Categorized | Editorials, Opinion

Practice social justice, respect the wealthy

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Robert Christensen

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
having it.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. Reality Check Says:

    Really? Really?! You can do better than that.

  2. True Says:

    I agree COMPLETELY with this editorial. No one should touch OUR money. NO ONE. And we shouldn’t be hated for having — like Rob said we earned it and it’s ours. Nobody — not even the less fortunate — should be able to take our social class and respect away from us.

    If equality asks for me to be in the middle class, then I don’t want equality!!!

  3. Anna Says:

    This is a pathetic waste of newspaper space. And a pathetic excuse for an opinion…re-affirming the status quo doesn’t count as an original thought, it’s still apathy.

  4. Becky Says:

    Although I disagree with almost everything you have written in this editorial, I am most surprised by your sexist vocabulary. Is it too difficult to write business people instead of businessmen? There are wealthy women in business, too. Amidst the many absurd notions you’ve expressed in this writing, I would think you could have at least avoided sexism.

  5. Chuck Says:


    I am sure he did not intentionally commit a thought crime. It is acceptable to use the word “businessmen” and have it apply to all human individuals.

  6. Sullivan Says:

    Acting on our responsibilities as Christians and persons of good will, the mission of Midnight Run is to focus the compassion of Marquette students upon the needs of the poor and marginalized in our own community. Using voluntary direct service as its primary tool, Midnight Run volunteers strive to serve selflessly, build relationships, and walk in solidarity with those who are hungry, homeless, or suffer the consequences of society’s unjust structures, honoring the dignity and worth of ALL. Through the regular reflected experience of Midnight Run volunteers, we strive not just to create men and women of service, but rather, we endeavor to develop agents of POSITIVE social change.

    We do not hate- we love. We do not attack- we serve. We do not ridicule- we respect. We do not look down upon or judge- it is not our place.
    Rob, I love you because you are a human person with dignity and much worth. Rob, I do not attack you because I do not seek to trouble you. Rob, I do not ridicule you because I respect you. Rob, I do not judge you because it is not my place. Rob, I invite you- I go to St. James the Gathering on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It is a wonderful place full of wonderful people, and I would love you to join me one morning and see the things I have had the opportunity to see and encounter the amazing people that I have had the honor of knowing. I meet a group at 7:20 outside of Straz Hall on those 2 mornings a week. I hope to one day see you there.

  7. Brian Says:

    The author is correct. The concept of social justice should not be warped to mean to advocate taking money from people without their consent. Too many people define THEIR personnel sense of compassion as advocating taking something earned by someone else and giving it to someone in need. That is not social justice, that is socialism. Use your own time and resources to help others and to pursuade others to freely give of their own time and money. DO NOT define your compassion by what you can forcibly take from others.

  8. Donovan Says:

    Can we say the same thing about finding one example of a person on welfare who does not work hard if we are forbidden to use Paris Hilton as an example of rich people.

    Generalizing is never a smart thing. But it goes all ways.

  9. Cynthia Says:

    Paris Hilton is a nice person. People hate her because they are jealous. She’s rich and beautiful and lucky. It’s always easy to hate someone like that. I applaud that she’s doing her own thing and that she is maturing as a human being as she gets older. Geez, I guess no one here ever did anything stupid in their early 20’s.

    Anyway, lots of people hate for no reason and there are always those with an axe to grind who choose to take out their grievances on someone famous. I love rich people for what they accomplish and for what they provide. They pay most of the taxes and provide most of the jobs. And most rich people earned what they have themselves. Good for them!

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