I guess we’re having this conversation again. As a conservative libertarian who swims in a sea of liberals, I’m used to being thought ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘misguided’. Goes with the territory, I suppose.
On the 4th of July I had a conversation with a 9-year old who seemed to understand the concept of libertarianism and charity better than most of the people I’ve encountered lately. Unlike Mack, young Declan* (not his real name, remember…) got the general idea I was trying to put across. So maybe I haven’t explained myself well enough to be understood out here in the blogosphere. Maybe it’s a conversation that needs to happen face to face. Regardless of the limitations of the medium, I’ll try.
I am not greedy. I do not despise the poor and downtrodden.
Like Thomas Jefferson I believe wholeheartedly in the separation between Church and State. Like Jesus I believe in “rendering unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and unto God what is God’s.”
What this means to me is that I do not believe it is the job of the State or ANY institution, be it a church or faith-based charity to look after the poor and downtrodden. I believe such things are our responsibilities as human beings. Individual human beings.
I have nothing against charities–secular or faith-based–if that’s how a group of individuals decides to make their charity most effective. If you want to give the money you’ve earned to Catholic Charities or the United Way or Mennonite Disaster Relief, that’s your business. But I don’t believe the Government should take your money by force and redistribute it the way they see fit. That’s my opinion on taxes, entitlement programs, and federal funding of faith-based charities.
There’s a common misconception floating out there in the ether to which several liberals seem to be latching on. That’s the concept that conservatism is anti-community and pro-greed. I don’t quite know where these memes generated, but I’ve been seeing them a lot lately. I feel as though I’m not getting the original memoranda upon which they were printed.
And here’s where it gets tricky. Because it is my hard and fast rule that I will not give a resumé of my charitable deeds. Doing so means that the charity aspect of it all stops and the whited sepulchre kicks in. I could go looking for the myriad studies about who gives more to charity–conservatives or liberals–but I’m not playing that game. It’s all judgmental and sanctimonious and advances that hideous “us v. them” mentality.
Conservatism is not about keeping our money for ourselves, but deciding for ourselves the best uses of our money in benefit to the world.