casu again. “Knowing him… He’s never been laid up in the hospital this long.” A pause, then. “I’ll catch up with those guys who escaped with the tracker. I’m pretty much the only person here not hurt… Get somewhere with decent air soon, yeah?”
Cosmo and Sayo saw the armored, eternally youthful Stand off, and the sad dog looked to his companion.
Will this finally wake you up again, or will you be even worse now..? What I’ve seen of you… I wish I had it in me to believe.
The winner is the MFAs, with a score of 73 to Sharp Lookers’ 69!
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"How'd we do?" Percy was higher up than Aaron now, laying on Stranger's body. It took a second for words to come to his mind.
"Absolutely, yeah. You did great, we both did..." A little smile came to him. "...How about some ice cream to celebrate a quest completed?"
Percy physically perked up, and spoke in a way that made it apparent exactly who he'd gotten the words from. "Hell yeah!"
Aaron let the swear go. After today, he'd earned it. But then…
“Wait.” Aaron remarked, noticing something and tensing. “We’re being chased. I saw flashes of blue.”
“That bird guy?” Perseus asked. “But he said they were running! The lying-!”
The Blue Flying Man leapt before them, then, carrying a duffel bag. “I didn’t lie at all… You made us rout. I’m not here to fight you.”
“Really now.” Aaron grew madder. “How am I gonna believe you after what you shouted out there?”
“I told you, that was a calculated move!!” Blue answered, then, before steadying himself. “ODIN, VALKYRIE… These organizations are evil, disruptive, destructive, more harm than good. I’ll say what I can to make sure nobody is mistaken about that. You think I couldn’t have grabbed that tracker before anyone even showed up?”
“What?” Perseus asked. “You’re, like… a double agent? Why is ODIN so confusing?”
“I’ve never believed in Arazu Allday or Ugo McBasie… Never much liked them, but being trusted by them has served an end for me.” And then, after a moment, he added. “Everything I have done in these past months… It has been to ensure this city’s ‘destruction.’ There is nothing I want less than to see it ‘saved.’ It’s what makes me this city’s ‘Cerulean Courage.’”
“What?!” Aaron was also getting more and more angry, then. “Are you some kind of cartoon villain or something?”
“Saved me the trouble of beating a confession out of you.”
All three heads turned, then, towards a nearby alley, out of which a human cinderblock in a hospital gown emerged, holding a sledgehammer with a malicious intent that even rattled Perseus.
“Ugo…” Blue nodded his head. “I knew it wasn’t like you to stay in a hospital… Come to lay a trap when I failed, huh?”
“I doubted you from the start, you little shit…” Ugo grumbled, pointing his weapon. “Just stay out of my way while I beat the tracker out of these two. After that, I’ll get to dealing properly with these union thugs.”
“With all pretenses of loyalty gone…” Blue tossed the duffle bag to Aaron, hopping forward instead. “I would rather not.”
“You-” Aaron glared. “What the hell are you-?”
“Don’t help,” he said, “I know how he fights, and both of you are exhausted…” He smirked, then. “And besides, I’m a cartoon villain, right? I haven’t been a whole, growing human being in twenty years… Just a lingering ghost.”
It was Perseus’ turn to speak now. “Don’t be like that… We can help, we can-!”
Aaron looked over the two of them, then shook his head. “He’s right… We came out here for a reason. Let’s fulfill it.”
Flying Man Blue turned to the charging Ugo, then, as the others fled, delivering a deeply forceful swallow kick to his face that did little more than force Ugo to dodge. Hearing footsteps behind him, he called out. “If there is any person in this city you truly cherish, then believe in righteous destruction!”
He struck a dramatic pose, then another, then a third, each avoiding a hammer swing. Ugo, then, brought out a very stocky-looking Stand, grinning widely at him in a vacantly friendly manner contrasted with the user’s rage.
The last thing Aaron saw before the battlers were out of sight was the Flying Man’s foot and left arm seemingly utterly covered in pavement and stuck to a lamppost close to the alley. With his opponent immobilized Ugo walked forward slowly, an excited voice flowing from his stand. A sickening crunch erupted from the alleyway. The blue Flying Man, living Stand that he was, faded into nothing.
A heated skirmish has drawn to a close, but one that’s heated in a very different way still has over a day to vote and needs them. Specifically: a gay knife fight.
Somewhere underneath Los Fortuna...
A pair of individuals were lurking beneath the surface of the city, tucked within the Los Fortuna sewers in a large, dimly-lit room, carved out of the concrete walls and turned into a makeshift hideaway. Sitting across each other and staring down at a table, they both had their attention on a map of the city, with several markers indicating the bases belonging to other teams-- as well as a pin right on their intended target.
The first figure, an incredibly short woman with a ferocious, sharp-toothed smile had both hands placed against the top of the table, leaning forward and looking up at her mysterious benefactor-- a tall, imposing figure cloaked in shadow and hidden from view. “Alright, let’s go over this again, shall we? Our little puppy TV star’s gonna be givin’ a speech down in the business district-- live, and filmed by their other worthless brats, as always. We’ve been formulatin’ this plan for months now-- and we’ve finally got our chance to strike. They’ve cornered themselves in there, the little bastard!”
Her companion, crossing their arms and looming over the 4’7” tinkerer, would stare down at the map as well-- albeit lost in thought as they analyze the situation calmly. For a while, they stay silent… before beginning to speak up. “...Just as we expected, then, right? Nova, I hope that with this, I can finally earn your complete and utter trust. There will be no more ‘doubts’ clouding either of our minds, and we can finally rely on each other for good.”
Mimicking Nova’s motions, they placed their own hands on the table, intensely focusing on the pin marking their target in the business district, meeting the simple marker with an icy glare. “As for Cairo, though… I will put my foot down here and say that we won’t kill them, regardless of how insensible and insincere their actions are. Though they’re vain and self-centered, they don’t deserve to die. However… they still must pay for their self-serving and ignorant actions taking away the attention from where it really should be. Instead of using their influence to highlight the suffering that is going on in the slums, they film reality TV competitions-- nothing more than bread and circuses for the idiotic populace!”
Gritting their teeth in pure, unadulterated anger, they slammed their fist down on the table. “Following that catastrophe, only a short distance away from the epicenter… Those people suffered massive casualties due to the instability of their homes and businesses. And yet, Cairo is giving a speech in the fucking business district, of all things! Celebrity culture and idolizing TV stars… These sheep have no idea what’s good for them!”
“Though your methods are unsavory, Nova… You don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You don’t wear a mask, and beyond that… you haven’t gone off the deep end as people have tried to paint you. Even with the huge bounty on your head to tempt the muck that plagues this city, killing as they please… your willingness to expose corruption and rebel against the system is admirable. There is no force on this Earth that could push me to turn on you-- I swear to that.”
Clenching their fist and taking a few deep breaths, they focus their attention on the map again. “Our actions today… they are those of ‘justice’. Our hearts are utterly unclouded, and today, we will pull back the curtain on the wizard for everyone to see. We will stomp out this popularity contestant who’s pulling the strings and playing god with the rest of the city, come hell or high water.”
At this declaration, Nova smiles even wider, letting out a mischievous chuckle. “That’s exactly what I like to hear, partner! Now… let’s do this! All of these puppies will bow before our combined might!”
