Over the past week we've been looking at how the Just Third Way can be effective in spreading the word about these revolutionary ideas. We've come to the conclusion (or at least restated it to our own satisfaction) that the only effective way to implement the principles of economic justice is to follow the principles of social justice — properly understood.
That means that each of us has a personal responsibility to organize with others in a coordinated way on sound principles to work together to restructure the social order. As Father Ferree concluded Introduction to Social Justice,
"The completed doctrine of Social Justice places in our hands instruments of such power as to be inconceivable to former generations.
"But let us be clear about what is new and what is old. None of the elements of this theory are new. Institutions, and institutional action, the idea of the common good, the relationship of individual to common good, — all these things are as old as the human race itself. There is nothing more new in those things than in the school boy's discovery that what he has been speaking is prose; nor must we ever believe that God made man a two-legged creature, and then waited for Aristotle to make him rational. Moreover, much of the actual application of these principles to practical life is to be found in older writers under the heading 'political prudence.'
"When all that is admitted, there is still something tremendously different and tremendously important in this 'new' understanding of social virtue in general, and social justice in particular. The power that we have now to change any institution of life, the grip that we have on the social order as a whole, was always there but we did not know it and we did not know how to use it.
"Now we know.
"That is the difference."