Government welfare destroys charity

There is no virtue in having government take one man’s money by the threat of force and giving it to another. The taxpayer does nothing virtuous, except yield to overwhelming state power. As government welfare replaces charity, it becomes easy and natural to turn away from the poor and leave charity to the government. Government destroys our capacity for generosity. Like Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol we may indignantly ask: “Are there no poorhouses?”

In the letter of James, we read, “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?” The modern state makes it even easier for us today to ignore the needy, for we can always dismiss them, saying: “Go to the government, be warmed and filled.”

Free is Beautiful

2 thoughts on “Government welfare destroys charity

  1. I agree with the premise and acknowledge that feeding the poor, orphanages and other support were provided by churches and charities. However, we moved away from that system and trying to move back does not guarantee that those services would be provided or could be provided.

    • Hi Steve:

      If we are ever to abandon the evil of government aggression we must take the gun from our neighbor’s head and return to true charity. I hope we can discuss this more, once you finish “Free is Beautiful.”

      Government aggression, of course, is a moral issue. But even if we take a utilitarian view, the welfare state has almost played itself out with 40% of the national government surviving on borrowing. Even if the money were there, we help no one by forcing the poor into dependency like children or animals. The minimum wage, business regulations and occupational licensing are all highly effective in making sure that the poor never get a leg onto the bottom rung of the ladder, at the same time benefiting the politician’s friends. This corruption has to end.

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