Cover of Boys Town
“What’s “just” has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”
— Walter Williams
Williams was born into an AfricanAmerican family. His family during childhood consisted of himself, his mother, and his sister. His father played no role in raising either child. He grew up in Philadelphia. The family initially lived in West Philadelphia, moving to North Philadelphia and the Richard Allen housing projects when Williams was ten. His neighbors included a young Bill Cosby. Williams knew many of the individuals that Cosby speaks of from his childhood, including Weird Harold and Fat Albert.
Williams was a talented high school student who displayed a very inconsistent performance in his studies. Following high school he came out to stay with his father in California, and attended one semester at Los Angeles City College, in regard to which he would later state that he was not ready yet to be a serious student. In 1959 he was drafted into the military, and served as a Private in the United States Army. While serving in the Army, he “waged a one man battle against Jim Crow from inside the army (where he was nearly court-martialed for challenging the racial order).” Williams:
wrote a letter to President John F. Kennedy denouncing the pervasive racism of the American government and military. “Should Negroes be relieved of their service obligation or continue defending and dying for empty promises of freedom and equality,” Williams demanded of the president. “Or should we demand human rights as our Founding Fathers did at the risk of being called extremists….I contend that we relieve ourselves of oppression in a manner that is in keeping with the great heritage of our nation.” (Link)
The above article, or at least part of the article from Wikipedia and the beginning quote should be an inspiration to all Americans, it talks of Faith, faith in the American system, faith in self and faith in humanity. It talks of self-reliance and justice, not handouts and welfare. It talks about picking yourself up and taking care of business, your business, and not relaying on the government to do it for you. I like that!
So what is “just”?
As a Catholic, social justice is a huge part of my faith, we have Bishops and everyday pew sitters working on this issue daily, we have documents coming from the Vatican and our local Church. I could spend hours reading and re-reading the documents, many of them online and available for free. I can read the words of many a great men, saints and some not so saintly. But in the end, I think that simple quote above states it very distinctly:
…I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”
That about states it all… Now I can hear everyone asking, what about the poor, who is going to help them… We need to take and give to them.. True, I agree, you are correct. But… And this is a big but… It’s not the government’s job to decide who or what charities I want to support, it is not the governments job to decide how much is too much. That my friends, it totally up to me… That is “just”.
Humanity will, if allowed, care for herself. In the United Stated we have proven this, prior to big government stepping in, it was left to the local communities to care for one another, and they always did. During the many recessions and depressions this country has gone through, the local community always cared for their own. As it should be. The “Great Society” and the “New Deal” and all other forms of Social Engineering has done nothing to change the simple fact that we will always have the poor. But what it has done is created a whole generation that is now dependent upon the government to fix and provide for all there needs. No longer is it a community coming together, but now it laws and regulations and dependency.
The local out reach programs, Faith based community services and alike are now governed by the Federal Government, bogged down with regulations and paperwork that much of there “good deeds” go undone due to lack of resources to meet the ever-expanding hands of Big Brother. Prior to the government handing out the tax payers money, the local community gathered its resources from the community itself, depended on the community and thrived with in the community it served.
The Catholic church was the prominent provider in many communities, depending upon the Church and the community at large to provide free services to whomever needed them, regardless of their faith. Look at Boys Town as a perfect example. Fr. Flanagan did not ask the Federal Government for moneys to build his Town, nope, he depended upon the common person to send in donations, and the work of building the town, well that was left up the him and the boys. In todays “regulated” world this could never happen, the government would not allow the young men who made up the community of Boys Town to do the labor, they would consider it “degrading” and “child labor”, were as Fr. Flanagan and his boys considered it “Character building” and “Edifying” . How times have changed.
The government would have required trained social workers were as Fr. Flanagan required love and respect. There is not law or regulations for love and respect, so the government would not consider them to be important. How times have changed…
“Charity” and “Social Justice” and not be regulated or forced, they have to be organic in nature. they have to come from the souls of the ones offering. When government sticks its hands into our pockets and forces us to “give” the act of Charity and Justice has just become an act of redistribution and extortion.
In the books “Who Really Cares” and “Gross National Happiness” Arthur C. Brooks, the author, makes the case that charity is a human act, not a governmental act. That it is the benevolence of man and not the redistributionist of government that keeps charities rolling. Both books are well worth the reading.
The Catholic Church, like many organization, has its fair share of redistributionist, who feel that humanity in-of-its-self is not able or capable of caring for each other. To me this is a travesty and a slap in the collective face of man kind! But, truth be told, we allowed this mind-set to happen, we, as a nation have become “dependent” upon the government to not only govern our national affairs, but also our personal affairs.
A return to a simpler time, a time when communities cared for each other, relied upon each other and depended upon their neighbors was when true social justice existed in this nation. We now live in a nation of not social justice, but a nation of social engineering, other wise know as socialism, tyranny or any other work to describe personal liberties and personal responsibilities being replaced by group think. We are teaching our children not to depend upon themselves and the community at large, but rather to look to and depend upon the government. We have generations of Americans that have no concept of charity and giving, of time, talent and treasure. But we do have generations of Americans who understand the concepts of give me, I deserve and “fairness”. Using the term “fairness” not as it was meant, “Equal opportunity” but rather as “Equal treasures” regardless of effort put forth.
The America of pre-New Deal and The Great Society is not yet lost, but is quickly becoming so. We have the opportunity and obligation to change the course of this great nation. To right the wrongs and return American and her citizens back to personal responsibility and community minded obligations. We have a unique opportunity in America, the opportunity to wage a revolution with our guns and blood, a revolution that uses the most powerful weapon ever know to man, the vote. This November we must vote to return America back to Americans, to restore Charity and Social Justice back to the people. It is time to take up the mantel of liberty and forge a new path to prosperity by returning to the founding principles of this great nation. Principles spelled out in our founding documents, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Documents that outline the path to prosperity and freedom, documents that never, not once, call upon the Government to care for the personal lives of its Citizenry. But rather call upon its Citizenry to care for the Government.