The Johnstown native is working on a fictional book that is, in part, set against the backdrop of the May 31, 1889 flood. It tells the story of a young Slovak immigrant – a character based on his grandfather – who lived in the area at the time of the disaster. The plot then moves forward to the character's granddaughter working as a reporter in Europe, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall.Read More
The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics sponsored a special report on Faith and Work, which was prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department and published May 12, 2016. The report is entitled, "Faith at Work: Individual Purpose, Flourishing Communities" and it includes thirty authors from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, including business, political, cultural, and theological sectors. The entire report can be found here. I was honored to be one of the 30; my essay, adapted from my book “Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life” (Free Press, 1996), was originally published is here.Read More
The Fourth Birth of Freedom: 1776, 1861, 1981, . . .
By Michael Novak on National Review Online on April 27, 2016
On the weekend of Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts (celebrating the battles of Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill), students from leading American universities met at Harvard to formulate conservative principles for the 21st century. They began an exploration of the best thinkers of the past, searching the historical record of what had worked best to extend and preserve the blessings of liberty both for the present and for posterity. The event was organized by the Harvard Prospectus team, with the support of the Princeton Tory and the Stanford Conservative Alliance.
The following was the first of five keynote addresses.
I spent almost five years in graduate school at Harvard and three years teaching at Stanford, and in all that time I was to the left of American liberalism. Then, during the Carter years, I came to see that this nation required a new birth of freedom and a powerful new commitment to natural rights, not only on this continent but worldwide. And in America we desperately needed a dramatic explosion in new technologies, new industries, and new jobs.
In those years, I was captivated as never before by two American faces: the suffering face of Abraham Lincoln, who in this divided land at enormous cost barely defeated slavery, and the happy warrior Ronald Reagan, whose presidency brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of some 70 new democracies on this planet.
Lincoln saw in his time an inexcusable evil, and Reagan saw that half the world was living under totalitarian control. Day by day, quietly and insistently, Reagan built relentless pressure against the Soviet Union until, like an eggshell, it finally cracked. Simultaneously, he launched an initiative to encourage, teach, and assist a worldwide movement of human rights and the strategic institutions of democracy.
It greatly surprised me as a lifelong Democrat that these were the legacies of the conservative movement — not just talking about caring but actually bringing about the end of slavery, even at great cost. And then, under Reagan (with the help of Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II), lifting oppression and inspiring democracies worldwide.
In reviewing the history of the conservative movement, I also came to admire two other conservative presidents: Teddy Roosevelt, for launching the great conservation movements across the country, especially in the national forests; and Calvin Coolidge, who changed conservatism by grasping the crucial role of cuts in tax rates, generating economic prosperity from the bottom up.
I remember writing speeches for more than one Democratic presidential candidate with lines like this: “My administration will have three priorities: jobs, jobs, jobs.” But one simple point had not occurred to me: You cannot have employees without employers. I understood that those who think of starting new enterprises are fearful, knowing that about half of all new enterprises fail within five years, and only about one-third remain in business for ten years or longer. I began to understand that we could reduce that fear by creating higher incentives for risk-takers. A large portion of Americans (and of people all around the world) work in small businesses, so the rate of small-business formation greatly influences the rate of new employees hired nationally. A simple insight, but it took me much too long to grasp it.
I was surprised to find that conservative leaders did not talk much about caring; they actually made social revolutions happen. The conservative movement is not given to words about caring. It is about achieving liberty and ending poverty in the real world. I see now that this has been a serious mistake on our part. Beginning in the 1840s in Europe, the new parties of the Left put intense focus on “caring.” They disguised their totalitarian tendencies by shouting, “The poor, the oppressed!” The bourgeoisie, they said, doesn’t care about them.
The conservative movement made a fatal mistake by allowing tyrants to capture the language of caring. In a civilization originally steeped in Judaism and Christianity, compassion matters. One indicator is the common perception today that conservatives are hard-hearted. People who buy in to that stereotype are not inclined even to listen to conservative arguments. We have ourselves to blame.
But we don’t have to keep hurting ourselves. Today, in 2016, millions in this world bear immense suffering. Conservative principles have the best chance of eliminating it. Conservative principles — natural rights — helped end slavery, and economic creativity and invention have lifted up more than a billion of the world’s poor in our lifetime. Conservative principles will once again liberate the world, in the generation to come even more so than in the past.
For example, dear young friends of liberty, a horrific new type of slavery has exploded across the earth: sex slavery. A cruel sexual trafficking is now condemning millions of helpless women and young men around the world to misery. This slave trade has spread throughout the United States, where young women are now being bought, savaged, and traded in shadowy markets. Alas, their numbers are growing.
One can see in the paper Challenging the Caricature the vivid photographs revealing the rapid destruction of just a few of these victims. To allow them to be described as “sex workers” is an outrage; they are slaves. Look at the photos, and endure them if you can. It is now your task, dear young conservatives, to move the House and Senate of the United States to establish a human-rights caucus to end this sordid traffic.
Still more practical tasks:
What inspired the free minds that brought down Communism from 1980 to 1989? Free communications through Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the massive distribution of cell phones, and the explosive reach of the Internet. But nowadays, nearly a billion people, especially in Asia, are kept in mental captivity by governments blocking the Internet. For just a small investment, this blockage could be blasted open. How? A practical job for you to imagine and execute. The activism of Michael Horowitz has prepared the ground, but you need to finish the job.
But neither is that the whole of the unfinished tasks of this blessed land. Consider also the following:
Our own tough and good Chuck Colson came out of jail to remind us of the cries for help still emanating from American prisons and from yet more-wretched prisons around the world. We need to stimulate more worldwide organizations like Colson’s Prison Fellowship.
Nina Shea and other brave human-rights activists have brought to our attention the miseries of so many millions of women, especially in Africa, made wretched by genital mutilation, stonings, and “honor killings.” Nina has chronicled the epidemic of obstetric fistula, which has turned millions of young African women and girls into pariahs. Making media attentive to these evils, and inspiring more political leaders to mobilize to correct them, will help right a massive wrong.
And there are still other millions of slaves and wretched ones on this suffering earth. Hordes of political radicals across the world are forcing Jews, Christians, and other believers, one by one, to choose between renouncing their God — their inner Light — and being bloodily hacked to death. Those victims who are not put to death are subjected to continuous rape, humiliation, enslavement, and painful tortures. A practical measure: Shine an intense light from the media; stir activist associations around the world; and oblige governments to apply political power to extend life and liberty.
This persecution is not merely trampling religious liberty underfoot. It is a rabid campaign to wipe whole religions from the face of the earth — not just Christians and Jews but scores of other ancient religious groups, including the Yazidis, Baha’is, and Zoroastrians. How can it be that the most religious nation on earth, the people of the United States, can sit by and let this slaughter continue?
If we do not care to protect the religious conscience, who will care to protect the non-religious one? Either all consciences are safe, or none are. And what would a human being be without conscience? I recognize that in our day a strong and growing minority of Americans mock those of us who are not secular. Some outrageously claim that religious persons do not deserve respect. They lie when they say we do not offer reasoned arguments. We beg to differ from theirs.
Jewish and Christian faiths have implanted the anti-totalitarian axiom in human consciousness: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Not everything belongs to Caesar. The power of Caesar must be kept limited.
Jürgen Habermas, one of Europe’s most prominent atheists, shows us that the ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity originated not in Greece or Rome, or in Islam, or in the blood-spattered French Revolution, but were nourished under Judaism and Christianity. Atheists ignore this only in bad faith. Honest persons do not have to believe in Judaism or Christianity; Habermas doesn’t. But honest persons must give credit where credit is due.
In America today, Christians must and do defend the liberty of conscience for non-believers. But the “New Atheists” do not defend it for religious people. What kind of moral seriousness is that?
Finally, it has become fashionable in America to declare that the primary economic problem of our time is inequality. But equality is unnatural. It can be imposed only by force. (It does not appear even among children in the same family.)
Those who prioritize equality curtail liberty. Those who prioritize liberty typically raise standards of living for all. The goal should be to raise the standard of living of the poorest, decade by decade. That would help more than cutting down the most creative and wealth-producing. Beware of those who use the term “equality” carelessly.
