The Federal Nationalization of Personal Responsibility

I recently read an article that confirmed to me a dangerous trend in the United States. W. Bradford Wilcox in his Wall Street Journal article entitled God Will Provide — Unless the Government Gets There First, noted that there is a definite connection between a decline in a nation’s religiosity and the increase of welfare spending. He quoted political scientist Mr. Gill of the University of Washington as stating,

“For many centuries, average citizens and local communities have often relied upon the support of religious organizations to meet their various social needs, including assistance for the poor, counseling in times of crisis and education for the young…But as the welfare state has expanded, many people have found that they can get these same services from the government without having to give a time commitment to the local church.”

It would seem to indicate that as the government takes up responsibilities typically left to private organizations, government removes incentives otherwise motivating individuals to address the issues themselves. Alexis de Tocqueville noted that the more government “stands in the place of associations, the more will individuals, losing the notion of combining together, require its assistance.” So government has embarked on a self-perpetuating cycle. As they take up what private individuals use to handle, the more private individuals look to the government for help. This can only result in one thing, the concession of all private responsibility to government. And contrary to what some may say, as individual concede personal responsibility, they also concede personal freedom.

Government usurpation of private responsibility also threatens to destroy the community and family. As communities found they had needs, they bound together to solve them. Today though, government seeks to unsuccessful remove the needs that created communities. Gill writes that,

“A successful Obama revolution providing cradle-to-career education and cradle-to-grave health care would reduce the odds that Americans would turn to their local religious congregations and fellow believers for economic, social, emotional and spiritual aid. Fewer Americans would also be likely to feel obliged to help their fellow citizens through local churches and charities.”

So an increasing welfare state not only perpetuates the need for itself, it does so at the expense of personal liberty and our need for a neighbor just down the street. No longer do we need to be involved in our communities for an all-caring Washington will coach our children’s baseball team and help our elderly neighbor cut her grass.

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