amazon-workersLiberal and conservative, right and left, red state and blue state—there are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to divide political and economic lines. But one of the most helpful ways of understanding such differences is recognizing the divide between advocates of proximate justice and absolute justice.

Several years ago Steven Garber wrote an essay in which he explained the concept of “proximate justice”:

Proximate justice realizes that something is better than nothing. It allows us to make peace with some justice, some mercy, all the while realizing that it will only be in the new heaven and new earth that we find all our longings finally fulfilled, that we will see all of God’s demands finally met. It is only then and there we will see all of the conditions for human flourishing finally in place, socially, economically, and politically.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from proximate justice is absolute justice, the idea that we should never settle for “some” justice but must always seek, as a matter of duty, the maximal amount of justice.

The primary appeal of absolute justice is its purity. Why align with compromisers and those who are satisfied with “good enough” when you can fight for full justice? Being satisfied with proximate justice sounds more like an excuse to do less rather than a principled position.

The primary appeal of proximate justice is its realism. Since absolute justice is not attainable this side of the new heaven and new earth, settling for less is the best we can ever expect. When absolute justice is our standard we can even end up allowing injustice to continue and flourish.

Those in the absolute justice camp accuse the other side of being cynical, insensitive, and willing to compromise with evil, while advocates of proximate justice claim their ideological rivals are utopian, self-centered, and likely to do as much harm as good.

A more thorough examination of each side will have to wait for another day and another article. (As you can probably tell, though, I’m firmly on the side of proximate justice.) I only mention the two views because I want to show how the idea of proximate and absolute justice relates to employment and can help us understand the recent kerfuffle over the working conditions at Amazon.
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Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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Pope Francis Takes Stance on Climate Change: “For the care of Creation”
David, Clapway

The encyclical states that the introduction of new technology as a way to combat global warming has proved to be ineffective overall. Instead, Pope Francis claims that the challenge of combating climate change isn’t about finding the right technology to do the job, but about accepting full responsibility for the environment’s poor shape, and taking the right steps to start actively helping to fix it. According to the Pope, climate change is something that all of us are equally responsible for, and is a fight that we are all morally obligated to participate in.

Pope Francis’ Climate Change Epiphany: A revolutionary partnership between the Roman Catholic Church and science
Lois Parshley, Popular Science

Atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, says the Pope’s message might prove more effective than 30 years of scientists’ efforts to communicate the urgency of climate change.

Rethinking the solution for poverty: Pope Francis’ prescriptions could perpetuate disease and premature death
Paul Driessen, The Washington Times

Thankfully, human life expectancy and societal wealth has surged dramatically over the past two centuries. None of this would have been possible without the capitalism, scientific method and fossil fuels that at U.N., Environmental Protection Agency, Big Green and Vatican policymakers now want to toss into history’s dustbin.

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walker-severed-head22

Whether they’re old enough to believe in the EcoGospel, or Gaia, or man-made climate change or not, children are the latest weapon pressed into service by the eco-warriors. First, it was co-opting Pope Francis and Laudato Si, and now it’s kids. Will they stop at nothing?

The Wisconsin Daily Independent reported this past Monday that a group calling itself Citizens Preserving the Penokee Hills Heritage Park is promoting its environmental agenda with a painting of a young Native American girl wearing traditional garb holding a bloody blade in one hand and the severed head of Gov. Scott Walker in the other. Nice.

According to the mission statement, the purpose of their group is to provide an avenue for the distribution of research, education, and information pertaining to preserving the Penokee Hills as a national heritage park in Northwestern Wisconsin….
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trade21Many conservatives exhibit a peculiar tendency to be pro-liberty when it comes to business, trade, and wages, but protectionist when it comes to the economic effects of immigration.

It’s an odd disconnect, and yet, as we’ve begun to see with figures like Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, one side is bound to eventually give way. They’ll gush about the glories of competition, but the second immigration gets brought up, they seem to defer to labor-union talking points from ages past.

When pressed on this in a recent podcast, immigration protectionist Mark Krikorian argued that the difference is that immigrants are people not products, and thus they make things a bit more problematic. It’s more complicated and disruptive, he argues, when you’re dealing with actual people who have diverse and ever-shifting dreams. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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In the US, many expect the pope to discuss the ‘shameful plague’ of trafficking
Tom Tracy, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis has called human trafficking “a crime against humanity” and “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.”

There’s A New Way To Measure Global Freedom
Daniel Huizinga , Opportunity Lives

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “He who seeks freedom for anything but freedom’s self is made to be a slave.” Tocqueville’s observation about the French Revolution sets the tone for the Human Freedom Index (HFI), a new report that offers a comprehensive measure of freedom around the world with country-by-country comparisons.