Abraham Lincoln singled out the right set forth in Article I of our Constitution, the right reserved to authors and inventors to patent or to copyright their own creations, as one of six vital principles that revolutionized the world. For the first time in history, the most valuable form of property became not land but ideas. Ideas are open to the poor and the landless! After the founding of America, this right became the main dynamo of the wealth of nations.
Following the economic “malaise” bemoaned by President Carter, President Reagan changed the country’s direction dramatically. He ended the oil shortage, brought interest rates down by two-thirds, spurred the creation of 16 million new jobs, and put a higher proportion of American adults to work than ever before in history. Under Reagan, the American economy added to its wealth the equivalent of the whole economy of West Germany. This American boon lasted another 20 years after Reagan, through Democratic and Republican administrations. Reagan pointed out that government bureaucrats do not put more citizens to work; millions of new business startups do. He gave priority to sparking business startups.
What has been done often before can be done again. It’s now your generation’s task to empower millions more job creators. The age of social invention is not over. Your generation can be as inventive as any in the past.
In sum, dear daughters and sons of liberty, you are the new generation of Americans. You will carry extraordinary burdens. You are born to duties that will test you mightily. Over and over again, you will have to overcome nearly unbearable odds. Yet you were born in the land of the free. You were brought up in the home of the brave. So let me conclude with a story my generation first heard from Ronald Reagan.
Joseph Warren, the most famous physician in Massachusetts, joined the Minutemen pursuing the British from the Lexington Green back toward Boston. He took a bullet through his wig, just above his ear. Then later, standing in the front lines at Bunker Hill, he was felled by a bullet through the head.
However, before that battle, as a new major general, Joseph Warren told the assembled men of Massachusetts: “Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. . . . On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rest the happiness and the liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.”
TBT: Lady Margaret Thatcher Credits Michael Novak
The Victorian Lady
ICYMI: Kasich discusses Michael Novak on Hannity Show
Presidential Candidate and Governor of Ohio John Kasich appeared on the FoxNews "Hannity" show on April 11, 2016. During the discussion, Kasich highlighted Michael Novak:
KASICH: No, no, no. But people say that. Look, redistribution of wealth is just dead wrong. The free enterprise system works. But the quote -- a great Catholic theologian, Michael Novak, a free enterprise system that's not underlaid by a decent set of values is bankrupt. That's not liberal. That's common sense. It's conservative and it's right!
Full transcript of the show may be found on the FoxNews website here.
Gov. John Kasich: The spirit of our country rests in us
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: In eight days, voters from this state will head to the polls and help decide who they want to be the 2016 presidential nominee, 95 Republican delegates up for grabs. And tonight, GOP presidential candidate -- he's the governor of the great state of Ohio, our good friend -- for the entire hour. John Kasich is with us. How are you?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good.
HANNITY: Standing room only. There's like a million people standing behind there.
KASICH: Oh, yes. I didn't even see them.
HANNITY: It's all around the room.
HANNITY: I saw you had 4,000 people in Rochester. Something happening that maybe we're not aware of?
KASICH: Well, for the first time in about the last month, they actually know my name is John Kasich and not governor of Ohio because we didn't get any attention before, did we? But now we're getting it and people are hearing the message and they're showing up!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: All right.
KASICH: You know what, Sean? Honestly, it is really amazing. It's an amazing experience to go through this. And I wasn't going to tell this story, but maybe I will. I was in Greece, New York. And people were waiting outside in line.
I mean, I can't believe it, right? It's by the grace of God that I've been given a chance to do these things. And there was a group of disabled folks, and they were screaming at me and disrupting. And the people started getting upset, and I said, Don't get upset. These folks have lived in the shadows for, you know, 100 years, and they need attention. And they screamed a little bit more, and then the whole thing ended.
And somebody on my staff said, They're still in the gym. So I went in to see them. There were three of them, and they were -- they were very severely disabled. And they said, We came at 7:00 in the morning. They stuck us in the back. And I said, Well, look, you know, I'm helping you because, frankly, the Lord wants me to help you.
And I said, And we'll take a picture, and I'm going to have my head of the whole operation in Ohio call you to see if there's some other things we can be doing because it's been a high priority.
And then as I was leaving, this young lady, young girl, she was 17. I didn't know how old she was. She said, Could I take a picture with you? and I said, yes. Yes, you can take a picture. And she started shaking and crying.
HANNITY: You scare some people. No, I'm kidding.
KASICH: No, I mean, this is really amazing. And she -- I said to her, What's wrong, young lady? She said, I never thought that I would have a chance to meet you.
And I put my arm around her shoulder, and I said, Listen, so much of this is about celebrity in life. You don't really know me. You see me maybe on television, and you get excited. But you are what's important, what's inside of you, not some celebrity or somebody who you think is important. It's you.
And then I felt so inadequate because there's people here tonight who have problems, people here who are hurting, people who are here, Sean, they just want somebody to care about them. And I always feel so inadequate when I see a group like this, and I kind of, like, What can I do, you know? What is it that I could personally do to just make everybody feel a little bit better?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: You got a fan over there.
KASICH: No, but -- you and I -- Sean and I have known each other for a very long time, and Sean's been -- you know, he's had groups like this all over the country. I've seen it happen. And Sean, you and I -- you know my dad carried mail. Your dad was a police officer.
HANNITY: He was a probation officer.
KASICH: Probation officer.
HANNITY: I lived in probation my whole life, yes.
KASICH: Well, you know, you look at them, and they just want to believe that life can be better, that their kids can do well, that they're going to get a fair shake. And it's amazing that we have a chance to be able to in some ways...
HANNITY: Oh, I agree.
KASICH: ... help you and help each other, which is really what matters. Like I told that young lady, young girl, the spirit of the country rests in us, not in a politician, not in a celebrity. It rests in our families, our neighborhoods and our communities!
HANNITY: You know, before you came out, you know, I tell my stupid jokes a little bit, but I do say one serious thing before I talk -- before we do these interviews to every audience. I've asked you this question before.
When you think of the magnitude of the numbers, you know, 95 million Americans out of the labor force, 50 million in poverty, 46 million on food stamps, real Americans, real families, our friends, our neighbors, really suffering. And to add one point. Government's hurting them! Government's not helping them.
And we now have doubled our debt. We now have $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities. And I worry if America's in such a decline if we can reverse it. Am I too negative?
KASICH: Yes, I think we can reverse it. But here's the thing, Sean. If you go to a doctor and you say, How can we have a healthy economy, the doctor will say, Do not crush small business with regulations because you will put them out of business and people will lose their jobs, OK? Number one.
Make sure you always cut taxes for people and for companies so they can employ more people. And thirdly, let's have some common sense and let's balance a budget. So you now go to the doctor...
KASICH: Those are the three things. So you go to the doctor and you say - - and the doctor says -- I say, Well, I'm not feeling very well. He says, Well, what are you doing? I said, Well, we are regulating businesses out of existence. We're raising taxes on everything that is happening in this country. And finally, we've blown up the budget. Wonder why you're not feeling well.
There is a formula that works. I did it in Washington, as you know. I've done it in Ohio, put a team together, throw out all the goofy politics, focus on the problem and go fix it! That's all you got to do!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: When you -- you did leave a, what, $5 trillion (ph) surplus. What was the deficit that you conquered because...
KASICH: It was real -- I don't -- I don't have that number in front of me, but it was, you know, giant. We paid down a half a trillion of the national debt.
HANNITY: National. All right, here...
KASICH: And we had four years of a balanced budget. But you know what happened? And this is the thing that burns you up. I left Washington, we had a projected $5 trillion surplus. It would have provided private accounts for young people, in addition to Social Security. And it was the House Republicans, the Senate Republicans and the president spent it, and the Republican president spent it all.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats -- Democrats love to spend. So do Republicans. Republicans just feel guilty when they do it.
KASICH: And that's why -- that's why -- you have to, Sean -- you've got to have somebody that stands in the breech and says, We got to remember all the people, not the special interests...
