Convicting Social Justice
by Josh Lambert

As a graduate of the University of Virginia, I have spent the past three years of my life listening to professors and students sing the praises of a concept I am sure we are all familiar with: Social Justice.  Intellectual after intellectual has told me that the pursuit of Social Justice is the highest endeavor of man because it is only through our devotion to the happiness and fulfillment of our neighbors’ needs that we achieve our own happiness and moral vindication. In order to achieve this particular type of “justice,” these individuals lobbied for higher taxes on the wealthy, extension of unemployment benefits, and praised President Obama’s stimulus package and health insurance overhaul. Of course to the untrained ear, the words Social Justice and Social Equality evoke a certain type of feeling within the listener’s heart. This feeling of obligation and of guilt overpowers a man’s most basic feeling of self preservation and conservation and leads many to ignore the screaming “No!” within their mind and pursue this “higher” cause. I admit, these words are very pleasing to the ear and I can see how many, be they religious or not, can fall prey to the need to be their “brother’s keeper” at the behest of the government.

We, as humans, are engrained with an elemental desire for justice. We, as individuals, are enamored with the idea of the “bad guy” getting what they deserve and such action benefiting the “good guy” or the “victim.” On the surface, the empty term of Social Justice seems like a noble goal; however, after closer examination of the term and of its effects, Social Justice is as antithetical to our system of government as monarchy and resembles the fruits of tyranny more so than democracy. Social Justice is, simply, a contradiction in terms and is an unsustainable system of “justice” that will do no more than crumble the very foundation that our country is based upon.

How has society’s conception of justice been formed? We know that the ideals of John Locke, the English philosopher, were the starting point of our system of government. In fact, Locke’s articulation of our absolute rights of “life, liberty, and property” were practically plagiarized by Thomas Jefferson when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. Locke’s basis for government was also adopted for our own: the government’s sole responsibility was to protect us, as individuals, from other individuals who wished to take away our life, liberty, and property. Justice, then, in the Lockean and American sense, is punishing those who actively seek to transgress against our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property (or the more modern term of the pursuit of happiness). In man’s original state, the state of nature, he is his own judge of what he deems to be correct meaning if a man came onto his land to steal his crops, burn his house, confine him to a prison, and eventually kill him, the man had the right to resist by whatever means necessary. Upon entering into a society governed by laws, man gave up this right to be the ultimate judge and thus relinquished that right to a government or more properly, an impartial Court that has his best interests at heart when making their decisions. The justice system is supposed to look out for that individual’s best interests. If it didn’t defend his rights, why would he give up his right to protect himself and instead subject himself to a system that would strip his life, liberty, and property for any reason, even that of the greater good?

Many will argue that Social Justice is simply the highest manifestation of this ideal, however, this could not be farther from the truth. Social Justice in practice deprives an individual of these inalienable rights and thus cannot truly be justice. How is Social Justice practiced in the American system? It is easy to see: look at your paychecks. A portion is taken for the income tax.  A portion of that tax goes to support the American military in their endeavors to protect the rights of our citizens and to spread our knowledge of government and its proper ends to the world. What is the remaining portion of our income tax but a punishment for making a certain amount of money?  Make no mistake, it is a punishment for those who disagree with the way our taxes are being spent, it is indeed a punishment.  Thomas Jefferson wrote that “to force a man to subsidize with his taxes an idea which he disbelieves and abhors is both sinful and tyrannical.

We have a tiered income tax that taxes individuals at a higher rate the higher their individual salary. Where does this “tax” go? Into other social programs such as Welfare Checks, food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid. Who reaps the benefits of Welfare, food stamps and these other programs? Individuals who live below the poverty line, illegal immigrants, disabled workers, and others.  While there is a great number of individuals in this society who meet such requirements, the system is set up in a way that is inclusive instead of exclusive which creates a great amount of fraud being perpetrated in this system.  Social Justice in our country is seen in the taxation of the rich for the payment of those who would rather exploit the system.  Does this fit into our definition of justice? Are the rich, the successful, the hard working, really the “bad guys” in comparison to the poor, the unsuccessful, and the lazy? Are the latter truly being manipulated by the former? Do I make a living at the expense of you? Do you make a living at the expense of me?

