The Just Society

by Maria on August 1, 2006

Maurice Manning has an excellent piece in today’s Irish Times (pay-walled) marking the 80th birthday of Declan Costello. Costello wrote ‘Towards a Just Society’ in the 1960s. The pamphlet re-defined Irish politics in terms of social justice, energised a new generation of activists, and probably cost Costello a Cabinet position when Fine Gael got back into power in 1973. Some of the ideas of the Just Society – especially its emphasis on direct government intervention in the economy – seem outdated today. But Costello helped to make Fine Gael a Christian democrat party, back when that meant something more than fighting stem cell research and gay marriage.
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War and its consequences

by John Q on August 1, 2006

The terrible war in Lebanon has been discussed from all sorts of ethical and legal perspectives, but the simplest way of judging war is to look at its consequences.

After weeks of bloodshed, with the vast majority of victims being ordinary people (mostly in Lebanon thanks to the use of airstrikes as a weapon of terror, but with many killed and wounded in Israel as well) whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s hard to believe that anyone could claim that any good consequences are going to come out of this for the people of either Israel or Lebanon (though of course this is precisely the claim being made not only by the belligerents but by their outside backers, from Bush on one side to the Iranians on the other). But as we’ve seen time and again, the logic of war, once started, is remorseless. However obviously wrong the initial decision to go to war, the consequences of ending it almost always seem worse, at least to those who have to admit that the death and destruction they have wrought has been pointless.

And all this was not only predictable, but predicted by nearly everyone who looked at the situation objectively.

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