Tuesday, October 6, 2015

You Have Done It Unto Me: The Lie of Liberal Altruism

In the 25th chapter of Matthew, the Savior speaks of the final judgment.  To those who have done well and to those who have not, he offers the same explanation for the reward they are offered.  He tells them all that, "... inasmuch as ye have done [or not done] it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

He is referring to how they did, or did not, take care of the poor, the sick, the destitute and the afflicted among them.

Today, much of our political debate and divide appears to be focused on how we, as a society, believe we should go about taking care of the least advantaged among us.

For many years, as I read or heard these words, I believed that Jesus was speaking metaphorically. I believed he was saying that he was holding us accountable for our treatment of our fellow human beings.  And, he is certainly saying that.  However, I am now convinced that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically in this matter.  Rather, he was being completely literal.

We learn elsewhere that in his atoning sacrifice he suffered all the pains of humanity (D&C 18:11), so that he could learn to succor those in need (Hebrews 2:18).  I suggest that in a very real way, he has actually shared and felt the very pains of the homeless, the hungry, the naked, those in prison and those who wash up on the edges of our society like flotsam washing up on a beach.  And, that he did not suffer those pains in some abstract way, or as a derivative of what those people suffer, rather, through some incomprehensible mechanism he is and was able to fully feel the actual pains that each of us has and will suffered.  And, feeling those actual pains, he then can understand completely our situation and can comfort us, or forgive us, in exact measure according to our pain and need.

Knowing then, that He feels the pains of others, when we help those in need, when we relieve the suffering of those in anguish or pain, when we feed the hungry, we directly reduce the amount of suffering and pain that Christ suffers.  Likewise, when we cause others to suffer, we add to pain He suffers.  And when we fail to act to alleviate the pain and suffering of others, we fail to alleviate His pain and suffering.

I believe that is true.

In the light of that belief, some would suppose that I would be driven to embrace the social welfare model of government (aka Socialism, Communism, Progressivism, Liberalism, Fascism).  In fact much of the social welfare model of government wraps itself in a mantle of altruism about caring for the less fortunate among us. But, nothing could be further from the truth.

Socialists like Bernie Sanders and Liberals like Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama, seek to destroy the rich (other than themselves) and even to destroy the middle class, and make us all equally poor together.

I despise their cries to destroy the wealthy in order to help the poor.  And there is no hypocrisy in my feelings.  You cannot lift anyone up by tearing someone else down.

When Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama and their ilk talk about helping the poor and relieving suffering, they are not talking about digging deep into their own pockets and giving until it hurts themselves in order to help others.  They are content to keep their own wealth, gained by feeding at the trough of the taxpayers.  They will keep their wealth, and instead they will dig deep into the pockets of others and force them to give until it hurts.

Their hypocrisy in their failure to live the very principles they are espousing is as clear and horrendous as that of any Christian preacher who rails from the pulpit against the evils of the flesh, and then is caught in adultery and debauchery.  And their altruistic battle cries of "soak the rich" mask the brutal reality of their policies which actually soak everyone who is above the poverty line in order to make us all poor together and ensure that the only path to wealth and comfort is through service to the State.

We need to re-enshrine the notion of individual action and individual accountability in our nation, especially when it comes to the issues of caring for the poor and disadvantaged.  A thrust toward individual accountability is in direct opposition to the Socialist thrust of collective accountability.

Each individual should take personal action to help those who are less advantaged than they.  Each person should do according to their ability and means.  This does not mean that we cannot band together into charitable organizations to magnify our efforts.  But, we should not ever rely upon the power of taxation, which is nothing less than forcible redistribution of wealth, in order to take care of those who are disadvantaged.

I make a notable exception in this for military veterans.  Military veterans are the only organization which has earned the right to partake of a portion of the public treasury to support them in their times of trouble. Because they have literally offered their lives in the service of our country, they are actually entitled to support through taxation.

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Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

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