So I'm Mormon. Everybody got that?
In our church we believe that before this world was there was a battle between the followers of God the Father and the followers of his rebellious son, Lucifer.
You see, Lucifer wanted to give us a gift--guaranteed salvation. But he wanted to give us that gift by way of taking away the one thing that the Father viewed as most precious above all things--choice. Lucifer was using the promise of guaranteed salvation as a bribe to gain votes for his side. But what did he really want? He wanted power and control over the minds and wills of mankind.
Lucifer lost, and man came to earth with the freedom to choose for himself, by the way he lived, whether he would gain salvation and return to live with God.
So why do I bring this up?
Because of that speech that I provided the link to in my last post--The Proper Role of Government.
You see, as citizens of this United States, we have a duty to support our government in a few things. A very few things. Those are listed quite nicely in the preamble to the constitution.
Now the preamble says, "...promote the general welfare..." Promote, not provide. Promote and provide do not mean the same thing. Promote means to encourage the environment that makes it possible. Provide means to actually produce and distribute. Yet those four little words have been used to justify burdening the American people with an enormous welfare system and thousands of other entitlement programs.
What's wrong with that?
Choice. That's what's wrong with it.
YOU may not have a problem with the government deciding for you how to distribute your money. But what if your neighbor does? Is it right to take away his power to choose for himself what will be done with his money?
You see, I believe in God. I believe that God has certain expectations of us, and one of those expectations is that we will take care of our neighbors when they fall into trouble. If we choose, of our own free will, not to do so, we risk condemnation. If, by our own free will, we choose TO do so, we will be rewarded and blessed. But that's between me and God, not between me and government. So, I suppose those who are OK with the government giving their money to the poor FOR them will be blessed for their intentions, but how much more might you be blessed if you make a conscious and personal effort to help someone in need? You know what they say about the road to hell. Actions = golden paving stones. Intentions = brimstone.
And what about the person who would rather choose for himself how, or whether, he will help his neighbor, but who is compelled by law to do it the government's way? Is he equally blessed? I don't know. I just don't know. Forced service feels too much like forced servitude to me.
Another problem with handing over these matters to government is that it becomes too impersonal, and when it becomes impersonal there is no motivation to feel any personal responsibility for the help received. We see this every day in the millions of Americans who spend their entire lives needlessly living off welfare with no thought to where that help is coming from, or who might be effected by it.
So, what if the guy who wants food stamps has to actually get up off his couch and go begging to his neighbor for them? Has to actually look the person in the eye, has to actually see the kids he's trying to feed, has to actually see that he works 50 or 60 hours a week to pay the mortgage?
One thing that is true is that Americans are the most generous people in the world, despite and on top of the scads of money that we, by compulsion, pump into welfare programs that don't work very well and are continually abused.
Just imagine, if we are already that generous, how much more generous might we be if we had our own money to give as we wished? And how much more efficient might the recipients of our charity be if they had to prove to US individually BEFORE they received our money, how well they use the money we give?