Monday, October 19, 2009

The Selfish Republican

A few posts ago I got on my soap box and didn't have time to fully address the issue of how being selfish is in all of our best interest.

I read an article where the author was rather perturbed by an article he read in Time magazine that basically said that because so many people lost money in their 401(k)s in 2008 that that investment engine was broke and we need to reach out to those people and find a new investment engine other than the stock market. This is just another case of someone passing the blame from themselves. It really isn't our place to judge who was smart (those who educated themselves on investing and diversified their investments, becoming more conservative as they approached retirement) and who wasn't (those who didn't take the time to get educated and as a result made poor decisions). A lot of people's losses could have been mitigated if they had a diversified investment portfolio (and just because I use this vocabulary doesn't mean I'm an expert). I just hope the government doesn't decide to create more taxes on the responsible to help the irresponsible.

All those who happened to be unfortunate "victims" of the recent recession are individuals who either have family or friends or churches to go to in the event that they need help (everyone does, but my focus is on those who think they are victims). The victim's first recourse should be to family, not to the government. Parents spend years upon years 100% devoted to the welfare of their children; it is not enough for their children to simply pass on their legacy by being good parents themselves, they need to be good children and support their parents in their old age, particularly in the event that their parents are affected by some late-life financial loss (regardless of the children feel about their parents' wisdom in investing).

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin (a prophet that lived in the Americas circa 100 BC) teaches that we shouldn't restrict our helping the poor because we believe that the reason they're in their situations is their own fault.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
This is wrong and sinful. We should be willing to give freely to all.

The church should be a way that the community one lives in has an opportunity to serve.  In our church we donate money monthly to our congregation to help out with any of their financial needs.  Money goes out to help with rent, utilities, food, medical expenses, counseling, etc.  We are not forced to and yet so many are so willing to help their spiritual brothers and sisters.

The government should never force us to give our money away to the less fortunate. According to the preamble of the U.S. Consititution, government exists
to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

Don't try to argue that "if the government doesn't force us to help our fellow beings all the less fortunate will be much worse off." Have a little faith in your fellowman! If we were taxed less because the government cuts back on taxes (taxes that basically redistributes the wealth of the better-off folks), it would find that the less fortunate would be much better-off because people are genuinely interested in the welfare of their neighbors and don't need to be forced to be charitable. Everyone would be happier because they are given the opportunity to exercise their God-given agency. Sure there would be those that would care less, but such is the purpose of this life: to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death.

Going back to the title of this post (forgive the stereotypes), Democrats tend to want the Government to expand to be able to help more people (e.g., FDR after the Great Depression, Obama with Health Care), Republicans want more freedom from government in order to choose for themselves how to help those around them and not be forced by some unconstitutional hand. I'm of the opinion that less government gives us more freedom, allowing us to make choices that will allow us greater happiness, and sadly also greater sorrow.


Coach Ann said...

Very good comments.

Aimee said...

Lee, this is excellent. I think you bring a very good point that isn't attacking anyone and is very very right.

markymark said...

It all comes down to one thing really. Do you believe that people are inherently good or not? Or in other words, are people naturally more good than evil.

I think that liberals are of the belief that people are inherently evil and therefore require government to force them to contribute to their fellow man, etc, etc. Conservatives are of the opposing belief and are more optimistic.

Theodis Butler said...

I wish more people realized it is the church's responsibility to help the people and community--not the government.

Granted however, if you travel other countries where the government does not care about it's citizens that country probably isn't doing so well.

Unfortunately there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. But the solution is simple as you stated in your article...we need to be a little bit more selfish.