Sunday, October 20, 2013

Misguided social justice

The quotable Christopher Dawson:

We must admit that the passion for social justice and national renewal and the spirit of self-dedication to a common cause are good and even holy things. But on the other hand we must recognize that these ideals are neither final or exclusive: that programs of humanitarian or national reform, however successful, will not suffice to conquer the forces of social evil, and that if they are based on false principles they may even prove to be their ally.

Above all we must remember that an exclusive and one-sided devotion to a particular object often ends by defeating the very end that it has in view. Just as German militarism ended in military defeat and the Russian Five Year Plan produced a state of general scarcity nor far removed from famine, so, too, an insistence on higher wages may help to increase unemployment, and the campaign for the abolition of poverty may end in the pauperization of a whole society.

-Religion and the Modern State, 1935

Sky View comment:

To confuse Christian charity on the part of individuals and private institutions with humanitarian or entitlement programs headed by the State has not only marginalized the Church in being the custodian of the needy and thus efficiently relieving their needs, but it has made more people more needy. Not a few Catholics promoted a State-run universal healthcare system just a few years back. However, what they also got was the HHS Mandate.  Similarly, Dawson indicated that although it might seem compassionate to insist that the State artificially jack-up the minimum wage, what ends up happening is that this helps increase unemployment. Social justice wrongly conceived is no justice at all. It simply empowers the State.