At The Catholic Thing, George Marlin explains how what he calls the “war on conscience” undermines the moral autonomy of social workers and other human service professionals:
Today clients or patients are sovereign. Any legal practice they demand, the social profession must provide or participate in providing. The professional’s right and duty, Adams observes, “to use her judgment about what is required or indicated or morally permissible is nullified.” The balance of rights between professional and client no longer exists, however, and client empowerment “radically disempowers, even dehumanizes, the professional.”
It will come as a surprise to most clients and patients to learn how powerful they are vis a vis the professionals and clinicians with whom they must deal. Pace Mr. Marlin, I suspect that a more accurate assessment of the situation is that both clients and service providers often feel disempowered and even dehumanized by the systems which shape their encounters.
At Oikonomia, the Acton Institute criticizes “the moral and economic poverty of the lottery”:
While lottery commissions promote their schemes as good for the public as well as the individual players, lotteries are actually mechanisms to impoverish, both morally and economically, the populace. Far from a force for good, lotteries are a danger to society.
The sad truth is that the Acton Institute’s claims aren’t even controversial. It’s widely understood that lotteries prey on the poor and that the lives of lottery winners rarely improve (for long); states use lotteries as a substitute for raising revenue directly through taxes or fees, and states also blatantly misrepresent the uses to which lottery monies are put. In spite of all that, lotteries flourish—because, as the New York State lottery used to beguile, Hey, you never know…
At the New York Times, Arthur Brooks suggests we remedy our rampant narcissism with “healthy self-love” (what Rousseau called amour de soi):
It builds up one’s intrinsic well-being, as opposed to feeding shallow cravings to be admired. Cultivating amour de soi requires being fully alive at this moment, as opposed to being virtually alive while wondering what others think. The soulful connection with another person, the enjoyment of a beautiful hike alone (not shared on Facebook) or a prayer of thanks over your sleeping child (absent a #blessed tweet) could be considered expressions of amour de soi.
Christians don’t talk enough about depression. Emotional pain, for one thing, can be hard to share. Despair can feel very physical for the sufferer, weighing heavily on the heart and clogging the brain, but its surface features can be easily overlooked or missing altogether. A depression that finally lifts leaves no scars on the skin to show how deep the wound was and how long the healing took. Besides, such anguish is so personal that it is hard to share it with anyone other than members of the family or the medical profession.