7.06.2008

THE HUMANITARIAN

According to Webster the definition of a humanitarian is:

A person promoting human welfare and social reform.

That sounds great right? Not necessarily. It depends on how one goes about promoting human welfare and social reform. Do you believe the government should have a role in promoting such causes?

I believe so, but to a very limited extent. The federal governments sole purpose in promoting human welfare is to protect my rights as an individual and to defend my country from foreign invasion. This is the limit as established by the Constitution of the United States. Technically this is not promoting human welfare, it is protecting humans so they can seek out their own welfare according to their own desires.

In regards to the governments role in taking care of people, Thomas Jefferson stated:

"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."

As soon as the government gets into the business of helping people, it gains the power to take away or steal from its citizens. How does that work? The government itself does not produce anything. It is a parasite that needs a host in order to survive. If the people give the government the power to give to those in need, they have also unintentionally given power to take from those who have. Most people in our society today would say that is a humanitarian act. If you believe that the "rich" should pay a higher percentage of income tax in order to give to the less wealthy, who pay no income tax, you believe in a humanitarian function of government. A function I might add that does not exist in the Constitution.

"But there is no harm in such a humanitarian and charitable function of government" some would say. History would provide a very powerful argument against you.

I pay my income taxes because I am afraid the government would take away everything that I have, including my freedom. Most people likewise do the same. Since I am being coerced into paying an income tax, it is not a voluntary trasaction. I pay because I don't want to go to jail. You give up your wallet to a mugger with a knife because you don't want to die. It is not voluntary, it is coercion. All rational people would consider such actions as bad, or evil. What if the mugger gave the wallet he stole to a child on the brink of starvation? Do the ends justify the means? If you answer yes, then you believe it is okay to do evil if the end result is good.

What if the government does it?

If the government "steals" from the wealthy in order to pay for the feeding of hungry people in some other part of the world, is it a good thing? Is it okay to condone the evil act of stealing if the end result is the feeding of starving people? If you answer yes, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Dung, Pol Pot, and every other brutal dictator also thought the same.

The latest book I am reading, 10 Books That Screwed Up The World, by Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., makes very powerful arguments, based on history, of the terror that has been wrought by humanitarians:

"Yielding to the temptation to do evil in the service of good [has been] the source of unprecedented carnage in the twentieth century... The lesson learned - or that should have been learned-by such epic destruction is this: once we allow ourselves to do evil so that some perceived good may follow, we allow even greater evils for the sake of ever more questionalble goods, until we consent to the greatest evils for the sake of mere trifles."

C.S. Lewis expounded further the danger of allowing such action:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity must at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

Ezra Taft Benson summed up the implications of the do gooder who uses evil means for his perceived glorious ends best:

Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own...The harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional ‘do-gooders,’who attempt to set themselves up as gods and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means. ( An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 140)

The government cannot bestow charity, for it has nothing to give. There is NOTHING charitable when a politicion gives money that is not his to those in need. There is NOTHING charitable about stealing from people and giving it to others to help them out. It is not a Christian principle, it is not a principle of liberty, it is theft, it is stealing, it is a violation of the commandments of God. In the forsight of the Lord, he forbids such action, because he knows the end result as demonstrated by the human carnage of the twentieth century.

The true humanitarian is a person who preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While on the Earth, Christ angered many of his "followers" when He refused to form a political movement, or be crowned an earthly king by His "followers". Christ wanted to change the hearts of people, which in turn would change government, society and civilization. A true humanitarian, someone who promotes human welfare and social reform, is a true disciple of Jesus Christ, who promotes nothing more or less than His message. This did NOT include doing evil for end results that are good.

