...Who Help Themselves

We take too much for granted in America. Whenever we have a problem, we assume that somebody else is paid to solve it, somebody from the government. All the ancient burdens of the human flesh—poverty and envy, greed and arrogance—have been turned over to one or another bureaucratic agency. We sleep better at night knowing that somewhere someone is busy making life better for us. It means that we are off the hook. We do not have to give a quarter to the wino on the street ("Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?"). If a cousin's business fails, we do not rush in to offer a loan—what do we have a small business administration for? We do not even greet a newcomer in the neighborhood with an apple pie or a "hot dish," although we may feel it our duty to alert the welcome wagon. By turning over our ethical responsibilities to organizations, we are free to devote our time and energies to our favorite subject: ourselves.

It has got to the point that we think it is positively wrong to do anything for ourselves. Families who attempt to educate their own children may be subject to prosecution, and apart from government employees, hardly anyone is free to thumb his nose at social security and provide for his own retirement. God may help those who help themselves, but God help the man who tries it. Even if we are defending our lives from a school of sharks...

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