HANNITY: ... angry at Republicans? John Boehner was speaker. He had the power of the purse. I've read the Constitution. And they wouldn't use it to balance the budget, and the debt went up 4-point-some-odd trillions dollars with a Republican speaker and a Republican House. They didn't keep their promise. They didn't stop or -- ObamaCare or defund it. And then they went ahead with the executive amnesty and they ended up funding that when they ran in 2014 and said they wouldn't.
KASICH: Well, I don't think that anybody should make a promise when they run for office that they don't legitimately think they can keep. And that's what happens all the time.
KASICH: You know what? A lot of people in this country, when they saw me in the debates, I would talk about my record in Washington, my record in Ohio. And people would say, Why do you keep talking about that? I'll tell you why. Today, if a politician's lips are moving, we believe they're lying. So the reason why I talk about what I've done is if I tell you I have done it before, then I have credibility to tell you what I'm going to do because of this.
You know, I'm a citizen, too. People want my vote. When they come to see me, they say, Oh, I want to be this, I want to be that. I said, What have you done? I don't want to hear about these great things you're going to do. How can I believe you? What have you done in your life that convinces me what you tell me is true? And so that's why I talk about it.
I went to just say this to everybody here. Look, I know we're worried about the security of our job. I know we're worried our kids got education, they're still living at home. I know -- I understand all of that.
This can all be fixed if we work as Americans, if we're able to enact conservative ideas and bring the country together. Sean, look, when we balanced the budget, when I left Washington, you know, with Senator Domenici, we had enormous job growth, wage growth, no discussion on income equality. And bet you that Hillary Clinton will be talking about the Clinton economy when she runs this fall, and the only reason why we got to a balanced budget is because the Republicans, House and Senate -- we had guts and we acted as public servants and not as politicians!
HANNITY: Really important.
KASICH: Am I right?
HANNITY: Let me -- I actually was there -- Newt Gingrich was the speaker. And I was there emceeing his event the night he became speaker of House of the House. And you're right because President Clinton at the time said, Oh, we'll balance it in seven, eight years, between seven and nine, between eight and ten...
KASICH: ... numbers.
HANNITY: And then you insisted with Pete Domenici on numbers, and we did get to a balanced budget.
You're giving a speech tomorrow. Two paths -- give us a preview.
KASICH: Well, look, you can -- I've learned this when I was actually in New Hampshire. I can come in here and talk about all of our problems and I can drive them right into the ditch or -- and I can make them angry. I can get them to be divided, polarized. And I can turn anger into things that border hate.
Or I can come in here and acknowledge all these problems, but I can tell you how we can fix it. Now, look, you just asked a question. Is America in decline? Are you kidding me? Our economy is just -- you know, by far the strongest in the world. We're the center of innovation. We're the center of invention. What -- medicine -- if you take a look at life expectancy, transportation -- we are just -- we just are dominating the world!
Now, we're drifting. We can fix it. And we don't want to be saying America's worst (sic) days are behind us. Look, you do a good job when you're realistic, not pie in the sky, and you can convince people that if we can shed the nonsense, of course we can climb out of this. We've had a lot worse times than what we have right now.
HANNITY: The problem from my vantage point is I don't see the political will to get it done. I'll give you one example.
KASICH: I agree with that.
HANNITY: For example, we have illegal immigration. Republicans have said they're going to build a fence. Democrats -- they don't want a fence because they want a constituency. Republicans want cheep labor, and there's no fence built which means not only can people come here that want a better life and jobs, but so can ISIS. They have failed the American people on simple basic tasks!
KASICH: Well, look...
HANNITY: You didn't give us a preview of the speech, so I have to back to...
KASICH: Well, that's a -- that's a little -- I mean, it's going to be a humdinger, I believe. But here's what to -- (INAUDIBLE) going to clear. But here's what I wanted you to know.
We reformed welfare, had to get the Democrats to go along. We balanced the budget, which is a -- one of the hardest things to do because everybody wants to spend. And we got that done. In Ohio, we went from way in the hole to now we're running surpluses. We're up 400,000-plus jobs.
You see, Sean, you can't really lead from the House and the Senate. You can try. But Newt found out you couldn't do it. You got to lead from the White House.
And let me just tell you this. We will freeze all federal regulations for one year, except for health and safety. We'll unwind the regulations we have. We will force the Congress to vote on regulations coming out of the bureaucracy in excess of $100 million.
We're going to reduce the corporate taxes to 25 percent. We're going to bring the profits back from Europe because we're not going to double tax them. We're going to simplify the tax code and lower the taxes. We will have a path to balancing the budget. We'll move welfare, education, infrastructure, job training out of Washington. We will fix Social Security. We will secure the border and have a path to legalization and never citizenship.
And then we will tell the world that we are, in fact, the leader of the world. And I promise you I will have a plan to Congress within the first 100 days that we'll do all of that, every little bit of it!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: We're just getting started as we continue with Ohio governor John Kasich. He'll be with us for the entire hour tonight.
And then later, members of the audience will have a chance to ask the governor some of their questions. It's "Hannity" on the road in Saratoga Springs in beautiful New York as we continue.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We're on the road. We're in Saratoga Springs in New York for the hour. We have Ohio governor John Kasich with us. He's the guest.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: All right, I'm -- I have to ask you questions about your path, but I want to hear more of your vision because I think we don't ask enough of that. And I think that's legitimate criticism. But you said -- you're giving the speech tomorrow, two paths. I asked you for a preview, and you ducked my question.
KASICH: No, no, no, no!
HANNITY: No, I'm teasing. I'm teasing.
KASICH: Well, I mean...
HANNITY: We started to talk about something else.
KASICH: How about we just talk about how -- whether we're going to live in the ditch or whether we're going to come out of the ditch and realize the sun can come up.
HANNITY: Do you really -- because maybe it's -- a part of me at times is always optimistic. We've been through a depression, world wars, 9/11. We've had great challenges as a country. We've overcome it. But I've never seen a time where Americans are so divided.
KASICH: They are. But, you know, Sean, it gets to be about realistic solutions, a record that shows you can do it. But here's the other thing. You have to show people in the other party respect. You can't trash them. It's like...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KASICH: Now, look, we had -- we had the president of the United States do executive orders, which is way beyond what he should have done.
KASICH: And secondly -- should be reversed for sure.
HANNITY: Illegal unconstitutional?
KASICH: That I don't know. I'm not a lawyer. But thank you. I'm not a lawyer.
KASICH: But -- but -- and then, you know, he does "Obama care" without one Republican vote. And then let me tell you the other side of it. The president of the United States is making a speech at the State of the Union, and a Republican yells, "You lie," and then raises money the next day. You don't -- this is America. We're not a parliamentary system.
So I was with the Democrats last week and I made a state of the state. And I asked the senate leader, I said, What do you want? I said, Don't give me crazy stuff but tell me what you want. He gave me a couple things. I said, I'm not going to do that, but I can do that and I can do this and I can do that, and no, no, we're not going to do that.
And so what you have to do is you have to respect people in the other party. You don't have to agree with them. But I've got to tell you, we're going to have to invite some conservative Democrats in to help us. That's how you get Social Security done.
HANNITY: Can I play...
KASICH: We have to -- we have to do it.
HANNITY: But here's my -- here's my retort. This is a president that called Republicans social Darwinists.
KASICH: I know.
HANNITY: He said their plan is for dirty air, dirty water. You see the ads of Paul Ryan lookalikes throwing poor grandma over the cliff. If you're the nominee, whoever the nominee is, they are -- you're going to be called racist, sexist. You want dirty air, water. You want to kill Grandma. And you want old people to fend for themselves. How do you deal with that? Because that's what they're going to do to you and you're saying you got to get along with them!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KASICH: And look, I got the guys in my own party doing it to me right now!
HANNITY: Yes, that's true.
KASICH: OK? No, I mean, the thing is, you want to answer the charges. And -- but you got the show the way. And look, this is the stuff they did to Reagan. Remember, they said he was a grade-D actor. He didn't -- just keep going with your stuff, one foot in front of the other, and you have to expect these kinds of things. But over time, you have to get people to respect one another.
Remember, when Reagan was president, the Republicans didn't control the House. So he was able to get Phil Gramm, who was a Democrat at the time, and they came together.