Rising from their position over the table, the shrouded figure turns back towards the exit, and accompanied by their pint-sized partner, begins to walk towards their destiny.
“So… you’re tellin’ me that not all ‘flash drives’ explode..? That it was a trap set by this ‘Nova Nascens’?” Ian Rains had asked, a concerned look on his face.
Nix Ripa, who was sitting with the man in the Black Hill Estate’s living room, eagerly nodded. “Yeah! Now you’re getting it!”
It had taken time for Ian Rains to acclimate to the modern world, which was strange and unfamiliar to him, and that was only exacerbated by the fact that Los Fortuna, the strange city which he found himself in, was stuck in constant conflict between stand users. Furthermore, the team had been sent an exploding flash drive by a “Nova Nascens” following a runin Jade had with her a few days back, which served to reignite some of his fears about the complexity of modern technology, if only by a slight bit.
“That exploding flash drive does really piss me off though… Nova Nascens… She took advantage of Jade, and attacked us in the process!” Nix didn’t like getting made a fool of, and that was exactly what Nova did. By now, Nix’s focus had waned slightly from wanting to escape the city. Repeated (and failed) attempts at doing so had taken their toll on him, even if he still kept up with trying to do so every couple of days. It felt somewhat pointless, but giving up was even worse! Furthermore, despite the horrifying death toll that it incurred, the disaster that happened in Capital Island a couple weeks ago proved that escaping really was possible! Of course, Nix wasn’t about to murder hundreds of thousands to escape, but there might’ve been other ways to do so - he knew that Espiritu was researching something like that, even if he himself had a hard time keeping up with it.
“Goin’ off of what she said in the message… seems like she has a bone to pick with those ‘Being So Normal’ folks, no? I also recall there being another person there… I wonder who that was, and what they’re going to do ‘bout-” Ian said, thinking to himself, before getting interrupted by Nix. “That’s it! She’s got to be doing something related to Being So Normal, so we could use that to catch her and make her pay!”
“Hmmm… You’re thinkin’ she’s going to attack them sometime soon? She did say she had to “cancel an appearance at that live show at the mall”, so that could-”
“It definitely is! Ian, we’ve got to see what the next thing they’re doing is! Once we do, we’ll go there, find Nova, and finally get her!”
“Hold on, I’m not sure-”
Realizing where this was going, Ian tried to cool Nix down slightly, only to get interrupted again. “There’s no time to lose! We’ve got to start searching for more clues, and then we’ll intercept Nova and make her pay!”
And with that, Nix was off to the races, ready to “borrow” Cab’s van and begin looking, with Ian following right behind him, somewhat reluctantly.
Peter sat in his chair in front of his computer bank. Scrolling through security cameras he flipped through different scenes of the city. Ever since Bert had blown up the city the Rat Pack had been busy assisting Ostro with search and rescue efforts, and since things had settled, he had gone back to what he did best: Looking for trouble.
As he flicked through cameras he finally reached a camerabank in the business district. At first the cameras were mostly boring. As similar looking alleyways and street corners switched by, something strange popped up on a camera. Painted on in neat lettering was the simple word, “Hi”. As he switched to the next camera something even more concerning popped up: “Peter”. As he continued to flip through the cameras a short message popped out to him as he finished going through all the cameras in the bank.
“Hi Peter! I have been keeping my eye on you and I think you are fun! You should come visit me at the next filming of that bad puppy Cairo’s show so we can say hi to each other. I will warn you though, bad puppies will be there to ruin the show! Hope to see you soon, and bring the weird mushroom puppy with you. I think she is funny. Love, Nova!”
As Peter switched to the last camera he saw what looked like a robot vacuum with a paintbrush duck-taped to it slowly rolling away before falling down a sewer grate. Peter frowned as he read over the note again and again. Nova was dangerous in a not-fun way, with her stunt at Club Elevate and the chaos that had erupted after word had begun to spread of her trackers being more than enough to put him on edge, and if she was inviting him, she both wanted him to be here, and wanted to involve him in some twisted, and likely deadly game.
As he sat there heavy footfalls came up behind him, as the voice of his ally Funk blasted into his ear. “Whats up Peter? You’re making your ‘bad news on camera’ face again… Is there something I have to beat the hell out of?”
Peter quickly shut off the screen that he had been staring at for the last few minutes and turned to her. Honestly, Funk was a wildcard, and Nova specifically requesting her… It was sus. Sus as hell. “Not a thing, Funk, not a thing.”
Funk sighed as she grabbed the arm of Peter's office chair and swung him off behind her with great ease, before turning back on the screen.
As she read over the message, in spite of his efforts to ineffectually push her away, her brow furrowed. “First of all, ‘Weird Mushroom Puppy?’ What the hell kind of insult is that? That’s ‘shove you in a locker for saying it’ levels of insult. Second of all. We are going.”
Peter sighed as he stood up from his chair. “Funk, c’mon, let’s have better priorities than rushing out to the first sign of trouble, yeah? Much as I love it, I’ve been lured to a bad spot before by this city, and so’s Cy. Healthiest thing for us might be just letting sleeping dogs lie here. Let’s knock some heads that aren’t literally calling us in for trouble, yeah?”
“So we’re gonna just let her do whatever she’s doing because it’s a trap? Of course it is! But she’s still going to get more people made into ground beef, or drowned in pee water!” Funk spoke as she strode towards the front door, putting on her helmet as she reached it. “People like her make mistakes, and people like us make the city safer.”
Peter’s worried expression slowly morphed into a smile again, feeling the 90s attitude fly back into him after recent events had cut it so very short. Something about Funk’s confidence was infectious, and in a few long strides he had caught up to her.
“You know, what? Sure. Let’s hand her a big old L!”
Cairo Satori (drawn by artist Boy George, as always), stood atop a hastily-constructed little wooden stage, at a podium and looking all around, not quite to their usual level of bombast as they stood by a similarly quiet kid in a purple aviator hat. A small crowd was before them, beneath them, but neither seemed to be paying attention to them at all.
“You should… Probably say something to them,” the Purple Kid said as he adjusted his goggles. “And to the cameras, of course. Not in the best mood today, so not sure I’ll be able to help much…”
“No, I get it, I get it. Get going, take the rest of the day off. You work too hard for me.” Cairo turned to the people beneath, then. “What a wonderful crowd this is! To be here at this Guerrilla live event, the second live one Being So Normal has had, and the first to sound, uh… Like a funny ape. Yeah!”
There was dead silence then, and then the crowd broke out in laughter all in perfect sync after Cairo coughed and cleared their throat.
“Hey, hey, don’t force it! Not every bit’s a winner, even from me, I get it! But yeah, after our first show went so wonderfully well! We decided we would change the venues to the scenic business district, try it again today… And much like then, for special guests to arrive, it’s literally just a matter of waiting for them to show! It’ll be a format a little different from last time, but I’ll explain it when our next contestants show, and-”
Never one to miss a chance to announce his presence, not one for the element of surprise or weak shit like that, Nix Ripa announced himself, having already managed to slip into the fringes of the crowd alongside Ian Rains, who looked over them contemplatively, suspicious but wondering if it was just ‘modern technology’ at it again.
“You must be some kind of stupid to have a rally like this in a time like this! I got a bone to pick with that, you know, but that ain’t why I’m here!” Nix pointed aggressively. “I’m here to call someone out, and-”
“You’re all in danger! Scram outta here!”