The answer is a resounding, “No!” In practice, this lofty ideal of Social Justice does nothing more than encourage a culture of mediocrity. Is surviving off the dole of another human being truly life? Is working to see your wages, your property by the sweat of your brow, going to support someone who hasn’t worked as hard truly liberty and preservation of property? Is never being able to advance past a certain point due to the government de-incentivizing your personal progress really pursuing happiness? Is Social Justice really fair? Of course not. Why?  Because these laws, these regulations, these practices are not created by a impartial Court. These are not sentences handed down by the knowers of the law to the people. They are not reflections of the Laws of Nature and of basic human tendencies.  They are not manifestations of the Hayekian goal of a generally applicable law.  They are arbitrary statues created by a minority (our elected officials) to serve a select portion of the population: the portion of the public that does not wish to work as hard as others, the portion who believes it is the job and function of government to provide for their every need, the portion who does not seek to better themselves.  The portion who believes that it is their right to pursue happiness by financing their struggle with your property.

Thus, Social Justice defies what it means to be human, what it means to be an American. Is not Lady Liberty blind?  If so, then how can we continue to propagate a system that does not rule on objective evidence, that does not adjudicate based on the facts, but rather upon the achievements of one versus the lack of another?  How can we expect to call a thing that condemns you for your very achievements to be anything other than non-justice? Social Justice is everything but justice. And it is a shame that such an idea that is so antithetical to this country is being taught by every professor, spoken by every orator, and codified by every legislator.

Since it is taught, spoken, and made law, however, we must train ourselves to look past the façade of Social Justice.  This term is nothing more than a political ploy to get you to defy what you know to be right.  We all like justice.  But by the addition of “social” to such a noble term, the politicians of this country have set the terms for the debate.  If you disagree with them on Social Justice, you are an opponent of justice and simply cannot be a decent individual.  Their use of the sacred term of justice to promote that which is its opposite is simply a lie and must be treated as such. We must do what we can to stand up against this lie. In this case, we must not be afraid to stand against “justice,” because we know that it is not true justice we fight. If Social Justice is the law which our country should be based upon, we ought to fight against it every chance we get.

12 COMMENTS

  1. In my view, Mr. Lambert has amply conicted himself, and along the way, demonstrated a bankruptcy of general knowledge that belies whatever academic achievement he boasts as “a graduate of the University of Virginia”.

    Whether one engages in expository writing, or merely an “opinion piece”, they ought to be able to construct an argument. Despite an overabundance of words, Mr. Lambert makes no case whatsoever. Along the way he demonstrates a thrid-grade level view of Justice — social or otherwise — and a complete lack of depth as to what constitutes such concepts as social contracts and government. I am hoping that he was an art major, and never graced the classroom in such tpoics as history, government, philosophy, or even logic. Otherwise, he clearly did not get his nickle’s worth of education. A stray dog stretching out on the wooden floor of a lecture hall surely absorbs and retains more.

    Poor Josh. Social Justice is neither taught nor practiced in the halls of higher learning — no more than plain old common sense. The predicates — to be sure — may be found there. The great thoughts of great men may be discussed, analyzed, and even debated there. But the rubber meets the road off campus, in the gritty reality of the world of the common man. Perhaps you’ll take the time to meet one some day.

  2. Proac,

    To your first point, I would love to see your what wealth of knowledge you hold that could possibly qualify you to make such strong accusations without stating a shred of evidence yourself.

    Regarding my argument, I think the above article is more than enough argument for most individuals, but if I need to boil it down for you, I guess I can: social justice is a contradiction in terms and shouldn’t be used in political discourse because it is misleading. Perhaps with that information, it will make your second reading of my piece a little easier. I am sorry it was not clear before, but I do not believe that is my problem.

