Charity v. Welfare


Before our prudent webmaster carried out our long ago agreed upon plan to disable comments on this section, I received an insightful message from W.C. Taquiya.  Old friends and some regular commenters are being invited to contribute to this section, and, in the future, if I wish to stimulate debate it will be in the form of a Hard Right column where comments are allowed.  Now for the comments:

With a nod to your comments on the confiscatory (theft) aspect of State administered welfare, it's powerful reinforcement of dependency (sloth - or a seven day sabbath?), the observations of the Saints, and Christian obligations.  To other incompatibilities. 

First, one of my favorites, the State subsidizes murder and calls it abortion.  I could argue that State sponsored welfare, in effect and intent, elevates the State to the status of a false God.  I would modestly suggest that the whole subsidized contraceptive program is an endorsement of adultery.  It may be that welfare recipients covet their neighbor's ass, or at least the contents of their wallets.  This might could be the flip side of the stealing thing mentioned above.  Does the welfare program honor mothers and fathers?  Since it rewards and even sometimes requires recipients not to be part of complete families, this one is a slam dunk.  So yes, there are certain inconsistencies between State welfare and some of the Christian ethical 'suggestions'.  Or, so I would argue.

These are all sound Machiavellian insights, that is, they evince an understanding that pursuit of power is the basis of most government policy.  There is a finite amount of power and authority in any society, distributed among human persons, families, corporate associations (churches, burial societies, colleges, etc.), and government(s).  When national governments grow, it must be at the expense either of lower level governments, e.g. of states, provinces, cities, or non-governmental  institutions such as the family, or both.   When governments decide to "help" women and children, they are really seizing power from husbands, fathers, and kin-groups.  This is not an unintended consequence or side-effect of the policy but an anticipated and welcome result.

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.

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