What has the modern welfare state to do with charity? Almost nothing. The system seems almost designed to eliminate virtue, kindness or gratitude. The taxpayer gives not through the love of his neighbor, but through fear of the government. Charity is replaced with indignation, so that when confronted with other’s needs, we may ask–like Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”–”Are there no poorhouses?”
Nomatter how well a government might behave in most matters, no modern state (except perhaps one: the Vatican) avoids aggression as a means of accomplishing the “good.” Even the “good” government—which never initiates violence except to finance its good-deed-doing—finds itself making the moral choice condemned by St. Paul in Romans 3:8: that of doing evil that good may come of it.