Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thou Art Wrong, Art

Here is a recent letter-to-the-editor in Christianity Today:

I read charles colson's June Back Page column, "Protecting Our Little Platoons," with a bit of chagrin. I have no argument with services delivered by "little platoons" closest to their recipients, but Colson ends it there. If the family, church, or volunteer agencies cannot solve the problem, then that's it—you are on your own.

President Obama, citing Abraham Lincoln's sacrifice to keep our union intact, stated in February that there are services only a union can provide. I agree that the federal faith-based office would be wrong to force ministries to hold nondiscriminatory hiring policies, yet the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and other volunteer groups are not going to fix the health care system, provide military defense, or anything else that only a union can do.

For Colson to end his column intimating that the government's attempts to improve the lives and dignity of its citizens will likely lead to totalitarianism is silly.

Art DePalma
Mill Creek, Washington

Kent comments:

Thou art wrong, Art – and dangerously so, in many ways.

What is really ‘silly’ is to lump health care with national defense.  Those who do not recognize a categorical difference here need to have their eyes examined – and not by some government-controlled ‘health care’ bureaucracy.  (No, Art, you really should be ‘on your own’ for that one.)

The mere fact that government is an appropriate way to handle national defense does not prove that any other thing you can dream up should be handled by government.

The mere fact that some problem is not yet solved by civil society (voluntary associations, businesses, or individuals) does not mean that government should or even could solve that problem.

The mere fact that someone, somewhere does not have something they want is not necessarily a ‘problem’ that anyone other than the one with the want needs to ‘solve.’

Even though Art seems to be too challenged to have realized this, when governments try to employ positive measures to ‘solve’ problems, liberty is necessarily decreased.  (And keep in mind that liberty and totalitarianism are inversely proportional.)

Governments do their work by force.  When government is set to solving all of Art’s ‘problems’ it can only do so by forcing people to live in ways they do not wish to live, or taking things from them that they do not wish to give.  What better term for that situation that totalitarianism?

When ‘little platoons’ attempt to solve problems, they must work with free gifts, willing exchanges, and willing participants.  That is the culture of liberty, and that is the only culture that truly respects ‘the dignity of citizens’ that Art and his kin seem to be so worried about.

Worst of all, I presume that Art, as a reader of Christianity Today is some kind of Christian.  How very odd (and I’m trying to be kind here) that a Christian would be advocating less ‘free and willing’ activity in our world, and more governmental force.

Art might want to check his Bible on this one.

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