As many of you know, I have recently taken up the “hobby” of “dialogue” with some left-leaning bloggers. While punching myself in the face until I pass out might be a more productive use of my time, I do enjoy the exchanges, especially when the other side inadvertently slips and reveals what they really think. More often than not, however, I find many of the approaches they take to subjects based in false premises, which they will defend with their dying breaths because they are convinced that the outcome makes the means just.
One such example is the latest post from Hippie Prof, a midwest professor who is self-admittedly wrapped up in contradictions, yet stubbornly convinced that the left has the answers, despite ample proof to the contrary. His latest post is a leftist parable about two veterans, both single amputees, who have very different ideas about the welfare state, and yet, he would have us believe, the ‘conservative’ contradicts himself on the issue of handicapped parking spaces. The point of the story is that while conservatives believe that charity is the responsibility of the individual, there is simply too great a need for the individuals to meet. If you like smarmy condescension in your unrepentant political propaganda, then by all means, check it out. Otherwise, you can thank me later for sparing you the not so thinly veiled pro-Obamareidpelosicare piece.
The reason I chose to write about it at all is an assertion that has been floating around on the some of the left-leaning sites I frequent for a while now, handily encapsulated in this excerpt:
Lefty: Sometimes those of us who have more need to give some of what we have to those of us who have less. It is the right and moral thing to do….
Righty: Don’t talk to me about “right and moral” things! I give away plenty of my money to charity – but on a volunteer basis, and I donate my time too! It should be my choice to do that – it is not up to the government to do it for me!
Lefty: You may give to charity – but charity alone is never enough. The need always exceeds what people are willing to give voluntarily. Do you think that people would give enough to cover the need?
Lefty’s brand of hand-wringing tripe sounds familiar. Wait…it will come to me…YES!!!:
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. -Karl Marx
Yes, our moralist sounds exactly like the author of millions of death warrants, one of Communism’s Founding Fathers, and an inspiration to power-mad, bloody-minded megalomaniacs everywhere.
It should go without saying that a philosophy that has killed millions, and enslaved millions more being portrayed as “moral” gets my hackles up.
From the Webster’s Encyclopeadic Dictionary of the English Language:
1.of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2.expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3.founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4.capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5.conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral): a moral man.
6.virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
7.of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
8.resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
9.the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
10.the embodiment or type of something.
11.morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.
The idea that charity should be accomplished through government is about as wrong-headed as it could be. One need only look to government’s stunningly successful track record. Nearly forty years fighting a “War on Poverty” that hasn’t made any significant change in the percentage of people living in poverty in this country despite government taking billions of tax dollars from We The People and giving it to “the poor”, minus a not-insignificant-handling-fee, of course. Then there is the much longer term success story that is Social Security, truly one of the greatest pyramid schemes in history, that is a scant few years from collapse, due to government’s inability to refrain from spending every dollar that comes through its hands, and the fact that it created a sense of entitlement in every generation that was forced to pay into it (unless you were born after 1970, in which case government doesn’t give a damn what your expectations might be. You’ll pay much more than previous generations, and you had better plan on working longer just to keep a comparable amount of take home pay over your life time…oh, and you get nothing.) How about Medicare? Not only has this “entitlement” cost the American taxpayer BILLIONS in fraud and waste, but it actually limited senior citizens’ health care insurance options and treatment choices, because no private insurer would continue to carry them on their rolls when the government would do it for “free”. Of course, just like anything else in a command economy, the government also dictated the prices it would pay. Because the providers are free agents, many could, and did refuse Medicare patients because they didn’t see fit to reduce their bottom-line and deny their families the fruits of their labors, forcing patients to see providers who often have less skill, more patients, and fewer treatment options. And now they want us to let them do it to everyone. They demand it.
Because speech after speech after speech after speech after speech from the Left’s Silver-Tongued Messiah™ has failed to convince the American People that giving government more control over their lives is a good idea, and the endless lectures from the Great Condescender™ (same player, different hat) have failed, they have turned to the most despicable technique yet. They are attempting to make it a moral imperative.
