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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Constant Conservative Catches Missed Truths on Charity

Another great piece at the Constant Conservative today. The Constant Conservative actually mirrors some of the thoughts I had when I read this pro-socialist article at the Rapid City Journal yesterday.

Don't get me wrong. I am an enthusiastic supporter of private charity. I have a number of friends who work at charities (both as staff and volunteers) and I donate to charity on a regular basis myself. I think that people and private companies donating money and goods to help those in need is a wonderful thing--it's exactly how American is supposed to work.

What I DO oppose is socialism, the government-enforced version of charity which takes wealth from one person without their consent and gives it to another who may or may not need it (after filtering it through the sticky hands of an army of bureaucrats along the way).

What the Constant Conservative points out here that I appreciate so much is that many people not on the take from the government (and their fellow citizens) already live on or around the amount mentioned in the article. Living modestly is not such an alien and impossible thing as it is made out to be.

Another truth that I appreciate the Constant Conservative for pointing out is that food stamps (the socialist program being promoted by this article) are not intended to be a way of life. They are not intended to be a permanent or even long-term solution, but a temporary aid while people get back on their own feet.

In fact, no charity--whether private or government-enforced--should become a way of life. Many of us hit a rough patch and need a hand...temporarily.

What we don't need is an opiate that robs us of human dignity and the will to meet our personal responsibilities.

Many people with severe disabilities manage to take care of themselves, and I have personally known a number of them over my lifetime. These include people with disabilities such as Down syndrome, various forms of mental impairment, blindness, paraplegics and even quadriplegics. I've had extensive work done on my vehicle by a mechanic with only one hand; one arm ends somewhere around his elbow.

Most people, if they have the desire and motivation, are capable of meeting their own needs. For the few who are not, one of the duties of family is meeting the needs of fellow family members who are incapable.

Government charity is counter to the way America is supposed to work, and counter to Biblical charity.

The founders said of government charity:

- A wise and frugal government...shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. – Thomas Jefferson

- Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated. - Thomas Jefferson

- With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. – James Madison

- I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. – James Madison

- Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison

- We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. — Congressman Davy Crockett

The Bible says of charity:
- If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. (Leviticus 25:25)

- Do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit (Exodus 23:3)

- Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19:15)

- If a man will not work, he shall not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

- These should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family (1 Timothy 5:4)

- As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list…they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house (1 Timothy 5:13)

- If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need. (1 Timothy 5:16)

Government should not be usurping or substituting for family responsibility. Nor should it be excusing personal responsibility.

Thanks, Constant Conservative, for pointing out these important truths that the "objective" media somehow missed.


Michael said...

Thank you for your commentary on my post. If those of us who are conservatives are to win back the hearts of the public, we must look at the principles behind policy and not just the policies themselves. Otherwise, we simply come across as complainers (and lose the respect of the very people we need to listen to us).

Dr. Theo said...

Individual charity as commanded in the Bible is wonderful. Both the giver and the recipient are blessed. When government takes on the role of dispensing "charity" it is immoral and blesses no one. The "giver" becomes resentful and the recipient becomes unappreciative and begins to believe himself entitled to the fruit of other's labor. Additionally, the recipient has little incentive to do for himself and slips into laziness, dependency and permanent poverty. This kind of "charity," encouraged by liberals, is in reality a kind of slavery. Conservatives believe it is much more compassionate to help people break free from poverty and dependency by encouraging work and self-reliance. Temporary help is sometimes needed but is best provided by individuals through their churches or other organizations that can be held accountable for how the money is dispensed.

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