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Published October 04, 2011 in Talking Points by Sharon Harris
A free society is also a generous society.
In a free society, those in need would be better cared for. Michael Novak said of a free society, "No better weapon against poverty, disease, illiteracy, and tyranny has yet been found . . . Capitalism's compassion for the material needs of humankind has not in history, yet, had a peer."
How do we know a free society would be more generous? Thanks to Marvin Olasky, we don't have to theorize. In his two books on American compassion, The Tragedy of American Compassion and Renewing American Compassion, he provided examples and reasons that private charities have worked wonders — and showed why the government's so-called "welfare" was doomed to failure from the outset.
Government welfare has created resentment against the poor. And government has taken away the sense of personal responsibility to provide for others. It's time to strip away the veneer of humanitarianism from government.
As Charles Murray demonstrated in Losing Ground, government welfare simply doesn't work. In fact, it's been a disaster.
And it's not necessary.
We didn’t need Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush — or Congress — to create the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, or thousands of other charities.
We don't need the income tax to force us to help the poor. As Milton Friedman points out, before the income tax "privately financed schools and colleges multiplied. Foreign missionary activity exploded. Non-profit, private hospitals, orphanages, and numerous other institutions sprang up like weeds. Almost every charitable or public service organization, from The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to the YMCA and YWCA, from the Indian Rights Association to the Salvation Army, dates from that period."
People know this, intuitively. When you’re talking with someone who really cares about helping the poor, just ask them this question: "If you came in to lots of money — say you won the lottery — and you had millions of dollars for use in helping the poor, would you give your money to the Department of Health and Human Services, or to a private charity with a great track record for helping the poor?" You can see the light bulb come on in someone's head. No one ever proposes to donate a windfall to the government.
The gentle invisible hand of private charity vs. the visible fist of government welfare.
A free society is one of abundance. In part six, read how the free-market encourages brings plenty while the government makes us all poorer.