Is “Social Justice” Justice?

Those who peddle “Social Justice” never will admit that what they really peddle and encourage is societal envy and covetousness. These peddlers convince themselves that those who “have” must have gotten what they “have” unfairly; some injustice after all is implied. So “social justice” in their minds is simply to make what has been ill-gotten – right or what they would deem “justice”.

Unless someone has what they have illegally or unjustly why should the Government be empowered to take from one and give to another; is that really justice?  No, – “Social Justice” is simply envy cloaked in the suit of Marxist redistributive ideology and is not about justice at all. Faithful Christians should reject such an ideology because it encourages the breaking the 10th commandment: You shall not covet. A second reason faithful Christians should reject this ideology is because social covetousness encourages those who have been influenced by it to use the arm of the Government (via their vote) to take from one and give to another (in the name of justice)  which is theft and a breaking of the 8th commandment: You shall not steal.

Therefore Social Justice policies however good intentioned they might be are not really about “justice” at all; they are all smoke and mirrors and actually are about envy and covetousness.

Envy and covetousness though must have the appearance of ethics and justice so that those who peddle it can feel good about what they peddle whether they realize it or not.

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

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11 Responses

  1. Right, as usual, my friend. The saddest aspect of all about social justice politics is that in order to bring about the advocate’s utopian vision of social justice, which is purely subjective to their own whims and agendas in the first place, they neccesarily must empower and enlarge government to bring their vision about. And, as anyone who reads history knows, when government grows personal liberty and wealth decline. Private charity is far more efficient and fair, and doesn’t promote coveteousness and envy or theft. What is often forgotten by big government advocates is the inherent inefficiency of all governmental programs. A full 2/3rds of money allocated to government is eaten up in the salaries and overhead of the beauracracy itself. A good charity should put at least 80% of targeted money where it’s intended. And, most importantly, charity promotes gratitude from the receiver and praise to the Creator. God gets the credit and the praise, rather than government and politicians, which is blasphemy anyway. Charity is the jurisdiction of the Church, not government.

  2. Larry, I’ll try to make this as thoughtful as possible so that, as you said, iron may sharpen iron.

    Where I believe injustice has come into the picture is in the wealthy exploiting the poor for their own gain. Due to regulations put in place over the last hundred years, we do not see this as widely in our country now as we did in the past. We no longer have robber barons exploiting workers, or paying them with company money that can only be used at company stores. For the most part now we do share the same opportunities to succeed, wherever we started in life.

    You describe social justice in terms of injustice, which I think is the wrong angle. The justice being done isn’t in taking away from those who have. For the most part (except for some very old money) those who have now have not acquired their wealth in unjust ways. (Admittedly, many wealthy people in the country now have gotten their wealth by manipulating people or by withholding good pay and benefits from their workers, but since people are able to decide where they spend their money and where they work, I won’t call it injustice.) What social justice wants to do in this country is to start people off on a more equal field. The injustice isn’t that rich people are rich; the injustice is the systemic problem that keeps people poor; the injustice is condemning First Tribes to reservations after killing their people and taking their land, it is Jim Crow forcing African-American soldiers into worse neighborhoods because white people didn’t want to live next door to them. The injustice is often old, with long-reaching effects. It is these injustices that social justice now seeks to correct.

    Then why does the government want to take from the wealthy in order to even the field? Maybe it is simply because the wealthy have extra money. Or from another perspective, maybe it is because they appear to benefit the most from the oppressions of the past. We personally did not wrong these groups, but our ancestors did; now we benefit from the injustices perpetrated by our ancestors. Arguably, to even the playing field by taking from those who have benefited the most from old injustices sends the right message to those who now suffer from these old injustices: We recognize that what happened in the past was wrong, and now we want to make it right.

    Is it true that social justice may breed covetousness? Yes, probably. But any good may also lead to a multitude of wrongs. The important thing is that it is kindness to want to give of ourselves to help those whose starting point in life is behind ours.

    (And on a totally pragmatic note, if we can start everyone off more likely to succeed, we will lower crime rates and strengthen our economy. A small investment now could lead to large results in the future.)

