Skip to comments.Right Heart: A morally serious look at government aid.
Posted on 02/14/2008 5:53:59 AM PST by ReleaseTheHounds
This primary season has encouraged some serious soul searching about what it means to be a conservative. The discussion is important, not just as the party selects a nominee, but as we at long last move beyond the Bush era of compassionate conservatism.
An important part of this discussion began when then-candidate Fred Thompson was asked if, as a Christian and a conservative, he supported President Bushs global AIDS initiative. Thompson responded: Christ didnt tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it. President Bushs former speechwriter, Michael Gerson, excoriated the candidate in a Washington Post oped, Callous Conservatives. Gerson argued that Thompsons response revealed a lack of moral seriousness and failure to understand the strategic value of humanitarian efforts.
The particulars of the AIDS global initiative are less important than the broader principle at stake. Its true that targeted development and aid can be important foreign-policy tools. In certain circumstances, a federal investment can make sense. But Gerson wasnt simply criticizing an underestimation of such initiatives foreign-policy benefits; he suggested that its a moral failing to question if governments duties extend to the treatment of sick people in extreme poverty.
Yet this is a very important question. Is it governments duty to care for all those in need? Most politicians accept Gersons view of moral seriousness and use promises of government action to showcase their compassion. Is this really compassion and charity?
(Excerpt) Read more at article.nationalreview.com ...
Yet there was a time when both parties respected the limited role and responsibilities of government. Democrat Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill in 1887 that would have sent federal relief to drought-stricken farmers in Texas. He didnt want to encourage the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and believed that individual Americans could best help Texan farmers through private acts of charity. (They did, sending several multiples of the aid proposed in Congress.)
Cleveland understood that government efforts even, and perhaps especially, those motivated by compassion tend to have unintended consequences that render them ineffective. Decades of foreign aid to African countries served to prop up failing governments and undermine private development, exasperating the misery it was supposed to relieve. The compassionate War on Poverty within the U.S. had a similar effect, devastating the very communities it was intended to uplift
WHY doesn’t anyone ever, ever ask Obama or Hillary questions about the role of government in the lives of citizens? (rhetorical)
You can also google “Yours not to give” by US Rep Davey Crockett (yeah: that one). Excellent expression of how immoral government charity really is.
Word dyslexia: it’s “Not yours to give”.
Government schools are one of the worst examples of misplaced government “charity”. They are nothing more than one gigantic transfer of wealth to middle class people who otherwise would be fully capable of educating their own kids. And,,the unintended consequences of free education is plain for all with eyes to see. The homosexual bill SB777 in California is merely the latest example.
The State has the will and the power to kill - to employ that power in the education and health systems has very predictable results.
Must reading here..
What gives more glory to God (our purpose of being created), individual giving in the name of God, or a check from the U.S. Treasury?
Thompson was correct and Michael Gerson should be “excoriated” for having a non-Biblical worldview and elevating man to a position he is not worthy of.
Thanks, Tax-chick... The co-authors are my kids.
Not even God Almighty forces us to give.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
You’re the Mom of Carrie and Brad? If
so .. big congratulations for raising
two fine conservatives! You must be SO
proud. What was your formula?
The problem is utopianism. If you truly believe that you can create paradise here on earth, then your belief requires that there be nothing impeding that goal. It has led to the most horrific slaughters of human beings in history, and even many “conservatives” are ready to begin a descent down that road.
The true conservative knows that creation (and any man made gov’t by extension) is flawed and we can only hope to preserve that which is best for the generations that come after us, and that which is best about this republican experiment is the ideal of liberty upon which it is founded. Liberty is not advanced by increasing the size and power of government; ever.
I thought I remembered that Carrie Lukas was your daughter; didn’t know the young man was your son, though.
They’ve brought up a very important point that we (unfortunately) rarely hear from anyone in government or anyone running for office.
It's been awhile since I "pinged" you on one of Carrie's (and Brad's) op-ed pieces. Here they collaborate and I think it's a nice piece.
I do know that in long-time socialist countries, the spirit of charity is dead. The prevailing attitude is: “I gave at the office.” That is why so many Euro-grandees love to excoriate America’s overseas generosity; they now longer even think to include private charity in their figuring.
About James Shikwati and the dreary history of aid to Africa. I recall a recent WSJ article on Mali last year. Even relatively honest African governments have basically evolved into aid-milking institutions. The Mali article painted a picture in which the local government skillfully taps various donors to take care of all it’s problems. Unfortunately, that can never substitute for a real, functioning system. Countries that rely on foreign governments, NGO’s, volunteers, missionaries, etc. to treat their sick and teach their kids, rather than training and employing their own doctors, teachers and engineers, will always be perpetual wrecks.
Of course YOU would. LOL!!!
Great piece, ya done good there Ma!!!!
Yes. The coersion at the heart of government funded charity is the reason it always fails. The foundation must be right, or karmically, the right result will not follow.
Excellent, thoughtful column BUMP!
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