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Welfare states cultivate the sin of sloth

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Alfred Tennyson wrote, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” But each summer “in Mediterranean countries, the youth seem to be haunted by the same pressing question: ‘Will i get a proper job?'” writes Mihail Neamtu at Acton’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website.

Neamtu, a public intellectual from Romania, writes in his penetrating essay:

In Greece, unemployment stands at 42.9 percent; in Spain, unemployment is 35 percent; in Italy, it is more than 30 percent. Compared to the recent performance of the U.S. economy, such figures are perplexing. They indicate the existence of a severe threat to political stability and social cohesion. In both economic and existential terms, joblessness is a serious matter. Why? Because a job provides, not just an income, but also a sense of purpose.

Much of this is due to collectivist economic policies and the lumbering welfare states they have created, he continues.

“The continent where St. Benedict planted the seeds of the Christian ethic ‘ora et labora’ must change its labor laws, as well as its collective mindset,” he writes. “It is not just the welfare state which has put the virtue of industriousness out of business, but the slow death of the Christian faith.”

Read his full essay here.

(Photo credit: Marco Arment. CC BY 2.0.)

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Rev. Ben Johnson Rev. Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty and edits its transatlantic website.