Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Charity vs the Welfare State
Religion and morality command every individual to do the right thing by helping people who have fallen upon hard times. But charity is not the same thing as decreeing that such people are entitled to an equal share of everyone's wealth.
Liberal-socialist-progressive critics charge that questioning the welfare state amounts to a mean-spirited policy of dumping the needy into the streets to provide funds for tax-cuts that benefit only the wealthy.
Such questioning, however, is mean-spirited only if one assumes that the Federal government is the sole source of charity.
In fact, from 1620 to 1933, all public welfare activity was at the state and local levels, primarily through churches, local charity groups, immigrant societies, and fraternal organizations like the Elks and Shriners. Those groups operated hospitals and schools for the disabled and the sick. For a few cents in weekly dues per household, they provided social insurance to support widows, orphans, and the disabled. Members in good standing with their fraternal and sisterly organizations would be cared for and supported by them in times of difficulty.....................
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