Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Compulsion, Not Compassion

Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
--Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Have picked up on more people claiming that their fondness for welfarism, i.e., government sponsored welfare and relief programs, demonstrates their 'compassion' for others. Welfarists also claim that those people who do not share their support for welfarism are 'cold-hearted.'

Those who promote this perspective shower themselves with misguided praise.

Compassion is empathy for the suffering of others coupled with a desire to relieve that suffering. It drives acts of altruism or charity--behaving in a manner that is helpful to others with no expectation of material benefit in return. There is still a trade involved, however, as the compassionate actor is likely to realize psychic income from helping others.

Acts of compassion are therefore voluntary exchanges. They cannot be forced.

Yet, that is precisely what proponents of government sponsored welfare programs attempt to do. Instead of engaging in direct voluntary exchange with those who need help, welfarists prefer to employ government as strong armed agents to force others to part with life, liberty, or property in the name of 'helping' others.

Stated differently, welfarists expropriate then trade the property of others to gain psychic for themselves.

And by doing this, welfarists credit themselves with 'compassion?'

This is authoritarianism. Compulsion rather than compassion. By forcing others to do something that they do not want to do, welfarists engender the coldness that they fault in others.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed the presidency in 1933, voluntary relief has taken a back seat to government assistance.

Eventually, hardly any source of distress remained unattended by a government program. Old age, unemployment, illness, poverty, physical disability, loss of spousal support, childrearing need, workplace injury, consumer misfortune, foolish investment, borrowing blunder, traffic accident, environmental hazard, and loss from flood, fire, or hurricane all became subject to government succor.
~Robert Higgs