Archive for July 31, 2009

Is It Compassion?

compassion

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Can a person truly be considered compassionate if he doesn’t give of his own resources to take care of others? Pardon my skepticism if I answer this question with a resounding, “No!” I am utterly disgusted with the positioning of many politicians in both parties. They see themselves as such great benefactors deciding how to spend money taken from one group to benefit another. Is this, however, compassion?

We have seen this played out so clearly in the recent health care debate. Many politicians want to use funds taken from one group to provide health care to another. There is no doubt that there are people who need health care and cant afford it. These folks should be cared for by some entity, preferably a private one. This transfer of funds, however, is not compassion. It cant be compassion unless it is an individual willingly giving of what he has to another individual who is in need. So if government run health care is not compassion, what is it?

The greatest compassion that we can show is the compassion of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond that we can open our hearts and wallets and help provide for those around us in need. We as individuals can do what nameless, faceless bureaucratic entities cannot. Lets take this charge to show our culture what is true compassion. Government run health care is not.

Community Is No Longer Sacred

biggovernment

“Good order is the foundation of all things.”

– Edmund Burke

What bit of national security is being put at risk in Cambridge, Mass.? What interstate commerce function is being thwarted there? What natural catastrophe requires federal intervention? The answer is none, but don’t tell that to the President.

This week in his press conference to plead for nationalized health care, the President weighed in on a domestic disturbance case in the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts. By his own admission, he stated that he did not know the specifics of the case yet he concluded that the local authorities acted “stupidly”. No Mr. President, I’m afraid that you acted stupidly and in doing so you have set a precedent that may very well disturb our Republic for years to come.

Communities and municipalities should be sacred. Just as a mans home is his proverbial castle a community should be the citizens refuge. A citizen of this country should be free from federal government tampering in its local affairs. It has been the order that has been our foundation since the inception of our Republic. Granted the world has gotten smaller because of technology but that doesn’t give a President or federal body the right to stick their nose in local affairs where they don’t belong. Its just plain fool-hearty at best and dangerous at worst.

I regret that the President did this. It calls into question the authority and effectiveness of what until now had been an exemplary police force. It also puts us on a slippery slope of having the federal government meddle in every aspect of our lives. Who can stop the encroachment of this federal leviathan? Some things were meant to be kept sacred and community should be one of those things.

The “Charity” of the State

welfare
“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”
– John D. Rockefeller

Can the state be charitable? We know that the state can be generous; especially with other peoples money. Charity and the transfer of resources, however, are two entirely different things. I think there seems to be much confusion here.

Before the welfare state of Roosevelt and the “Great Society” of Johnson, there was genuine charity. People helped other people in a community context. There was no faceless state holding a purse with strings attached. When acts of charity were performed the party that needed to be thanked did not have a government title. There were no politics involved and it didn’t matter which political party to which the needy person belonged. This was charity and this was the spirit that made this nation great. Somewhere along the line we ditched this in favor of bureaucracy. We lost our sense of community and gave up the power to be charitable. In doing so, we opened the door for statists to assume a role that they do miserably and that results not in charity but in class warfare and vote buying. Such is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

So how can we reverse this trend? Pardon my pessimism but unless radical measures are taken this trend will never be reversed. On the one hand, we need communities to start acting like communities and not people who are isolated from one another by soccer practice, tv screens, and facebook. Families must take care of one another and then reach out to those in their neighborhoods who are in need. Defy the state by seeing how many people you can keep from depending on it. On the other hand, we need elected officials who will hold the line on the growth of government and seek to shrink it where possible.

In my opinion, there is no charity where the state is involved. The most charitable thing that those who make up the state can do is to see that charity is never left to the state. That is real charity.

Tradition Is Not Bad

tevyeThe word tradition conjures up many images in our minds. One such image may be of the lovable Tevye from the musical Fiddler on the Roof (pictured on the left). Humble Tevye is a simple milkman who is charged with providing for his family and raising his girls to be good Jewish young ladies who will attract and marry nice Jewish men. He sings the beloved song, Tradition that explains what his life is all about.

Tradition, however, is more than just a song and it is vastly more than just “we’ve always done it that way”. Tradition is an inheritance that we have been lovingly given by our forefathers. It is the lifeline that keeps us from repeating the mistakes of previous generations.

It comes as no surprise that popular culture dislikes tradition. Ask any modern if they would rather be thought of as trendy or traditional and the response is overwhelmingly trendy. We no longer value the wisdom of past generations as a source of guidance and security. We have, therefore, set out on the stormy seas of human progress in a paper skiff made of hope and change. Unfortunately, many in our country fail to see as the boat begins to leak there is brewing a prefect storm of the consequences of unwise decisions that threatens to sink this precarious ship of state. And where is our captain in the midst of this mess? He is standing on the deck feverishly flipping through his copy of Rules for Radicals and ignoring the jaunts of petty dictators as they sail by in their battleships.

Tradition is not bad. Our President and his brain trust would do well to recognize that. Even if that means doing something that a previous administration did just because it is good for the country. It is the acme of ignorance to refuse tradition and trade the security of ones nation for the moniker of singularity. I hope that the American people will come to their senses before it is too late and place in power those people who respect the value of tradition.