Sunday, May 29, 2016

What 'social justice' is and isn't

Writing about social justice on his website, The Underground Thomist, J. Budziszewski says:
It is a trifle for the upper strata to promote sexual liberation; those who have money can shield themselves (to degree, and for a while) from at least some of the consequences of loose sexuality. The working classes do not have that luxury. In a country like this one, serial cohabitation and childbearing outside of marriage contribute more to poverty, dependency, and inequality than a million greedy capitalists do.

Do you to really want to raise up the poor? Then do as the English Methodists did in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: First live the Commandments. Then go among the people and preach them. Start with the ones about marriage and family.

I do not say this is all you should do, but if you won’t even do so much as this, then the rest of your social justice talk is hypocritical. You may as well admit that it is all about you.
R.R. Reno chimes in on the same theme in his "While We're At It" department of the June/July issue of First Things, where he writes:
The mention of social justice reminds me again of the wise observation Michael Novak made during a talk about his new book, Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is, coauthored with Paul Adams. Justice is a virtue, not a state of affairs, and therefore social justice is a habit of pursuing justice in ways that are "social." It's a commitment to involve others in political engagement and problem-solving. A leader committed to social justice does with rather than doing for.


Scott Woltze said...


James Joseph said...

I've long found it interesting that the Indoeuropean root of the word justice 'jus' means 'ritual purity'. As a bit of a wordlover my heart longs to read more about that.

Anonymous said...

Michael Novak is one of the prize boobs of Vatican 2 Catholicism. His thoughts all read like juicy passages from a teenage girl's diary, back in the days when teenage girls still possessed the degree of literacy required to keep one. Whatever was cool and new wavey and avant gardey and ow courant in theology was what Novak was into, exactly the way that teenage girls of the sixties were into the latest 45s of Bobby and Johnny and Jimmy and Frankie. Michael Novak was the mincey fellow who got all drooley and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee over such theological heart throbs as Bernie Lonergan, Bobby MacAfee Brown, and Mitt Romney. Relentlessly superficial, and as self-inflated as any of the V2 putschmeisters, pursuing space in reviews, journals and intellectual comic books such as "First Things" like a wharf rat pursuing garbage, Novak's career is a parody such as Professor Irwin Cory might have given us. What Novak needed was a father who would grab him by his flabby neck and force him to join the high school football team, get a mouthful of bloody chiclets, and take the nearest cheerleader out behind the barn to check out his etchings. Alas, another misspent youth.

Charles said...


So good to see your juicy remarks here again.