Let’s take it at face value: It is right conduct for a government to take more and more from one group of people (let’s call them the haves) so that it can provide for the needs of another group (let’s call them the have nots). Now when an individual or a group of individuals decide to help people out of a sense of compassion and donate their time or their money to help those less fortunate, it is called charity. The individual or group exercises their freedom to decide who they are going to help, and to what degree. That is only fitting. It is their money and it is their time and frequently they make real strides towards independence a condition of the charity.
When government decides to help the less fortunate, it is called welfare. It is given on criteria that the government decides, in the amount that government decides, to those whom the government chooses, for as long as it chooses. It is done with our money, and it uses perverse incentives to break up the family structure and increase dependence on government. And because of the empowerment of politicians that comes through this dependence, there is never any incentive for it to stop. It can, and has increased spending over the years, further increasing the amount of taxes charged to pay for it, and the liability of the taxpayer to pay for what government borrows so it can avoid ending it.
Now there is a word for when someone takes something that is yours from you without your consent by intimidation or violence…
Robbery is :
the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.
“But BiW”, I can hear you say “It isn’t felonious when government does it.”
Just because the government does something doesn’t make it legal. The government does illegal things quite frequently. And while you can search high and low in the Constitution, you will not find “Providing for the needy” anywhere in it. Yes, I know there are two references to Congress’ power to provide for the “general welfare”. I can also read, and I have read the Federalist Papers. Madison never would have agreed with the leftist contention that the “General Welfare” clause authorized Social Security, Medicare, and other programs. Hamilton was a little freer in his interpretation, but he also envisioned a strong federal government, in opposition to many of the other Founders. Having said that, I am convinced that he would be horrified, both at what is already in place, and at what government proposes, and even he too realized that there were limits, and it was within the purview of the people themselves to determine what those limits are:
“But it may be again asked, Who is to judge of the NECESSITY and PROPRIETY of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union? I answer, first, that this question arises as well and as fully upon the simple grant of those powers as upon the declaratory clause; and I answer, in the second place, that the national government, like every other, must judge, in the first instance, of the proper exercise of its powers, and its constituents in the last. If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. The propriety of a law, in a constitutional light, must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded. “ –Hamilton, The Federalist #33
We all have needs. But when the government is empowered to determine the extent of the needs of some, and to take from others without limit or reservation to in order to “meet” those needs, it has gone too far. When “the needy” represent a class dependent upon government rather than on itself, and government provides for this class and actively seeks to increase the size and scope of dependency on the government to the detriment of the majority of its people, it not only squanders its legitimacy, by dutifully ignoring the consent of the governed, it purposely vicitmizes one class of citizen for the supposed benefit of another, voiding the concept of equality under the law. By formulating such “charity” and enforcing participation through the use all mechanisms available to it, government robs some citizens and gives some of what it takes to others. There is nothing “moral” about that. In fact, if we were talking about anyone else doing it, we would also be talking about arrest and prosecution for it.
Government exists to protect the property of its citizens. If this were not true, we would not have the body of contract law that we do; there would be no point. Contracts, by their very nature, presume the exchange of something of value to the parties, for them to benefit by. If this were not so, then there would be no incentive to enter into a contract. Welfare as we know it has no general benefit. It does not increase the security of all. It does not make the nation stronger. It does not preserve society. It simply empowers those in government who would give it to some at a cost to others, while increasing the size and power of government. This not a lawful or proper aim of government, and while it may help those who direct it to feel moral about their actions, there is nothing noble or right about limiting the achievement of those it takes from, or making a judgement that they should share through government’s auspices. In addition, it does nothing to empower or uplift the recipient; indeed, the only one empowered in the whole transaction is government.
Still, I suppose that I should be happy for the progress that they are making. Now they are trying to convince me that this is a moral imperative based on their morals, and not mine. Of course, it helps to have some ready answers when a non-Christian tries to tell you that Christ would be in favor of the Health Care Take Over™.