Nix and Ian’s attention, then, was turned towards the next pair of new arrivals.
Funk Odyssey biked straight into the area, skidding to a halt, as Peter Bequasimodo called out from a megaphone.
“You’re all being super threatened here! Get out now while you’ve got a chance!”
Funk leaned in, then, to call into it as well, even at the odd angle that required to make work. “Unless you’re brave enough to watch purification in progress!”
“Guess we’re not the only ones here… They need a motorcycle to catch Nova or something?” Nix called out then, raising his voice, “HEY! You two stand back and just let us handle this! Don’t worry about a thing but getting the rest out!”
“LIKE HELL WE ARE!” Funk, offended at the utter disregard before this guy had even seen her fight, called out in turn, and it almost seemed as if the two would come to blows before the anticipated threat even arrived.
Before the two could make good on their very quickly mounting tensions, the large wall of a nearby building burst open, revealing a relatively small, blue-haired woman with her hands on her hips, an animalistic, almost crazed look in her eyes.
Without hesitation, she raised a megaphone of her own, the sight making Peter less enthused about his own. “Alright, puppies! Everyone, clear outta here, and we won’t have to go apeshit! Cairo’s the one we want-- if you push ‘em forward, then maybe we’ll be merciful! Hehehe!”
“...We?” Peter raised an eyebrow, pushing up his sunglasses with a single finger as Nova, the woman of the hour, revealed herself to the persons present. Ian himself was similarly puzzled-- apparently, her accomplice had followed her to the scene? Still made no sense to him, even after having heard them speak… just who could possibly be crazy enough to help this maniac?
A monstrous figure, nearly seven feet tall and concealed in thick metal armor stepped forward behind Nova. Though their face couldn’t be seen, internally, they brimmed with anticipation. They had wanted to witness, to be a part of, this takedown of Cairo as well, and provide support if necessary-- a bodyguard, of sorts.
“That’s right! You puppies just have to give up Cairo, and we’ll be on our way! We’ll erase the corruption in this city, one by--” Nova started to monologue to the two teams-- however, her bodyguard raised a hand in front of her, taking a step back and bringing their partner with them.
A flicker of recognition crossed Peter’s face, as by far the most savvy person present, as if after a modicum of thought he’d recognized this bodyguard-- their name was on the tip of his tongue, inches away from helping him realizing the truth. “I… I think I know who her accomplice is. She… She was, uh…”
“Who cares who it is?! I’ll kick their ass all the same! I’d even be down to 2v1 these two if Ian wasn’t here!” Nix shouts, taking a step towards the two and raising his fists. Ian continued to be there.
“Nova… you didn’t tell me that there would be others here. It’s… almost as if these people knew we were coming. Not only that, but it won’t be long before they determine who I am.” The figure spoke up, taking a stance in front of their accomplice. “I… I recognize them, in fact. Those are members of the Baker Street Rat Pack… and those two, they squat at the Black Hill Estate. You… led them to us, didn’t you? This wasn’t the part of the plan.” The figure made a resigned sound, but regardless, was willing to act, and after some thought, wasn’t sure why they were surprised. “You’ve… made things much more complicated.”
As the villains took another step back, Funk mounted her motorcycle, Peter produced his phone, and Nix and Ian began to make their own advance. If the two stayed their ground, it would be mere seconds before the teams closed the distance and finished them off. “Nova… you’ve left me with no choice. I… I have to do this.”
They closed their eyes, taking a deep breath. In the end, this would all be worth it.
In front of the two, six red, quadrupedal trains appeared, crawling around at an incredibly high speed and leaving tracks in their wake. Two of them begin to ascend the building-- and, picking up Nova in her arms, the accomplice grips the rails, allowing herself to be dragged up to the top of the building, where they place the tinkerer down on top of it-- taking a fighting stance themselves.
“I knew it! I called it! Are you kidding me!? What the fuck is a politician like her doing helping a maniac like Nova!?” Peter wasn’t happy that his recognition had proven correct, even outright dropping the megaphone he was clutching tightly, forever forgotten.
“Leopoldine von Eisenbahn, huh..?” Nix spoke up now, looking her over with a sort of dark determination, approval, recognition, yet also, disgust. “You were on Cairo’s show way back when… What, c’mon! You seemed stronger than letting a loss like this get you so petty! Show some damn backbone!”
Staring down at her four opponents, Nova’s partner remained silent for a few seconds-- before taking the megaphone from her own companion and beginning to speak.
“My name… is Leopoldine von Eisenbahn the Third. Originally, I wanted to use Nova’s help to reinforce my train system, and work to rid this city of corruption. However… the disaster a few days ago-- one that claimed the lives of thousands-- has opened my eyes, and helped me focus on what truly matters.” She paused, took a deep breath, and continued. “Nova may be a bit of a loose cannon-- but I need her assistance. As a stand user myself, my death hangs over me like the Sword of Damocles-- a constant threat that I can never truly avoid. This woman… Her stand ability can allow me to achieve my ultimate goal. If I can protect her, then once we leave Los Fortuna, I will bring her back to my hometown in Germany-- to my railroad.”
“...You see, the majority of my family has remained bedridden for over a decade. Even with the salary I have from leading the train station, I don’t have enough cash saved up in the event of my death. I need a continual source of income-- one that will remain even if I pass away.” Leo explained fiercely, stepping in front of her partner once more.
“Nova acts as my ‘insurance’. My family… if I were to pass away and let my railroad waste away, then my sick family members will perish. However… If I use her ability to make my tracks invincible, then no disaster that strikes my railroad will ever be able to topple my company! I have to hold on, for the sake of my family.” Leo’s eyes narrowed as she glared at her opponents, raising up her forearm like a shield. “You people… could never understand the weight that comes with the lives of your loved ones depending on your ‘actions’! I will defend Nova Nascens with my life! Come at me if you wish… but I will do anything it takes to achieve my goal!”
That, then, only got Ian, Funk, and Peter incensed… Nix, most of all, though, he was angrier. He was angry enough that he was only just speaking audibly. “You… What the hell do you know? That we ‘could never understand the weight of your loved ones…’ That’s BULLSHIT!”
“You riled the puppies up, Leo!” Nova called, then, looking around, “And hey, look, the crowd is still sticking around to-”
The crowd, then, seemed to literally vanish.
“Ah.” Nova grinned anyway. “Well, this is nothing! We’ll raise a ton of hell anyway!”
Cairo, then, was the last standing, appearing to be flickering slightly. Even the podium they stood on was fading. “You caught on, huh… Alright, everyone watching! Our contestants have arrived, and so has our ‘objective’ here! Get Nova Nascens, here and now, even through her accomplice! People like you four… You’re the only ones who can pull it off!”
Standing in front of the two teams, Leo’s face darkened, and she herself clenches her fists. “I… am truly sorry. I will do what I must.”
...Both the Baker Street Rat Pack and the Black Hill Estate steeled themselves to fight.
Cairo’s illusion, then, called one last thing as they faded away.
“OPEN THE GAME!”
(Shoutouts to jjbahomecoming as a guest writer for this match’s write-up… And allowing this match concept to exist.)
The purple rectangles are all 2 story office buildings, and all of them have tracks installed on their roofs by Nova and Leo as shown by the brown tracks. These tracks created by Leo’s stand have had their duration improved by Nova’s Stand ability, allowing them to exist far outside of Leo’s usual range. The tracks that lead off the buildings have ramps installed by Nova. The red rectangles are the doors to the buildings. The green rectangles are the roof entrances and the white circles are air vents.