Here's what I think we need to do. Let's just take Social Security. You're going to have to tell Republicans and Democrats, We got to stop screwing around with this. We're putting -- we're sacrificing our kids' future and we're hurting Grandma. We got to stop doing it.
HANNITY: They already stole the money. It's gone. It's not in a lock box.
KASICH: We -- we -- no, there's -- I know that. But you know what? There's a way to fix Social Security, and I'll tell you what it is. If you've had higher income throughout your lifetime, you will get Social Security. You will get less. For those that totally depend on it, they will get what they need. That's the answer to it. It's not that complicated.
HANNITY: So you're going to means test it.
HANNITY: Raise the retirement age.
KASICH: No, I don't have to raise the retirement age.
HANNITY: You don't.
KASICH: Just by means-testing, I can get it done. But here's the thing. If the Republicans say they want to do it and the Democrats are going to demagogue, you'll never get it done, and vice versa. So you have to be able to pull people together, reasonable people.
And one person once said about me, is, John, your greatest gift is you can get people to do what they know they need to do but they don't want to do, OK? You can get...
HANNITY: So you're going to get everybody to eat salad and work out?
KASICH: Oh no, no.
KASICH: What I'm saying is we can solve these political problems, but the problem is, the war goes on. And there were so many times I had to appeal to people in my own party and the other party. We have to remember our legacy is building, not tearing down, Sean!
HANNITY: That's the...
KASICH: You can get this done!
HANNITY: You mentioned...
KASICH: I wouldn't run if I couldn't get it done! Why would I do this?
HANNITY: You mentioned in the last segment, you know, this is what the Lord wants us to do. And I know you to be a guy of deep faith. What does that mean in terms of how that inspires you? In other words, some people might take that as redistribute the wealth. That's not what you believe in.
KASICH: No, no, no, no.
HANNITY: You believe in freedom and responsibility and...
KASICH: No, what I'm saying is, you see three people who except for the grace of God go I, who are sitting in wheelchairs, some that can barely move to even move the handles. Now, you don't have to be a believer. You can be somebody who's not a believer and still look and -- we can't let them be in the shadows. We can't ignore them. That's not right. Everybody's made in the image of the Lord. Give them a chance! Give them a chance to rise! That's all. Now, how did we ever...
KASICH: How did we ever think -- seriously, Sean, look, my mother said it's a sin not to help people who need help, but it's equally a sin to continue to help people who need to learn how to help themselves. But in the context of that...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KASICH: Look, to me, if you take the mentally ill, I would rather give them some help, get them on medication and let them stand independent on their own two feet than have them live sleeping under a bridge or living in a prison. Now, where did that ever get to be about liberal?
HANNITY: I'm just asking you...
KASICH: I'm saying to you -- no, we don't want to...
HANNITY: Don't look at me. I didn't say that. I said liberals...
KASICH: No, no, no. But people say that. Look, redistribution of wealth is just dead wrong. The free enterprise system works. But the quote -- a great Catholic theologian, Michael Novak, a free enterprise system that's not underlaid by a decent set of values is bankrupt. That's not liberal. That's common sense. It's conservative and it's right!
HANNITY: We got to take a break. We'll come back. More with Governor Kasich. We're in Saratoga Springs, New York, as "Hannity" on the road continues straight ahead.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity" and we're in Saratoga Springs. We're in New York, with Governor John Kasich of Ohio. He's our guest for the hour.
All right, I purposely didn't start with process questions because I know it annoys you and it annoys a lot of the other candidates.
KASICH: It's all right.
HANNITY: Look, the only way you can get this nomination is in a contested convention. That bothers some people, some of your opponents. I want to give you a chance to explain how you get the nomination.
KASICH: You know, I'm not comparing myself, but that's what they told Lincoln when he -- when he was going to that convention.
HANNITY: He got it on the third ballot.
KASICH: Yes. You know what he told everybody? He said, Let me just be your second choice. If you're not for me first, you know, how about -- and he snuck it in there.
Look, Sean, nobody's going to have the 1,237, as I think that's the number you need, and we're going to go to a convention. And there's a misunderstanding of conventions. Who's going to be there? It's going to be party faithful, people who worked for 30 years, you know, stuffing envelopes. They'll be a ward leaders. They'll be, you know, state legislators, former politicians.
But when you go into a convention, you start to now assume a certain weight and a heaviness on your shoulder that you didn't have before you got there. I saw it in '76 because I worked at that convention for Governor Reagan.
And what they're going to do is they're going to look at two things. Who can beat Hillary? And I hate to say this, but I'm the only one who consistently beats her in every...
HANNITY: Why do you hate that?
KASICH: ... single poll.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: You shouldn't hate to say that.
KASICH: And -- and they're going to think about who can be president. So what's incumbent on us? We're going to have to go to all these delegations -- and look, the Trump people, they're for Trump, they're for me. They're -- I'm second. I mean, I understand them. So you know, it's going to be incumbent on us to go and visit the delegations...
HANNITY: Would you ever team up with him?
KASICH: No. I'm not teaming up with anybody.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: Let me ask this question because here's -- this is the tough question.
KASICH: Yes, ask whatever.
HANNITY: If Trump or Cruz win more states, have millions of more votes, have a lot more -- hundreds of more delegates than you do...
HANNITY: ... and you leapfrog over them through a contested convention, don't you think -- you talked about uniting the party.
HANNITY: Don't you think Cruz and Trump supporters are going to be pretty pissed off?
KASICH: Well, no because, you know, first of all, a lot of them that will go as delegates, they're there for a variety of different reasons.
HANNITY: I mean the people that voted, the people that...
KASICH: Well, look, here's the thing. Your daughter got a B-minus. Now, here's why...
HANNITY: You had to tell the whole world?
KASICH: Here's the thing...
HANNITY: She mostly got A's, you know?
KASICH: No, she got a lot of A's. But here's the thing...
HANNITY: It was in French. I don't blame her.
KASICH: OK, look, here's the thing. In order to get an A, you got to get -- you must get a 90. If you get an 83, you don't get an A. I don't care what people say. You have to -- we got the rules, and the only rules we have are the total number of delegates. And then you go to the convention, and if you go in with a massive lead, you're likely to win.
But if you can't convince the delegates that you can win in fall, which neither of them can do, and secondly, that they're not convinced you would be the best leader or president, what's wrong with the delegates on the second or third ballot saying, I'm going to pick somebody that I think would do better, who would win and be a better president? I don't get that.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: Look, I'm surrounded by all of your supporters here. But I want to ask this question. This is important.
KASICH: And you need to hear this. These are not my -- I -- I did a town hall here, and then we invited you.
HANNITY: How many of you are voting for John Kasich?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HANNITY: OK. So they're mostly your supporters.
KASICH: Well, but we didn't -- we -- I just -- we just send out -- we send out notifications, say, We're going to have a town hall. People show up, whoever they are. I don't know...
HANNITY: And somebody -- I'm -- I have taken the position I'm NeverHillary. You know the hashtag NeverHillary?
KASICH: Yes. Yes. Me, too.
HANNITY: I know you are. I guess what I'm afraid of -- and I'm thinking out loud here. For example, 34 delegates were awarded in Colorado this weekend. You didn't get one. Trump didn't get one. And it seems kind of unfair, like the establishment is kind of working...
KASICH: Well, look at what happened in Michigan. That was -- it was a battle for delegates, you know? And...
HANNITY: Aren't these rules insane, though, really? It seems you can win a state and come out with less delegates. It seems like if they want to for a time stop candidate A because they don't want that candidate to get to 1,237 using candidate B and C to stop candidate A.
KASICH: I'm not engaged in this.
HANNITY: But the establishment is.
KASICH: I don't know who they are. I've never met them.
HANNITY: Mitt Romney. Karl Rove said we need a fresh face. Scott Walker is looking for Paul Ryan. John Boehner in your home state said nominate Paul Ryan.
KASICH: Boehner said when he recouped he said that's not what I was saying. But that's neither here nor there.
You know when's happening, Sean.
HANNITY: He said it.
KASICH: No. What's happening is you have delegates who have minds. And on the first ballot, most of them are obligated to support who they got there with. But look, Cruz and Trump don't win in the fall. In fact, here's going to be the concern. No. Here's going to be the concern.
