Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Government should help people so you don’t have to

It is amazing to me how passionate so many people are with the idea that government should help people. What begins as the idea that government has a responsibility to help those in need almost inevitably slips into the notion that it is exclusively government’s job. I see two major fallacies with this line of thinking.

First and most prominent is the idea that government knows best. This is the antithesis of the American experiment. The men who invented the United States of America had an inherent and hard-learned distrust of government. The oppression the British colonies endured before the American revolution, coupled with their astounding learning and awareness of human history, taught these men there is no such thing as benevolent government. Within 250 years of that pioneering generation the world would see the bloodiest century ever recorded in human affairs. From Soviet Socialism, to German National Socialism, to other Marxian style governments such as Communist China, Communist Cambodia, Communist Cuba (including the murderous man of the people Che Guevara), and more. These governments all shared in the faithful belief that government knows best. Collectively it only cost over 100 million lives to see the world made into a more equitable place by the efforts of these fairness-minded regimes. Prosperity and longevity are not typically associated with these types of government. Not only is the motivation behind proponents of such government highly questionable (as well as their intellect for somehow either not noticing or choosing not to notice the mass murder so often associated) but so is their ability to deliver on their grand promises.

The second problem I find with the idea that government knows best is the inevitable progression that only government can help people. And so the idea that government should help those in need transmogrifies into “it’s government’s job, not mine.” Now, I’m very glad to acknowledge there are many exceptions to this line of thinking. Many people who support a cradle to grave social safety net also acknowledge and some even practice the fact that their own efforts to help others are also necessary. But these exceptions are still exceptions to the rule. The rule is none-the-less an attitude of “I pay may fair share so the government can help people, so I don’t have to.” By this reckoning the act of paying taxes is naturally an act of patriotism.

The logical conclusions of this line of thinking are remarkable among a people who believe themselves to be free and claim to value liberty. This leads us to the issue of concentrating power in the hands of a few, which I’ve already addressed here.

But in addition to the backwards political mindset of assuming a loving government is also a backwards view of compassion. I was raised with an idea that compassion means I help people. Wanting to help people means nothing if it remains only a desire with no action to back it up. But the progressive notion of compassion is very different. Instead of an attitude of “helping people” it is an attitude of wanting people “to be helped”. The former involves your own voluntary efforts. The latter involves abdicating your personal responsibility to your fellow human beings. This is an “other people help people” approach to compassion. It’s deferred compassion, which is no compassion at all.

The progressive deferred compassion leads to accusations of not caring about people if you oppose a government program supposedly designed to “help people” which may or may not do that at all. If we ask inconvenient questions about such programs we would be accused of such as things as racism, hating people, wanting people to die, the usual clap trap offered by those who would rather avoid honest debate. Which is what’s happening with now with the Obamacare debate. Because if only government can help people and only government can solve our problems, then Obamacare is obviously a great thing and opposing it is obviously going to destroy the country. No independent thought required.

I think we’ve had enough of this pretend compassion. You need to call out people when promoting these myths:

  • government should help people so I don’t have to
  • you’re uncaring or racist if you question the government
  • concentrating power in the hands of government is compassion
  • confiscating our wealth under threat of imprisonment is the same as sharing/giving

For those who insist government must have a hand in helping the poor, here’s a novel idea seldom considered that’s so crazy it just might work.

Get’em while they’re hot! Wear and share Deferred Compassion shirts, stickers, stationary and more at my Cafepress store. The Deferred Compassion message features this statement:

Wanting people to be helped means paying your “fair share” for someone else do the work so you don’t have to. That’s not compassion. Compassion is letting your desire to help others become action, spending your own time and effort yourself, and doing so voluntarily.

Order your Deferred Compassion swag today! Click here and share some uncommon sense in a world gone left.

culture, economy, entitlements, government, health care, ideology, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, public policy, socialism, taxes


Filed under: culture, economy, entitlements, government, health care, ideology, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, propaganda, public policy, socialism, taxes

One Response

  1. […] of paying the government to help people so you don’t have to (which I’ve addressed here) there is also the inherent selfishness of leftwing ideology. The discussion with this leftist from […]

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