Note that players can also make use of the tracks.
Nova and Leo are at the top of the map on top of a building and the player teams are at the south end of the map.
The place is devoid of people besides Nova, Leo and the players.
Goal: In the midst of a scene quickly interrupted and overtaken by her and Leo, do whatever it takes for your team to apprehend Nova Nascens! The team that manages to do so first will be the winners in the match!
Here is Leo’s adjusted sheet, but with Nova’s ability to affect installations, they can be made to have much more power and speed behind them when Nova chooses to use her ability on them.
Nova has flat 2 physicals, a 5 in Installations(being able to recognize and abuse them with her stand), and a 5 in Stealth(able to hide things and themselves when the opportunities present themselves very effectively.) The installations under Nova’s Stand will always have A durability themselves.
Nova has upped the firmware installations on her and Leo’s phones, making them ridiculously difficult and impossible to hack in the timeframe of this match.
Nova and Leo will be using the tracks along the map to move around at high speed. With both their abilities, they can cross the gaps to the other buildings through the ramps, or reverse course by going back down the ramps by using them as slopes.
Leo is equipped with a suit of mechanical ‘juggernaut armor’, reminiscent of the power armor from the Fallout series. Said armor is not only affected by the ‘Durable’ and ‘Powerful’ modifiers by Nova’s stand (essentially boosting those stats to B and A respectively), it also comes equipped with a variety of guns, blades, and other weaponry necessary for protecting the smaller, more vulnerable Nova. The suit itself has tracks set all along it as well, capable of redirecting projectiles that hit them as well as move other people they touch. This is useful for throwing off attacks, disorienting/tossing people, and slamming people into the suit as an attack.
Nova and Leo will be spending most of the match moving together and maintaining/gaining positions where they can attack the two teams from range as well as retain an easy getaway if necessary using the tracks along the buildings. Leo will be fiercely defending Nova at every available opportunity putting herself between Nova and the Players where possible. If she notices too many people closing in, she will not hesitate to use her stand to get the two of them away. If their path gets broken or blocked, Leo will make new tracks down walls and up to other buildings as needed for them to follow.
At range, Nova will be throwing custom made concussive shrapnel bombs that can move along the ground at high speed and will blow up when they are near players. These bombs will travel in straight lines once they touch the ground and will blow up when they are near players or when they hit a wall.
If Nova gets tailed by players, Nova will use her stand on the air vents as she passes, creating localized high temperature tornados to occupy them and/or knock them off the tracks.
If necessary to hide from players, either due to high damage to the track system, damages suffered to themselves, or otherwise, Nova and Leo will duck into the buildings to hide and recover. Nova will turn the building installations into traps, turning the air conditioning to max to freeze the rooms they are not in and turning the lights to max to be blinding, both Nova and Leo will have donned a pair of sunglasses so they aren’t blinded.
Any unnecessary installation Nova has affected can be turned off when they no longer help her, and Leo’s armor can be similarly discarded if the situation requires it.
In the case where Nova is alone, she can still utilize the tracks that have been placed where needed and can use the flash from her phone camera to blind and daze people long enough to make space to throw a bomb at them or find a new place to hide.
|Baker Street Rat Pack||Peter “Treagon” Bequasimodo and Funk Odyssey||"The only thing that can soothe and cleanse my 'sin' is that 'corpse'..." Man, fuck what the Nix guy said, you’re going to be able to totally win this! While completing your objective, make sure to do what you can to impede and trouble the Black Hill Estate how you see fit.|
|Black Hill Estate||Ian Rains and Nix Ripa||"Very soon, the 'corpse' and the 'greatest power' in this world will belong to me and me alone!" If these guys really think they’re cut out for this, then they’d better put their money where their mouths are! While completing your objective, make sure to do what you can to impede and trouble the Baker Street Rat Pack how you see fit.|
Link to Match Schedule
Classical Liberals on 'Social Justice'
Classical liberals on ‘social justice’
Jacob Hall | Marcus SheraGeorge Mason University, Virginia, USA
Symposium: New Thinking about Social Justice. The Independent Review, Volume 24, Number 1, Summer 2019. https://www.independent.org/publications/titoc.asp?id=98
1 | INTRODUCTIONIn the Summer 2019 issue of The Independent Review, 14 authors took up the call, in the words of Robert M. Whaples, the journal's co-editor, to “explore, reassess, and critique the concept of social justice” (p. 5). We give an overview and commentary on the symposium's articles. Rather than adopting the term ‘social justice’, we recommend returning to the three senses of justice adopted by Adam Smith and explained by Daniel Klein (2017). We articulate and explore Smith's trilayered understanding of justice in contrast to an understanding that gives place to the expression ‘social justice’. Smith's trilayered understanding is in the spirit of addressing the microfoundations of macro phenomena, the spirit of Thomas Schelling's Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978).
The term ‘social justice’ seems to be especially susceptible to miscommunication. Not only do people disagree about a proper conception of social justice, but many recommend abandoning the term together. The term has a history of debate in the classical liberal tradition, often centring on Friedrich Hayek (1976, 1988), John Rawls (1971), and Robert Nozick (1974). Hayek argued that it is wrongheaded to make outcomes, rather than actions, the objects that are assessed in terms of justice. Hayek recommended framing justice in terms of rules of just conduct that evaluate the behaviour of each individual. Nozick's conception centres on the just acquisition and transfer of property, while Rawls is famous for his ‘difference principle’ and thought experiment with the ‘veil of ignorance’.
What makes the classical liberal tradition unique is a dedication to the rules of commutative justice (CJ) – the grammar-like rules of property, person, and promises due. But CJ is not sufficient to describe the complex moral landscape in which we live. What should I be doing with my property? How should I engage with my neighbours in a voluntary setting? Thus, many classical liberals seek out senses of justice beyond CJ.
Moving beyond CJ requires leaving its precise and accurate rules and entering a territory where the guidelines are more loose, vague, and indeterminate. At the same time, it is important to identify an operational logic in articulated senses of justice. Such challenges have given birth to various classical liberal formulations of ‘social justice’. The totality of justice is often described by the rules of commutative justice plus some additional standards of ‘social justice’ (SJ). Thus, for many of the symposium authors CJ + SJ = J. In venturing beyond CJ, we encourage grappling with the loose, vague, and indeterminate nature of justice beyond CJ, as well as articulating an operational logic that puts the actor and the action in the foreground.
In our quest to articulate justice beyond CJ, adopting ‘social justice’ talk prematurely can harm or confuse conversation more often than it clarifies the muddy and murky world beyond CJ. As Thomas Schelling (1978, p. 39) writes:
A hastily chosen term that helps to meet a need gets imitated into the language before anybody notices what an inappropriate term it is. People who recognize that a term is a poor one use it anyway in a hurry to save thinking ofa better one, and in collective laziness we let inappropriate terminology into our language by default.We explain why Adam Smith's trilayered understanding of justice is preferred as it grounds the complexities of extended injustice in the actions of individuals. We examine each contribution to the Independent Review symposium, and attempt to analyse them through the lens of Adam Smith. We conclude by asking whether or not there is anything left for ‘social justice’ to capture that is not subsumed in the trilayered understanding.
