Liberalism: Perpetuating a Society of the Poor
Assuming their motives are pure, liberals are to be applauded for their dedication to assisting the poor and needy. But that does not excuse the abject failure of their misguided ideology which they wield like a sledge hammer – smashing prosperity wherever they find it in their lunatic quest to achieve equal outcomes.
Ignoring the fact that that Good Samaritans, by definition, need to be in a superior position in order to provide aid, comfort, and resources to assist the poor, liberals force a redistribution of wealth upon society at large – purposely destroying wealth, which is the very foundation from which aid to the poor and needy has to be drawn. By killing the goose that lays the golden egg, liberals obliterate society’s capacity to lift up the downtrodden. By forcibly taking from the productive and redistributing the ill-gotten gains to the unproductive, liberals exacerbate the problem by creating an ever-larger pool of the poor. By their imperial decree that government is the sole solution to poverty, liberals conveniently ignore the honored philanthropic and charitable traditions in American society.
Some approaches to welfare in the world foster idleness, give subsidies with no labor required, create a burden of debt, and promote greediness—an appetite for things of this world rather than the riches of eternity.
Too often rich and poor alike shut their hearts to the divine attributes of love and compassion. The rich languish in their abundance and justify turning the poor away as “welfare cases.” The poor are likewise entrapped, becoming dependent on others in a system destined to trample initiative, undermine family responsibility, foster divisiveness, and erect barriers to equity, opportunity, and fellowship. – Robert D. Hales
Hales’ expose of illogical systems of welfare pegs liberalism at its very core. Liberalism ignores the divine attributes of love and compassion. “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matt. 25:34–36). Implicit to this scriptural example of love and compassion in action is the fact that these acts of charity are done voluntarily. Force is not the answer. True charity comes from the heart. It comes voluntarily. It comes from a deep and abiding conviction that all men are the giver’s brother – and all women are the giver’s sister.
Liberalism’s approach to welfare is a good example of Charles Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest. Liberals believe that only the fittest in society survive. Progressives also proclaim themselves the fittest of all and therefore crown themselves as Gods on earth – presiding over the vast unwashed masses of humanity who are too stupid to figure out for themselves the wisdom of socialist/communist doctrines – especially how they relate to wealth and the proper redistribution thereof. But progressives forget one little fact when it comes to Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the Fittest.” The missing element? – Love! If Survival of the Fittest is a natural law, then how do liberals explain the fact that men have developed love and compassion for their fellow men? Through acts of charity mankind has ensured that those who are not deemed to be among the fittest survive to live another day. Through philanthropic acts of generosity, untold numbers of people have been fed, clothed, educated, and loved – their needs met without once relying upon the largesse of a misguided progressive government agency.
Hales also pegged another problem of liberal ideology when it comes to welfare. Hales notes that incorrect systems of welfare “give subsidies with no labor required.” This, in a nutshell, aptly describes the vast system of entitlements enacted by progressive legislators and signed into law by equally progressive presidents. Liberal entitlement programs do not require the able-bodied to work for what they receive. This robs the poor of their dignity. It robs the poor of the desire to work and lift themselves from the depths of poverty through their own efforts. It robs the poor of not only their own lives but the lives of their posterity by creating and perpetuating a permanent culture wherein people exist in poverty and misery – barely able to exist upon the meager handouts of the public dole. Public entitlements suck the very life from the souls of men, women, and children by taking away their incentive to better themselves. No conservative endorses a system in which those who are truly physically incapable of providing for their own needs are denied food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs. But conservatives are keenly aware of the emotionally damaging aspects of the public dole. It literally destroys people.
Public entitlements also create massive amounts of debt – a phenomenon now fully on display in the United States of America. Under President Barack H. Obama, the public debt has soared to record heights because of his profligate spending – much of it on idiotic programs of dubious value. By funding entitlements through raids on the public treasury, Obama and his ilk have unfairly and unethically burdened both the present and future generations. The heavy burden of unrepayable debt threatens to crush our society – which is also part of the liberal plan.
The liberal philosophy regarding welfare also promotes greediness, the final aspect of unworkable welfare systems described by Hales. Obama is happy to forcibly take money from the rich and the middle class in order to shower it upon the heads of the poor. But take notice that Obama is not willing to put a crowbar to his own personal fortune and pry loose any funds to be used to relieve the suffering of his half-brother who lives in a shack in Kenya. Is Obama his brother’s keeper? Apparently not! Obama also ignores the plight of his aunt who lives in the projects on the east coast. While Obama greedily keeps his money to himself and lives the high-life on the public dime, his relatives languish in abject poverty with no hope for change that they can believe in.
