Acton Institute Powerblog

When Parents Violate Property Rights and Distributive Justice…

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…hilarity ensues.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Janet Baker

    This is supposed to be funny?  Since when is it a joke to instill distress in young children just for the hell of it?

  • Reminds one of the Evelyn Waugh bananas story, although Waugh did eat them, in front of his kids

  • Jimmy Kimmel’s joke simply isn’t appropriate. Parents ought not to lie to their children. Bad as this is, it only makes matters worse when they exploit their children’s unhappiness for a few moments of internet notoriety. 

  • I think it’s true that as a policy parents shouldn’t lie to their children. But I still think this is pretty funny…even if just a tad bit wicked. But if we’re going to take things so seriously, then, shouldn’t we say that these pranks expose the inherent materialism and selfishness of children? Shouldn’t they be unconcerned about their property rights? And why is their reaction so universally outraged? Mightn’t there be something to this sense of gross injustice? Or is it merely that they have been accustomed to receiving whatever they wish, and having that privilege taken away, are reacting like spoiled little brats? Do Augustine’s observations from the Confessions have any relevance? He writes:

    Thus, the infant’s innocence lies in the weakness of his body and not in the infant mind. I have myself observed a baby to be jealous, though it could not speak; it was livid as it watched another infant at the breast.

    Who is ignorant of this? Mothers and nurses tell us that they cure these things by I know not what remedies. But is this innocence, when the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and abundant, that another who needs it should not be allowed to share it, even though he requires such nourishment to sustain his life? Yet we look leniently on such things, not because they are not faults, or even small faults, but because they will vanish as the years pass. For, although we allow for such things in an infant, the same things could not be tolerated patiently in an adult.