a friend had the following quote as her status update on facebook last night:
"the test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. it is whether we provide enough to those who have little." -- franklin d. roosevelt (big surprise)
i've been thinking a lot about this. i can totally appreciate the sentiment behind it and the compassionate feelings it probably stirs in this friend and others who think that way. it is well-intended, i have no doubt.
the problem is that, while i believe the opinion expressed in the quote may be somewhat true, roosevelt, and those who quote him, believe that the "we" spoken of is the government. yeah, i believe that we -- meaning we, as people, should be charitable and provide for those who do not have what they need . . . but only when they cannot (because of age or infirmity) provide it for themselves. i do not believe, and never will believe, that we should be compelled to do so by the government.
our government, with all its entitlements and doles, has created over many decades -- especially since the wonderful mr. roosevelt was at the helm -- a society where countless people have learned to work the system instead of actually going to work. those who do work hard to support themselves are penalized on their behalf every single day.
this is not providing in the Lord's way. if you don't believe me, there's a little book you can read called, providing in the Lord's way. it teaches very clearly that self-reliance is key and handouts are demeaning, even evil in many ways. again, for my liberal friends, let me repeat myself lest i be attacked as uncaring and mean (which i will be anyway) -- i firmly advocate assistance for those who truly need it. we all know people who, although they work as hard as they can, are unable to provide everything for their families or those who can't work for physical reasons. this is NOT what i'm referring to. the bulk of entitlements and government spending is wasted. i do not believe in redistrubution of wealth at all, under any of its various titles.
another flaw i see in the quote is roosevelt's mention of the role "we" play in adding to one's abundance . . . again, that's not the government's job to regulate. in our beautiful capitalistic system, a person is free to work hard and earn as much money as possible, and it's no one's business -- so long as everything he does is legal -- how rich he gets. we have become such a bunch of entitled whiners. where did we ever get the idea that we have a right to what belongs to someone else? oh yeah, from the government.
i get what my friend is asserting, i think. there are good, caring people all over this country who seem to feel this same way; like i said, i think it is well-intended, if misguided. let's be the kind of compassionate people who take care of the needy without the government forcing us to -- because, let's face it, when your money goes to the poor (and the not so poor) through the government's hands, they hold onto a great deal of it, and waste a great deal more.
you may have noticed it's been quite a while since my last post to this blog. that's because i had to take a break from the political scene. it was really stressing me out and even hurting my heart to watch what is going on. as i've said before, i am no longer making this a democrat versus republican thing. george w. bush made many mistakes, as did clinton and bush before him. and don't get me started on jimmy carter. the problem is we have allowed washington to become a place of corrupt people who are so far off course from the vision of the Framers that it would be unrecognizable to them. it happened little by little, and we have just let it happen. that being said, barack obama has upped the game exponentially, and i think people are finally starting to get fed up. i'm so tired of hearing libs say, "we sat quietly while george w. bush ruined the country. now it's our president's turn, and you have to be quiet." that kind of reasoning baffles me. so it's ok if obama ruins everything because, on principle, he's "your" president and you love him? i don't even know how to respond to that when i hear it. it's so beyond ridiculous.
i'm firmly behind the movement to unelect every politician in washington and start all over. i'm in favor of setting term limits for congress and in doing away with all the perks they have set up for themselves. if they are not accountable for their actions, which they are not, why wouldn't they become corrupted?
what do you think about this quote from roosevelt? what are your feelings on how we should deal with this age-old question?