7 comments:

rericson said...

and then there are those of us who believe that taxation, although not pleasant, is necessary and do not resent it.
some of us also believe that the constitution was intended to be a living, dynamic document. written to meet the needs of the people of that time, but deliberately creating and incorporating a legislature to allow the laws of the land to evolve as our needs evolved.....

not jefferson or any of his compatriots could have anticipated a united states as it is today, nor could they have anticipated the enormity of need and the disparity of distribution...or the callousness of man....

there are a bunch of folks who like to answer many questions or dilemmas with "what would jesus do?"....well, perhaps when faced with some of our modern societal problems one might ask, "what would jefferson, et al, write?"

i would rather my tax dollars go to humanitarian efforts here, in our country, or to starving, suffering nations in africa or asia, or anywhere, than to pay for a war in iraq that we have no business being in. and i have no problem arming a militia to protect our shores and borders, but i have a real problem with any old everyday jane or joe carrying a gun for self protection.....
perhaps we could put somre of those tax dollars into good, early education that includes anti-bullying programs in all schools and good early intervention programs for juvenile offenders, and good urban renewal programs and we wouldn't have the percieved need to tote guns....

Gabriel said...

Thank you for your comments rericson. Here is my response:

You wrote: “and then there are those of us who believe that taxation, although not pleasant, is necessary and do not resent it.”

We agree on the fact that taxation is necessary. It is absolutely necessary for government to exist. There are many forms of taxation; my contention is with the income tax. I am perfectly happy to pay the federal gasoline tax as it pays for the roads I use. If someone does not own a car, why should they have to pay to maintain roads they do not use? That is an indirect tax. A direct tax such as income taxation is stealing. If something is removed from my possession by coercion, it is theft.

You wrote: “some of us also believe that the constitution was intended to be a living, dynamic document. written to meet the needs of the people of that time, but deliberately creating and incorporating a legislature to allow the laws of the land to evolve as our needs evolved.....”

We disagree on this point. The Constitution has been amended only 27 times since inception (17 times if you remove the original Bill of Rights). The Constitution was intended to be difficult to amend and then only by a difficult process. The Constitution therefore was not intended to be a living and dynamic document. The tenth amendment is the best illustration of this point.

It reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Federal government cannot constitutionally do anything not specified in the Constitution itself. It was designed to be a limit on the government. We do agree that the legislature of the States was created to allow the laws of the land to evolve as our needs evolved, but no legislature on the federal, state, or local level can create a law that contradicts the Constitution. Notice there is no law in the Constitution which prohibits murder or drug use, that is reserved to the states to figure out.

You wrote: “not jefferson or any of his compatriots could have anticipated a united states as it is today, nor could they have anticipated the enormity of need and the disparity of distribution...or the callousness of man....”

This is EXACTLY why they limited the powers of the Federal Government through the Constitution. The Federal government is involved in many things that it has no constitutional authority to be involved in. For example the Department of Education, or Social Security. These things should be handled by the States, NOT the Federal Government. The individual states were meant to be laboratories of democracy. If one state wanted to try out socialism, that was the state’s right. In this manner, each state would be in competition with one another. Competition amongst the various state governments to keep the most people in their state would vastly increase the standard of living for all people. If you didn’t like the oppressive laws of one state, you could move. If a lot of people began to flee from one state due to oppressive taxation, that state would be forced to enact more favorable laws to have people come back. If one state tried out a social program that worked beautifully, the other states could then follow suit. The Federal Government has usurped the states and has become a monopoly of governmental administration. Human ingenuity is squashed when a giant bureaucracy takes over and administers your life from the other side of the country.

You wrote: “there are a bunch of folks who like to answer many questions or dilemmas with "what would jesus do?"....well, perhaps when faced with some of our modern societal problems one might ask, "what would jefferson, et al, write?"”

The points I have just made would answer the question, “What would Jefferson do?”. The answer is in the Constitution. What is not reserved for the Federal Government, let the states decide. Depend on human ingenuity from fifty different states looking after the best interest of their own state. Do not depend on bureaucrats in a central location to make good decisions for 300 million people.

You wrote: “i would rather my tax dollars go to humanitarian efforts here, in our country, or to starving, suffering nations in africa or asia, or anywhere, than to pay for a war in iraq that we have no business being in. and i have no problem arming a militia to protect our shores and borders, but i have a real problem with any old everyday jane or joe carrying a gun for self protection.....”

