I’ve noticed a newish (to me) argument lately, intended to support the sort of comprehensive social legislation President Obama and other big-government liberals advocate. It goes something like this:
“You know, the Bible says we are supposed to care for the sick and the poor, and you’re a Christian. So how can you, in good conscience, oppose Obamacare?”
(Or whatever. Obamacare is simply the most prominent example right now.)
I think some people saying such mean well, and genuinely don’t understand. I think others are chronic tut-tutters who love to knee-jerk to perceived Christian hypocrisy.
If this genuinely puzzles you, there are two questions I’d ask you to consider:
- Why do you think the federal government can solve social problems with massive, expensive bureaucracies? LBJ declared war on poverty in 1964. Several trillion (that’s 12 zeroes) dollars later, how’s that working out? Do you have more confidence in $50 you pay in taxes, or $50 you donate to a local food pantry?
- Is it possible that there are unsavory hidden agendas in social legislation? Personally I believe there’s a not-insignificant minority of American Democrats who’d prefer that as many U.S. citizens as possible be permanent wards of the state. It’s a power thing. If that sounds like kooky talk to you, then don’t back up quite that far. Just consider the effects on businesses, whether it’s Obamacare, or environmental regulations, or whatever. It’s almost always trivially easy to find the anti-capitalist agenda in these things. Do you know who businesses are? That’s us. Whether it’s ours or not, almost none of us effectively pursue our goals without a successful business. Ever consider that?
I’ve been thinking about Ronald Reagan a lot for the past few days, in light of his 100th birthday this past Sunday. The best recent encapsulation I’ve found of what he meant to the United States—indeed, to the world—comes from Alvin S. Felzenberg, on The Corner:
What is Reagan’s legacy? I will limit myself to three things:
- He rid the world of an “evil empire,” something the conventional wisdom deemed impossible — and, as Margaret Thatcher reminds us, “without firing a single shot.”
- He restored the time-honored tradition of “federalism,” by persuading his countrymen to think of Washington as the last rather than the first resort in attempting to remedy the nation’s ills.
- He proudly reaffirmed that the United States of America was indeed an exceptional nation that could be a force for good in the world.
Federalism, indeed. We, the people, do fine by ourselves, for the most part. The whole point of the country in the first place was doing fine by ourselves.
So, getting back to the original question—do you think God’s directive is brother helping brother? Or is God’s directive involuntary submission to a massive state that is demonstrably both ineffective and corrupt, but they’re saying they can and will solve these problems, so that’s enough?