Home > Domestic Policy, Montana > Charity Shmerity

Charity Shmerity

In this hysterical screed from The Daily Inter Lake, there’s a confusing passage:

Now, before anyone accuses me of locking the hospital doors and letting people die on the street, let me explain myself. I do believe in charity. I do not believe in entitlements. Charity helps to bring us closer together; entitlements drive us further apart.

It is a good thing for the government or a church or an individual to help someone in need, but it is a bad thing to let people expect that every time they get in trouble, there is going to be someone there to bail them out. That is not called charity; it is called enabling.

I don’t understand the distinction here. Private charity doesn’t create a sense of entitlement, but government charity does? I see no functional difference. I’m no expert, but I don’t think, say, privately owned soup kitchens, tend to toss people out on the street for repeat visits. Even if there is that difference, it doesn’t seem to be an inherent difference between government and private programs. Surely a government-run entitlement program can be geared towards short term help and not just endlessly hand out money. So doesn’t his objection really only work against the design of certain government programs, rather than government programs themselves?

Also, is anyone else tired of people launching into rants against socialism when they see government spending? For crying out loud, “from each according to their ability; to each according to their need” is a bit different from helping out the less fortunate through government. Social programs aren’t intended to completely equalize our society. They’re an attempt to offset to some degree disadvantages faced by segments of our society. It’s a fact of our existence that we don’t all have the same chances in life. Is it so bad to want to give those who lack some of those chances a boost? Bad enough to conjure up images of one of the vilest regimes in our history? We’re not talking forced equality, we’re talking about leveling the playing field to a certain degree. Note the word degree.’ Some inequalities are fine. If you work harder, you get farther. That’s a good thing. Having government run social programs doesn’t mean doing away with that.

There also seems to be a lack of arguments against socialism (or whatever the person is describing as socialism) in these rants. It looks like a scare tactic. When it’s not scary enough, they say communism. Oh no, it’s socialism! Run for the hills! Color me unimpressed.

If you want to argue that government can’t do certain things as well as the private sector, fine. If you want to argue that this is generally the case, good for you. I’m not unsympathetic to that point of view. But calm down, stop the hysterics over one little word, and make an argument. We’ll all be better for it.

(via MTPolitics)

Categories: Domestic Policy, Montana
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