Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Social Justice?

The government is my shepherd:
I need not work.
It alloweth me to lie down on a good job;
It leadeth me beside still factories;
It destroyeth my initiative.
It leadeth me in a path of a parasite for politic’s sake;
Yea though I walk through the valley of laziness and deficit-spending,
I will fear no evil, for the government is with me.
It prepareth an economic Utopia for me, by appropriating the earnings of my own grandchildren.
It filleth my head with false security;
My inefficiency runneth over.
Surely the government should care for me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in a fool’s paradise forever.

Author unknown
Follow this link to read why, as both a Christian and an economist, I am not a fan of the term "social justice."


thinking said...

No doubt govt can take actions that lead to negative consequences, but I don't believe that all government is bad.

We've always had a mix of govt and private sector. Even the Founding Fathers, when they had thrown off the govt of Great Britain, started one of their own. They understood that sometimes govt is necessary.

This little reworking of Ps 23 creates a strawman argument: it's either all govt or nothing. It paints a rather simplistic notion of the more complex realities of life.

From a Biblical perspective, in the Bible God established 3 institutions around which society is organized: the family, the government, and the church. Each has a useful role to play. Of course one can find abuses of different kinds in all 3 institutions, but that does not mean that these institutions should be abandoned, only continually improved and sometimes in need of reform.

Rather than just bash government, it's far more constructive to try to explain to people exactly what one thinks govt should and should not do. Define the boundaries of what one considers good government, including what is inside the circle of acceptable and desirable govt action. Most of the conservative critics today do not do that, because that would force them to wrestle with large and complicated issues.

What about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, a domestic police force, the military, all types of govt regulatory agencies that mandate things like food safety, toy safety, job safety, etc? Once one really digs into these issues, then the platitudes expressed in this little mock psalm fade away and are seen to be useless.

As for the concept of social justice, that too is a hugely complex issue that even means different things to different people. I'm no expert in the study of this topic and certainly it has been debated for centuries. But it seems to me that even the basic phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" could be seen as an attempt at social justice. So from a strictly layperson's perspective, I believe all societies constantly wrestle with how to create a more just society, and sometimes the outcome is desirable, and sometimes not. But does that mean we don't wrestle with the issue, again keeping in mind that this term has different meanings and interpretations for different people?

Let's also keep in mind that the quest for social justice has produced some positive manifestations such as the American civil rights movement and Dr Martin Luther King, Lincoln's emancipation of slaves, the work of Ghandi, etc.

Judge Bob said...

It doesn't have to be all or nothing and simplistic is desirable in my eyes. The simple ideal the founding fathers envisioned, fought and died to create was a government which did not interfere with people's lives as much as is practically possible. What I observe in results of government involvement in personal lives is largely devastating... in business, devastating... in every area they assume control beyond the framers of the constitution original design is an opportunity for the powerful to abuse their powers.

Government regulation is what created the financial meltdown. Government control created the morass of immoral advocacy we call education today. Government philanthropy didn't create the inner city slums, it just exacerbated the problem along with gang violence. Government philanthropy feeds despots around the world. What you want to hold up and hail as a government success is a profound failure. The closer people are to the consequences of their stupidity the less stupidity our culture will endure. Starting with the progeny of the greatest generation, our kids have been protected from the consequences of their stupidity.

Yes government is necessary. It serves best where it serves least. According to the Constitution it has 3 main responsibilities. 1 provide for a secure environment for people to do business and pursue their own ends. Police and military. 2 provide a system for settling disputes. Courts and legal systems. 3 provide a system for trade. Creating a monetary system set on an external standard like gold. Those are the three services that can be provided by no other entity. That should be the limit of their power and those purposes should be the max they have authority to tax. If that were all they were doing they could almost pay for it by the money they create out of wood and metal.

Now, if the people choose to require more than that, they should institute the Enumerated Powers Act. Require them to explain the increase of their authority in every instance and submit it to the voters in every instance to choose whether they get to increase their powers.

Please visit Liberty Pen's blog or You Tube channel. Hear the evidence from the perspective of one who's lived 30 years in the government bureaucracy. It is no help for the government to lend a hand. Just ask the residence of New Orleans how helpful the government has been. They are the greatest hindrance to rebuilding that devastated city.