The wisest of the Greeks was always held to be Solon, the father of democracy. Solon foretold the Age of Obama and others like him who through their destructive actions would bring down empires:
The ruin of our state will never come by the doom of Zeus; . . . it is the townsfolk themselves and their false-hearted leaders who would feign destroy our city through wantonness and love of money; . . . they are rich because they yield to the temptation of dishonest courses. . . . They spare neither the treasures of the gods nor the property of the state, and steal like brigands one from another. They pay no heed to the Unshaken rock of holy Justice; . . . our beloved city is rapidly wasted and consumed in those secret deals which are the delight of dishonest men. – Solon
Dr. Hugh W. Nibley, commenting on Solon’s proclamation, said:
It is the perennial story: “Ye yourselves raised these men to power over you, and have reduced yourselves by this course to a wretched state of servitude. Individually, you are a lot of sly foxes, but collectively, you are a set of simpletons. For ye look to the tongue and the play of a man’s speech and ignore the deed which is done before your very eyes.”( Ivan M. Linforth, Solon the Athenian (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1919), 140-45. The trouble is that “no visible limit is set to wealth among men. Even now those among us who have the largest fortune are striving with redoubled energy.” Then Solon… strikes a familiar note: “Wealth comes to mortals by the gifts of the gods. But out of it comes madness, which leads to destruction when Zeus sends this madness as a punishment to men.
Thus we see liberals decrying the greed of capitalism while they hoard their cash, like Obama, refusing to come to the aid of their brothers in need. Thus we see the Hollywood set wallowing in their wealth and seeking to curry favor with the powerful in society by promoting socialism while, like Obama, refusing the share of the abundance with the truly downtrodden among us.
The economist Daniel Yergin, writing about the problem of poverty in society said this:
There is an increasing doubt [among economists] that anything at all can be done about anything; . . . if that wisdom is correct, then any “solutions” to poverty become far more difficult and painful; they cannot be financed out of a growth dividend, but only by redistributing what others already have, in turn creating massive social unrest [most utopians did that merely by suggesting such a move]. Before the 1974-1975 minidepression, all financial poverty could have been eliminated at a modest shift of $10-15 billion to the poor from the rest of the community. 15 billion is less than 1.5% of the GNP, about the size of one of the cheaper weapons systems.
Once again, we turn to Nibley – “Our society has gone out of the way not to do what could be done to solve the problem. Why? A community which can at tolerable expense eliminate human distress but refrains from doing so either must believe that it benefits from unemployment or poverty, or that the poor and unemployed are bad people, or that other more important values will be impaired by attempts to help the lower orders—or all of these statements.”
This is an incredible statement by Nibley. Read it again, carefully. Nibley maintains that our society, i.e., our legislators, have chosen not to solve the problem of poverty. Why? It is simple really. The liberal Democrats know that by purposely creating and enlarging a populace totally dependent on government entitlement programs they ensure their own continual political power. Think about it! The Democrats have purposely allowed poverty to expand in the United States simply in order to ensure that they remain in power! It is inconceivable, at best. The scope of the evil is unfathomable. Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan is a lie. The Democrats have no intention of allowing us to hope for change – for change would eliminate the need for Democratic control of society.
No other civilization has permitted the calculus of self-interest so to dominate its culture,” writes the eminent economist and historian Robert L. Heilbroner. “It has transmogrified greed and philistinism into social virtues, and subordinated all values to commercial values.” [See Leonard Silk’s New York Times book review of Robert L. Heilbroner, Business Civilization in Decline (New York: Norton, 1976 )] This is exactly what Thomas More said: “What has heretofore passed as unjust,.. they have turned upside down, and in fact proclaimed it publicly and by law to be nothing less than justice itself.”[Sir Thomas More, Utopia, 1:25] And that is exactly what Ivan Boesky proclaimed when he recently commended “healthy greed” as a high virtue to a college audience. [Mariann Caprino, “Healthy Greed Was Boesky’s Undoing,” reported in Salt Lake Tribune (20 November 1986): D9.] The complete inversion of the utopian ideal is reached when success itself becomes synonymous with money. And what is the end result? The old familiar pictures. A citizen of New York writes,
You have to be on the alert constantly to sense when somebody nearby is out of place, waiting, looking, ready to pounce. You have to clutch your handbag up close, ready to fight for it should that become necessary. You have to put three locks on your door, plus a burglarproof chain. You have to avoid the subways, night or day, and don’t smile at strangers on the bus. [Carolyn Lewis, “The Beasts in the Jungle,” Newsweek (19 January 1981): 8.]
