This brings us to a concept—the inadequacy of charity to serve the ends of justice—that I recently saw Neville Park mention on Twitter, and the article she directs us to by Sarah Kendzior, draws a conclusion from St. Augustine: “”Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.”
None of us, alone, can actually accomplish the job of feeding all of our neighbours’ children, not in the long term. We can’t, through personal generosity, eliminate child poverty or poverty in general. We can, through personal acts of giving, and through things like food-bank donations and gift drives, help make certain meals, certain days, certain seasons more bearable. But we cannot deliver justice. Or rather, I can’t and you can’t and James Moore can’t. But perhaps we can; perhaps government can. If we agree that it is government’s job. Our job.
(Sarah Kendzior, too, while I’m at it, even though I don’t know her. Because it’s that time of year.)