The phrase
“social justice” has a long and honorable history in Catholic social thought
going back to the nineteenth century, but is now typically deployed in defense
of policies that are diametrically
opposed
to social justice as the Church and its thinkers have always
understood it.  And unfortunately, this
is true even in the case of many Catholics, who lazily adopt various leftist
attitudes and policies simply because they are falsely but relentlessly presented
as concomitants of “social justice.” 

Last April,
Fr. John Naugle argued in an
important article at Rorate Caeli

that indefinite lockdowns violate the natural human right to labor in order to
provide for oneself and one’s family, and thus are deeply contrary to social
justice.  He revisits the issue in a
follow-up article
.  Some
Catholic defenders of the lockdowns are people who, in other contexts, claim to
stand up for the rights of workers and to oppose consequentialist
thinking.  But as Fr. Naugle points out, their
rationalizations for the lockdowns are precisely consequentialist in character
– pitting the alleged benefits of lockdowns against inviolable natural rights –
and harm workers far more than any other segment of society.

If you are
inclined to write off such concerns as motivated by right-wing politics, I
invite you to consider an interview with two public health experts
from
the left-wing journal Jacobin
,
to which Fr. Naugle draws our attention. 
From the interview:

Children and young adults have
minimal risk, and there is no scientific or public health rationale to close
day care centers, schools, or colleges. 
In-person education is critically important for both the intellectual
and social development for all kids, but school closures are especially harmful
for working-class children whose parents cannot afford tutors, pod schools, or
private schools

Lockdowns have been vastly unfair in
their impact and have exacerbated disparities in wealth and power.  Millions of working-class people have lost
their jobs and find it impossible to find new ones in the current shuttered
economy.  (It is remarkable that the
media pay so little attention to the extreme economic hardship being endured by
millions of people who were already struggling to make ends meet before the
pandemic.) …

I think the lockdown is the worst
assault on the working class in half a century, and especially on the urban
working class.  In effect, we are
protecting low-risk college students and young professionals who can work from
home at the expense of older, high-risk, working-class people that have no
choice but to work, leading to more deaths overall.  There have been studies, for example in
Toronto, that show that lockdowns have primarily protected high-income,
low-minority neighborhoods, but not low-income or high-minority neighborhoods…

Many of us pay lip service to
equality and anti-racism, but we have chosen lockdowns to protect ourselves
while throwing the working class under the bus…

I think the liberal elites’ adoption
of this approach stems from the easy appeal of keeping “everyone” safe together
with a class position for which the lockdown strategy is in fact safer as well
as quite easy to ride out.  Liberal
elites simply can’t see or can’t feel how this strategy continues to fail the
working class and also small business owners.

End
quote.  Read
the whole thing
, as they say.  The
evidence in favor of these judgments – which are straightforward matters of
fact, neither right-wing nor left-wing – mounts day by day.  Opening schools has
not caused the virus to spread
.  Even
opening theme parks has
not resulted in outbreaks
.  In general,
the lockdowns are not only not
necessary to prevent the spread of the virus
, but in fact have
done little or nothing
to prevent it. 
And they have no
effect on the illness’s mortality rate
. 
Meanwhile, they
have benefited the rich
while doing
massive harm to the poor and the working class
.  For example, they have
benefited large corporations while harming small businesses
.  They have brought about a crisis
in mental health
.  They have been
imposed in a way that unjustly discriminates against Christians
and Orthodox
Jews
.  As the Jacobin interview indicates, scientists and other public health
experts are increasingly coming out against lockdowns.  The World Health Organization’s special envoy
on COVID-19 has
decried their overuse
.  A number of
prominent public health experts have
issued
the Great Barrington
Declaration
, calling for alternatives to lockdowns as a way of dealing with
the virus.

In short,
the lockdowns have done no provable good while causing massive manifest harm,
especially to the weakest among us.  Accordingly,
they amount to a grave social injustice. 

And yet Joe
Biden – the same man who
will not tell us whether he intends to destroy the independence of the
judiciary
– cynically bemoans the economic crisis of recent months while at the same time supporting the very lockdowns
that caused it
.   Worse, he has also indicated that if elected he
might impose another pointless
nationwide lockdown
.  One-party dictatorship
and economic collapse – quite the
presidential platform.  Naturally, it is
supported by the same sorts of lunatics who think that looting and burning down
the businesses of poor and middle class people, and removing police protection
from them, are great advances in “social justice.”

Related
posts:

The
rule of lawlessness

Scientism:
America’s state religion

The
experts have no one to blame but themselves

What
“the science” is saying this week

The
lockdown is no longer morally justifiable

The
lockdown and appeals to authority

The
burden of proof is on those who impose burdens

The
lockdown’s loyal opposition

Some
thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis



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