Nibley conducted a great deal of research into the study of ancient utopias, Greek, Christian, Hebrew, Roman, and Coptic, etc. Read his conclusions, below, regarding the common elements found in those ancients who sought out utopia:
Here is what all the great utopians have in common:
- They were not losers with axes to grind but the most successful and respected men of their times.
- They were preeminently practical men of the world, with far more experience in leadership and organization than their critics.
- All attempted to implement the setting up of societies that they believed had existed among men in the past and would again in the future.
- Whether Jew, heathen, or Christian, all thought of their utopias as religious societies, and they preached both religious tolerance and the cultivation of faith.
- Yet all, in spite of all the great esteem in which they and their works were held, were persecuted by the powers that be, and few escaped violent death.
- All suffered disillusionment in their own day; their communities were either violently destroyed or went underground.
- They taught that the object of life was joy, and none of them either displayed or recommended stern puritanical judgments. Their utopias were… easygoing.
- The advantage of technology and its possibilities for bettering the human condition were first fully realized by the utopians.
- They all realized that joy is to be found only in the active mind—the glory of man is intelligence, and knowledge is the stuff on which the mind feeds.
- Science, art, scholarship, philosophy, literature were all cultivated together as the principal activity of the citizens. There is quite enough there to keep us all busy even without the urgent imperative of getting lunch. It is because of this that what appears to us as a disturbing uniformity in dress, housing, and so on, presents no problem but rather removes obstacles to the proper studies of mankind.
- The joy derived from the senses—beautiful surroundings and impressions—and from the vigorous exercise of our physical as well as our mental faculties is never neglected.
- Goods of “secondary intent” (Campanella uses the expression)—clothing, housing, food, medicaments, transportation, etc.—are essential to assist in carrying on the more serious work of the mind and body, but they never become primary, in other words, their own excuse for being, as is the case with us, where to make and market such goods fulfills the measure of one’s existence.
- Money and private property are the insuperable obstacles to the achievement of utopia. The two are inseparable because the idea that there is no limit to what money can represent is necessary to implement the equally outrageous idea that there is no limit to what an individual can own. The relationship is succinctly stated in a formula propounded by one of awesome authority in the very beginning, in the first utopia, where he cast the long, dark shadow ahead with those ominous words: “You can have anything in this world for money.”
Were all of these shrewd, experienced, and concerned observers being simplistic in unanimously tracing the root of all evil to money? Well, make a list of some of those evils that today as never before threaten the whole world with dissolution—drugs; pornography; terrorism; nuclear armaments; fraud; corruption; soldiers of fortune; corporate outrages; opportunistic preachers; pollution of air, water, food, and information; acid rain; extinction of species; and so on. Which of these does not have big money as the driving force behind it? The drive for power and gain is the soil in which they all flourish.
Reading Nibley’s works in-depth show that he is not against private ownership of property. What he is against is people accumulating more than what they need – thereby depriving the poor of what “they” need. What Nibley rails against is greed – a subject that goes to the very core of what Obama is about.
No society will ever solve the problem of poverty through government entitlement programs. The solution cannot be forced upon us by Obama’s dictatorial edict of the redistribution of wealth. The solution is a voluntary one. The solution must include teaching the poor how to become self-reliant. The solution must teach the self-reliant how to care for their families. The solution must teach those who care for their families to voluntarily reach out and extend helping hands to the down and out. The solution must be run with integrity, without guile, and without greediness.
Utopia cannot be achieved through the forced distribution of wealth. The answer lies in voluntary acts of love and mercy, tempered with the realization that man is meant to work for what he receives. This preserves the dignity of the poor and shows them the way to work towards becoming self-reliant. Men are meant to stand independent and strong.
By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires. – D. Todd Christofferson
We will only solve the problem of poverty through the proper application of conservative principles. Liberalism only exacerbates the problem. Conservatism solves it. By consecrating our lives in service to our fellow men – lifting them up, comforting them, and teaching them to become self-reliant, we can solve the problem of poverty. This is why the election of 2012 is so important. Do we choose a continuation of the degrading communistic policies of Obama and the rest of the progressives, or do we choose to free ourselves from bondage and once free, extend our hands in kindness and lift the weary, downtrodden, and poor among us. The choice is ours. And we will live with the consequences of our national decision next year.