Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do those who believe in liberty lack compassion?

The takeaway from last night's debate for me wasn't the battle between Romney & Perry like most media outlets I read this morning. Instead it was Ron Paul's closing argument, in which he defended his position on the role of federal government:

"It isn't authorized in the Constitution for us to run a welfare state. And it doesn't work...So don't always try to turn around and say that we who believe in liberty, we lack compassion, because we who believe in liberty and understand the market, we're the only ones that really understand how people are taken care of, how they are fed, and how people have jobs. It's the market. It's never the government that does it...this whole idea that there's something wrong with people who don't lavish out free stuff from the federal government somehow aren't compassionate enough. I resist those accusations."

With the national debt totaling over $14 trillion, is it really worth it to invest in additional welfare programs when there are other privatized and non-profit options available? Also, how does a politician's view on a policy cause the public to make assumptions about his or her personal character? Last year MSN & Citigroup released a list of the most charitable US cities, with a majority located in red states. 61% of these cities were located in right-leaning and/or moderate states.

One can argue with numbers that since heavy spenders give more money to religion, education, and foundations rather than social safety net groups, they are ignoring those in poverty and those facing unemployment. However, one must not overlook the work religiously affiliated organizations do.

For example, the Emmaus House, the only emergency housing shelter for women and children in Utica, receives a hefty amount of its funding via donations from the Catholic church and organizations. It temporarily provides clothing, meals, and counseling to battered women and their children. During their stay, volunteers assist each guest in finding permanent employment and housing. Emmaus House's time limit policy is enforced so that each guest will be encouraged to learn how to live independently and also so that as many women as possible can be helped.

While there may or may not be any direct correlation with the figures presented, it definitely provides some food for thought, for liberty is the opposite of tyranny, the very definition of all that is evil and without compassion. I am looking forward to my upcoming internship in October on non-profit activity even more.

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