KASICH: Here's going to be the concern. We're not only going to lose the White House and the court, but we're going to lose the United States Senate. We're going to lose the courthouse, the state house. So when people look -- look, I'm beating Hillary virtually everywhere in the country. In New York, the last poll had me only five points behind. Why would a delegate who was there who wants to win in the fall not go after the first ballot and say, wait a minute. Kasich has been a success in what he's done in public life, a good team together and he wins. Why would they not want to go for me if I can win and beat Hillary? I don't get it.
HANNITY: Final question. For the voters who waited online hours --
KASICH: I know.
HANNITY: To pull the lever for your opponents.
HANNITY: Those that spend hours caucusing. My question is, let's say it works out the way you're talking about here.
HANNITY: How are you going to get the people that do feel disenfranchised to come along with you and united everybody?
KASICH: Because you have to spend time with them, and that's what you do during the convention and even after the convention. Look, Sean, I was a young guy and I found myself in charge of five states for Ronald Reagan. There was not a more bitter contest than Reagan-Ford. And when we lost, we said we're going for Ford, OK? The only reason Ford lost that election is he pardoned Nixon, but he did the country a giant favor. You move on. And most of the people who were going to be there are not going to be people who are just going to storm out and walk out. They're mature people. There could be people here who will be a delegate.
HANNITY: I'm worried about the people that vote on Election Day, if they're going to show up, because that would worry me.
KASICH: I can tell you that I don't have any antipathy directed towards me by Trump voters. I don't know the Cruz voters as well. They're not dissatisfied with me. They just went for somebody else. So then you work to unite them with a big message, a big message of what we can do in this country. And, look, I can tell you this. If these guys get picked, look at their negatives. They're not going to win. If I get picked, we can win. I mean, I don't --
HANNITY: I said last question. I have one more. Sorry. If they brought in somebody who hadn't run and they leapfrog over all of you, I would be angry. Wouldn't you?
KASICH: You know what, I'm running for president. I 'm in Saratoga, New York. I'm having the time of my life.
HANNITY: Until I came here. I know. All right, we'll take a break and done with that part. I could have started with it but I wanted to make sure.
KASICH: It was good.
HANNITY: We'll take a break. We'll come back. More with Governor Kasich. We'll get some audience questions in. It's "Hannity" on the road. Yes, we're in Saratoga Springs, and we'll continue.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We are on the road in Saratoga Springs, New York, with Ohio Governor John Kasich for the full hour. Ready, lightning round. How long would it take you to balance the budget?
KASICH: We estimate it would be eight years but I think it would probably happen much sooner, five to six. But it wouldn't matter because once we have the plan in place, the economy would start working.
HANNITY: Would you support cutting the size of government?
KASICH: Oh yes, yes, yes.
HANNITY: Baseline budgets?
KASICH: Oh, yes, yes. Here's the way you do it. You get a cap and say I want you to give me a budget that represents 90 percent of what you had last year, 95 percent of what you had last year, and you bring and give that to me. That's it.
HANNITY: Is the penny plan a good idea?
KASICH: Yes. We've got more than that.
HANNITY: How soon could you make this country energy independent?
KASICH: I think that's around the corner. In New York they ought to learn to get the resources out of the ground. We are doing it in Ohio.
HANNITY: All right. You're -- a lot of people especially here in upstate New York, you know --
KASICH: Let me go back the first question, because here's the thing. Once you have a plan that begins to freeze federal regs for some period of time, you begin to drive these tax cuts, particularly the corporate tax cuts so people will invest in America and you have a path to a budgeted budget. If you asked the small business people here and they will tell you if they were certain of that they'd start working. So you get the economic activity a lot faster than when you get to the final.
HANNITY: Are New York's restrictive gun laws unconstitutional in your mind?
KASICH: No. Are they unconstitutional? No. I believe in the Second Amendment, and when you violate it, that's wrong. You don't do that. I'm a Second Amendment guy.
HANNITY: You're pro-life.
HANNITY: You're pro-religious freedom.
KASICH: Yes. Depends what that means.
HANNITY: Should the Little Sisters of the Poor be forced --
KASICH: No, they shouldn't.
HANNITY: No. OK, who are you're two favorite justices on the Supreme Court?
KASICH: Well, I mean, my favorite, of course, is the man we just lost. He was by far and away my favorite judge.
HANNITY: I also like Clarence Thomas.
KASICH: I like Clarence.
HANNITY: And you would appoint originalist justices?
KASICH: I appoint over 100 now in Ohio and the first question is, are they conservative?
KASICH: OK. And that's -- they've -- I appointed a woman to the Ohio Supreme Court. She's fantastic. Conservative, common sense. Yes, of course you want -- you don't want judges making laws. You want them interpreting the law.
HANNITY: Is ISIS and radical Islam evil in our time?
KASICH: The worst. It's one of the worst things we've ever seen in history. So what do you have to do? You have got to get those Arab Muslim countries that we had in the first Gulf war, we kicked out Saddam, that means Egypt, it means Saudi Arabia, it means Jordan, it means the Gulf states, you got to get western Europe. You go in the air, on the ground. You destroy ISIS. Destroy them. When it settles down --
KASICH: When it settles down you then leave. Let them draw the map in the Middle East. And then we need -- I mean, America -- look, I wouldn't have gone to a baseball game with Castro. I would have flown home after Brussels. I then would have -- let me finish.
HANNITY: You wouldn't do the tango?
KASICH: No. I would have come home. I would have met with my military and intelligence officials, called all the leaders in Europe, sent my team to Europe, discussed our vulnerabilities, fixed them, because what we need is the civilized world, all of the civilized world against the barbarians. These are a cult of death.
And what amazing me, Sean, is how can these people sit in an apartment in Europe and plan to take a bomb to an airport and kill our families? We have to destroy those people. And here at home. Here at home.
KASICH: Here at home, joint terrorism task forces. That's why the Apple thing got resolved. It appears as though it did. Our joint terrorism task force, FBI, Homeland Security, state and local law enforcement, they should disrupt. We have a job. When we see crazy things happening, we have to tell law enforcement.
And then, finally, just because we would work for example --
HANNITY: It's not a lightning round, but go ahead.
KASICH: You're talking about --
HANNITY: I know. Evil in our time, it's important.
KASICH: On national security I spent 18 years on the committee. I went all the way from the fall of the Berlin Wall to kicking Saddam out of Kuwait, all the way to being in the Pentagon after 9/11. I have seen all this and I know how it works and what to do.
HANNITY: Last lightning round question and then we're going to get to audience questions. Three names at the top of your list for vice president.
KASICH: Derek Jeter.
HANNITY: Henrik Lundqvist. All right, go ahead. Who else? Three serious names.
KASICH: No. It's too early to measure the drapes. I will come back with that later. But I'll tell you what you need. No. Here's what you need. You need a vice president who will argue with you but who is your partner. I've already picked the vice president, you know? I picked the lieutenant governor. I have already made a selection like this, somebody that got my agenda, somebody who would go out and promote my values, or not my values so much but my policies. That's what you do not just for a vice president but the entire cabinet. You have to have the entire cabinet and the vice president all rowing in the same direction with a goal of being a job creating country and manage the budget.
HANNITY: We'll come back. When we come back, audience questions straight ahead.
HANNITY: And welcome back to Saratoga Springs in beautiful New York. Ohio Governor John Kasich is with us.
HANNITY: All right, you've got first time caller, long time listener. What is your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, governor, and Mr. Hannity, thank you for visiting us here in Saratoga Springs. My name is Steven Lutman (ph). Governor Kasich, under a Kasich presidency, what specific steps would you take to help small business, especially here in New York, a highly-taxed state?
KASICH: Look, first of all, I believe that we need to bring the top rates down. I use the old Reagan plan, 28, 25, 10 percent with a capital gains rate of 15. But here in New York, if it wasn't New York you won't have any jobs. It's just that New York has got a certain magic to it. In our state our small businesses don't pay any income tax. Can you believe that?