Please read the following article regarding humanitarian efforts as it argues the point much better than I can.

Why would you have a problem if people carried guns for self protection? If nobody assaults them they would never use their guns? What harm would they do?

You wrote: “perhaps we could put some of those tax dollars into good, early education that includes anti-bullying programs in all schools and good early intervention programs for juvenile offenders, and good urban renewal programs and we wouldn't have the perceived need to tote guns....”

There use to be a time in American History when the current day practice of giving free should lunches would strike Mothers as insulting. As it suggests she is unable and unwilling to carry out the responsibility of motherhood; the convenience of free lunches, plus the saving expense, plus the government’s leaflets have change her way of thinking. And so with every activity of government turned Santa Claus by the income tax: a mass propaganda introduces the new practice and more propaganda justifies it, until the people think as the government wants them to think. Free judgment becomes next to impossible.

A few decades ago in Yellowstone National Park, the authorities permitted people to feed the bears. Sounds nice right? The bears soon became dependent on people for their food. Once powerful and mighty predators soon became squabbling jackals. They congregated around the trash cans and fought amongst one another for any piece of rotting garbage they could find. A beautiful and might animal had is beauty, majesty and instincts robbed by those with good intentions. Thankfully the bears were soon barricaded from the trash, and people were forbidden to feed the bears. The result, the bears became bears again!

rericson said...

your arguments are overly simplistic. and not feasible in modern america.
for every article you site against the 'welfare state'...or whatever moniker you want to hang on it, there are many other articles delineating our responsibility for those less able or less fortunate than ourselves.....
your comments about motherhood and free lunches are ridiculous.
your interpretation of what jeffereson or any of his colleagues might have thought are fantasy.
were any of our forefathers confronted by the social injustices, the price for which we are still paying today, of a Jim Crow south, or the virtual genocide we committed against the Native Americans, the devastation of the great depression, another era we have never fully recovered from, i'm guessing that as men of great social conscience they would have been the first to incorporate rsponsibility of the federal government to assure reparation and fair distribution. the constitution is predicated on a belief that men of leadership standing were also men of moral behavior and belief systems. a flawed supposition.

clearly you have not experienced life in the underbelly. your writings smack of either extreme elitism and survival of the fitest crap, or pure, lilly white niavette.

and, to be specific about the issue of carrying guns....your claim that a person unattacked would not use their weapon is refuted over and over by callous, unprovoked murders every day in this country. you have left out the human dynamic in your suppositions.....
angry, upset people are unpredictable. one thing i can reasonably predict, however is, if someone is really angry at me and they do not have a gun, they won't shoot me.
as for taxing gasoline for road maintenance, well that is only a small fraction of the source of dollars actually allocated to roads around the country. and even if i don't own a vehicle or ever drive on the roads, i eat food transported by trucks. i use goods transported by trucks. i rely on other people that i interact with being able to get to the point of interaction by vehicle...etc., etc. there is no one in this country not directly, or indirectly reliant on a well maintained highway system...ergo, i have no problem contributing a fairly apportioned part of my income to sustain the infrastructure of our country....
what i have a problem with is folks who dance nine ways to hades and back to avoid paying their fair share.......
you talk about so many things that the constitution does not address as though there is an implicit preclusion as a result of their absense....i hold that the absense is a result of the framers understanding that as issues of import arose they would be daddressed in their time, particularly through the legislative process....there is nothing constitutionally binding, in fact it is not addressed, that precludes the legislature from taking up issues left unaddressed by the constitution......and, as is with the second amendment, the original language is somewhat ambiguouus....the word constrruct had a place in common vernacular then that is different than now....so we have a court ruling....but given time, there will be yet another challenge, with a different seated court and things will change...it is the way of our country......it is dynamic...and meant to be such....it is not rigid and fixed....
and there is room for all of us....and we have anobligation to fairplay and it's assurance for all of us...including contributing....and no one will agree with all of what the contributions go for all of the time, but in the big picture, it allows us to continue to be great and free.....
and in another life it is going to allow me to be a really great speller...
have a good evening.....

and maybe think about a visit to some really, really poor neighborhoods....and stop and talk to a few of the moms and kids and folks who are born, live, and die in those ghettos of ours.....and ask them about their dreams for their children and realize they are the same as yours...problemn is, you can make your dreams a reality for your children.....these folks don't have a prayer inhell without a hand up....

