Sunday, April 10, 2005

Disgust and Compassion

I found myself in a situation this evening that filled me with disgust and compassion simultaneously.

I was with my daughter at a Denny's (I know, that was my first mistake) and we needed to use the bathroom. We walked in and there was a man in a wheel chair, homeless from the looks of him, completely naked except for an unbuttoned shirt. He was washing himself with a rag.

Fortunately, my daughter didn't see much nor understand what was going on but I was pretty thoroughly disgusted to find a naked man in the bathroom (one doesn't even expect these things at Denny's) of a restaurant.

On the flip side of it though, I realized that this man didn't really have many options and I had compassion for him. What was he supposed to do? I wasn't angry and it wouldn't even have bothered me as much as it did except that my daughter was there too.

All of you good liberals out there are jumping up and down and shouting, "We need more government programs! We need more tax money to help people like this!"

I contend that the proliferation of government programs and the corresponding confiscation of money from the public are partially to blame for the lack of facilities available to a man like him. We now have the mentality in this country that the poor and indigent are the responsibility of the government. It is not the duty of government to care for such people.

Limited government would, by it's silence on the matter encourage more private charity. After all, if we could keep more of our income, we'd have more to give to charity and as Americans, we've shown that even in tough financial times we are the most generous citizens on Earth.

Who's responsibility is it to take care of these people? It's your responsibility. It's also mine. The church in America has utterly failed such as these. Even secular charity in the United States has been historically generous and those programs conceived in error quickly evaporate. The opposite can be said of a bad government program, they keep throwing good money after bad because there is no requirement for actual results.

The compassionate thing to do then is to strip government of it's power to provide welfare so that we, as individuals and communities can best decide how to take care of the needy.

Until that day, I will remain disgusted.