    As to my educational background, I happen to have been a government major with specializations in American Constitutional Law and Modern Political Theory. I would welcome any evidence you have to say that I do not understand Locke, Hayek, Hobbes, Blackstone, Rousseau, Hume, Smith, or others better than you or anyone else. Since you haven’t provided me or anyone else with such evidence, I am forced to assume that your words come not from experience or knowledge but rather anger and ignorance.

    Before you judge whether or not Social Justice is taught at Universities, I suggest you attend one and see for yourself (or state which one you did attend and why it wasn’t taught because I can honestly say that it was). Not only are the watered down theories behind this practice taught everyday, but we are asked to recognize it as a true justice that we ought to pursue. I disagree, hence, my article.

    As to your last point, which is hardly worth addressing, but is quite insulting nonetheless: I am a common man. I’m from an abysmally poor community and family. I have financed my education myself and finished it all a year ahead of those with whom I entered UVA. Don’t talk to me about the reality of the common man until you show me you have the right.

    You have attacked the way I have styled my argument. Yet, you have provided simply your opinion without evidence or fact to support it. In fact, I see no argument in your response whatsoever. Please, I welcome debate and discourse, but what you’ve begun is neither.

  3. The “shred of evidence”, Exhibit A, is your screed. I cannot attack its “style”, as it has none. If there is an argument, where is it? When we find it, we’d be glad to adress it.

    How is social justice a contradiction in terms? Your so-called “argument” — stylistically, or otheriwse, has no discernible form. Perhaps they do not teach expository writing in High School any more — a topic once mastered in one’s Sophomore year (back in my day), and as recently as a decade ago, still taught at St. Anne’s-Belfield. But, to enlighten, and/or inform, expository writing is known for the following characteristics:

    • focus on main topic
    • logical supporting facts
    • details, explanations, and examples
    • strong organization
    • clarity
    • unity and coherence
    • logical order
    • smooth transitions

    Outside of calling your particular “pot” black, I am at a loss proving to you it is black if you don’t recognize the absence of color.

    The title of your piece is “Convicting Social Justice”. From there, you immediately lose any semblence of focus, logic, facts, details, explanations, examples, organization, clarity, unity, or coherence. The jury is out on “smooth transitions”.

    It may help your “cause”, or “argument” if, by chance, you defined what you mean by Social Justice, or what you think it means, or what is allegedly “taught”. An example, a definition, a quote, something other than what amounts to a rant.

    If stating the obvious offends you, tough. If you came to write your opinion to begiven a pat on the back, or a yawn, you’ll get neither from me.

    The point of my last paragraph, you appear to have missed entirely. Social Justice, in my opinion, is a living, breathing concept — not the stuff of philosopher kings alone (and, please, spare me some conclusion now that I consider you a philosopher king… I’ve known a few, and I doubt you are one).

    On the outside chance you were “just” writing an opinion piece, those also take a form:

    • stated position or belief
    • factual supports
    • persuasive techniques
    • logical argument
    • call to action

    In that case, I’d spot you the first characteristic. The remainder are largely not in evidence.

    I will say this: you appear to have spent a tad more time on your rebuttal.

    And, for what it is worth, you really do not want to get into a pissing match over educational background or experience. If you are what you say, show evidence in the way you express yourself. Lacking that, we might as well be hurling spitballs.

  4. A portion of that tax goes to support the American military in their endeavors to protect the rights of our citizens and to spread our knowledge of government and its proper ends to the world.

    Josh, I could argue that there are other viable models of government, and that what government’s proper ends are is essentially a religious question, which is not something we should be exporting at taxpayer expense (and I say this as a religious person who believes that religion has a role in public life). But more directly to your point, if the proper ends of government are only to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property, then spreading knowledge and preaching values, however good the knowledge and values are, has nothing to do with those ends, and is not the government’s role. Shouldn’t a consistent conservative say, “Do that stuff with your own money, not mine”?