  3. Thank you Dan taking the time to give me a thoughtful answer and your always kindness, sincerity, and your passion, I appreciate your dialoging with me on this issue. The only thing I ask is not to take anything personally which can happen easily whenever you enter a polemical conversation. At the outset I honestly disagree with you on many of these issues given that I have what I believe to be a more biblical libertarian worldview, but I’m open to learn from someone who seemingly seeing things from a completely different angle. Anyway I encourage you to take your time (as I will) so that we can really drill down to the real issues and hopefully both of us will be better and wiser Christian men for it.

    For the most part now we do share the same opportunities to succeed, wherever we started in life…

    and

    if we can start everyone off more likely to succeed, we will lower crime rates and strengthen our economy…

    For starters I believe the Bible teaches that God has ordained the various diversities we find (including economic ones) in this world. I understand your passion for “equality” and fairness but I think you go well beyond the Scriptures in your assumptions about equality. I honestly believe your presupposed view (based on previous conversations as well as what you said in your response here) is more informed by the socialist/marxist “materialistic“ worldview (you talk about “workers”, “money” and “robber barons“) then the biblical worldview.

    You see, I don’t know if we can ever “share the same opportunities to succeed in life” as you put it given the fact that God has not created us all identical in respect to gifts, intellects, upbringing, creativity, looks, where we are born, or opportunities. Arguably those with God-given gifts and talents will usually (not always but for the most part) be able to succeed in the “materialistic sense” no matter where they start in life.

    Both the nature (the various diversities we see in human beings) as well as the Scriptures teach that God is not an “egalitarian” (economic or otherwise) in the modern sense. Now in terms of His law/word we will all equally stand before him in judgment, but He does not in any means guarantee or desire an equality of “starting points“ or “outcomes” God has ordained those who are born into the third world and those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth per se for his purposes and each is accountable for their particular “station” in life, rich or poor alike remember the parable of the talents?

    The apostle Paul preaching on Mars Hill in Acts 17:24-28 puts it this way:

    “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    Now as far as it goes with exploiting workers and the rich exploiting the poor. The ancient Hebrews (an example to us 1 Corinthians 10) had laws that protected people. Redistribution based on class or race however is another matter altogether and can be nowhere found in the Bible. What we do find in the Bible is the perpetrators of crimes are to compensate (sometimes multi-fold) their victims directly. It is by no means to be generational (The sins of the fathers are not to be passed on to the sons) or based on class or racial classifications; “individual per se” to individual per se is the biblical view of justice. If anything class and the contemporary view of racial “groups” (hence the “social” in social justice) is a socialist/marxist classification which presupposes that human history is fundamentally that of the struggle between social classes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism as an explanation for why the poor are “poor“.

    Before we move on to other things that I’d like to discuss like “many wealthy people in the country now have gotten their wealth by manipulating people or by withholding good pay and benefits from their workers” and “long-reaching effects. [that] social justice now seeks to correct.” and “lower crime rates and strengthen our economy” (which you seem to put hope in to correct societies ill’s) and the whole biblical view of covetousness vs contentment and voluntary charity vs state coercion issues…. Will you at least admit that your worldview is more socialist/marxist than its biblical – or – if you believe the socialist/marxist materialistic worldview is biblical can you prove it biblically; please convince me.

    Sincerely,

    Lar

  4. Larry, I haven’t read the above yet, but I wanted to comment on the last paragraph which you posted on my facebook wall.

    I think it’s important to point out that I am not Marxist. Socialism is a broad category; Marxism is a very narrow brand of socialism. So in this sense, yes, I am far more biblical than I am Marxist, since I am not at all Marxist. (Marxism = the rise of the working class to forcibly take what has been kept from them by the rich. Socialism = any system wherein all contribute to the community as much as they are able and resources are shared within the community.)

    My leaning toward socialism comes from Christ’s teachings, such as “Freely you have received, freely give.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I believe that Christ teaches us to help those in need at all times, insofar as we are able. As it applies to social justice, Christ teaches “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Many social justice issues are trying to heal old wounds, and I want to support that in any way I can.

