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My Changing Views on Social Justice

Posted by thethousandmarch on December 8, 2011 at 10:35 PM

I was once a young idealist who believed that the U.S.A with our money and our power could solve the world’s ills. I believed that we in fact had a duty to protect the poor and oppressed, establishing justice wherever we went. (I was not so stupid as to think that is what we did, simply what we should do.) Since becoming aware of such things, I had a strong sense of moral outrage against whatever I perceived to be the unjust and unfair exploitation of others. As long as I’ve been politically aware I’ve been drawn to political ideologies which claimed to be in the interest and defense of the poor and oppressed. So I’m naturally drawn to much of what the Democratic Party says it stands for, and am disgusted by much of what I see in the Republican Party – it certainly does attract its share of greedy and selfish people. In college I was drawn towards radical and revolutionary philosophies; I’ve even claimed to be a socialist. (Though being a morally conservative person I could not support all liberal agendas.)

However, in the last couple of years my thinking has undergone some major changes – my paradigms have been shifted. I can say my values and goals have not changed, but I have had some significant shifts in my practices and policies. For one, in the realms of politics and social issues, I’ve moved from being an idealist to a pragmatist. My faith in the virtue of any present or future public official has waned. And, I do not believe much of anything can be accomplished through central planning.

Now, I certainly could not hope to changes anyone’s mind with a short blog post. So I’m not about to try and say what all has changed for me, and why. I just want to point people to a couple of sources that have had a huge impact on me. And, I’d like to simply encourage people to consider the possibility that much of what is done in the name of helping the poor and oppressed may actually hurt them. Take Haiti for example. There are more NGOs in Haiti than any other country, and Haiti also receives substantial aid from outside governments, yet in the past fifty years Haiti has gotten poorer.

If nothing else, let’s not assume that those who do not share our political or social beliefs do not care about whatever it is we feel we care so much about. This leads me to something I just recently resolved – I will not question other peoples’ motives (which is not to say I believe everyone has good motives, it just means I can’t possible guess, or assume what they are). I will question peoples actions, and the efficacy of their policies to accomplish the things they say they want to accomplish, but I will not attack a person’s motives.

Check out these two podcasts: Econtalk at http//www.econtalk.org

Planet Money at http//www.npr.org/blogs/money

And, I would encourage Christians to look into Martin Luther’s doctrineof the two kingdoms.

Categories: Politics