    The system is set up in a way that is inclusive instead of exclusive which creates a great amount of fraud being perpetrated in this system. Social Justice in our country is seen in the taxation of the rich for the payment of those who would rather exploit the system.

    No one conceives of social justice as a way of supporting the lazy and the knowing exploiters, and for that matter, no one sees the welfare system as justice alone. It’s also mercy. The fact is that if you extend a hand of mercy and justice, you’re going to be exploited some times, but if you don’t extend the hand, innocent people are going to suffer. So what’s our primary goal, to help the needy, or to never get ripped off?

    Is working to see your wages, your property by the sweat of your brow, going to support someone who hasn’t worked as hard truly liberty and preservation of property?

    No, but are only lazy people poor?

    They are arbitrary statues created by a minority (our elected officials) to serve a select portion of the population:

    Minority? We live in a democracy. Those officials received the majority of votes

  5. Proac,

    I am not sure if you are professor at an institution of higher learning or simply a wishful thinker, but either way you seem to be an “expert” on expository writing. Funny thing about “experts” is that more often than not, those who claim to be, are the only ones making such an assumption.

    How is social justice a contradiction in terms? Have you not read the piece? I apologize if you aren’t able to follow my logic, but I couldn’t very well understand Marx when I was in first grade either.

    But since you still have trouble, I’ll dumb it down even further: Social Justice is a contradiction in terms because, in my opinion (and since you’ve expressed your’s I guess it’s fine that I continue expressing mine), it has NOTHING to do with justice. Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is not justice. Justice is about PUNISHING wrongdoers not FORCING individuals to be charitable simply because there is an economic separation between the classes. Laws, ones that promote JUSTICE, ought to have terms that apply to ALL of society equally regardless or race, color, religion, geographic location, or socioeconomic background. Would you like an example of such a generally applicable law? The Constitution. An example of one that isn’t? The current tiered income tax code. And before you go ranting about the fact that the income tax is now part of the Constitution (the 16th Amendment), I’ll agree that the tax itself is in there, but as a flat percentage, not as the stair-stepping model we have today.

    The reason I didn’t cite this in the piece is because the piece was not about various programs dedicated to serving social justice, but rather theories of justice and how justice, universally understood, should apply only to the practice of punishing bad guys when they hurt the good guys.

    As to your bullet pointed lectures on how to craft an argument, I would love to see it in practice. As all I have to go on are your comments refering to the style and oragnization of the article and the absence of any evidence contradicting anything I’ve said, I am left to assume that you simply copied and pasted these little notes from Wikipedia or the like.

    You want a quote or an example? I distinctly remember Origins of Legal Systems, a graduate level seminar I took as a second year. It was here that I was first exposed to “social justice” in all its supposed glory. The Professor gave us one side of the argument and proclaimed that any “opinions supported by fact or not, that did not line up with the presented view of social justice” would warrant “a failing grade.” It’s funny, how the Liberals, the former guardian angel of tolerance has become so hypocritcal.

    Sir (or ma’am), I am not offended by someone stating the obvious. I don’t look for a pat on the back or a yawn from you or anyone. I am interested in sparking debate on an issue that isn’t being given a second thought by the majority of society. What I am not interested in is someone with no grasp on the concept whatsoever doing nothing more than insulting my writing style because you have nothing more intelligent to say regarding the substance of the piece. If you have no real intellectual critique of my argument, then spare us all the misery of your lectures and go watch a few more YouTube videos of Obama giving speeches in the rain.

    I am quite flattered that you don’t consider me a philosopher king, however, I must ask to which one you are refering? The Plato/Socrates embodiment or Hobbes’s idea of the ultimate sovereign? Since you know so many philosopher kings, why don’t you get one to read this piece to you and explain it since you seem to have trouble.

    I agree with you, Social Justice is a living breathing concept. What I am trying to do is take it’s life and it’s breath because it doesn’t deserve a place in our society as it is antithetical to everything our country was founded upon.

