Thursday, January 20, 2011


One of the writers over at POWIP had an article today about Social Justice. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. The writer at POWIP had this to say:

"I loathe that term. It has a bad connotation that I just cannot shake. You see when I hear the term “social justice” I automatically think government intervention. I think of welfare. I think of redistribution of wealth. “Social justice” to me says that because I work hard to make a living for my family, and because there are poor out there who don’t, I should be forced by the government to give up my hard earned money so that others can have healthcare, a place to live, a cell phone, a government check, etc. I don’t think that’s fair even though it may come from a good place."

This is my reply to her article which I posted at POWIP. Since I really can't think of anything else to write today I thought that I'd put it up here, too.

I suppose that it all depends on how you define social justice. Unbridled Capitalism is nearly as unjust as Marxism. Both remove God from the equation and focus on the material world, each working to concentrate the means of production in the hands of a few. The Capitalist would have us become slaves to the banks and corporations while the Marxist would chain us to the state.

The Progressives have redefined social justice to suit their Marxist goals. They believe that it's a one way street, with benefits flowing to the individual from the state when in reality justice must go both ways. Of course this is all a canard. They use social justice just like the drug dealer uses free samples. It's all fun and games until you can't stop.

The Capitalist, on the other hand, denies the very existence of social justice because he fears the power of the state, at least until that power can be used to his benefit by working with government to pass laws that benefit his company or to be bailed out at the expense of the citizens when his business flounders. He wants the people kept away from the public treasury because he wants them dependent and subservient to him.

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Individual justice is distinguished from social, for not only individuals have claims in justice against other individuals but a subject has claims against the society to which he belongs, as society has claims against him. Justice requires that all should have what belongs to them, and so the just man will render to the society, or State, of which he is a member, what is due to it. The justice which prescribes this is called legal justice. On the other hand, the individual subject has claims against the State. It is the function of the State to protect its subjects in their rights and to govern the whole body for the common good. Authority for this purpose is given to the State by nature and by God, the Author of man's social nature."

One thing that I think needs to be addressed in the paragraph above is the fact that the State derives its power from God and possesses this power as part of its nature. The Founding Fathers were wrong in their belief that government derives its power from the governed as is thus subordinate to them. The state exists apart from man and further, it was created for man and man was created for it. Neither can exist apart from the other.

Both man and the state have rights and responsibilities that are intertwined. We owe each other justice, just as individuals do. And this is the proper definition of social justice. Again, from The Catholic Dictionary, the definition of justice: "It is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them."

Social justice, properly understood, is nothing more than making sure that the state exercises its lawful and moral (yes, you can legislate morality; if not, what are laws?) responsibility towards its citizens and that the citizens do the same in return.

Social justice, properly understood and exercised is a moral good. This Christian will proudly stand in support of it.


  1. We have been talking about this a lot lately. The "progressives" give the term social justice a black eye by the way they distort the meaning. It does not mean a socialist state. But just because they do that, doesn't mean that Christians should throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak.

  2. I agree with Mary. I wove this into the latest Vortex at:

  3. Social justice has a bad rep becase of the way the socialists and liberals within the Church have used it to advance their 'progressive' programs. We need to get our priests, bishops and well informed laity to educate our fellow Catholics on what real social justice is so the socialist tares will be canceled out.