If one supports a law or government policy, one can be presumed to support the associated consequences. It is not clear why one would desire a certain law to go into effect if they did not desire its consequences to follow. Expressing dissatisfaction with unexpected consequences could be consistent with support for a policy, as when one’s support wavers when once unexpected but undesirable effects come to light. Nevertheless, desire for expected outcomes can be readily inferred from desire for the policy that will cause them.

Capital punishment provides a straightforward example of support for both a law and its consequences. If one supports capital punishment, one then supports the resulting deaths. One may believe that those people justly convicted and sentenced deserve to die, or one may believe that the ultimate consequence is an acceptable cost for deterring others from crime. Without such an attitude toward death, one’s support for capital punishment would be incoherent. While it would be consistent for a supporter of capital punishment to desire that no one is mistakenly executed, they have nevertheless found desirable the execution of at least some people.

When considering rectification of historic social injustice, a person who supports only gradual change must also support the consequences of sustaining injustice. If a person believes social injustice is wrong and should be corrected but not immediately, they have implicitly accepted the resulting limitations on the life and well-being of the the disadvantaged group. Arguing for gradual change or maintaining a status quo of injustice implicitly argues that the oppressed accept the limitations on their health, wealth, and well-being in order not to discomfort the privileged.

Requiring gradual change to rectify social injustice places an unequal value on the lives of the disadvantaged and the privileged. Members of disadvantaged groups face shorter lifespans due to bias in healthcare, hiring, and education. If a welfare program’s food assistance does not allow for a family to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, or not enough of any food, people who rely on that program will suffer the effects of hunger. When the disruption of generational wealth places most of a population at an economic disadvantage, members of that group will more often suffer the effects of hunger. As long as the structure of social institutions maintains this situation, human lives will be shorter and more painful. Webs of disadvantage like this one render social institutions as a whole prejudiced against disadvantaged groups.

If one understands that support for a law entails support for its known consequences, one must also recognize a shared culpability when those consequences manifest. When members of a privileged group reject the discomfort of negotiating new boundaries or receiving less undeserved deference, they express a disregard for human life. They bear moral responsibility for the lives lost to that disregard. Instead, members of privileged groups should study the dynamics of injustice in their society, forsake their privilege at every opportunity, and demand immediate rectification. Asking people to wait means asking them to die.