I stumbled across this quote this morning and wanted to share.
“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
Since it was in the same arena as a conversation I had on Twitter yesterday about the responsibility of government to care for it’s people from a Biblical perspective, I have been thinking a lot about it. Since the majority of the hate mail I get is based in religion, I figure I need to hit on this from time to time.
His perspective was that Jesus would want society to work collectively for the good. Which is true. That was the original plan. However, we live in a fallen world. People are NOT perfect, and each person needs to be accountable for their own actions.
Should we help those who are in need? YES! I say that emphatically. But it is NOT the responsibility of the government to do so. It is the responsibility of the individual, of private charities and organizations. Despite the “tough economic times” we’re so often reminded of people DO give. They always will.
Now for the preachin’. Jesus was about personal accountability and responsibility. Let’s take a look at 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
And then we have Luke 12:48.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Read: you are responsible for yourself and for what you have. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you are entrusted with a lot, then YOU are responsible for what goes along with that. There is nowhere in the New Testament where the mandate to care for one another gets passed off to the government. All that does is remove personal accountability and places it in the hands of our representatives and those who pay taxes.
You do not grow a responsible society by taking away the accountability of the individual.
If you view society through a collectivist lens, then you’re operating under the assumption that everyone has everyone elses’ best interests at heart, which is just not true.
I fail to see how removing consequences and incentives benefits anyone. Jesus was clear that not everyone should have the same thing. Equal opportunity is not the same as equal outcome. Some people are given more than others. Some earn more than others. We were not all designed to be the same person.
There are inequities in our society. There always will be. In America, we are to be given equal opportunity. After that, it’s between you and God.