    I’m not insisting that you support these ideals, though I do believe they are good. After all, St. Francis heard the world spoken to the rich young ruler, to give all he had to the poor and follow Christ, and took it specifically as a word to himself; I do not believe that all of us must do the same. But the Word is living, and the Holy Spirit will speak to us individually through the truth of the Word; so we may be led to different actions and different points of view by the same Spirit and as a reflection of the same Truth. For this reason, I don’t intend to go any further in convincing you that my view is the one true biblical way; I don’t think there is one true biblical way except to love God and love our neighbors. I believe that my view supports this, but I believe that other views may also support it.

    I’ll try to come back to read and comment on the rest at some point during my vacation.

  5. Dan,

    If I have learned anything in life it is that distinctions matter.

    Now as far as it goes with “Christ’s teachings” I wholeheartedly agree with you and practice myself as most self described conservatives do (more on that later) .

    The issue between you and myself as I see it is of jurisdiction, and of the three God ordained spheres of jurisdiction; the family, the church and the state, Christian charity is the duty of the the family and the church – not the collectivist state!

  6. (Marxism = the rise of the working class to forcibly take what has been kept from them by the rich. Socialism = any system wherein all contribute to the community as much as they are able and resources are shared within the community.)

    You are right that different Socialism’s seek to create just societies differently:

    – Socialist philosophies like Leninism, Trotskyism, – Bolshevism are much more revolutionary and violent.

    – Socialist philosophies found in Naziism (or National Socialism) are Nationalistic and Fascistic.

    – Socialist variants found in China and North Korea like Maoism and Juche are Totalitarian.

    – Socialist philosophies like Gramscian Communism, British Fabianism, and American Progressive Liberalism are more gradual, reformist, and reconstructive.

    The only differences between these various forms of “Socialism” are the “means” they seek to bring about societal “Social Justice” or a more just society.

    The reason I lump these together is because of their many ideological similarities:

    (Collectivism) Socialist systems intemperately depreciate the individual in favor of the collective

    (Materialistic Egalitarianism) Socialist systems require economic “redistributive” equality.

    (Humanistic Soteriology) Socialist systems seek humanistic social “political” salvation rather than individual regeneration as a means to transform society.

    (Class Struggle Anthropology) Socialist systems hyper-categorize people into collective “sub-groups” based on social class, economic class, race, gender, and sexuality. And then divides these sub-groups or social classes into “oppressor” and “oppressed” and then seeks social justice remedies based on these classifications rather than seeking justice for the individual.

    (State Centralization) Socialist systems require a very strong political central state in order to achieve its goals of justice.

    (Utopic Eschatology) Socialist systems share the same egalitarian utopic desire of a supposed more “just and equitable society”.

    So “Socialism” no matter which form it comes in: marxism, communism or democratic socialism, all share the same statist, collectivist, and teleological attributes – and as I argue above are un-biblical because they seek remedies in the wrong jurisdiction of “the State” instead of the family and the church diaconate.

    In my humble opinion it is wrong and sinful to abdicate our Christian responsibility in this world to the State via politicians who seek to to accumulate power, wealth, and to aggrandize themselves. Nowhere do I find in Christ’s teachings, or anywhere else in Scripture for that matter, that is the duty of Christians to direct money to Caesar for the express purpose of taking care of the poor and needy or to bring about some economic redistributive “social justice”. In my humble opinion it is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself (as it reconciles men to God and to each other) where we put our hope as you put it to “heal old wounds” and to make this a better world and to reconcile peoples and nations and tribes, not statist solutions to “social justice issues” which do nothing more than encourage “social envy” and “social covetousness” as I argue in this post.

  7. Larry, you’ve given me much to respond to. I’ll do my best. This will be broken into two sections: Socialism and Social Justice.

    Let’s address Socialism first. You are willing to recognize that there are different brands of Socialism. That’s a good place to start. However, you primarily look at 20th Century Socialism, not considering the centuries prior to that. I’d recommend glancing at the Wikipedia article on Utopian Socialism, in which the earlier philosophy is contrasted with Marxism (or “Scientific Socialism”). Utopian Socialism is largely based on the idea of sharing property and resources. Not redistributing, necessarily; sharing. Freely giving, freely participating in the community.

