Sunday, July 26, 2009


"Proximus sum egomet mihi."

So said Terence, also known as Publius Terentius Afer- a 2nd century Italian Philosopher and Playwright. By this, he apparently meant "charity begins at home."

To that famous quotation, many would add the admonition: "but it should not end there." So, once you have taken care of your family and your personal needs, you should give, give, give... keep giving and then give some more. In fact, give 'till it hurts.


Well, that is certainly one view of it. Many people feel that giving to charity is not only a virtue, it is a requirement for any kind of real happiness. Most organized religions subscribe to this concept to one degree or another. In particular, Christianity most definitely espouses the importance of charity. After all, to borrow a phrase from antiquity:

~~ "Charity looks at the need and not at the cause." --German Proverb ~~

Indeed. A good case in point came to visit me just today in church. The Gospel reading was from the 6th chapter of John: specifically, the story of how Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes. This was followed by a homily (sermon) that dealt with charity and giving, and how the Christian community must be something of a collective.

I'm perfectly all right with this concept, for as far as it goes. Just listen to one of the wise voices that helped shape our founders' philosophies:

~~ "No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity." --Edmund Burke ~~

Still, as I sat listening, I was yet again struck by the notion that not everyone sees charity the same way. When it comes right down to it, we have a fundamental disagreement in this country on the subject of charity.

Take for example this telling moment from last year's presidential campaign. During an interview with then candidate Obama, Bill O'Reilly asked something to the effect of "why must I have more of my money taken away from me so that you can give it to other people?" Obama's answer typified the leftist view of the whole thing. Essentially, he said "because it's the neighborly thing to do."

This is the point that Obama and his brethren use with masterful skill. What kind of inhuman person would argue with being "neighborly" and taking care of the less fortunate? It is, as we've already covered, the Christian thing to do.

The point Obama makes is, of course, the ultimate straw-man. The real argument is not that people need help and ought to get it. The germane argument is how that is best accomplished.

Some people feel very strongly about charity-- and rightfully so, I believe.

~~ "If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." --Bob Hope ~~

Others, though, believe that we've got it all wrong, and the whole charity craze is not a good thing for humanity.

~~ "Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it." --George Sand ~~

Some even present counter-intuitive arguments against charity.

~~ "Charity creates a multitude of sins." --Oscar Wilde ~~

Still other voices are more to the point of why we may want to be judicious in how we dispense charity.

~~ "Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it." --John D. Rockefeller ~~

That is really just another way to say "give a man a fish and he eats for a day..." Hard to dispute such a clear and logical argument. Too bad we're not dealing with logic.

Instead, we must contend with the emotional and propagandistic whirlpool that the left uses as a club against Conservatives every time the issue of entitlements and taxes comes up. We are routinely hit with a barrage of rhetoric that demands "social and economic justice" (whatever that means) and help for those who have not "won life's lottery." When confronted with this nonsense, it truly is difficult to decide which battle to take up.

Should we pursue the argument that life is not a "lottery," but instead is a series of difficult-- and potentially rewarding-- challenges that some people just refuse to take up for themselves? Maybe we should cry out that the government is not empowered to decide which charity gets our individual donations. Or perhaps we should stick to the old stand-by discussion on how it is simply and patently unfair to confiscate money and/or property from one person to give to another.

Not to sound defeatist, but no matter which way we choose to engage them, we are faced with the stone walls of willful ignorance and emotional irrationality.

As for the need for charity and whether or not there is enough of it: it's not as if Americans are not charitable on their own. As John Stossel points out in this piece from a few years ago: "After the Asian Tsunami two years ago, the U.S. government pledged $900 million to tsunami relief. American individuals donated $2 billion -- three times what government gave -- in food, clothing, and cash. Private charities could barely keep up with the donations."

Hmmm... that seems to say that Americans are pretty generous. In the same column, Stossel points out that, according to measurable data, Americans are far, far more charitable than any other country on Earth. Upwards of 300 billion dollars per year in charity comes from private American donations.

How about that? The good old USA is apparently comprised of some pretty decent folks.

Why, then, do the leftists insist that we must take from the "rich" to give to the "poor?" Why do they keep throwing things like universal health care (the ultimate government mandated "charity") in our face?

Without too much strain or mental toil, we can boil down the whole thing to its basic essence. The bottom line is, without question and without doubt, the left seeks to control the individual for the good of the collective. In case you missed it, the key word in the preceding sentence was "control."

They seek the subjugation of the person for the supposed sake of the people. They do this in a number of ways: perhaps by telling us what kind of light bulb we must use, or maybe by confiscating our money to pay for abortions and euthanasia procedures in the Utopian universal health care world they seek to create. Whatever form the attempt at control comes packaged in, it has the same odor: that of totalitarianism. The Great One (Mark Levin) calls it a "soft tyranny." He is, as always, absolutely spot-on.

Whatever their motives and whatever their grand intentions, one thing is inarguably true: when they are redistributing wealth and seeking to make life "fair," the leftists are acting completely outside the boundaries of the Constitution of the United States of America. They are, in all truth, outlaw scoundrels of the worst order.

Don't believe me? Let's ask one of our founders. By the way, as sure as night follows day, if he were with us today, the left would brand him a king-sized meanie for saying this.

~~ "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." --James Madison ~~

If that doesn't do it for you (or even if it does), then please take the time to read the famous
"not yours to give" story of Davy Crockett.

Study it close... there will be a test.


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