    You’re quite the individual to talk about how one expresses oneself giving evidence as to their educational background. Given your own, I’m left to assume that you graduated from STAB ten years ago and haven’t left your computer screen since.

  6. Justice is about PUNISHING wrongdoers not FORCING individuals to be charitable simply because there is an economic separation between the classes.

    A society is just when everyone gets what he or she deserves. Obviously, then, no society will ever more than approximate justice, and Marxist attempts to bring justice have spectacularly and horribly failed. But as individuals, we can vote for government to help people who through no fault of their own, who through hard luck and the possession of fewer gifts than we ourselves have been given, are homeless, hungry, and lack for medical care and education.

  7. Ken,

    Thank you for your comments and your critique of my argument. In the spirit of debate, I feel it neccessary to respond.

    To your first point, I’ll skip of the religious portion at this time as I believe you are 100% correct regarding the blending of government and religion (but I will come back to it to address your final point in your second post). Now, back to the point, it could be argued that the spread of knowledge and our particular system is linked with protecting our life, liberty, and property. If there exist systems of government that are bent on the eradication of our system of government, or more properly, our people, then should we not have a military and a foregin diplomatic presence at the ready to spread our ideals to make the world safe for not just democracy, but also we as people? There are two ways to look at the situation from a libertarian standpoint, each coming from the same basic tennet although arriving at different ends.

    To your second point regarding welfare and other social program fraud: I see a way where we can help the needy without getting ripped off, private charity. Government social programs operate at around an 80% overhead while private charities run between 8% and 20%. First, government social programs are forced and aren’t consented to by the people. Second, they spread less money than they take because they have to fund an enormous bureacracy. Private charities are done by an individuals own volition and give more money to the people who need it. I’m not against private charity at all, I’m against the Government taking a portion of my earnings and spending it in ways with which I don’t agree. However, I think the point is lost. I’m arguing that “social justice” as an idea, is simply a pretty packaged little phrase for “hand out.” Call a spade a spade. Charity is charity. There is nothing “justice” about it if one takes the historical definition of its roots in American society.

    Regarding lazy people. I make no insinuation that only the poor are lazy or vice versa. I will admit it could have been worded a little differently. If I work 20hrs a week and bring home $10 and you work 25 and bring home $15, should you have more money taken from you to be given to me because I didn’t work *as hard*. Not saying I’m lazy, but give to each their due. More work should translate to more benefits. Less work should not guarantee you the same benefits. I also believe we should say the same about talent. People have to cultivate their talents. If someone has worked harder to cultivate their talents and are therefore, more talented than most, they deserve a bigger piece of the pie.

    The elected officials in Washington and Richmond ARE, themselves, a minority. The argument that what they decide must be good for us all cannot hold up because we are a government “of the people” not “of the legislators.” Public opinion of Obama (who was elected by a majority of voters) is at an all time low. Congress’s approval rating (who were also elected by a majority of their people) struggles to remain in double digits. The fact that we live in a democracy does not mean we the people bend to the will of a majority of a minority of people. We give the legislators the right to exist as legislators, not the oter way around.

    To you second comment: I promised I’d come back to religion and I will shortly. I agree that Marxists have failed miserably to bring about justice, because what they have tried to do is not justice, it’s anti-justice. The ideals of a governmental Robin Hood are not justice. Do you think that someone who doesn’t work as hard as you deserves the same things as you? No. Then Marxism is not giving people what they rightfully deserve, therefore it is not justice. As people we do have the power to vote for such a government, but I don’t believe we should. You said that religion is not something we should be exporting at taxpayer expense. Yet what is religion but a set of morals and ideals recognized as given to man by a higher power (be that higher power God, Allah, or whoever)? Is not “charity” a moral tennet? Isn’t doing unto others as you would have them do to you at the backbone of Christianity (and other religions)? Keep in mind that this is also coming from a religious person. But if these are indeed morals and morals come from religions and creating religious based laws are creating moral laws and government shouldn’t be in the business in legislating religion, then why should we expect the government to take on the yoke of being our brothers keepers simply because we’re too lazy to do it ourselves (if indeed we feel that we need to be)?