    You will retort that government imposed redistribution is not compatible with this “sharing” idea. Fair enough. But if you are willing to freely give to the government so that it may distribute where it sees fit (in addition to giving freely to your church and to any other people you meet in need out of the generosity of the Spirit) then governmental redistribution becomes voluntary sharing instead of an imposition. It’s about the attitude of the giver. (For instance, I freely pay my taxes and do not begrudge the government a cent. I don’t feel like taxes are imposed upon me; I feel like I am doing my duty as a citizen by contributing to the government as it requires. In exchange, I am afforded many liberties and many opportunities that I would not otherwise have access to. Truly, I do not even begrudge Social Security, which I will probably never be able to make use of.)

    Is this idea biblical? Perhaps. Many of the earliest Socialist philosophers based their philosophy on the model of the early church as described in Acts. So at least the idea, if not every aspect of the implementation of the idea, can be considered biblical. If I am understanding you correctly, your problem is that the government is taking the money and administering it rather than the church doing so. I can see the point, but I think it’s wrong. The church and state both ought to be administering aid to those in need. Why? Because the church’s first responsibility is to care for its members, the government’s responsibility is to care for its citizens. So we may say that charity should be left to the church, but then who will help those who never come to the church or to whom the church never goes? Who helps the poor Muslim? Is he not worth helping? Should he be left in need because God has ordained his want? Ideally, yes, the church would help him and ideally, yes, the aid would help him to see the truth of the gospel. But if the church with its few workers is never able to reach him, is it reasonable to say that he should be left in need when there is an agency who is in a position to help?

    You claim that Socialism devalues the person, instead focusing on groups and on material goods. But I argue that Socialism, in at least some of its forms, values the individual above all material goods, placing the needs of others higher than my own wealth. I have worked hard for my money, it says, but my neighbor is worth my hard work. I will not withhold this money, because it might be of service to my countryman.

    “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” It is not for me to determine what belongs to Caesar. Caesar has always determined that for himself. And so, when Caesar’s agents ask for what Caesar has called his own, I will give it freely, knowing that God will provide for me. If that material is thrown into a hole and burned, that is Caesar’s prerogative. It is not for me to grumble or complain. How much less should we complain when that money is not simply spent on frivolity, but is used to fund programs that give food to the hungry and aid to the sick?

    As for Social Justice, I will remind you that the movements have in the past fought for things like the abolition of slavery and civil rights. Even those, which now seem to be obvious goods, met terrible opposition in their day. It was argued that ending slavery would be a disservice to the slaves, who were uneducated and new nothing but their constant labor. But what was the greater disservice? And should we claim that the slaves should have been left in their slavery because God had ordained it? Should we claim that it was not the government’s right to give liberty to the slaves who were, after all, the property of their masters? Should we say that it was up to the individual owner to decide, as Paul encouraged Philemon, to give his slave and brother liberty? Do we believe that ending slavery was good or bad? And if it was good, can we not also call that peddling of social justice good? Was it not God’s tool to end a particular system of oppression?

    Social Justice primarily teaches the value of all people. Of each individual. It says that the disenfranchised, oppressed, disabled, and any who are not (in our society) middle to upper class able-bodied white Christian males are every bit as valuable as we of the majority. Does it teach envy? Only to the envious. To others it can teach gratitude. For those who have seen the government holding them back (or the system that inherently favors middle to upper class able-bodied white Christian males because they are the ones in power and all people tend to be more favorable to those like themselves) Social Justice movements and legislation may teach them that the government and the whole system that they view as oppressive does in fact value them. You want all people to be content rather than equal. That would be fantastic. But it is much easier to be content when you have a good job and are a member of the majority than when you do not and are not. It is a wonderful virtue, contentment, but it is one that few ever truly know. Should we withhold aid because all men should learn to be content? No, absolutely not. On the example of scripture, we should not withhold aid from the poor in order to teach them to be content. Christ said that whatever we do for the least of these, we have done for him. Paul, the herald of contentment, entreated Christians to give to those other Christians in need. The example throughout scripture is to give, and to give freely.