KASICH: But I would do as president, I would bring down the top rate to 28 percent which helps you because you pass through your business. Secondly, we'd freeze all federal regs for a year, and my vice president, whoever it would be, Derek Jeter --
KASICH: Derek Jeter would be spending time trying to unravel these crazy rules and regulations we have to make it easier for you. Very important.
HANNITY: We met this group of high school juniors. Hi, girls. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.
HANNITY: Are you the spokesman? Have you decided? By the way, get out from behind her so your moms can see you on TV.
HANNITY: There you go. You all have a consensus question for the governor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Governor Kasich. The five of us are representing the Republicans amongst Democrats Club from our high school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is one message you'd like to convey to high school voters?
HANNITY: Great question.
KASICH: Look, the most important thing for you five to realize you've been made special. There is nobody ever been like you before and there will never be like you again. And you have a purpose here. And you need to live a life bigger than yourself. And you need to realize that by living a life bigger than yourself and changing the world where you live, that is your purpose in life. That is where you're going to find satisfaction.
So I want you to have big hopes, big dreams, lots of confidence in yourself, because you're the generation that we're counting on to continue to improve our country.
Number two, we're going to create an economy where you can realize your God-given purpose through some of the work that you're going to do. It's really, really important.
And I'm going to give you a tip. When you go back to school tomorrow, you meet with your guidance counselor, and you say to your guidance counselor these are the things I'm trying to do. This is what I might want to be. Tell me, are those jobs out there? And secondly, how do I get one, OK? We need to train our young people with the skills they need.
HANNITY: Thank you.
If I can add one piece to that, and don't date any boys, none. They're all horrible.
HANNITY: All right, real quick, one last question. And we only have about a minute. You've got to really hurry as we turn it out. Hi, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening, governor. I'm from Karen Maginoswki (ph) from Clifton Park, New York, and my question is what steps will you take to handle the nation's current immigration situation?
KASICH: Well, look, we have to finish the border for sure. And anybody who tries to come in has to go back, no question, no debate. Have a guest worker program where people can come in and go home. And finally, for those that are here, they can have a path to legalization if they have not committed a crime since they've been here, paid back taxes, a fine, but never a path to citizenship but a path to legalization. And I think we can get this issue behind us quickly. I believe that, OK.
HANNITY: Governor, we've got 30 second. You're final word?
KASICH: The spirit of our country rests in us, not in politicians, not in the government. It rests in us and our families, our neighborhoods and communities. And you're going to have the tools, if I'm president, to do the things you need to do here, change the world, believe it. You can get it done. And America is going to raise for us, for our children and our grandchildren. God bless you. Thank you very much.
HANNITY: Governor, thank you. We appreciate it. When we come back, final moments as we continue from Saratoga Springs. We're in upstate New York as "Hannity" continues.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Wow, look at this crowd. Unfortunately, that is all the time we have left this evening. As always, thank you for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night. Governor Kasich, thank you. Appreciate it. Governor John Kasich.
Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.
Michael Novak and the idea of social justice that promotes human dignity
As the philosopher James V. Schall, S.J. aptly put it: “No concept in ethics and political philosophy requires clarification and critical analysis such as that of ‘social justice.’” This is the theme to which the most recent book by Michael Novak is dedicated. Co-written by Paul Adams, with the “contribution” of Elizabeth Shaw, it is entitled: Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is (Encounter Books, 2015). Novak is a prominent American Catholic author and is known in Italy especially for The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism  (Studium, 1987), The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism  (Edizioni di Communità, 1993), and On Cultivating Liberty  (Rubbettino, 2005).
One of Novak’s key themes is a reflection on the notion of “social justice.” He intends to rescue the concept from an ideological trap and tries to define it using four criteria: 1. It must be consistent with the tradition of the social teaching of the Church; 2. It must contain in itself the lead features of democracy and liberalism: the principle of representation and the rule of law; 3. It must stand up under the criticism of those who consider it logically inconsistent (Hayek); 4. It must be inclusive and non-partisan, making sure that everyone can contribute to the common good: local communities, nations, and the international community, both in the public and private spheres.
Novak considers the notion of “social justice” a continuous “work in progress” and not a political, economic, and social structure, which one can consider satisfactory forever or even for an instant. Hence, “social justice” takes on the image of the horizon: as well as every horizon gives way to a new horizon, each objective, on the social front, raises new problems, which call for the search for new solutions. In this difficult context, Novak proposes an interpretation that is consistent with the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, typical of the Church’s social doctrine, that also responds to the heavy criticism leveled by Friedrich August von Hayek, who came to define “social justice” as a “mirage.”
According to Novak, “social justice” rather expresses the decisive rejection of individualistic sentiment, on the basis of a social anthropology in which the main actor is the “person,” which he understands as “individual and community”—the ontological, epistemological, and moral center of social action. In this way, in free societies, citizens are inclined to use their own tendencies to associate, to exercise new responsibilities, and to move towards social ends. In this sense, “social justice” is the particular form taken today of the ancient virtus of justice. Therefore, it does not necessarily involve the strengthening of the presence of the State, but rather, the development of civil society, in keeping with Hayek. In the words of Luigi Sturzo, a beloved author of the same Novak: “Nothing therefore exists of human activity, which, though originally individual has no associated value; nothing among men can come into being, which does not mention any form of association.”
Similarly, the most dangerous enemies of “social justice” appear the same as denounced by Sturzo on his return to Italy from his twenty years in exile (1924-1946), which he identified as the “evil beasts of democracy:” “statism, particracy, waste of public money.” In practice, for “statism” we mean the false belief that, by entrusting to “the State activities for productive purposes, connected to a restrictionism that stifles the freedom of private initiative,” we can “make amends for inequalities” (Sturzo). Such a degeneration in the task of the State, which denies freedom, favors “particracy”, that is, the irresponsible interference of political parties and trade unions in legislative functions, which negates equality. A corollary of the first two “evil beasts” is the “waste of public money” which would violate justice.
Many would be the examples in Italy. First, that of the state monopoly on education, which has produced underpaid, unmotivated, and socially ill-considered teachers at the same time that it squeezed the freedom of choice of families, and especially the poorest, to choose educational styles consistent with their values. The introduction of competing tracks, such as vouchers, represents “release papers” for the neediest families.
Second, the creation of the “state-owned company”, the instrument par excellence with which the parties have been able to seize the levers of economic initiative, deadening any prospect of healthy entrepreneurship in the name of consensus and the distribution of political benefits. The source of so much “inequality” found in our system is to be found here, and not anywhere else.
Finally, the “waste of public money,” as a corollary of the loss of economic freedom and exercise of daily inequality. It should have been the longest cycle track in Southern Italy: 20 km from Bagnoli at the center of Naples, at a cost of approximately 700 thousand euros. Instead, the prosecutor has sought the trial of three leaders of the City of Naples and the owner of the company that created the bike path because it is dangerous for cyclists, for pedestrians, and for drivers of motor vehicles. Prosecutors have indicated that offenses include failure to install signals at appropriate places, attacks on transport security, and forgery, as well as fraud in public procurement and racketeering. “Injustice” is made.
The work of Novak and Adams puts us on guard against easy shortcuts, which are so often accompanied by rhetorical proclamations and authoritarian pretensions unsuited to a society of free men.
This article was also published in Italy on Il Foglio on March 12, 2016.
What Exactly Is Social Justice?
Pope Pius XI Defined the New Virtue, Focusing on the Common Good, in 1931
By Carrie Gress on National Catholic Register on March 3, 2016
Few would argue that the notion of social justice hasn’t stretched the limits of sanity in the public square: So-called “Social-Justice Warriors” at Brown University are complaining that they can’t get their homework done because of the demands of their activism; bakers are being forced to bake cakes for events they don’t condone; and a group of nuns currently awaits the judgment of the Supreme Court about paying for birth control.
And yet all of these are done in the name of social justice. Social justice is perhaps the most over-used phrase in our political lexicon, but what exactly is it?
Gratefully, in Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is (Encounter Books, 2015), Michael Novak, Paul Adams and Elizabeth Shaw clarify once and for all what it is and why it has been so abused. Like taking shears to an overgrown hedge, the authors make short order of the sloppy use of social justice in our own public square.
