Sunday, May 14, 2006
The dictionary describes Compassion as "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it".
After a discussion with my beautiful girlfriend this weekend on a particular posting in my blog, a simple question, or series of questions arose in me. Who is more compassionate, someone who gives someone a meal to eat? or someone who teaches them to cook? Someone who grills a homeless person a nice fish? or someone who teaches them how to fish? Someone who keeps giving the poor just enough not to die? or someone who teaches them how to get out from under society's dependency?
The left and Right, Democrats and Republicans have been fighting for the right to wear the "compassionate" label forever, but who is trully more compassionate? Are they both? Is there not a possiblity that both philosophies are a form of compassion?
The left believes the State is better prepared and morally obligated to care for most of society's social needs. The right believes in less interference and social programs, and setting the right freedoms and economic conditions for rugged individualism and self-reliance. Health, Education, Welfare, Food Stamps, Housing for the poor, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Prescription Drugs and a littany of other programs are increasing in use, not diminishing. There will come a day when the incentive to be an earner, or entrepreneur will give way to surrendering to the mantra of cradle-to-grave care mentality. Why can't Government work together like in the 90's when a Republican House and a Democratic White House passed welfare reform and saved the program? Because the good of the political parties has trumped what is good for the Nation. Period. No rocket science needed in the argument.
It behooves us, to encourage those persons who are on the Government Dole, -and are there for the sole purpose of abusing the system-, to get off the couch and live the American Dream. The system is ripe with abuse and systematic faults that actually encourage the remaining in the status quo and does not provide realistic motivation to get up and move on with a productive life. Compassion should not be measured by how much social services a particular segment of the populace gets. Compassion should not be measured by how many years of welfare the State has provided you or me. Compassion should be measured by the totality of effects. Compassion (in my view) is a combination of tough love, firm incentive programs to be a productive member of your Country (for those able to do so), caring and providing assistance for those of obvious need, and the teaching of our children from birth that the greatest gift this country offers is the ability of each of us to thrive on our own, without the dependence of our neighbors tax dollars, and the political party's give-aways.
A common goal is good, a common ideal for Americans is worthy of study and discourse. But unless we all agree on what is an appropriate limit to the level of "compassion" from the state, we will be nothing more than another Canada, Sweden, Denmark, England, France et al. Systems that though noble in intent to some, are slowly imploding due to the staggering cost of social engineering. Maybe the idea of getting 50-70% of your check taken by the state for the "common good" is ok with some, but there is an equal or greater number who think the state should be limited in power, scope and lastly in its responsibility of "compassion".
I am open for discussion...