Skip to comments.Russell Kirk on Social Justice, 1954
Posted on 09/03/2013 11:13:16 AM PDT by don-o
In the early to mid 1950s, especially after publishing The Conservative Mind, Kirk began to develop his own own three pillars of a good society, Order, Justice, and Freedom as he would frequently put it in the 1970s and 1980s.
In this 1954 article (excerpts below), published in the University of Notre Dames Review of Politics, Kirkfully within the Christian Humanist traditionconsidered the virtue of Justice from a classical as well as a Christian perspective. Harmony, not contention, brought together the two traditions.
Only a true Justicethe recognition of giving each man his duewould allow the flourishing of a well-ordered society.
Additionally, Kirk argued in a rather libertarian and Catholic fashion, true justice could only exist when chosen freely by well-ordered individuals and not when imposed from above. To support his own claims, Kirk drew upon Plato, Cicero, Burke, and Pope Pius XI.
Though nominally a Protestant at this point, Kirk had begun taking instructions in joining the Roman Catholic Church from a Jesuit while teaching at the University of Detroit in the spring semester of 1954. He would not come into full communion with the Catholic Church for another decade.
This article, never reprinted, also reveals some of Kirks thoughts on the existence of Natural Rights, a topic he rarely addressed elsewhere. The foremost of our true natural rights is the right to justice and order, Kirk wrote. Men have a right to the product of their labors, and to the benefits of good government and of the progress of civilization. But, they have no right to the property and the labor of others.
[The following excerpts are from: Russell Kirk, "Social Justice and Mass Culture," The Review of Politics 16 (1954): 438-451.]
(Excerpt) Read more at theimaginativeconservative.org ...
I disagree with the verb "give". Instead:
"each man earns his due"
There is no bottomless pit of resources from which some beneficent judge can “give” to each what is “his due”.
Lets see what the Bible says about social justice .
(2 Thessalonians 3:10) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
(2 Thessalonians 3:11) For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
(2 Thessalonians 3:12) Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
I think this would be cleared up with an accurate definition of what a man is "due." He is "due" something if he has earned it, if he has discovered it, if he found it laying about in a rubbish heap of things unclaimed by others, if he won it in a fair wager, if he inherited it, if he got it by covenant or contract... maybe you could go on.
I don't think Mr. Kirk defines "his due" as "whatever he claims or demands."
Fair enough. But one has to be extremely careful, for the Left will take any ambiguity as a hole through which to drive their Socialist Destructo-Truck.
Luke 6:27-36 27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
There could be no greater injustice to society than to give the good, the industrious, and the frugal the same rewards as the vicious, the indolent, and the spendthrift. [pp. 442-443]