How Can We Keep Aid Workers Safe?
Larissa Fast, Political Violence @ a Glance

Today is World Humanitarian Day, a day to remember humanitarian aid workers around the world, particularly those who have lost their lives. The day marks the anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 and wounded a further 160 people.

What prices does the government like?
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

So according to the government, whether a company’s prices are “too low,” “too high,” or “too close to its competitors’ prices,” those prices could be determined to be both unfair and illegal?

drinkable-book[Note: See this introduction post for an explanation of gleaner technology.]

Lack of clean drinking water is one of the greatest public health problems on the planet. Around the world there are 750 million people—approximately one in nine—who lack access to safe water, and millions will die each year from a water related disease.

But a new “drinkable book” may soon provide an inexpensive way for the poor to get potable water. While getting her PhD in chemistry, Theresa Dankovich invented both a bactericidal silver nanoparticle paper, pAge, and an environmental-friendly method to produce the silver nanoparticles, using cheap and benign chemicals and processing.

The pages contain silver nanoparticles, which are lethal for bacteria. Only very small quantities of silver are required due to the use of nanoparticles, which have a highly toxic effect specific towards microorganisms at low concentrations. At the low levels of silver used in the papers, a very small amount of silver is released into the drinking water, which meets the EPA and WHO recommendations.

Dankovich has used the pAge for paper in The Drinkable Book™, a collaboration with WATERisLIFE. Printed on the pages are instructions for using the paper and for preventing water from becoming contaminated.
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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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Islamic leaders urge climate action in declaration
Soli Salgado, National Catholic Reporter

The declaration affirmed that “our responsibility as Muslims is to act according to the example of the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him)” who cared for all living things, established protected areas for plants and wildlife, lived frugally, recycled his possessions by repairing or giving them away, and “took delight in the created world.”

The poor are ‘victims of climate change,’ says Myanmar’s cardinal
Catholic World News

Preaching at a Mass that preceded a climate-change seminar sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon called for action to counter climate change. “Evil is marching with glee, destroying human families, destroying God’s gift of nature,” he preached.

Cardinal Turkson: ecological crisis is the ‘gravest and most intractable of all’
Catholic World News

In a message of solidarity to the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, which took place on August 17 and 18 in Istanbul, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that “it is clear that we are living at a particularly turbulent and decisive moment in world history.”

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flow-gift-packThe Acton Institute’s latest film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, was created to help Christians dig deeper into and examine the bigger picture of Christianity’s role in culture, society, and the world. The series is well suited to a variety of settings, whether a college classroom, small group, or church setting.

To promote these types of explorations and exchanges, a special Gift Pack version of the series is now available via RightNow Media, an online video library with thousands of sessions accessible to its members. Sometimes described as “Netflix for the church,” it’s a venue that will introduce and equip many with all the series has to offer.

Exclusively available on RightNow, the Gift Pack includes Episode 1 (“Exile”) and a series of 8 video excerpts exploring the implications of the themes of the larger series. Each video comes with a discussion guide for use in small groups, Sunday School classes, and other educational settings. The excerpts can be used along with the discussion guides or as stand-alone videos for sermon illustrations, teasers, event promotion and much more.

For other ways to watch and engage with the series, see the standard DVD version, the Leader’s Edition, or Exile Supply Pack, and the Field Guide. The entire series can also be purchased digitally at Flannel.org.

acton-commentary-blogimageThe Orthodox Church in Russia has proposed a banking model that corrects what it sees as the most serious of that global banking industry’s moral failings, says Rev. Gregory Jensen in this week’s Acton Commentary. However the system the Church purposes is unlikely to foster economic growth. It also overlooks the convergence of the free market with key elements of the Orthodox moral tradition.

Banks require varying amounts of collateral from and charge different interest rates to different customers. Yes, the bank does this to protect its own profitability.  For the Orthodox moral tradition there is nothing necessarily immoral in the pursuit of profit. More importantly for our concern here, however, profit is not the bank’s only concern.

Treating potential customers differently also reflects the bank’s moral responsibility to determine and safeguard the unique circumstances of the person and so the ability of the borrower to repay the loan. This isn’t morally wrong. While it may seem unfair, when we look at the situation more carefully we see that it reflects the very financial personalism that Surmilo says is at the heart of the Russian model.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Christian’s Library Press has released Volume 1 of its English translations of Abraham Kuyper’s most famous work, Common Grace, which is made up of 3 books (Noah-Adam, Temptation-Babel, Abraham-Parousia). The books are part of a larger translation project that you can read about here.

The work presents a public theology of cultural engagement rooted in the humanity Christians share with the rest of the world, making it an extremely valuable resource for Christians seeking to develop a winsome and constructive social witness. The books are part of a larger translation project that you can read about here.

Common Grace Volume 1

This week, CLP will be giving away two sets of the volume (3 books in each).

To enter, use the interface below. There are five ways to enter, and each will increase your odds. The contest will end Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

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