Fundamentals

by

We have gone a long way away from the discussion we should be having.

Today, we are arguing left versus right. Shall we use government to do X or Y?

That is the wrong question. The first question is, “Shall government do X or Y at all?”

Even then, the real question is: “By assigning our rights to government to do X or Y, are we actually making things better than leaving X and Y to the people individually?”

Let me give you an example.

We used to have a feeling in this country that if I don’t help out my brother / sister / father / mother / child / neighbor, no one else will do it for me. That’s because government didn’t have Social Security or Medicare or welfare or food stamps or counseling or unemployment insurance or anything like that.

If I saw my neighbor with a broken leg crying for help, I either stopped to help him or I let him be. And without government providing the support it does today, I was morally compelled to help that person or live the rest of my life in eternal shame because I refused to help when I could.

We’ve somehow come to the conclusion that having individuals help each other out is less efficient than taking all the money we can and hiring government employees to distribute what little is left. This, of course, sounds absurd when you put it this way.

If I give five bucks to my neighbor, that five bucks ends up in his pocket. If government takes a hundred bucks from me, there is little hope even ten cents will find its way into my neighbor’s pocket, and even then only if my neighbor fills out the right paperwork and hires the right lawyer and argues before the Supreme Court.

I think it’s time we asked ourselves if government is the right mechanism to distribute our charity.

Here’s a simple quiz that will help you realize the right answer for yourself.

  1. Do you want to help the poor?
  2. How much are you willing to spend on the poor?
  3. Why haven’t you written a check yet to help the poor with that money?

If you are waiting for government to write a law to seize your money in the name of taxes to distribute it to the poor, then I don’t think you really want to help the poor.

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