Social Justice has become an extremely engrained part of Marquette’s identity. Catholic social thought focuses on concepts such as dignity, solidarity and the common good. Groups on campus such as J.U.S.T.I.C.E., Soup with Substance and Midnight Run center on social justice issues by focusing most of their efforts towards ending poverty and human rights violations. Both of these are extremely noble goals certainly worth pursuing but I believe a negative, possibly unintended consequence, has resulted from social justice thought; the hatred of rich people.
Many social justice activists bring up the detrimental effects of an increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor. But rather than ask the question, “Why aren’t the poor closing the gap?” they typically attack the rich asking, “Why do you make so much money?” In many of the debates I have listened to over the past few years many students have an extremely disillusioned view of the upper class. They focus on individuals like Paris Hilton who is only rich because she inherited her wealth and corrupt businessmen who made their money through unethical business practices. But these individuals are in the minority of the wealthy in America. The majority of the rich made their money because they have worked hard or innovated products that have improved our own lives.
These wealthy businessmen create jobs and spur economic growth. This will add to their personal wealth but it will also add to the wealth of others. Marquette University’s expansion has only been made possible by rich individuals who donate to the school; the building of the new law school depends on such individuals.
When we observe the richest of the rich we have a tendency to ask whether or not they deserve all of their money. Alexis de Tocqueville said it best when he stated, “There is… a passion for equality which incites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level.”
This “depraved taste for equality” needs to be avoided by social justice activists as well as the rest of society. The rich have earned their money, whether they inherited it or made it as a result of their own personal hard work; therefore they deserve to keep it and should not be ridiculed for