Gabriel said...

Please site a single article, just one, in the Constitution that dictate the federal government’s responsibility for those less able or less fortunate. You comments regarding the Founders great social conscience and being willing to use the federal government to aid those less fortunate is simply inaccurate. If you like I can provide you with dozens of quotes of the founders regarding this issue.

The State’s can do everything that you are advocating. The federal government was never meant to do the things you speak of. When you stated the constitution is predicated on a belief that men of leadership were also to be men of moral behavior, and that such a predication was flawed is also inaccurate. The constitution was created with the intent of chaining the passions of men down. By removing the restrictions placed upon men through the policies you advocate, you desire to be governed by flawed men instead of the law.

Please do not lecture me about not having experienced life, and please refrain from ad hominen attacks. Attack my arguments not your perceived ideas of my race or lack of experience. I lived two years in Mexico amongst some very poor people. I have been served food by families who gave me the greater portion of their dinner to what they considered an honored guest while I watched them eat next to nothing.

You wrote: “you talk about so many things that the constitution does not address as though there is an implicit preclusion as a result of their absense....i hold that the absense is a result of the framers understanding that as issues of import arose they would be daddressed in their time, particularly through the legislative process....”

That is exactly right. Everything not specified in the constitution reserved for the federal government was left to the states. I do not see why this is such a hard concept to understand. The federal government was limited, and everything not reserved by the constitution is left to the states; where such issues can be handled on a local level. Everything you are talking about can be done on the state level. It is unconstitutional for it to be done on the federal level.

Please read Isabel Patterson’s article called “The Humanitarian and the Gullotine”. It is from her book “The God of the Machine” written in 1943. Click here. If the link does not work go to: http://www.mises.org/story/2739

Regarding gun control please read my other article by clicking here. If the link does not work go to: http://principlesofliberty.blogspot.com/2008/06/second-amendment.html

Regarding taxation, when you eat the food delivered by the trucks you are paying the cost of the gasoline tax indirectly. The trucking company who delivers the food passes the increased cost of the gas [through the tax] on to the grocery store who passes the increased cost of the food [through the tax] on to you.

Thank you again for your comments and our discussion.

rericson said...

i'm really tired. my brain has been taxed all day trying to tango with narrow thinkers...so i'll try to keep this short...
left to the states, they would screw people over left and right...my god, texas would be executing minors and folks with retardation...
jim crow would be alive and well in the south....my child would have to go to the back of the bus...
women would continue to be under paid...child welfare would be placing kids in enormous orphanages....and we would still have lilly white bleeding hearts deciding what life should be like for a poor kid of color from an AMERICAN ghetto....
poverty is not the same everywhere....nor are the psychological effects....

to me, the kind of preaching you do is simply a rationalization for greed and an unearned self riteousness....
poor folks can't just decide to move because the state they happen to have been born into is screwing them...we need the federal govt. to police and assure fair play...or some modicum thereof....

the framework is federal...the details state, as long as they remain in compliance with the overall framework...
and fairly paid and fairly apportioned income tax is not a bad thing....

you want to talk about our country, use examples from our country....poverty in mexico is not the same....and the experience of a missionary can't hold a candle to the experience of the average person going into the deepest poverty in american.....

believe me, the folks i'm thinking about wouldn't give a white boy toting a bible the time of day.....

you can use all the flowery words you want, and you can call yourself a purist or a constructionist or any old thing that makes you happy, but the fact is your ideas are about as realistic in this great country of ours as the tooth fairy being real.....
and, by the by, i'm not trying to be insulting....just reality based...you seem to be bright, don't waste that....that is a real sin....to have the ability to think and do good and instead create silly archaic arguments to justify not.....
have a great day....

