Wednesday, May 21, 2014

True Social Justice

The following essay was the second place winner of this year's Essay Competition, written by Noah Wills and answering the prompt "What is social justice? How should conservatives approach the concept? What role does government have in promoting it?"

Social justice, the act of helping those who cannot help themselves, raises much controversy over who counts as helpless and how much involvement government should have in promoting the issue. While a seemingly harmless topic, many governments get too involved in social justice, often overstepping their bounds and limiting the liberty of their citizens. To prevent this, conservatives must take personal steps to effectively preserve true social justice without tolerating loss of liberty or over-reaching government authority. In achieving positive social justice, conservatives must stand up and help preserve their liberty and keep the government within its parameters.

True social justice bases itself in the idea of helping those who cannot help themselves. Compelled by this idea, many people give to honorable causes. James 1:27 states that God finds it pure “to visit the orphans and widows in their distress.” Whether orphaned, widowed, homeless, trapped in addiction, simply stuck in a bad situation, or all of the above, every helpless person remains eligible for true social justice, which means personally assisting them because they cannot help themselves. Most people understand the demand for social justice and realize the need to take care of the helpless, which is why so many charitable organizations, charter schools, and soup kitchens exist today.

In today’s society, corruption has perverted social justice. Many people, liberals and conservatives alike, have a “That’s not fair!” mentality when they see others working hard and succeeding in life. They interpret social justice to mean that the government must level out the results for all people. From that flawed idea, employers award jobs by the ethnicity of a person as opposed to by their qualifications, children who put nearly no effort into their work receive just as large of a trophy or just as eloquent of a certificate as those who put their all into their work, and lazy people can make more money by sitting at home living off of a welfare check than many who diligently work hard and struggle to make ends meet. True justice does not pull the diligent down to level him with the lazy. Justice embodies itself in the ideology that equal opportunity, not equal results, leads to true equality in society.

Though often misunderstood due to the enormity of government today, the true purpose of government is easily summed up in two simple aspects given in Romans 13:3-4: to praise those who do good and to punish those who practice evil. Government should encourage people and groups who do admirable things. Additionally, it has a responsibility to keep order and dole out justice to those who do wickedly. For example, the government has a responsibility to punish business tycoons who run illegal child sweat shops manned by kidnapped orphans and to do justice to the coal mine owner who makes widows by sending workers into a mine without equipping them with the tools necessary to fight the unhealthy work environment, as called for by health regulations and a little common sense. Some call this social justice; others call it the purpose of government. In the act of rewarding those who practice good and condemning those who do evil, the government subtly practices true social justice.

Furthermore, the Founders of the United States based their nation off of liberty, writing in the Declaration of Independence that the Creator has endowed every man “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thus, the United States government has the responsibility to ensure the liberty of every man. Galatians 5:13 states: “For you were called to freedom…” When government gives federal handouts in the name of social justice to men who have the ability to work yet chose not to, it teaches a principle of dependency. Liberty is the antonym of dependence. If the government continues the practice of handing out checks and other welfare services to able-bodied people, it fails Lady Liberty, the Founders, and its citizenry.

Conservatives have an obligation to ensure true social justice. By definition, conservatives believe in traditional ideals. Since the founding of this country, traditional biblical principles have remained an integral part of the American culture. Thus, conservatives must apply those principles to their obligation to stand up for true social justice and act.  To further make the principle known to man, God requires in Micah 6:8 that people “do justice [and] love kindness.” With a need as large as the one for true social justice, no one should delay aiding the helpless. Seeing the overwhelming need for true social justice, conservatives must take action.

With an obligation to act for true social justice, conservatives should support the helpless in multiple different ways. Churches, charitable organizations, people in general, and especially conservatives must come together to take care of those who need help. Whether the helpless live as widows, homeless, addicts, or simply friends and neighbors, the obligation to do justice and love kindness revolves around helping the least of these with their bodily needs of food, clothing, shelter, and other general support. In addition, as Jesus Christ did, conservatives must also aid the helpless through meeting their spiritual needs as well. Answering the calling to assist the helpless, conservatives must support them in both physical and spiritual capacities.

Moreover, the calling to help the needy does not end simply by meeting their physical and spiritual needs. Conservatives should also defend the helpless by promoting a government that remains within its parameters, never obstructing justice or liberty. They must vote for true social justice by electing Godly men and women into office that will uphold the principles of liberty as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Additionally, conservatives should promote the helpless by encouraging equality of opportunity.  Charter schools present a wonderful example of how people, though sometimes working in a local government capacity, can help to equalize opportunity for the younger generation. In aiding the helpless, conservatives must prevent an overreaching government and support equal opportunity for all people.

Not limiting it to America, conservatives can also take true social justice to rest of the world. Whether the horrors of human trafficking, physical disability, poverty, or political unrest plague the helpless, conservatives must take true social justice and apply it to the world.  Using the same biblical principles put in practice by the Founders of the United States, true social justice will find its way to every part of the vast globe. By promoting the principles of personal liberty, equal opportunity, and limited government, conservatives can bring true social justice past the borders of America into the rest of world.

If conservatives successfully act in ensuring true social justice, then astronomical outcomes can result, but if they fail to act, many problems will ensue. In the case of conservatives not acting, the government will attempt to pick up the slack by blindly handing out checks and providing federal services to both the needy and the lazy, thus inviting less liberty and more dependence. When conservatives fail to act, people will dismiss their cause as a do-nothing cause, resulting in less people supporting the helpless in true social justice. Worst of all, the failure of conservatives to act will bring about an outcome of more people who reject biblical principles and true salvation in Jesus Christ. Conservatives must act or the whole idea of true social justice will crumble and slowly dissolve.

People, not solely government, administer true social justice, the act of supporting the helpless. Following the lead of the founders of the United States, conservatives must act as the mediators between true social justice and government, ensuring that the government does not step over its bounds in attempting to dole out social justice. They must also provide for both bodily and spiritual needs of the helpless just as Christ Jesus did. If conservatives do not act, they invite the government to occupy the gap that they no longer fill as the mediators between the government and social justice which leads to an overreaching government and loss of liberty. Revolution for true social justice brews; its last need remains action.

By Noah Wills

The views expressed in this essay are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Generation Joshua.

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