2 | ADAM SMITH'S TRILAYERED UNDERSTANDING OF JUSTICEWe follow Klein (2017) in affirming that Smith articulated three distinct senses of justice in The Theory ofMoral Sentiments (1790; hereafter TMS); and, more importantly for our purposes here, we follow Klein in adopting the trilayered understanding as our own.
Smith's three senses of justice are as follows (Klein, 2017; TMS, pp. 269–270.101):
• commutative justice (CJ): not messing with other people's stuff • distributive justice (DJ): making a becoming use of one's own stuff • estimative justice (EJ): estimating objects properly
The three senses of justice are not disjointed parts; rather, they are akin to nested layers. EJ subsumes DJ which further subsumes CJ. Thus, we speak of Smith's framework of justice as being ‘trilayered’.
We treat each sense in turn.
2.1 | Commutative justiceCommutative justice, or ‘mere’ justice, is the sense of justice most familiar to classical liberals. When the symposium articles refer to Smith's thoughts on justice, it is CJ they are referring to. Conforming to CJ entails not messing with other people's stuff. The specifics of what constitutes ‘stuff’, ‘other people's’, and ‘messing with’ are a function of factors specific to time and place. Thus, within limits, there is variety in the specifics and uniformity in the broad formulation. Smith gets to the heart of the matter:
The most sacred laws of justice, therefore, those whose violation seems to call loudest for vengeance and punishment, are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbour; the next are those which guard his property and possessions; and last of all come those which guard what are called his personal rights, or what is due to him from the promises ofothers. (TMS, p. 84.2)Thus, for Smith, one's ‘stuff’ consists of the tangibles of person, property, and promises due. Smith elsewhere includes one's reputation as a component of the stuff of CJ (TMS, p. 82.9). However, reputation is a complicated affair and it is unclear whether Smith views it as covered by the rules of commutative justice or those of distributive justice. In parsing Smith's thoughts on reputation, Bonica and Klein (2019, pp. 3–4) distinguish between detractions to one's “simple reputation”, which may incite messing with person, property, and promises due, and “intensive reputation”, which do not.
The rules of CJ are akin to the rules of grammar in that they are precise and accurate (TMS, pp. 175.11, 327.1). CJ is upheld primarily by abstaining from coercion and, thus, we only receive negative (or neutral) feedback on CJ. We do not receive positive feedback (praise) for not messing with other people's stuff (TMS, pp. 82.9, 330.8). The fulfillment of CJ is necessary to the well-being of society, and so we feel a stricter obligation to uphold it (TMS, pp. 86.4, 175.11, 211.16). Violations of it are clear and call out loudly for correction, even by force if the situation warrants it (TMS, pp. 79–80.5, 269.10). CJ has a flipside: others not messing with one's stuff. When ‘others’ refers to the government, we call CJ's flipside ‘liberty’. When classical liberals protest against undesirable violations of liberty, they are calling the state out for its violations of CJ. CJ occupies a special place among the other virtues as the “main pillar that upholds the whole edifice” (TMS, p. 86.4).
2.2 | Distributive justiceDistributive justice (DJ) entails making a becoming use of one's own. While CJ is concerned with the individual's actions towards other people's stuff, DJ is concerned with distributing one's own stuff. The ‘stuff’ of DJ is somewhat broader and looser than the ‘stuff’ of CJ. In addition to the ‘stuff’ of CJ, it includes one's energy, attention, respect, admiration, approbation, social capital, and so on. The action up for judgement is the distribution of one's limited resources. Unlike the rules of CJ, the rules of DJ are loose, vague, and indeterminate. The lines between becoming and unbecoming, praiseworthy and blameworthy, are blurry and up for interpretation and debate. Thus, whereas CJ is akin to the rules of grammar, DJ is like the rules of aesthetic criticism.
In a passage on patriotic self-sacrifice, Smith gives us an example of DJ:
The patriot who lays down his life for the safety, or even for the vain-glory of this society, appears to act with the most exact propriety. He appears to view himself in the light in which the impartial spectator naturally and necessarily views him, as but one of the multitude, in the eye of that equitable judge, of no more consequence than any other in it, but bound at all times to sacrifice and devote himself to the safety, to the service, and even to the glory of the greater number. But though this sacrifice appears to be perfectly just and proper, we know how difficult it is to make it, and how few people are capable of making it. (TMS, p. 228.2; emphasis added)Smith's use of “perfectly just and proper” clearly speaks to DJ rather than to mere CJ. Smith feels that the sacrificial patriot is making abecominguse of hisown.Others may disagree and feel that the patriot's actions were rather unbecoming, but such is the nature of DJ.
DJ is a social virtue in the sense that it is about distributing resources to people. It calls us to make a becoming use of our many social resources. Thus, DJ is concerned with the proper treatment of persons. We can ask ourselves whether the social action of distributing our stuff furthers or detracts from our striving to make a becoming use of what is our own. Smith, in line with the tradition of virtue ethics, recognises that DJ “comprehends all the social virtues” (TMS, p. 270.10). Striving to be a virtuous person, someone fulfilling their DJ obligations, requires the individual to fulfil, and balance, a whole host of virtues.
Smith distinguishes his sense of distributive justice from that of Aristotle's presentation in the Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle, 1962). Smith writes, “The distributive justice of Aristotle is somewhat different. It consists in the proper distribution of rewards from the public stock of a community” (TMS, pp. 269–70.10n). Smith paints Aristotelian distributive justice as consisting of what is a fair distribution of public benefits. Smith's sense of DJ is concerned with how individuals, not merely ‘the public’, distribute their stuff. Furthermore, the stuff of Smithian DJ is more encompassing than the stuff of Aristotelian DJ. Smith's portrayal of Aristotle seems to align quite well with the one provided by symposium contributor Daniel Guerrière (‘Social Justice versus Western Justice’, pp. 25–36). We note, however, that Aristotle's concept of distributive justice is difficult to pin down (Chroust & Osborn, 1942), and that Smith tended to overstate disagreement for various strategic reasons (Matson, Doran, & Klein, 2019).
2.3 | Estimative justiceEstimative justice (EJ) is the most extensive and encompassing of the three senses of justice. It concerns the estimation, or evaluation, of objects. The modifier ‘estimative’ is not one that Smith uses, but it is adopted by Klein to describe Smith's third unnamed sense of justice which Smith affirms and associates with Plato. ‘Objects’ can include tangible objects such as poems and pictures or more abstract objects such as government policies, systems of philosophy, one's own previous actions and estimations, other people's estimations, and anything else we are conscious of. Even the expression ‘social justice’ is an object of estimation.
In a passage immediately preceding his famous discussion of the earthquake in China, Smith speaks of “a sense of propriety and justice” that seems to go beyond the realm of CJ and DJ:
[I]t requires … some degree of reflection, and even of philosophy, to convince us, how little interest we should take in the greatest concerns of our neighbour, how little we should be affected by whatever relates to him, if the sense of propriety and justice did not correct the otherwise natural inequality of our sentiments. (TMS, p. 136.3, emphasis added)When our sentiments display such an inequality, they reflect a hidden estimation that is incorrect – or estimatively unjust. Tom can be said to do injustice to a painting when he values it too little, and more than justice when he values it too highly. Either way, Tom estimates the painting unjustly.