  8. Josh, thank you in turn for your reply.

    > If I work 20hrs a week and bring home $10 and you work 25 and bring home $15, should you have more money taken from you to be given to me because I didn’t work *as hard*. <
     
    No one argues that I should. What they argue is that if I make a million a year and someone else who works as hard or harder, or doesn't work or work much because work isn't available, has to choose between paying for food, clothing, and housing, it's proper for me to help them. I am more fortunate than that other guy. Character is often a factor when someone is needy, but not always, and only God can really know a lot of times how hard someone has tried or not. As individuals, we are all molded by a wide variety of circumstances. Some have gifts and resources others don't. Again, if we want to help the truly needy, we're going to get taken some times, whether we help them through private organizations or the government. And by the way, I've worked for the gov helping the poor and seen the system being gamed myself.
     
    I also argue as a Christian that we are commanded to care for the poor. Not some of the poor. The poor. It is unjust to just let them suffer. So while I agree that private charity is preferable and more efficient (but I'll bet that 80% number is wildly inaccurate, and different programs have different rates of efficiency in any case), it alone isn't getting the job done. So I vote for the government to supplement private charity and private efforts to bring about justice.

    And I made no argument that we should accept whatever politicans think is good for us. The fact is, we elect these people, and we can unelect them too. And that's the proper way to change policies we don't like, not by complaining that they don't listen to us. If Perriello's not listening to you, he's listening to the people who voted for him, and there are more of them than you guys. So as a pol who wants to get re-elected, he's doing what he thinks is the will of the majority of the people.

    why should we expect the government to take on the yoke of being our brothers keepers simply because we’re too lazy to do it ourselves

    Again, no one is arguing that we should give lazy people Cadillacs. But perhaps we ought to feed their kids if the kids need it. It’s not the kids fault the parents are lazy, is it?

  9. Ken,

    I appreciate your response.

    “No one argues that I should…gamed myself.”

    First, I believe that “working hard” is a subjective term. The man who works 40 hours in a factory works harder with his hands than does someone who is a nuclear engineer, but the engineer works harder with his mind and has cultivated his talents a lot more. I agree that talents are spread unevenly throughout society, but does that mean those who have been dealt a pair of twos should take as much from the table as the guy with a royal flush? Of course most everyone says, “no” to this scenario. Let’s put it a little differently. Continuing with the poker analogy, instead of the pair of twos getting the winnings of the royal flush, imagine the dealer forces the “winner” to hand over a portion of his winnings to the other guy or else leave the game. That doesn’t sound like a very fair game to me either. My point is: let the guy with the royal flush do what he wants with his money instead of compelling him to pay up or get out.

    While I am a Christian myself, I don’t think the Christian argument has any bearing on the debate. Fact is that not everyone is Christian. Why should we let one set of morals GOVERN (not influence the personal lives of, but GOVERN) society? Do you want your wife having to wear a veil everytime she goes out in public? That is part of Islamic law in some cases. Why should you expect someone who doesn’t share your beliefs to abide by laws that force them?

    “So I vote for the government to supplement private charity and private efforts to bring about justice.”

    It’s not justice. It’s charity. It’s a hand-out. Justice implies that the money or alms or whatever is DESERVED by those who receive it. Perhaps by calling it what it is, a handout, people will try a little harder instead of relying on the dole. People don’t like to accpet “charity” but hey, if we’re handing out “justice” sign me up.

    Regarding politicans: are they elected to serve ONLY those people who elected them, or are they bound by their oath of office to serve the general public? Is Perriello really listening to his constituents when he votes in locksteap with the Party, not the people? If his policies are in line with his District, then why does he continue to SELL his ideas? You don’t try to sell things that aren’t being bought. You change products.

