Liberals Outsourcing Morality
In the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, Pontius Pilate symbolically washes his hands of the responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus. This symbolism has carried on through the centuries as the mark of someone who is complicit in something yet wishes to distance himself from the appearance of responsibility. The person effectively "washes" away the guilt.
In much the same way, 21st-century liberalism uses the tax code to absolve itself of the moral responsibility to truly care for the very citizens they claim to be protecting. The tax code has become the means by which supposedly caring citizens symbolically fulfill their moral duties to care for their fellow citizen. They fulfill this responsibility by electing politicians to pass taxes forcing others to pay for social programs they want but do not wish to pay for themselves.
Having just seen a "liberal" state cut off funding for developmentally disabled children for budgetary reasons with no moral concern for the welfare of those children disturbed me. Under the revised program, the children were to receive treatment in six months or be forced out of the program. This cut off from aid convinced me that social program proponents are often willing to support the poor only if they can get someone else to pay for it. They effectively "wash" away their responsibility and complicity by passing legislation requiring others to pay for those programs they want but do not wish to pay for using their personal funds.
Other citizens with more sincere motives of caring for one another make the conscious decision to support their fellow citizen in need by using their own funds to care for the poor rather than merely forcing others to do it. Many do this through their church affiliation or by personal involvement and volunteering.
The disparity of thought processes of those who demand government involvement in social programs with those who foster personal responsibility to support one another is profound. This disparity and the consequences of that disparity are critical to understanding why our Founding Fathers framed the Constitution the way that they did.
In Article 1, Sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution we proclaim what Congress can do and is prohibited from doing. These very boundaries were intended to guide us in an incredibly wise way in which the "unintended consequences" of an intrusive government were spelled out. Our Founders knew precisely that one cannot legislate morality nor legislate personal responsibility.
Passage of laws protecting those in need does not absolve you of your responsibility to truly care for one another. Any moral society understands compassion for those in need.
Unfortunately to presume that those claiming to be in need as defined by a law are truly in need is a horrible mistake. Laws passed to "protect" with the intent of winning reelection merely creates an entitlement mentality which will not benefit the person nor their family in the long run but it will get the politician reelected.
When you care for those in need because of your personal desire, you are following your moral conscience. Your moral compass is guiding you. You become involved and personally responsible.
When you "care" for someone involuntarily through taxes you may feel that you have fulfilled your responsibility because you paid the taxes required. The potential for abuse of and dependency in the program are ever present as well. The "entitlement" becomes a right rather than a need.
I often wonder if some misguided citizens who demand government solutions to all problems really want to encourage dependency because it feels good to be needed. Do they like having someone totally dependent on them?
The need to be needed may compel many people's actions but the resultant involuntary dependency of one person on another is not healthy in my mind. Such dependency creates an atmosphere of fear of those truly in need that they may be abandoned whenever a new cause comes up that is more fashionable or should taxes run short as in a recession.
True social justice requires us to be personally involved, personally responsible and personally accountable. But then our Founding Fathers knew that. Our Founding Fathers never washed their hands of their responsibilities. Instead they fought for our freedoms against a tyrannical king so that we could have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Unrelenting government intrusion in our lives is our tyrannical king. To retain our national culture we must get involved and get our government back under control. We must become personal responsible and accountable. Now!
Frank Ryan, CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He is on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com.