    Will some sin because of social legislation? Probably. Will some sin because of the opposite legislation? Equally likely. Why? Because we are sinful. We are all in need of God’s grace; we will all take the opportunity to sin at times when led into temptation. But does social legislation do good as well? Yes. Should we withhold the good because some sinners will be led to sin, or should we do what is good because some will overcome their resentment and learn virtue? To me the choice seems clear.

  8. Again Dan I want to thank you for your thoughtful response, however I still think you’re missing my point when it comes to the issue of statism.

    “I freely pay my taxes and do not begrudge the government a cent”

    Whiny citizens complaining about taxes is a given in any society because as long as there are people there will be complaints about taxes but that’s really beside the point. The difference emerging between you and me is becoming clearer and I want to transcend as I see it juvenile arguments about whiny citizens, and talk about principles. The issue as I see it is an issue of principle; and principle alone, it is one of liberty vs slavery and servitude not whether citizens justifiably or not complain about taxes.

    Socialists like yourself seem to me to have an extraordinary amount of trust in government while I like so many Classical liberals, Christian libertarians, and Paleo-conservatives in turn share no such trust (whining about taxes is really beside the point). The fundamental difference hinges on the fact that the socialist vision for society requires a highly centralized government, therefore for that very reason they must put their faith, hope, and trust in government politicians, planners, and bureaucrats.

    The Bible tells us: “ do not become slaves of men.” and that gaining our freedom is a good thing:

    “Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:21-23

    As much as Government is necessary (I believe in limited government) I do not want to become its slave. On the other hand you seem to me to be way too enthusiastic to give to the state (metaphorically speaking) “all your heart, soul, body, mind and strength” or whatever else it deems as necessary for the collective “common good“ of the people.

    Do not be offended by this illustration but I’m going to use your own words to make the point (this is pretty much the way I reacted after reading your words):

    “But if you are willing to freely give to [our slave masters] so that they may distribute where they see fit … then [our slave masters] redistribution becomes voluntary sharing instead of an imposition. It’s about the attitude of the [slave] (For instance, I freely [give most of my labor] and do not begrudge [our slave masters] a cent. I don’t feel like [most of my labor is taken from] me; I feel like I am doing my duty as a [slave] by contributing to [our slave masters] as they require. In exchange, [our slave masters] afforded many liberties and many opportunities that I would not otherwise have access to. Truly, I do not even begrudge [giving to our masters our future security] , which I will probably never be able to make use of.)

    My faith is in God and secondarily in the regenerate church of Jesus Christ as the ordained instrument for social transformation; not in “governments of men“. This is especially true given the nature of man (man is a depraved sinner) and the track records of governments since the beginning of time. For example in the last century alone it is estimated by RJ Rummell that governments have violently killed over 260,000,000 people. these charts below make the point:

    Statism 1

    Statism 2

    If you will note many (if not most) of the deaths on this 20th century chart have been committed by one form or another of collectivist socialist/communist governments (“commune“-ism is a form of socialism)

    As you put it; “the choice is clear” as well for me. If I love my neighbor I do not want empower the state (which is made up of sinful men and more often than not wicked evil men) to go beyond it’s God ordained jurisdiction because it bears the “power of the sword” (Romans 13:4) and has so often in the history of the human race used that power to kill, steal, and destroy even in the name of the “common good”.

    Socialism’s inherent inordinate trust of government solutions to correct most of “society’s” problems almost seems to me (excuse me for saying this) is very near rendering to Caesar what alone belongs to God. For some Socialists “the state” has become a means of ushering in the kingdom of God where true justice and righteousness reign.

    For this very reason in my humble opinion as many others have said, socialism is a Christian heresy.

    Anyway, I highly suggest you read classical liberal Friedrich von Hayek’s “The Road to serfdom” an online copy may be found here

    Here is a shortened video version of it:

    The question I have for you is why do you think it is compassionate to empower the state which has the potential for such atrocities and do you honestly believe such circumstances can never happen here?

  9. You are willing to recognize that there are different brands of Socialism. That’s a good place to start. However, you primarily look at 20th Century Socialism, not considering the centuries prior to that.

    Now as for pre 20th century Utopian Socialism I have read much including the most known book on the subject; the1870 book by John Humphrey Noyes (who was a professing Christian) titled “The History of American Socialisms” as well as William Bradford’s 1650 “Of Plymouth Plantation” on the Pilgrim separatists original American experiment with socialism which miserably failed.