The first part of the book, “The Theory,” is written by Templeton Prize winner Novak, while Adams, professor emeritus of social work at the University of Hawaii, tackles the second part, “The Practice.” Employing wit, clear insights and stirring examples from Novak’s Slovak roots, the authors make the touchy topic a delight to read, while heavily rewarding the attentive reader.
Novak dives into the primary problem with social justice: its ambiguity. “The term is allowed to float in the air as if anyone will recognize an instance of it when he sees it.” This vagueness, however, Novak argues, is a feature — not a flaw. “Social justice is a term that can be used as an all-purpose justification for any progressive-sounding government program or newly discovered or invented right.” In fact, the word, like rights, feminism and a host of other political terms that are largely unmoored from their original meaning, work best when they are not well defined — allowing fluid and varied meanings, depending on who is talking (or listening).
But perhaps more important than the vagueness of “social justice” is its ingenious default position of rewarding those who use the title. Novak explains: “The term survives because it benefits its champions. It brands opponents as supporters of social injustices, and so as enemies of humankind, without the trouble of making an argument or considering their views.” Much like “pro-choice” is for abortion or “pro-love” is for same-sex “marriage,” who wants to be seen as an enemy of choice, love or of justice? The debate is over before it begins.
Defining social justice is no small challenge, given its broad use. Novak makes clear that it is quite different than simple charity, as many have defined it.
Going back to the origins of the term, Novak identifies Pope Pius XI as the true source (clearly, “Social-Justice Warriors” don’t know this). The Pope introduced it as a new virtue in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno. He was responding to the shift in society away from the old agrarian order into the new industrial world, where entire populations were left to the wolves capitalizing off dramatic social change. The pontiff, going beyond the simple justice of what individuals owed to each other, saw the necessity of a type of justice directed at a community: hence, social justice. Of course, justice is inherently social because it engages at least two people, but Pope Pius was trying to emphasize the broader ramifications and ripple effect when people act unjustly.
So social justice is, as Novak explains it, a new virtue that emphasizes the responsibility of citizens to use their gifts and talents to improve the common good of their communities. Starting with the family as the foundational unit, churches, schools, unions and guilds, hospitals and other organizations related to human need are all beneficiaries of this active virtue.
The second part of the book, “The Practice” by Adams, offers a unique approach to thinking about social-justice-type issues. Adams, who has been in the trenches of social work, where the social-justice moniker is used most heavily, reconciles terms that most people consider to be mutually exclusive, such as individual or collective, justice or charity. Social justice is something of a lost art, and Adams uses hot-button topics, such as the marriage debate and the Heath and Human Services’ mandate, to explain the skills associated with social justice. Adam’s practical insights are infused with Catholic social thought, while providing a number of real-life examples to help professionals think through issues of justice and the common good in a new way.
Ultimately, Novak and Adams make clear that social justice has much less to do with public policy and much more to do with virtue. As Catholics, we have a long way to go in rehabilitating not only the term “social justice,” but also reintroducing the practice to generations who aren’t well seasoned in the art of community-building (which is quite different from community organizing). As Novak and Adams make clear, the first place to start is by strengthening our families, because they are the fundamental building block of society. Beyond that, we can stop lamenting the imperfections of our own communities and employ our own talents and gifts to improve them a little at a time. Small things, like joining the Knights of Columbus, getting involved in your local government or joining a 40 Days for Life campaign, can go a long way. The ideas are endless and as unique as each community.
It is an interesting thought experiment to consider those who currently promote social justice under the vague definition, in contrast to those great men and women who came before us and employed the virtue of social justice to make their communities more benevolent. The fourth-century Desert Father Evagrius said: “True charity leads to meekness; activism only leads to bitterness.” One doesn’t have to think too hard to figure out who are the meek and who are the bitter.
Copyright © 2013 EWTN News, Inc. All rights reserved.
What is Social Justice
By George J. Marlin on The Catholic Thing on February 20, 2016
The term “social justice,” a potentially useful term, has – as we well know – been taken hostage by progressives in both the secular world and the Church. They have made it a catchall term to aid them in imposing ideological formulas and newly conceived rights on our common institutions, or to promote their favored causes de jure.
These “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs in digital parlance), who support state-enforced redistribution, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Wall Street agendas, also portray their opponents as evil people opposed to all that is good, and often employ tactics designed to silence or repress those who dare to disagree.
Writing about these “dangerous pseudo-progressive authoritarians” in a New York Observer article titled “The Totalitarian Doctrine of ‘Social Justice Warriors’” journalist Cathy Young concluded, “Because SocJus is so focused on changing bad attitudes and ferreting out subtle biases and insensitivities, its hostility to free speech and thought is not an unfortunate by-product of the movement but its very essence.”
In an effort to rescue “social justice” from this fate and to clarify its true meaning, Templeton Prize winner Michael Novak, and Paul Adams, Professor Emeritus of social work at the University of Hawaii, have co-authored an impressive book, Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is.
The authors contend that “social justice,” rightly understood, is not a state of public affairs but personal virtue. To explain that premise and “to seek out a fresh statement of the definition of social justice – one that is true to the original understanding, ideologically neutral among political and economic partisans, and applicable to the circumstances of today,” the book is divided into two parts.
The first, “The Theory” of social justice is written by Novak and the second part, by Adams, is devoted to “The Practice.”
Social Justice was introduced as a new virtue by Pope Pius XI in his 1931 encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno. He called this form of justice “social” because its aim was to improve the common good of a “free and responsible people” by employing social activities closely related to the basic unit of society: the family. Activities could include the creation of local religious and educational facilities and the administering of essential services.
This virtue is also expected to reach ends that cannot be actualized by the individual alone. People are expected to learn three skills: “the art of forming associations, willingness to take leadership of small groups, and the habit and instinct of cooperation with others.”
Social justice wasn’t meant to be dependent on large, impersonal, domineering, and cumbersome federal and state bureaucracies that tend to smother individual and local initiatives. Rather it is a habit of the heart that brings people together to form associations that provide “social protection against atomistic individualism, while at the other pole it protects considerable civic space from the direct custodianship of the state.”
Novak concludes his portion of the work by stressing:
Both Catholic social teaching and the social-work empowerment tradition reject the individualist hypertrophy of the autonomous unencumbered self no less than the hypertrophy of the state. The space – of civil society or mediating structures – between individual and state is the one in which conscience is shaped and the virtues on which it depends are developed through practice and habituation. The virtue of social justice also requires and develops that space in which citizens join together in pursuit of the common good.
As for Catholic social justice in action, Professor Adams describes it as the pre-eminent virtue of free societies. Social workers are virtue-driven and are called to act with people “to improve the common good of families, a local neighborhood, a city, a whole nation, the whole world.”
Social work, Adams argues, is neither individualist nor collectivist, but is devoted to strengthening the caring and self-regulatory capacity of the family and to reduce dependency on the “bureaucratic-professional state.”
Adams greatest fear is that social workers who adhere to Judeo-Christian teaching on life, death, family, and marriage will be driven from their professions. Conscience exemptions are being eliminated in most medical and counseling fields. Conscience has been redefined as merely “personal values that must be left at the office door when duty calls.”
Today clients or patients are sovereign. Any legal practice they demand, the social profession must provide or participate in providing. The professional’s right and duty, Adams observes, “to use her judgment about what is required or indicated or morally permissible is nullified.” The balance of rights between professional and client no longer exists, however, and client empowerment “radically disempowers, even dehumanizes, the professional.”
All too often social service professionals and healthcare workers must either execute policies or perform procedures they find morally degrading – or find a different line of work.
The war on conscience aims at destroying subsidiary associational life, particularly in Church and family. And if Social Justice Warriors succeed, religious freedom will be reduced to freedom of worship and the Church will have to abandon a prime corporate responsibility of caring for the poor, sick, homeless, and orphans.
Because battles over conscience in the public square are so daunting, Novak and Adams conclude that the most important words of Catholic social justice must become: “Do not be afraid.” They call on us to aspire upward and to “draw strength from the example of so many heroines and heroes who have gone before us, winning small victory after small victory, even in the darkest of times.”
True social justice demands nothing less.
