Back in 1993 I said this:
“The Twentieth Century will be remembered as the social laboratory where the proponents of individual responsibility and those of Government intervention had the opportunity to try out their theories using whole nations and societies in their experiments. As the century approaches its end, we are accumulating data, but are we learning anything?
Jaycee members, like all members of western democracies, should take an interest in the ongoing debate: what is at stake is our right to self determination. If you accept that centralised planning is more efficient than the operation of individual free choice, then for the greater good (as decided by bureaucrats) of the greatest number, your freedom to make free choices must go, all at once as in a Communist Revolution, or piecemeal-by attrition, as in Western democracies. Until recently the lines were drawn fairly clearly between the Socialist and Capitalist camps, with the language of the debate being lifted from Marxist Ideology. In spite of the self evident failures of Communist doctrine, “Capitalist” remains a dirty word for many, even for those who grudgingly admit that the free-market economy is the most efficient mechanism for generating the wealth upon which the well-being of us all depends. The fall-back position for the politically correct is that Capitalism can be tolerated only to the extent that it can be taxed for Government spending on social ills. Socialist redistribution of the wealth created by the free-market — that’s “having your cake and eating it too”, although a socialist probably thinks of it as “greed serving need”, or some such slogan.
Jaycee believe that “Economic Justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise”, and so should find ourselves generally opposed to excessive Government Taxation and social intervention.
None but fanatics would advocate a total lack of government intervention to assist the casualties of our society, even for the benefit of nil taxation, so the debate is more a matter of what degree of assistance is reasonable and wise, and to what extent individuals should be expected to take responsibility for their own well-being.
Welfarism has been shown to increase rather than cure social problems, by excessive and premature intercession on behalf of those who are deemed to be incapable of caring for themselves. To fund dependency is to subsidise it; eligibility for funding will inevitably expand to the limits of the available funds. In other words, the tax-payers’ money goes to promote an alternative lifestyle, one we did not intend, when we set out to help those who deserved our help .
For this reason I was personally disappointed by the moral and intellectual cowardice of the Churches joint statement on social issues, which went something like : “More welfare is the answer to the problem of human suffering, therefore the Government should throw money at poverty until it goes away”. This ignores the advice of their Founder who said “The poor will always be with us” (This is always true since we continually re-define poverty as the lowest level of our current socio-economic ladder).
The Churches would have been better to say that there are more important things in life than what we earn, that caring individuals, rather than legislation, should try to help those in need, that social issues are best addressed by those nearest the problem.
The free market is in itself morally neutral, working within the ethical framework of the surrounding society. It is that ethical framework which needs the attention of the church, not the economic system. A caring society will come from the tolerance and generosity of its members, not from demands for a free lunch.
Charity should come from the heart, not from the wallet, and it should come freely, not by force.”