Author: David Giffin

The Messenger Shot Himself First

The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” comes from the pre-industrial practice of using human messengers to carry communication between major leaders. These couriers represented the political interests of the leader sending the message, and they usually returned whatever response the recipient wanted to send back to their liege. If the recipient didn’t like that message, however, it was not uncommon for him or her to shoot (or stab, or flay, or behead, or whatever other killing of choice seemed appropriate) the messenger and send the dead body back to the original sender as a response.

Needless to say, messengers in ancient days didn’t have a long life expectancy.

And neither does Jeffrey Zeints after his recent performance before the House Budget Committee.

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Reclaiming Social Justice

During the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama reused a lot of the same material from his previous State of the Union addresses.  He spoke about rebuilding American infrastructure, creating better schools, and creating an environment where people can get back to work.  But, one of the main themes in this address was the necessity for an atmosphere of “fairness.”  Obama stated, “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.  What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.”  This “fairness” that the president speaks of is known by many names, but the most common one is known as social justice.  Social justice is a concept with a long and rich history, stretching as far back as great philosophers like Plato and theologians like Thomas Aquinas.  The term can be simply defined by referring to its two component words: “justice,” having to do with the application of moral concepts and laws, and “social,” as having to do with society or societal concerns. Social justice is, at its most basic level, the application of moral concepts to issues of societal importance. The...

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Juan Williams, Racism, and the American Work Ethic

Newt Gingrich may have just regained some ground with his recent performance at the South Carolina debate.  Fox News contributor Juan Williams (pictured above) asked Gingrich a question about his recent insensitive comments about low-income families and putting children to work as school janitors in order to teach them a better work ethic.  He earned himself the only standing ovation of the evening. As I watched the clip, the premise of Juan’s question struck me more than Gingrich’s response:  “… I gotta tell you, my email, my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities… It sounds as if you are trying to belittle people.” This puzzled me.  In an economy where more people have sought welfare than any other time in history, it makes sense that people need to find jobs not just for their own benefit, but to ease the massive financial burden assumed by the government to fund these programs.  And yet somehow, Juan Williams is concerned not with the viability of Newt’s proposals, but the implication that those proposals are belittling, racist and classist? The History of Fixing Racism There is no question that minorities in America have been at a disadvantage when it comes to matters of employment in the past, and recent government employment data suggests...

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