The American Heritage Dictionary defines "cancer" as, "Any of various malignant neoplasms characterized by the proliferation of anaplastic cells that tend to invade surrounding tissue and metastasize to new body sites." If that's too much for you, a secondary definition is, "A pernicious, spreading evil." The bottom line is that the cells of the body, its most basic component parts, go wild, doing what they're not supposed to be doing, and destroying the body by doing so. Thus, saying that the social order — "the system" — has cancer is the most apt analogy that we can make. The question then becomes what to do about it.
Obviously the solution is not to destroy the system, as many refugees from the 1960s and their latter-day wannabes insist will fix everything. Yes, killing the patient will terminate the cancer, but also the life of the patient. What's the point of trying to repair the system by bringing it down? If a patient is sick, apply remedies until there is a restoration of health. If the system is corrupt or broken, organize with others and carry out acts of social justice directed at the institutions of the common good so that the institutions once again fill the roles that they were intended and designed to fill.
Ever since this blog began, we've been recommending the Just Third Way as the answer, especially as the principles are applied in Capital Homesteading and the Abraham Federation. What we've tended not to stress so much, however, is the specific technique — the "act of social justice" — by means of which the desired ends can be achieved.
"Social justice" as defined by "America's greatest social philosopher" the Reverend William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., is the particular virtue whose object is the common good of all human society, rather than, as with individual justice, the individual good of any member or group. Social justice is one of the basic social virtues in the field of social morality. Social justice guides humans as social beings in creating and perfecting organized human interactions, or institutions. It is the principle for restoring moral balance and harmony in the social order.
Social justice imposes on each member of society a personal responsibility to carry out acts of social justice. That is, to work with others to design and continually perfect our institutions as tools for personal and social development. To the extent an institution violates the human dignity of any person or group, organized acts of social justice are required to correct the defects in that institution. Actions such as "social justice tithing," for example, recognize a personal responsibility to devote a certain amount of time toward working with others to improve the organizations and institutions in which we live and work.
At this critical time in history, every concerned person should read Father Ferree's short pamphlet, Introduction to Social Justice, available as a "free download" from the website of the Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"). CESJ is also currently working on an edition combined with Father Ferree's discourses on social charity, which will be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as in bulk from Economic Justice Media sometime in the current year.