    To your last point: You liberals and your kids are going to be the death of us all :). I agree, just because Joe can’t feed his kids doesn’t mean his kids ought to starve. But, if Joe isn’t fit to be a parent, then take the kids away. Feed Joe’s kids, but not Joe. Here’s an idea: if you can’t feed or clothe a child, don’t procreate. If abstinence isn’t your thing, contraceptives are a lot cheaper then diapers, milk, food, and clothes.

  10. Josh, not everyone is a Christian, it’s true, but Christians too get to vote on what a good and just society looks like. And I don’t think you can say the guy who makes his living with his brain has cultivated his talents more than the factory hand. How many factory hands had the brains to be nuclear engineers?

    Why should you expect someone who doesn’t share your beliefs to abide by laws that force them?

    Answer 1: Er, as a conservative and a Christian are, for example, pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, putting your religious beliefs aside? :-)

    Answer 2: I follow Neuhaus in believing that religious beliefs alone are not good enough support for public policy laws. Policy has to be arguably, demonstrably good for reasons beyond faith. But with that caveat, if we don’t asset our values in the public square, we’ll end up being ruled by someone else’s.

    Justice implies that the money or alms or whatever is DESERVED by those who receive it.

    People who work or are looking for work — people who contribute to society through their labor, or wish to contribute thereby — deserve food, housing, and medical care, in my opinion. That’s not charity, it’s not hoarding the bounty God has given us.

    Regarding politicans: are they elected to serve ONLY those people who elected them, or are they bound by their oath of office to serve the general public? Is Perriello really listening to his constituents when he votes in locksteap with the Party, not the people? If his policies are in line with his District, then why does he continue to SELL his ideas? You don’t try to sell things that aren’t being bought. You change products.

    Selling ideas is part of a leader’s job. It’s his responsibility. Can you name a conservative pol who doesn’t campaign? And Perriello broke with the party in opposing its financial reform bill. But even if he hadn’t, you’re asking him to do the impossible. No one can please all the people all the time, especially in this polarized society.

    if Joe isn’t fit to be a parent, then take the kids away.

    Newt Gingrich didn’t get too far with that. How do you envision this working?

    Here’s an idea: if you can’t feed or clothe a child, don’t procreate. If abstinence isn’t your thing, contraceptives are a lot cheaper then diapers, milk, food, and clothes.

    Agreed.

  11. Ken,

    I agree, not many factory hands have the minds of nuclear engineers, but does that mean they should have a piece of the engineer’s pie? “Social Justice” says they should but not because the factory hand deserves it, but because the engineer has something he doesn’t. I don’t think that’s fair.

    Response to Anser 1: I don’t oppose gay marriage in the traditional (if that isn’t an oxymoron, I don’t know what is) sence. I personally don’t think the government has any right to say who should and shouldn’t be married. I also personally don’t believe that any man of the cloth should perform the ceremony, but I don’t think the government has a right to tell a church what it can or can’t do. I as an individual won’t recognize a Church that chooses to, but that is my perrogative, not the government’s. I oppose abortion as a “right” because I don’t think ANYONE has the “right” to deprive another individual of their inalienable right to life simply because they made a bad decision, not because of the moral objections I have to abortion.

    Response to Answer 2: I’m not familiar with Neuhaus, I’ll admit, but he (or she) seems to be on the right track with the faith argument. However, if we are going to take our beliefs out into the marketplace of ideas and try to convince others of their merrits, we’ve got to appeal to them on the most common ground: as rational individuals, not as a member of this or that religion.

