Compassion in a Free Society (Strike The Root)
Friday August 10th, 2012
One of the ugliest things said about freedom advocates is that in a society without government, large numbers of poor people would be trampled underfoot. Critics say that if all were free selfishly to pursue our own ends, many would be left behind, to suffer and starve. That such a society would be harsh, uncaring, divisive, mean. That it's necessary to have a government, to make sure that even its poorest members can enjoy a decent standard of living.
Such was the view of Bush the First, who famously promised in his inaugural speech that under his Administration, America would be a "kinder, gentler" nation--so signaling an end to the allegedly free-market, free-wheeling, greedy "Reagan '80s", and a return to compassionate, redistributionist Socialism; and in the years ever since, we've seen that he wasn't kidding.
It's a serious charge, for none of us wants to be mean. But is it true? What will happen, in the coming free society, to compassion and help for the helpless?