Social (in)justice

Matt C. Abbott
I don't know about you, but when I hear liberals talking about "social justice," I cringe. And I'm not the only one.

Anthony Esolen, professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College, and senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, writes in a Nov. 26 Crisis Magazine article:

An unmarried friend of mine is with child. That's not good. But the child needs love, and the mother and father need to return to a world of moral law-the real world, not the fantasy islands of hedonism. They too need love. That's where the Church and the faithful Christian come in. So we do, if we're given half a chance! It is calumny to say that we care only about fetuses and not about families.

But the secular state cares for neither. The secular state is an amoral cash extractor and dispenser. If the mother repeats the wrong, more money comes. If she and the father try to right the wrong by marrying, they risk losing the money. She can leave the child fatherless and, most of the day, motherless by going to work, and the state will pay. None of this is oriented towards virtue. Therefore none of it is really social; no more than rust is steel.

The Illinois Family Institute's cultural analyst, Laurie Higgins, is impressed with the professor's commentary, saying in an email: "Although Professor Esolen is Catholic, his analysis of the perversion of the concept of 'social justice' is equally applicable to Protestants, of which I am one."

I, a Catholic, happily agree.

Consider that Catholic and Protestant liberals seem to overlook the principle of subsidiarity.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 1883 and 1894):

Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which 'a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good'....

...[N]either the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.

Liberals beat down a straw man by asserting that conservatives are hypocrites for calling for the government to prohibit abortion and same-sex marriage. But the government's primary duty is to protect the common good in accordance with the natural law. Abortion and same-sex marriage are contrary to the natural law-and, by extension, to authentic social justice.






I don't know about you, but when I hear liberals talking about "social justice," I cringe. And I'm not the only one.

Anthony Esolen, professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College, and senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, writes in a Nov. 26 Crisis Magazine article:

An unmarried friend of mine is with child. That's not good. But the child needs love, and the mother and father need to return to a world of moral law-the real world, not the fantasy islands of hedonism. They too need love. That's where the Church and the faithful Christian come in. So we do, if we're given half a chance! It is calumny to say that we care only about fetuses and not about families.

But the secular state cares for neither. The secular state is an amoral cash extractor and dispenser. If the mother repeats the wrong, more money comes. If she and the father try to right the wrong by marrying, they risk losing the money. She can leave the child fatherless and, most of the day, motherless by going to work, and the state will pay. None of this is oriented towards virtue. Therefore none of it is really social; no more than rust is steel.

The Illinois Family Institute's cultural analyst, Laurie Higgins, is impressed with the professor's commentary, saying in an email: "Although Professor Esolen is Catholic, his analysis of the perversion of the concept of 'social justice' is equally applicable to Protestants, of which I am one."

I, a Catholic, happily agree.

Consider that Catholic and Protestant liberals seem to overlook the principle of subsidiarity.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 1883 and 1894):

Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which 'a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good'....

...[N]either the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.

Liberals beat down a straw man by asserting that conservatives are hypocrites for calling for the government to prohibit abortion and same-sex marriage. But the government's primary duty is to protect the common good in accordance with the natural law. Abortion and same-sex marriage are contrary to the natural law-and, by extension, to authentic social justice.