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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Monday, September 12, 2011

Liberalism is Laziness (Cont'd)

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

-The Bible, James 2:26-
The breadth of good works/deeds goes beyond that of simply caring for the poor, but it is important to recognize that it is both faith and good works that makes one whole. As in Christianity, most of the popular religions also have requirements to care for the needy.....
Prayer and belief are not enough to make someone a good Muslim. Islam is very concerned about looking after the welfare of poor people, and the Qur'an specifies that all Muslims above the subsistence level must pay up 2.5% of their annual savings to help people in need.

So once a year a Muslim works out 2.5% of everything they own, and hands it to an approved organisation to use for charitable purposes.

Muslims call this Zakat, and it's the third pillar of Islam.
The object of ecclesiastical provision for the poor is, first the removal of their immediate need, then the nullification of the demoralizing effects of poverty, encouragement, the fostering of a desire for work and independence, and thus the exercise of an educative influence on the soul: "the care of souls is the soul of the care of the poor".
From here. Hinduism also has this requirement and around 3 billion people are covered under Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.....
The less fortunate were cared for within the extended family. Religious obligations also included various forms of charity. For example, scripture obliges the householder to step outside the front door before each meal and to announce three times "Is anyone hungry? Please come to take your meal!" Only then would the family eat, with or without guests. Today, Hindu families are still renowned for their hospitality. Other acts of generosity include giving alms and clothing, and ritually feeding the poor, holy people and animals. A righteous life, whereby God is perceived in nature, naturally protects the environment. Planting trees and digging wells have long been considered to bestow considerable spiritual merit.
So, as we can see, there is a very serious call to assist the needy within religions. But it is also notable in some of these calls to assistance, it is the family and individual that is responsible for these acts.

So, what is the obligation of a society to the poor within it's midst? Religions clearly tell us that it is our and our family's responsibility. There are 3 important elements of American (and all human) life that this relates to; the individual, family and community. Each of these is the interconnecting network of individuals that can provide the framework to first; take care of themselves and second; take care of others.

However, there is also another unit that is also charged with meeting these obligations and this is government. However, within this model, many conflate ability and obligation and also confuse local and national obligations.

For example, within a community, we educate our children. This has been chosen as a function of local government but it does not necessarily have to be but this is the path that has been taken. Here in Hong Kong, we pay tuition for our children's education despite there also being public education available. This is a matter of choice.

Other obligations such as care for the elderly have been almost completely removed from the portfolio of obligations of the individual, family and community since it has been expropriated by national government and dispossessed by those that are most closely associated with the obligation.

Obligations that have been seized by government with the attendant promises that are being made to both the receivers of the benefit and those that have paid for this benefit, make it very difficult to go back to the normal intended human interaction and obligation to the needy.

One of the problems with this kind of intervention by government is that it is subject to political tampering that may or may not be to the benefit recipients, the payers of this benefit and/or the community/nation as a whole. These programs can are sometimes used to transfer wealth to some that it was not intended or the programs are expanded to appease or please other groups of people that may not be deserving. Also, there are multitudes of secondary effects and unintended consequences and these are the ones that we can consider and I have many times in previous posts. I do want to consider these issues here since my primary purpose to expose duplicity by the American political Left.

What I find most insidious in the redistributionist transaction championed by the political Left is that those the cry the loudest for redistribution of wealth are those that as a group are least likely to give their own resources to this effort.....
Brooks shows that those who say they strongly oppose redistribution by government to remedy income inequality give over 10 times more to charity than those who strongly support government intervention, with a difference of $1,627 annually versus $140 to all causes. The average donation to educational causes among redistributionists was eight dollars per year, compared with $140 from their ideological opposites, and $96 annually to health care causes from free marketeers versus $11 from egalitarians.
From here. When one considers these kind of statistics, one has to wonder what drives redistributionist Liberals to so cravenly call for governments to step in to redistribute wealth when they themselves have been unwilling to do so themselves. Infuriatingly, in addition to this, Liberals also feel that the bulk of this obligation should fall upon just a small sliver of society, "the wealthy" and do not think that it should be the people as a whole that has to participate in sacrifice created by these kinds of obtuse government interventions.

Essentially, what neo-liberals are doing is using their 'superior' intellect to identify a problem, formulate a large scale solution and then get someone else to pay for it. To me, this is NOT the doing good works. It is pure unadulterated laziness and these people are washing their hands of the obligations that they have to humanity.

Lazily voting in redistributionists representatives into government is not a substitute to doing good works. Getting clumsy government involved in situations that are the rights and responsibilities of the individual, family and community may seem to be a reasonable solution to some problems but then we have to face the unintended consequences of these interventions. One of the largest consequences to me, is the weakening of the individuals, families and community's responsibilities that have been replaced by a leviathan that deceitfully promises to be all things to all people. By becoming hyper-reliant on government, we are simultaneously weakening the very institutions that are the strongest bonds that people have to each other and replacing them with the nebulous connection through government.

We will all suffer from this lazy approach to good works and will pay the price in greater poverty, lesser educated children and less fulfilling lives if we continue on this path.


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