Monday, October 22, 2012

On Legalized Compassion


There is an understanding worthy to arrive at:  that an action is ought to be done because it is the right thing to do and not that a Supreme Being or gods or the government tells it is so.

All are interconnected. And this is a very popularly accepted idea. Calamity, for example, unites people together. At hours of extreme distress, the will of men converges to help each other out. People don't waste time waiting for someone, say a free-riding politician, to say what needed to be done. A deeply seated impulse is acted out to help others. Cooperation comes out unpremeditated and compassion is a palpable sphere.

Out of unending difficulties, the aim of men is to fulfill compassion effectively. And perhaps there is no other way to signify the intent to help others than forming an organized compassion delivery system called Government. Social services, which aim to grant to everybody the means to survive and improve their well-being, are in place.

Government social services are made possible through legislation. With such, the allocation of funds is guaranteed. However, government cannot be separated from taxation. Government is funded by forced contributions or taxes. And every government social program is guaranteed by taxes. There is a statist view that the best way to fix all social problems is to legislate the way through it. This is to demand everybody to contribute in the name of everybody's well-being practically to reiterate and to convince people of the "goodness" of the popular view that all people are interconnected. In a certain way, compassion through government is a legislated compassion, a compassion legalized.

But, though the intent of taking care of all people can be applauded, government social programs have ill effects that are later on to be seen. The intention is never wrong. What is wrong lies in the means by which society tried to attain the goal. The problem is to be blamed mainly on the legislation of compassion itself. 

The impulse to help others is an inherent part of human nature. However, there is a bad taste if the act of helping others is tried to be accomplished with government laws. Given the coercive nature of government laws, eg. tax collection, taxpayers can only give up to a limit. The social program is then unsustainable and is doomed to fail and can only be extended until the threat of jail against the taxpayers is effective. Another ill effect would be on the recipients. Constant dole-out services would create dull minded citizens not capable of appreciating self-worth and dignity and will eventually be consumed by a parasitic attitude.  But the worst effect worth mentioning last is that the funds will be likely squandered and plundered by in-charge bureaucrats. 

A strong lobby for more social services would be inevitable. People would require more from the government and other people and less from their own selves. People would be boldly parasitic on taxes supplied by the working class.And this would happen so easily in a society whose people already forgot the voluntary nature of compassion. 

A government-hosted compassion should be a no-no. Compassion is to be done from inside out. Not that the government says it is so. Not even when the gods ordered it to be done. Not even when your friends or parents insist you to do it. But only when you feel you love doing it because you understand that it is so and not otherwise.