The Big Think

September 20, 2012

Quoth

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:46 am

“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”

Penn Jillette

The uncomfortable implication here is this: if I accept the truth of the first part of this statement (govt. transferring wealth for “compassion” reasons is immoral), then I have to live up to the call contained in the second part of this statement (then I must then do something about hunger and need in the world myself). This isn’t a cheap excuse to get government off our backs at no cost, but a real call to personal action in the place of government action.

I have a friend who makes up small plastic baggies of supplies for homeless people (containing toothbrushes, socks, food, water, etc) and hands those out at street corners to people in need. She’s living out her faith in a tangible way. It’s a great way of making a small impact that, if multiplied by 300 million, would transform society. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Personal responsibility in lieu of action-by-proxy via government redistribution. Kudos to her.

Step up.

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