Suppose Jim watches a movie and estimates it to be worth a rating of 7.5 out of 10. Mary can estimate Jim's estimation and find it either just or unjust. It is important to reiterate that Mary is estimating Jim's estimation, the 7.5. Mary's estimation does indirectly entail her estimation of the movie, but Jim's estimation is the direct object of her estimation.
Like DJ, EJ is loose, vague, and indeterminate. For example, there are no well-defined and clear-cut rules of aesthetic appreciation. Smith's many illustrations and examples in The Theory of Moral Sentiments encourage moral development by prodding the reader's conscience to estimate the actions, estimations, beliefs, and sentiments of others in a medley of scenarios. Smith's The Wealth of Nations can be read as his attempt to get his readers to justly estimate British domestic and international policy – policy evaluation is loose, vague, and indeterminate too. Estimative justice is concerned with the good of the whole. Saying that an estimation of some object is estimatively just is equivalent to saying that the impartial spectator finds it agreeable, and that which is good for the whole is what the impartial spectator finds pleasing (TMS, p. 166.7).
3 | WHY GO FROM ONE SENSE OF JUSTICE TO THREE?In Part VII of TMS, Smith describes three different ways of articulating rules of morality that he characterises by different historical strains of thought. It is possible that Smith is an unreliable narrator on the specifics of historical philosophy and that Smith's true targets lie between the lines. Nevertheless, Smith's characterisation of historical schools is instructive in articulating the distinction between those virtues that are precise and accurate and those that are loose, vague, and indeterminate. First, the ancient moralists did not mark out a set of grammar-like rules. Instead, their moral prescriptions presume that rules are loose and vague (TMS, pp. 328.3, 341.37). Next, there are those who treat virtues as though they were amenable to grammar-like rules. Smith identifies these as the medieval “casuists”. The casuists attempted to offer precise and accurate rules that circumscribed every aspect of human behaviour. Finally, the scholars of natural jurisprudence limited themselves to those that one is “entitled to exact by force”, namely commutative justice (TMS, p. 330.8). The natural jurisprudence scholars recognised aspects of human conduct other than CJ as a part of justice, but, unlike the casuists, they did not attempt to lay down precise and accurate rules for their fulfilment. We hope to animate the spirit of the natural jurisprudence scholars.
CJ and its flipside, liberty, are conceptually powerful because they give us precise and accurate rules. But reducing moral philosophy to CJ cuts short our moral philosophising. Without senses of justice beyond CJ we have no way to justify our attachment to it nor a way to justify potential exceptions. When striving to articulate justice beyond CJ it is important to keep two points in mind. The first is recognising and accepting that moral standards become loose, vague, and indeterminate. The second is that the newly articulated sense of justice must have a distinctive logic of operation pertaining to the action and the actor. Straying from these two guidelines often results in casuistry or confusion or both.
Most of the authors contributing to the Independent Review symposium desire to elucidate and affirm a sense of justice beyond CJ. We share that desire and applaud them. However, rather than merely adding one other sense of ‘justice’ to our active vocabulary, thereby adopting a bipartite scheme of justice (CJ + SJ), we follow Smith and Klein in jumping from one sense of justice to three.
Distinguishing between DJ and EJ allows us to make sense of justice beyond CJ. Leaping from one sense of justice to three allows us to articulate a coherent ‘justice talk’ that both recognises looseness and maintains a logic of operation. It makes sense to clarify further the difference between DJ and EJ here.
Imagine Tom is a fan of watching tennis, and takes the time to estimate Roger Federer so that he can communicate his estimations to his friends the next time they are on the tennis court. We can view Tom's actions through the lens of DJ. He is distributing his time, energy, and attention to watching and estimating Federer. Because he does this in connection with his tennis friends, and because DJ is social in nature, we may say that his friends are the persons treated by Tom's act of distributing.
Perhaps Tom is estimating Federer not to converse with his friends, but to publish his estimation as a sports writer. Tom estimates Federer to be a 9.5. Thus, EJ is concerned with whether 9.5 is a proper estimation of Federer.
One could argue that perhaps EJ is really a form of DJ in that it is concerned with distributing esteem or admiration to objects. However, it seems inappropriate to say that we have a supply of ‘esteem points’ to distribute to objects as that would require a budget constraint and a finite field of relevant objects. EJ is concerned with all objects, including ideas and other estimations, which are innumerable.
Further, Tom's estimation need not reflect an expression of approbation. If Tom was instead admiring a mountain view, but kept the admiration to himself, that point becomes clearer. DJ attaches to persons, and is concerned with the proper treatment of those persons. EJ lacks that aspect in any simple way. Thus, EJ has a more extensive set of objects; DJ is more attentive to the people to whom we distribute our social resources. EJ is a more elementary operator, and thus encompasses DJ.
4 | JUSTICE IS CONCERNED WITH THE ACTION OF THE ACTORDeirdre McCloskey (2008) reads Smith as part of the virtue-ethical tradition. The virtue ethics tradition experienced a resurgence in the latter half of the twentieth century, with works such as Anscombe (1958) and MacIntyre (1981). Justice is a virtue that we are to practise. To maintain that idea, focusing our attention on individual actors, the actual practitioners of virtue, is paramount. Unfortunately, often in discussions of ‘social justice’ talk of the actor and her action is neglected. For justice talk to be meaningful, we need proper nouns and verbs. Did Tom mess with other people's stuff? Did Jim make a becoming use of his resources? Did Mary estimate the object properly?
Justice implies duties. Again, our CJ duties are precise and accurate. We have a duty to not mess with other people's stuff. The rules of DJ and EJ are loose, vague, and indeterminate; nevertheless, they are duties. We have a duty to make a becoming use of our own stuff and to estimate objects properly. Articulating a sense of justice requires articulating its operational logic, that is, how it works in practice.
As Thomas Schelling (1978, pp. 135–6) shows us, neighbourhood segregation need not be the product of conscious design; rather, it can arise from the beliefs and expectations of individuals. As Jacob Levy correctly points out in his symposium article (‘Social Injustice and Spontaneous Orders’, pp. 49–62), there are no CJ violations here. However, there is a problem of justice at stake, one that pushes us beyond CJ.
There are many questions that we may ask to start a conversation about the undesirable outcomes we see in the world. If Tom holds on to racial prejudices, is he estimating people properly? If Tom's neighbours harbour no racial prejudices, yet he thinks they do, is he estimating their sentiments properly? Is Tom making a becoming use of his influence over the beliefs, estimations, and actions of Mary? Does Mary, Tom's friend and neighbour, estimate Tom's actions and sentiments properly? Is she making a becoming use of her own stuff in her friendship and respect for Tom? Perhaps Mary should use her resources to impart better estimations to Tom.
Tom's sentiments, beliefs, and character are a product of his estimations. We need not place the entire burden on Tom and his neighbours for the undesirable outcome, but Tom and others are held responsible for their own failures to uphold their duties to DJ and EJ.
The title of Schelling's book Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978) expresses the spirit of our critique of ‘social justice’. We need the trilayered CJ, DJ, and EJ to provide the operational ‘micro’ logics, or lens, for discussing the justice of human behaviour. Smith's trilayered justice is akin to the call for micro-foundations for macro phenomena.
