Column on Charity and Generosity that Aren’t

Charity and Generosity that Aren’t

Tibor R. Machan

In
a recent stump speech urging people to keep Democrats in power,
President Obama told his audience that America is a country based in
large measure on the principle that “we are all our brothers’ keepers.”
 This is not true, but even if it were and even if that idea were itself
a good one, President Obama’s political philosophy has nothing to do
with it.

What
the president and those who share his politics believe in is the
coercive welfare state, not in charity or generosity.  For both of these
are strictly voluntary–one cannot be charitable or generous by putting
a gun to the heads of other people and ordering them to part with their
resources for the purpose of supporting various endeavors that these
other people haven’t chosen to support.  Neither the enforcers nor the
victims can claim to be charitable or generous, not by a long shot.

Why,
then, does a perfectly well educated man like President Obama, who
clearly must know better, insist on characterizing what he favors as
charity and generosity?  It is very likely a ruse, a way to disguise the
real truth which is that he and his cohorts aren’t in favor of charity
and generosity at all but in favor of coercing other people to part with
their resources to support programs they have not chosen to promote.  

Take
Obamacare, as an example, which by all accounts isn’t favored by most
Americans.  Even if it were clearly morally commendable to give health
care and health insurance to people who aren’t able to afford it, there
is nothing morally praiseworthy in making such “giving” a matter of law
and public policy that one isn’t permitted by the government to withdraw
from or reject.  

The
hallmark of morality is to do the right thing of one’s own free will.
 It isn’t morality when one is regimented to do what is right, it is
tyranny!  Such regimentation deprives the deed of its moral
significance–at most it becomes desirable behavior, at worst
involuntary servitude.

But
for some reason these facts are systematically disguised when people
like the President try to defend the coercive welfare state.  The effort
to make it all look like a matter of charity and generosity instead of
what it is, robbing Peter to benefit Paul (but not before a good portion
of the take is handed to the coercive agents themselves), most likely
aims to fool people by making them feel like they are greedy, cold
hearted, and stingy if they don’t support the program.  

This
the people clearly need to reject, disown, big time.  There is nothing
greedy about rejecting the coercive welfare state, not at all.  It
amounts, instead, to rejecting criminal confiscation of one’s resources,
a confiscation that in fact makes the victims less and less able to be
charitable and generous and enables the criminals to do with the
resources what they please.

Back
in the days when pharaohs, kings and czars claimed they owned the
countries they ruled, including all its wealth–never mind that they had
little to do with producing any of it themselves–government may have
seemed to be charitable and generous when it handed over some of this
wealth to certain of its subjects.  (Even then it was mostly for favors
gained from them, not to be helpful!) This is because these monarchs did
in fact have legal–though rarely moral–title to the wealth under
their control.  So their handing it to some (few) needy others could
plausibly look like charity and generosity.

But
there is no justification for this view seeing that the idea that the
government owns the country’s wealth is pure poppycock (despite what
some prominent legal scholars claim).  It is the citizenry that owns the
wealth, not the government (apart from some of the politicians’ private
holdings which they rarely part with other than so as to help them gain
power).  

In
our day it is pretty clear that government does nothing much that’s
productive.  It may, if it does its job right, provide protection for
its citizenry from those who would violate their rights, including their
property rights.  But as it now stands this proper job of government is
nearly everywhere corrupted and government has joined the criminal
gangs that embark upon extortion, theft, confiscation and oppression,
not on what the Declaration stated as its task, the securing of our
rights.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s