There is no ‘social justice’ in government programs
It is trendy for many who support the latest wave of government-sponsored social programs to use the concept of "Social Justice" as justification. Let's examine this considering three constituencies, those pushing the agenda, those who would be made to pay, and those receiving the assistance. First, those pushing the agenda should not be confused with those who believe in the charitable principle of helping the poor. It is not defensible to take from one to give to another, certainly not in the name of charity. I have no issue with asking those who have more to help those with less.
Consider that Americans are known as the most charitable people or nation on earth. Why is that? Is it because the socialistic practices of Europe have not yet been rammed down our throats? Is the average European any less charitable, except that his spirit has been soured by government interference in his pocketbook?
Also, for the proponents of social justice who link to their religious beliefs, I suggest they examine themselves to see if they are not guilty of the sin of pride. They presume they know how things should be, to the extent of forcing the actions of others. In any case, from a moral standpoint, the end does not justify the means. For those who would be made to pay, I can see them becoming less charitable in spirit and in action. I can also see them judging negatively those who receive what is taken from them. To deny this is to deny human nature. There are some in this group who are also in the first group, who claim they do not have enough taken from them by the government. I wonder if these people really earned wealth, or stumbled upon it by accident of birth or whatever. If they are not clever enough to find a good place for their largess, shame on them. It is hard for me to believe they need government bureaucrats to do what they are unable to do better for themselves, that is, find people needing help. For those who would receive the assistance, who will not admit it is better for them to learn to help themselves rather than get by for another day? And I'm not talking about the infirm or challenged, but the millions of able-bodied among us who are under-performing compared to the talents given them. Find the social program that has been successful and reduced in size over the years, since its supposed purpose was to "help" people. No doubt any of these programs claimed it would lift people out of poverty. Doesn't that suggest the number of liftees will become smaller? Do you know any such program?
Compare those born in America who started with nothing but received government assistance to immigrants who came to America also with nothing. As a group, which is better off over time? Why? Is it not because the immigrants helped themselves, given the opportunity this country has afforded them? What happened to the native-born Americans who received the assistance? Why? When you see examples of those receiving assistance, how grateful do they appear? How much do they value what is given to them? Much? Some? Any? Not at all? Look at public housing and you'll find the answer. What about me? I am not in any of the above groups. I do not want and have never wanted what I did not earn. Raised poor by a single mother and grandmother; parental guidance ended at age 15 when mother died; I benefitted from the good influence of extended family; began part-time work at 15, through high school and college, still working 47 years later.
Government did less than nothing for me, sent mother's Social Security death benefits but made me pay them back because, as a working student already married and with a child, I was making too much money. The success I have is from my mother, family, private business employers, and frankly from learning I was responsible for my own well-being, no one else. This appears to have worked for me. What's wrong with the formula? Finally on this subject, I am looking for a leader who can inspire others to be more charitable, not one with the delusion that mandated actions will have the same results.
Arthur J. Godfrey is a resident of Ypsilanti Township who has worked in the private sector for his entire career.