Gabriel said...

I honestly cannot believe that you have the gall to call me a narrow thinker and then insult my intelligence by saying you need to keep things short.

I have attempted to have a rational conversation with you by researching my answers and pointing you to articles to further expound on the points I have made. I have attempted to answer the assertions you have put forth without attacking you personally. You have not afforded me the same courtesy.

You have not offered any sources, or quotes in support of your arguments. You have made broad generalizations without arguing how your assertions would come to pass. Sources and quotes are not necessary for a solid argument, but you have not even attempted to back up your own assertions.

For example, you wrote: “the framework is federal...the details state, as long as they remain in compliance with the overall framework...and fairly paid and fairly apportioned income tax is not a bad thing....”

I have no idea what you are talking about here. You say the income tax is not a bad thing, why? Please explain yourself.

Instead of engaging me in a logical and rational debate you have resorted to accusing me of being greedy, self righteous, and an ignoramus. You mock my personal experiences without gaining knowledge of the full details. How do you know the extent of what I experienced as a missionary? How do you know Mexico is the only country I have ever been to in my life? How do you know that I didn’t grow up in poverty myself?

You say that my ideas are not realistic and are akin to the veracity of the tooth fairy yet you offer no support as to why. You accuse me of making silly archaic arguments, when what you have done could hardly be considered an argument.

You have resorted to personal attacks, without seeking insight or understanding. Your comments about white people in two of your comments to me seem to indicate you judge people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. If you want to change people’s opinion you are going about it the wrong way. If you want people to espouse your ideas you should offer them reasons why and not personal opinions without reason, then followed by personal insults.

Narrow minded is defined by Webster as: lacking in tolerance or breadth of vision. Again, I cannot believe you have the gall to accuse me of being narrow minded.

Patrick said...

Looking over the arguments in this post I think one thing is very clear. There is no disagreement as to the ills that plague our society. We agree that the poverty class is growing at an alarming rate, that this war is evil and unjust, that there have been innumerable crimes wrought upon people of diverse backgrounds & races, that inflation is soaring, that violent crime is rising, that education is suffering, and that too many corporations are irresponsible and destructive.

Finding ourselves in such agreement on these fundamentals only begs the question - why are we arguing so passionately? The answer lies in our perception of basic cause and effect principles. We see the same set of facts and draw very different conclusions as to what brought them about. Where one sees the ghettos and slums as a blight wrought by ruthless capitalism, another sees the awful effects of government economic interventionism, seizing and reallocating capital which only serves to distort and inflate the free housing market, pricing out marginal income families and perpetuating poverty. Where one sees Jim Crowe laws as the work of run amok local governments in need of federal intervention, another understands that these racist, counterproductive and unconstitutional laws persisted with the full sanction and complicity of that very federal government for over a century.

In short, while some see the wrongs of society and blame the individual and that pesky thing called liberty, another sees the State, with its powers to tax, to legislate, to conscript your child to war, to dictate curriculum, to confiscate and redistribute children, to enact "free speech zones," to expropriate the fruits of your labor, to seize control of vital commodities, to bail out multinational lenders and pass the cost on to your grandchildren, to run up unheard of deficits and debt, to strip civil liberties, and to then blame everyone but themselves for the ruin they leave in their wake; in this, another sees the State as aggressor and the true destroyer of life, liberty, property, and ultimately, happiness.

In closing, I would like to understand by what logic we are to ever deduce that a federal legislative body, with a 90% incumbency rate and infinitely greater monolithic power, would operate on a different moral plane than a local body would. How absurd it would be to believe that 535 individuals could ever have the moral or constitutional mandate to dictate the lives of over 350 million Americans.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.