If the estimations and actions of individuals, the micro-motives, are unjust in the DJ and EJ senses, can we then say the macro outcome deserves to be called unjust? Simply put: no. Like poems and paintings, the ‘segregated neighbourhood’ is an object of estimation. Tom can estimate the neighbourhood and find it disagreeable or upsetting. Mary can subsequently estimate the justness of Tom's estimation. But the neighbourhood, as an object separated from an actor and his actions, is neither just or unjust. Losing the focus on the action of the actor leads to a confused practical response, which ultimately detracts from the heart of any issue, namely the individuals involved.
5 | THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW CLASSICAL LIBERALS' NOTIONS OF ‘SOCIAL JUSTICE’The goal of the Independent Review's symposium is to explore the relationship between classical liberalism and the idea of social justice. Although there is a level of overlap among the 12 articles in their characterisations of social justice, no two are exactly alike. We review each symposium article, focusing on how the authors address key questions concerning social justice and highlighting the similarities and differences between their approaches. We quote the authors when we can, though many authors leave the readers to infer a definition of ‘social justice’ themselves.
We focus on three main questions:
- Do the authors affirm and use the term ‘social justice’? If so, how do they define it? If not, why not?
- Do the authors stress the idea that justice concerns the action of an actor in articulating justice, or do they neglect it or even reject it?
- Do the authors remain primarily within the terms of Smith's idea of commutative justice? If not, is it apt to understand their idea of ‘social justice’ as akin to Smith's ideas of distributive justice and estimative justice?
5.1 | What does social justice mean to the classical liberal?Of the 12 contributions to the symposium, eight affirmatively use the term ‘social justice’.At first glance, it may appear that we have a sort of consensus appearing. Yet a closer inspection of the authors' definitions reveals that the affirmative camp has no clear unifying focus. Some authors concentrate on aspects of individual conduct while others neglect how the individual is involved. Some focus on economic factors while others are more interested in dignity and virtue. Although they may agree on many policy positions, they do so in spite of their differing conceptions of social justice.
In ‘Opting Out: A Defense of Social Justice’ (pp. 13–24), James R. Otteson, the prize-winning essayist, defines ‘social justice’ as:
…first, the removal of formal restrictions placed on any individuals or groups that limit their ability to achieve a flourishing life as they themselves understand it. A second step would be endorsement of political and economic policy that rewards people for engaging in cooperative behavior and partnerships that provide benefit and value to others as well as to themselves – and that hence punishes or disincentivizes behavior that benefits one person or group at the expense of others. (p. 20)Even if classical liberals were reluctant to use the term ‘social justice’ in the past, Otteson's definition of the term should be familiar to advocates of the free market. Social justice is built upon two pillars: Smithian justice (what we are calling commutative justice) and David Hume's idea of enlarged and benevolent sentiments (pp. 17–19). Otteson further builds his conception around what he calls the “opt-out option”, or the ability to say “no” (p. 19). When we have to mutually respect each other's boundaries, we develop a respect for each other's humanity. Every individual has the power to say “no!” to any given association or interaction.
Vincent J. Geloso and Phillip W. Magness (‘Social Justice, Public Goods, and Rent Seeking in Narratives’, pp. 37–48) articulate their sense of social justice as being synonymous with “relational equality”, which “holds that the way in which one individual is treated ought to extend to all other individuals” (p. 38). They also introduce the concept of “rent-seeking in narratives”, whereby actors that benefit from relational inequality perpetuate narratives about peoples to maintain their privilege. Although they use the term ‘social justice’, they lean heavily on the term ‘relational equality’, ceasing to refer to social justice after the introductory sections. Stefanie Haeffele and Virgil Henry Storr (‘Is Social Justice a Mirage?’ pp. 145–54) adopt a similar concept to that of Geloso and Magness. They focus their attention on the fairness and generality of the rules of the game and the impartiality of the referees (p. 150). They also emphasise that some games will systematically favour some people over others. If people are not able to choose what games they play, one can call the system unjust.
Jacob Levy directs our attention towards “the amplification of initial injustices through the complex workings of an emergent order as its own kind of injustice” (p. 58). He does not want to put forward a “positive theory of social justice”, but wants us to consider, contra Hayek, that even events that were part of no one's intention or design are legitimate questions of justice (p. 57). Levy leans on Adam Smith to note that, simply because some form of behaviour is unenforceable, that does not tell us whether it is an issue of justice. Levy wants to complement Nozick's understanding of justice with Hayek's description of a spontaneous order, in a way that Hayek himself failed to do. He provides the example of neighbourhood segregation, which we tackled above. At no point during the process of “white flight” does any of the “fleers” explicitly violate any rules of just conduct, but the injustice of segregation persists. Levy expands this type of injustice to potentially include “microaggressions” and structural racism (p. 60). Levy emphasises, therefore, that although such injustices may not be simply legislated away, we are still right to call them injustices and do our best to remediate them.
In their affirmations of social justice, the approaches of Kevin D. Vallier (‘Hayekian Social Justice’, pp. 63–72) and Anthony J. Gill (‘An Exchange Theory of Social Justice’, pp. 131–44) are more formulaic. Vallier articulates a simple, explicit conception of social justice as restricted utility: “Society should be governed by the system of general rules that we can predict will maximize average utility with a utility floor” (p. 63). He also follows Hayek in arguing that we should hesitate to tear up the system as a whole and rather seek to better our system rule by rule by testing each against the meta-rule given above. Anthony Gill notes that defining an outcomes-based version of social justice is no easy task under conditions of diverse preferences and uncertainty. Gill offers us two criteria that bound the field in which actors can play freely to “search and discover” fair outcomes: first, that interactions are Pareto-efficient (no actor is made worse off in a bilateral set of interactions); and second, that “distributional justice increases as the gains from trade within a bilateral interaction tend toward equitable distribution” (p. 133). Gill proceeds to show how, as a society grows in size and anonymity, the equitable distribution becomes ever more uncertain, and from this he argues that, regardless of uncertainty, markets do a better job at hitting the socially just price target than a central planner would.
Social justice affirmers John A. Moore (‘Social Justice: Intersecting Catholicism, Citizenship, and Capitalism’, pp. 119–30) and James R. Stoner Jr. (‘Civil Society and Social Justice: A Prospectus’, pp. 85–94). root their conceptions of social justice in the intellectual history of the Catholic Church. Both reference the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII, 1891) for inspiration. Stoner Jr. emphasises the historical development of the term ‘social justice’ as a conversation between two papal encyclicals and the Italian priest Antonio Rosmini, credited with coining the term (p. 90). Stoner Jr. defines social justice as follows:
First, social justice includes recognizing the basic rights of individuals out of which civil society developed: the rights to life, to personal liberty, and to property, including rights of exchange and communication … Second, social justice would include just arrangements within the various associations and institutions of civil society. … Finally, social justice ought to include limits on the reach of its own principles, on the one hand in the name of the family, on the other in the name of the state. (pp. 92–3)Moore alludes to a realm beyond the mere happiness of individuals where they achieve fulfilment and self-actualisation (p. 129). In religious communities, social justice won't be limited to the circles of this world. The term ‘social justice’ seems to have a stable focal definition in Catholic communities, at least viewed from the outside, but it differs from most conversations outside the Church, where there is little institutional prestige to lean on.
