Caring 22

We have a proposal to make that is sure to be greeted with universal approbation.

We start from the principle – not quite universally conceded – that the state should not be an agent for the redistribution of wealth. Which is to say, government should not be the provider of welfare.

But, we acknowledge, there will always be some people who cannot provide for themselves and have no one else willing and able to provide for them.

Then we ask: is there some institution other than the state that could manage their support?

We propose that the churches be charged with the responsibility. It would be splendidly consistent with their declared principles. They could collect money from the tens of millions of people who believe they have a duty to care for their less fortunate neighbors and compatriots.

As giving voluntarily is truer to the social consciences and religious precepts of these good people than having it extracted from them by government, with what delight they’ll seize the opportunity!

With the ample funds that will pour in from liberals, progressives, socialists and Christians, the churches will establish shelters for the homeless and clinics for the sick; feed, clothe and equip the helplessly dependent. They’ll be able to do it lavishly. Material want will be abolished.

They’ll take great pride and pleasure in doing it. Have they not been preaching charity for millennia? There they are, well established, thousands of them; organized, tax-exempted, self-dedicated to moral ends. This is clearly the use they must be put to. They’re a perfect fit for it.

Once the churches have permanently taken over all welfare provision, government can shrink, taxes come down, the defense budget be enlarged, and everyone will be happy.