    I am very familiar with both the Christian communes of the Rappites, Shakers, Pietists, and the Perfectionists, ect as well as the secular ones of Robert Owen (New Harmony, Indiana) Charles Fourier, and the transcendentalist Brook Farm, ect.

    I am very familiar especially of their universal failures, bankruptcies, and their often degenerating into dystopia’s rather than utopias.

    The fact remains that these early socialist communities and communes along with their accompanying socialist ideologies laid the foundation and were the forerunners for men like Marx and Engels as well as the many 20th century varieties of socialism and communism.

    The only communities that ever succeeded for even a short time were Christian communities that heavily regulated the kind of people who could join as well as heavily regulated christian moral conduct and lifesyle of their members (some had to even remain celibate!). The secular ones and the semi- religious ones were an absolute abysmal failure!

    So the way I see it because of human nature, the only way utopian Socialism even has a slim chance of succeeding in this fallen world is that it has to be a made up of a highly dedicated “Christian community” and thus regulated, controlled and marked by the socialist ideal of the noblest Christian character (Secular counterparts can never ever succeed given human nature). At the end of his book John Humphrey Noyes puts it this way:

    “Greeley sums up the wisdom he gained from his socialistic experience in the following invective:
    “A serious obstacle to the success of any socialistic experiment must always be confronted. I allude to the kind of persons who are naturally attracted to it. Along with many noble and lofty souls, whose impulses are purely philanthropic, and who are willing to labor and suffer reproach for any cause that promises to benefit mankind, there throng scores of whom the world is
    quite worthy-the conceited, the crotchety, the selfish, the headstrong, the pugnacious, the unappreciated, the played-out, the idle, and the good-for-nothing generally; who, finding themselves utterly out of place and at a discount in the world as it is, rashly conclude that they are exactly fitted for the world as it ought to be. These may have failed again and again, and been protested at every bank to which they have been presented; yet they are sure to jump into any new movement as if they had been born expressly to superintend and direct it, though they are morally certain to ruin whatever they lay their hands on…

    and

    It seems then to be a fair induction from the facts before us that earnest religion does in some way modify human depravity so as to make continuous Association [socialism] possible, and insure to it great material success. Or if it is doubted whether it does essentially change human nature, it certainly improves in some way the conditions of human nature in socialistic experiments. It is to be noted that Mr. Greeley and other experts in socialism claim that there is a class of “noble and lofty souls” who are prepared for close Association; but their attempts have constantly been frustrated by the throng of crotchety and selfish interlopers that jump on to their movements.”

    Human depravity which needs to be controlled for the good of society is why secular variants of socialism of the 20th century rapidly turned in to totalitarian dystopias.

    The way I see it, these early communal failures that were on a much smaller level are similar to ours today yet on a grander scale, especially as we have increasingly moved toward their utopic vision of a socialist state. As you read open mindedly about their failures you cant help but see the many parallels.

    All that said, in my mind for “Christian socialists” like yourself to force (via their vote) the Christian utopian socialist vision on society even in the name of compassion (which would require an accompanying heavily regulated christian moral conduct to even have a chance to make it work) is just about as bad as forced conversions of the middle ages… and the progressive socialist Christians accuse right-wing Christians of wanting a Theocracy?

    My second question is why do Socialists want to force others to live in their particular vision of a socialist utopia (via their vote). Why not be like those in the pre 20th century who did it voluntary? If people wanted to live in such a society wouldn’t it be better if people could join it voluntarily rather than by coercion? Also, if you believe so much in this kind of a society why don’t you join personally one like jpusa?

  10. You say:

    but then who will help those who never come to the church or to whom the church never goes? Who helps the poor Muslim? Is he not worth helping? Should he be left in need because God has ordained his want?

    You act as though charity begins with Government.

    Private charity (there are many Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc charities) is the compassionate solution, government solutions on the other hand have more often than not exacerbated the problem of poverty. Here is a good article titled “The Shortcomings of Government Charity: Private Charities Offer the Best Cure for Chronic Poverty” on the subject, it can be found here.

