Social justice: what government does – and fails to do – matter enormously

Social justice requires economic support from government, a concern for family life, and serious efforts to strengthen community institutions and to protect public order. Religious progressives may find their vocation in insisting that our society needs to grapple with each of these issues. At the heart of their arguments should be two principles: compassion is good, but justice is better; and while government certainly cannot solve all problems, what government does – and fails to do – matter enormously.
But how does one define justice? That question is central to sorting out what government’s role in the marketplace should be.

E.J. Dionne Jr., Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith & Politics After the Religious Right (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008), 80-81.