Detractors of the term also seem to have different targets in mind. Daniel J. D'Amico (‘Knowledge Problems from behind the Veil of Ignorance’, pp. 73–84) primarily criticises Rawls's conception of the veil of ignorance. Adam G. Martin (‘The Mantle of Justice’, pp. 107–17) combats potential criticisms of Hayek, and agrees with Hayek that ‘social’ is not a meaningful qualifier of justice. Daniel Guerrière contrasts the visions of modern democratic socialists with the ‘Western justice’ of Aristotle and Plato. In his conclusion, he states that there are three potential meanings of ‘social justice’:(a) Catholic social thought, (b) the justice of Plato's ordered polity, and (c) the disposition to promote the welfare of others (pp. 34–5). R. Scott Smith (‘Social Justice, Economics, and the Implications of Nominalism’, pp. 95–106) claims that social justice and critical theory are “wed to nominalism” and criticises them on those grounds (p. 95). A nominalist, as opposed to a realist, theory posits that only particulars exist and that justice has no universal qualities that humans can co-participate in. Like the affirmers of ‘social justice’, the detractors dance around a common set of issues, but analytically are often attacking different sets of ideas.
5.2 | Do the authors stress the actions of individuals?As discussed above, justice is concerned with actors and their actions. Of the 12 symposium contributions, only nine discuss and stress the actor and the action in their thoughts on social justice. Adam Martin approvingly discusses Hayek's rejection of ‘social justice’ on the grounds that justice applies to individual conduct (p. 107). Hayek, and by extension Martin, follow Smith in articulating the view that justice is a virtue that we are to uphold. Martin argues that “claiming a distribution is unjust is problematic because no identifiable individual or group can be said to have caused the purportedly unjust outcome” (p. 107). Daniel D'Amico primarily addresses the difference between Rawls and Hayek and focuses on the rules and institutions that are just to uphold (p. 74). To D'Amico, Rawls neglects the historical context that would make one set of institutions better than another. “Attempting to ascertain the normative dimensions of a particular social norm apart from the real social context within which it was developed is comparable to asking what is the just price for a particular commodity” (p. 75). He does not directly require that any institution follow Hayek's criterion to apply to individual conduct, but it may be inferred that the historical development of rules would force them to be applicable to individual conduct.
R. Scott Smith, John Moore, and Daniel Guerrière in their respective articles maintain the idea that justice is a virtue and entangled with the action of an actor. For Moore, social justice is about individuals and their responsibilities towards other community members rather than economic outcomes (p. 120). Moore maintains his stress on the actor and her action throughout his article, and touches on the theme of micro-foundations and macro-behaviour within his Catholic framing (p. 127). He emphasises the importance of agency, virtue, and subsidiarity as “concepts [that] speak to human activity at a ‘ground’ level and seek to elevate individual human experience through self-development and specific actions” (p. 127). Moore approvingly quotes Michael Novak (2009, p. 1): “… we must rule out any use of ‘social justice’ that does not attach to the habits (that is, virtues) of individuals. ‘Social justice’ is a virtue, an attribute of individuals, or it is a fraud” (p. 120). Guerrière accentuates the action of the actor as well as highlighting the importance of the micro-foundations of macro-behavior. He writes:
[J]ustice is not a societal structure or condition, which is always a datum; any just or unjust social condition is an institution of the acts of individuals, hence posterior to just or unjust conduct. Ifno one acts justly or unjustly, there is no just or unjust social structure. … A social, political, or economic configuration may be just or unjust only insofar as it is the deliberate consequent ofvoluntary behavior. (p. 28)James Stoner Jr. believes that an overemphasis on individual rights can lead us to neglect the duties that we have to family, friends, and the broader community (p. 91). For Stoner Jr., individual rights need to be complemented with a sense of duty to various social institutions. “As these associations and institutions vary in scope and purpose, so the principles of justice within them would vary: authority and reward within a firm are different from authority and reward within a school, and they are in turn different within a club” (p. 93). He does not explicitly require that the rules that govern institutions apply directly to individual conduct, but as an institution becomes more local we can infer that its rules are more consistent with the logic of individual action.
James Otteson addresses Hayek's insistence that justice focus on individual actions, but dismisses it as “idiosyncratic preference” (p. 13). He likens Hayek to a Platonist who simply prefers his own formulation of the eternal meaning of ‘justice’ (p. 14). Otteson's conception of social justice places the individual in the analytical background. His social justice concerns individuals to the extent that the world is populated by individuals and that his conception of a socially just world prioritises Smith's CJ. Otteson's social justice does not concern the actor and her actions, but rather is about what a good world would look like. His call for endorsing a political economy that incentivises mutually beneficial behaviour is relevant to those with political and rhetorical power, and may be, in the vein of Haeffele and Storr, addressed to the ‘rulers’ of the game. Otteson, however, does not do that.
Jacob Levy notes that Hayek was right to emphasise the rules of just conduct for individuals, but wrong to restrict his idea of justice to those rules (p. 51). He believes that Hayek may have favoured a form of distributive justice more akin to Aristotle's “public distributive justice” as the distributor of the public funds is an individual whose conduct we can judge (p. 55). Levy is most interested in a kind of injustice that cannot be attributed to to an individual, one that is the result of spontaneous order. For Levy, an individual who moves out of a neighbourhood as a response to falling home prices is not violating any obvious principles of justice. In fact, we might say that they are obliged to do so to protect their family's financial well-being (p. 59). If a cycle of poverty or oppression perpetuates itself due to some initial and obvious injustice, such as slavery, it may not be corrected by offering restitution for the initial injustice itself. The original violation may have created a pattern over and above itself that it is no longer related to. Levy looks at social ills today, but is unable to locate the individual acts of injustice at the micro level. Levy finds the persistent social ills incongruent with the logic of individual action, but intuitively still unjust.
Kevin Vallier addresses Hayek's critiques of outcome-based schema of justice and founds his own understanding of social justice on Hayek's idea of immanent criticism (p. 64). Every rule that we develop for our schema of justice ought to be applicable to the direct conduct of individuals, but we can adopt higher “meta-rules” to critique individual rules. These meta-rules constitute “holistic” justice or the order of social justice, while the “particularistic” rules remain directed towards the conduct of individuals. Vallier reads Hayek as a Kantian contractarian whereby each rule must be simultaneously willed to be universally applied, and also that the rules themselves must conform to individual conduct (p. 66).
Anthony Gill rejects outcome-based conceptions of social justice since human preferences are subject to uncertainty and change. He prefers a “procedural definition” that provides the greatest number of opportunities to individuals (p. 132). His first criterion, to uphold a Pareto-efficient set of outcomes, rests upon no trade being made coercively. The choice between trading voluntarily and using violence is a matter of individual conduct. The second criterion is to offer fair distributions in trade, which Gill also describes as dependent on the traders' willingness to bargain fairly (p. 133). Both of his criteria focus on the conduct of individuals in real situations, though he concludes pessimistically that they are likely unrealisable standards.
Vincent Geloso and Phillip Magness's concept of relational equality can primarily stand in for individuals treating each other on the same terms. They note that “relational equality has a quality whereby it links the individual to the society”, and furthermore the “[u]neven treatment of individuals (i.e., relational inequality) limits heterogeneous individuals' ability to make contact” (p. 39). The concept of rent-seeking in narratives is a way of exploiting relational inequality to some particular advantage, and will quite often be to the detriment of the wider society. The concept of relational equality would remain applicable to individual conduct whether or not the individual concerned is a government actor or a regular citizen.
[cont'd in comments]