    “People who work…God has given us.”
    Who decides need? A government that changes at the drop of a hat? The people as a mass whose opinions can be swayed with the wind? Or we as individuals? You are right, people deserving those things is your “opinion” which I assume are rooted in your personal morals. But that’s all they are, YOUR morals. Are they mine as well? To an extent, yes. You never answered my question about you wanting your wife to wear a veil. I assume you don’t. If you don’t, then you don’t want someone else’s morals dictating your action. Neither do I. I don’t believe that desiring to work is any reason to give someone a wage. I want to be an attorney, should I have one’s salary because it’s my wish? I believe that people should have food on their table and clothes on their back and they need my help to do it, then, if I am able, I’ll do it, but by my own volition, not at the behest of a government. In my opinion, it IS charity. It’s me giving something to someone that was formerly my property.

    Back to politicians again: I know they all campaign. They all try to sell themselves to the most people. What I DO NOT agree with is politicans facing town hall crowds that are livid with their policies and yet continuing to push the same agenda that the people don’t agree with. I’m not going to debate the merrits of Tom Perriello becaues I believe they are few, but I won’t vote for Robert Hurt, or Jeff Clark, for that matter, either, because I want the system to change. They (the politicans) have flipped the social contract and now think it is us who serve them. I disagree and I’ll fight to make it right again.

    I envision the child protective services system working like its supposed to. If someone would rather spend $400 on a new Blackberry instead of feeding and clothing his children, then he shouldn’t have the children. Here’s a raw outline: families who receive a certain percentage of their income in the form of welfare checks, food stamps, etc., should have their “lifestyles” (I say that because I can’t find a better word at the time) evaluated to see if they are REALLY able to support a family. I’m sure you’d find a lot of individuals milking the system this way which would discourage fraud, help eliminate cheating the system, and protect children from unfit parents. What about the guy who didn’t buy the Blackberry? What about the guy who just isn’t able to support a child? Still, take them away. Because if a parent can’t support the life of their child, for whatever reason, they don’t deserve to have the child. A parent, a good parent, would rather see their child taken from them because they can’t provide for it, than to see it die or suffer in their care.

    If we agree on the choice to raise children, then we’ve found common ground. If that is the case, why can’t we move forward from that point? Start at the familial level and change the way society thinks from there.

  12. Josh, when you say “deserve” I think you’re begging the question. You seem to think that people deserve whatever they can legally get. But some people — perhaps we should get away from using a factory hand as an example, because unions have done very well for them — although they work as hard as any millionaire, simply can’t get enough to live comfortably. Where is it written that it’s just for them to suffer for it? Where is your own moral authority for this? Was the Earth’s bounty given to the strong alone, to the most gifted? Does the great and growing disparity in wealth not bother you when kids are going hungry? Do you have another viable way to feed them, all of them, except via the state?

    Let me ask this another way. You believe we should help the poor through private charity alone. But private charity doesn’t begin to cover their needs now. Let’s say Jindal gets elected in 2012 and lowers your taxes by 15%. I don’t know your financial situation, but let’s say you’re quite comfortable already. Are you now going to take that extra 15% you don’t have to give the state, and which you don’t need to live on and save for future needs with, and give it to private charity? Because you’d be a very rare bird if you did. You guys say meet needs through the private sector, not the public one. But that will never happen.

    Re: abortion. Since you oppose the legal right to an abortion (as I do) you do then favor what you in your own words call forcing people who “don’t share your beliefs to abide by laws that force them.” And my point is that it can’t be any other way. Where people disagree, someone’s going to have to live by laws reflecting someone else’s convictions. And very often those convictions will be shaped in part by religion, because religious views are foundational views (and in that respect, everyone has them, because everyone has views on the questions religion is concerned with).

    if we are going to take our beliefs out into the marketplace of ideas and try to convince others of their merrits, we’ve got to appeal to them on the most common ground: as rational individuals, not as a member of this or that religion.

    Yes, I said the same in my last post.

    And so you’d really take a child away from a parent who can’t support it, and have the state raise that child instead of giving the parents the help they need to raise it? And you think that would be in the child’s best interest? Wow. :-) I thought conservatives believed in small government. It turns out you do believe the state has a role in caring for needy kids, and a bigger role than any liberal thinks it does. I don’t think you’ll find many fellow conservatives agreeing with you here.

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