    You say:

    For those who have seen the government holding them back (or the system that inherently favors middle to upper class able-bodied white Christian males because they are the ones in power and all people tend to be more favorable to those like themselves) Social Justice movements and legislation may teach them that the government and the whole system that they view as oppressive does in fact value them.

    Because progressives and Socialists see themselves as “the most compassionate” among us they feel qualified to look “the system” or a society and assume they can diagnose all the systemic problems and fix them with their progressive solutions, programs, or social justice magic wands. Truth be told though in most cases their prescriptions and remedies over and over again exacerbate or create newer even more complex problems. Progressives and Socialists to this day continue deny and often reject and ridicule anyone or any facts which do not agree with their basic assumptions even in the face of failure after failure. Thomas Sowell in his book “The Vision of the Anointed” puts it this way in speaking about the socialist intelligentsia and their denial:

    “Characteristic patterns have developed among the anointed [Socialist intelligentsia] for dealing with the repeated failures of policies based on their vision. Other patterns have developed seizing upon statistics in such a way as to buttress the assumptions of the vision, even when the same set of statistics contains numbers that contradict the vision. Finally there is a phenomenon of honor and prophets among the anointed will continue to be honored as their predictions fail by vast margins time and again.”

    I say all this because I believe that looking at everything as “systemic problem” in society is actually a very simplistic approach to viewing society’s ills and is more often assumed than proven; the inequities of the system, the injustices of the system, the privileges of the system are much more complicated than socialist will admit. They often see problems that are systemic at micro levels and interpret them as systemic problems on macro levels. They also see problems from a certain negativity “inherent in the system” rather than seeing a “positive” compiling of social, moral, educational and constructive capital which is a multi-generational heritage that gets built in to certain cultures or sub-cultures that lifts them out of poverty by equipping them with certain Christian virtues like respect for authority and family, self-control over vice, the value of work, self-discipline, delayed gratification, saving for the future, sacrifice, thrift, charity, and the absolute necessity of a moral education just to name a few (though in the white middle-class sub-culture you mention these values are being eroded decade by decade and increasingly bringing the accompanying poverty and misery that comes from the abandonment of such virtues).

    Men like Booker T. Washington understood that the building up of this kind of “social capital” among the ex-slave population would serve a thousand times better to lift the black American sub-culture out of poverty than any of today’s social justice legislation could ever do (actually “compassionate” socialist and progressive government solutions have stood in the way of minority subcultures to build up such social capital).

    The fact is that some communities (not because they’re inherently superior in any way) have developed this social capital longer than others (some have developed over a thousand years) while others have started to develop much later given circumstances like slavery or inherent paganism which stagnated development. The solution to the problems of social development is not to tear down or place obstacles in the way of those communities who are ahead in their development by redistributing their labor and giving it to another. Nor is the solution to monetarily subsidize the continuation of lifestyles which stagnate development in other communities in the name of compassion. No, the solution is that the family, the church, and the local and extended community must be turned loose (along with their monetary capital which the government confiscates) to build up the necessary long term social capitol via their own oversight of true needs and real charity. This building up of social capital is not the God ordained responsibility the state. Whenever the state crosses jurisdictions and tries to substitute for what only the family, the church, and the community alone can do (to build up its social capital) it only works as a destructive obstacle to these other jurisdictions and ultimately destroys the very thing it supposedly sets out to correct. This is because politics is by very nature (as is almost always the case) a self serving endeavor which as history has proven (as the charts indicate in the above posts) delivers the exact opposite of what it so often promises.

    PS I believe that the Gospel when it enters into a culture by entering into the hearts and minds of a majority of people, is the embryo that starts to build generationally the social capital that I mentioned. I also believe that governmental libertarian liberty (which is a product of Christianity), a strong family culture, and a robust Reformed faith practiced and preached in the churches, has absolutely proven by early American culture (despite some of its sin) to be the best incubator for building up this social capital thus far. Conversely that Statist Socialism, celebrated sexual promiscuity (as opposed to a strong family culture), and anthropocentric experientialism (in the churches), have proven to be some of the best for instruments for pulling long developed social capital down.

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