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Government Doesn’t Do Charity

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be rock-ribbed conservatives, and even campaign for office that way, yet do not vote like one?

Often it is what we see in politics – the desire to keep everyone happy, to take no hard decisions, certainly to take nothing away that has been previously allocated.

It can be that stronger personalities demand support beyond what their elected office needs.

However, I also believe that it can stem directly from the magnanimous, noble human impulse toward charity, an impulse that is one of our greatest human attributes – altruistic giving, helping those less fortunate.

But even if the impulse of government officials is charitable, there is an issue.

Government doesn’t do charity.

Government spends a great deal of resources, including distributing some to very noble organizations who do great charitable work. But that’s not charity. Government doesn’t do charity.

People do charity. People choose to give their own time, talent, and treasure to charitable endeavors. They are choosing where to give their own resources. This is the freedom of the individual on which America was founded.

However, the exact same action by government, the exact same gift of time, talent, or treasure to the exact same charitable organization is NOT charity.

Why not?

Because government has no resources that it does not first extract from its citizens.

It may make government officials feel good to contribute government resources to noble endeavors, but feeling good does not make it charity.

Government is power. The power of government to redistribute resources means that the citizens did not make the choice to contribute to that particular charity. And further, it robs the citizen of his or her choice to give or not to give to charity at all.

Contributing resources that have been taken from a citizen by the power of government is not charity.

Government doesn’t do charity.