George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is an editor of The Quotable Fulton Sheen and the author of The American Catholic Voter, and Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative. His most recent book is Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy.
The Tragedy of Christian Persecution
Published by Michael Novak on RealClearReligion on December 5, 2015:
If you are going to read only one book on the most massive violations of religious liberty -- happening today, even as you read this -- or you feel it's your duty to read only one thing in solidarity with this immense suffering, Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy by George J. Marlin is the one to keep at hand.
The chairman of Aid to the Church in Need covers eight nations of the Middle East, from Turkey to the Sudan, in some painful detail. Behind this detail, lie many hundred thousands of Christian families faced with instant death (or sexual enslavement) or two other choices (1) renounce their hard-won historical faith and submit to the authority of Allah, or (2) enter into dhimmitude, that half-life of paying fines for just being allowed to live and of keeping one's faith completely private, invisible and silent.
But before Marlin gets into all that, he writes two long chapters, one of the birth and rise of Christianity in the Middle East, the other the birth of Islam and the rise of Islamic terrorism 600 years later. Islamic terrorism has been endemic from the beginning, although in some centuries in intermittent remission.
Both sections of the book are essential background reading for our time and also very useful to keep at hand for reference. It is important to keep in mind the many varieties of Islam, and their internal conflicts from country to country in these widely variegated cultures.
Some of the most illuminating material awaits at the end, which brings together voices on Christianity and Islam by informed and experienced Christians, some of them Arabs, who have lived through this period for many decades. For instance, Fr. Wafik Nasry expresses the anguish of seeing so many Christian, Muslim and secular people today "refuse to face reality."
"They pretend," he goes on, "that the radical members Al-Qaeda and ISIS and many other Muslim militant political groups have nothing to do with the true Islam." He adds: "But these pretenders are not facing and/or dealing with reality, but with a figment of their own imaginations. They are dealing with a lie of th own making and live in the realm of wishful thinking. They either pretend not to know or do not really know." Both Muslims and Christians, he insists, "need calmly to face the reality of violence in Islam."
Fr. Nasry gently asks, but is the source of violence in Islam the same as the source of violence in Christianity?
For a Christian, the word "terror" has a negative connotation. Jesus constantly preaches peacefulness, meekness, and the injunction not to reply to a blow with blow of one's own, but rather the resolution "to turn the other cheek." These injunctions are practiced by a cloud of witnesses, among them martyrs who accept death peacefully down through the ages.
For a Muslim, "terrorism" is something mandated directly by God in the Kuran, practiced by Muhammad himself, and persistently both practiced and openly incited by imams down through Islamic history since the seventh century.
Then, summarizing the findings of the Muslim director of Yafa Center for Study and Research, Nasry lists five aims of terror in Islam. In cruelly brief form they are: (1) to punish infidels for unbelief (2) to frighten infidels into keeping their treaties with believers (3) to be a definitive tool of divine might. Q8:12 "I will inst terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite them above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them." (4) to cut as a two-edged sword: striking fear into infidels, and protecting believers from their evils and (5) to put an end to oppression, tumult, and division. Fr. Nasry applauds those who try to bring Islam "up-to-date, but regrets that they have so far been very broadly rejected.
I strongly urge that you put Marlin's book on your list for New Year's resolutions: buy it, read it, and keep it nearby for reference.
FROM THE ARCHIVE: Review of Writing from Left to Right
Published by Brian C. Anderson in The Washington Times on December 4, 2013
Catholic theologian, social thinker, diplomat, political speechwriter, journalist, influencer of prime ministers and popes, author of dozens of important books — Michael Novak has lived an extraordinary public life. "Writing from Left to Right" is his entertaining and wise memoir of that engagement with his age, and of his movement across the political spectrum.
Born in 1933 to a working-class Slovak family in Johnstown, Pa., Mr. Novak describes two stories from his childhood that colored his later politics. The first is of listening with his father to a crackling radio broadcast in 1939, announcing Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. "Study all you can about the Nazis and the communists," his father advised. "These will be the two movements that will shape the next forty years." The second is of his Uncles Johnnie and Emil. Both worked at Bethlehem Steel and both offered a supply of gruff common sense. The adult Mr. Novak's anti-totalitarianism and distrust of out-of-touch elites found a source in these early experiences.
"Writing from Left to Right" briefly chronicles Mr. Novak's dozen years as a seminarian and his initial efforts, after leaving religious life, to become a writer, including publishing a first novel, "The Tiber Was Silver," which sold 30,000 copies.
Another chapter tells of his graduate-student days at Harvard University, where a moving encounter with the Catholic existentialist Gabriel Marcel gave him a lifelong interest in the human "person," a being "able to reflect on her own past, approve of some parts of it, disapprove of others, and choose among various roads into the future." The Protestant thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, relentlessly warning about the unintended consequences of human action, became a second enduring influence from this period.
The memoir really takes off when Mr. Novak enters the political arena. He wrote speeches for Democratic stars Eugene McCarthy, Sargent Shriver, George McGovern and Bobby Kennedy, all of whom come off as decent and impressive men. A Stanford professor at the time, Mr. Novak received an invitation from Kennedy, then seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, to fly to Los Angeles to be with him as the California primary returns came in — the very night the candidate was fatally shot.
Five years earlier, Mr. Novak had been in Rome, covering the unfolding of Vatican II, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That night, he and his wife Karen would dine with JFK friend John Cogley and "The Other America" author Michael Harrington, trying to make sense of the horror.
As these names attest, the Michael Novak of the '60s was on the left. Several things began to push him right. One was religious. Mr. Novak sympathized with Vatican II's progressives, who wanted to renew the Catholic faith, which they felt had become too defensive and closed to new insights into the truth. Mr. Novak's early book "The Open Church" embodied this vision.
Mr. Novak grew troubled as Vatican II began to be interpreted as calling for a complete transformation of the faith, along the lines laid down by secular elites. Such an agenda was distant from the "probing" traditionalism of Vatican II's leading progressives, future popes Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger, Mr. Novak believed, and, in his view, calamitously misguided.
By the early 1970s, those secular elites were rubbing Mr. Novak the wrong way in other ways, too, he recounts. "I had begun to notice the appearance of two lefts — one that included my whole family and what it represented, and the other a 'new' left, based on a suddenly emerging 'constituency of conscience,' no longer rooted among people who worked with their hands and backs."
Wealthy, self-satisfied, partisans of a new, more "sensitive" and relativistic morality, the new leftists looked down on Mr. Novak's "unmeltable ethnics" — the working-class, predominantly Catholic, and culturally conservative Americans of Eastern and Southern European descent who'd eventually become the Reagan Democrats. Mr. Novak rejected the new liberalism's cultural and political views, though he still considered himself a man of the left.
Mr. Novak's rightward drift was complete after he immersed himself in the study of political economy and came out a partisan of the free economy — albeit an economy molded by a morally serious culture and robust democratic political institutions. Joining a right-of-center think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, in 1978, where he would remain until his recent retirement (and where I worked for him for several years during the 1990s), Mr. Novak read and read Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Max Weber, Alexis de Tocqueville and a vast literature of other social thinkers.
The research culminated in one of his most audacious books, 1982's "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism," a powerful defense of democratic capitalist societies based on the very real goods they provided, including the rule of law, respect for the person and widespread prosperity. Margaret Thatcher and Poland's Solidarity leaders, among many others, would draw inspiration from it.
"Writing from Left to Right" covers lots more: Mr. Novak's conflicted views on the Vietnam War; his late-'60s run-in with left-wing campus lunacy at the experimental college of the State University of New York at Old Westbury; his stints as Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; his tireless efforts during the 1980s and 1990s to build a consensus for welfare reform and to find new approaches to help the poor; and his profound respect for Pope John Paul II, whose encyclical on the free society, "Centesimus Annus," he clearly influenced.
Throughout, Mr. Novak's tone is conciliatory. He draws warm portraits of allies, but he's also magnanimous toward political opponents. This marvelous political memoir deserves the widest possible readership.
Brian C. Anderson is editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal and author of "Democratic Capitalism and its Discontents" (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2007) and "South Park Conservatives" (Regnery, 2005).
Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.