Compulsory Compassion

Tam on compulsory government-centric compassion:

“We” are not a wealthy “society”. You and I live in a place that has some rich people and some poor people and some in-between people. “We” don’t “just have to” do anything. There may be things you need to do or things I want to do, but we aren’t part of some borg-like collective with collective responsibilities, wants and needs.

If you want to be compassionate, go be compassionate. I know that’s usually what I do when I’m feeling compassionate, not expect some entity called “the government” to go be compassionate for me. Mailing a check to the government to help the poor because you’re feeling compassionate is like handing the local crackhead a twenty to fetch you a pizza because you’re feeling hungry.

If you think something needs to be done, you should do it. You should not assume everybody else thinks the same way or that somebody else will take care of it for you.

I had a very similar conversation in a bar with a friend of mine some years back; he didn’t give to charity because he paid taxes, and that was the government’s job. Except I would expect he did not have a big Federal tax footprint based on his income when he is employed, and he’s not buying bonds.

So I expect it is with many people who favor government taking care of the needy. They want government to take care of the needy (and keep their benefits, including promised benefits intact) with someone else’s money. They want the warm-fuzzies without expenditures of their own and without having to give up any television time to work at the foodbank.

A lot of people are that way. Some people worried about the less fortunate or less responsible put their money where their mouth is and their time where the work is. But if everyone who felt compassion did, we would not need government handling it.

Unfortunately, the charities themselves spend a lot of time and effort working to get government grants, so that they can take that government money to do their good. It diminishes the charity to me if it has a large number of grant writers on staff instead of ladle bearers.

I lack a snappy conclusion. I’ll go with “a pox on them.”

That said, I do support a number of small local charities with goods donations and some with time (just a couple hours last year, unfortunately, but I have chillen). Last year, we gave about 10% of our gross income (not adjusted gross income). And we’re the heartless Republicans.

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