Why Uncle Sam Shouldn’t Play Santa


As a child, I believed in Santa. As my age rose into the higher single digits, I began to realize that something wasn’t adding up with the Santa Claus story. I don’t remember my age, but it was definitely before age 10, when I realized that Santa had some parental help. Here is how it happened.

I got a super sweet Daisy pellet gun on Christmas morning. That gun may have been my best present ever. More than 3 decades later,

1914 Santa Claus in japan

1914 Santa Claus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I still have it, and it still works. But on the package that Christmas morning, I noticed something which confirmed a suspicion I had long held: There was a West Brothers Dept. Store tag on the box, and it read $24.95. Either Santa Claus shopped at the same store as my parents, or my parents were really Santa.

I settled on the latter, simpler explanation and learned a lesson which has stuck with me to this day—a lesson which half the adults in America may not fully grasp: There are no free gifts. Somewhere behind the Santa charade someone has worked and earned the money needed for gifts to be given away. This is true under the Christmas tree, and it is true when monthly checks are distributed by the federal government.

Our system of government is currently corrupt and not very compassionate. It “feels” compassionate to double the welfare rolls and promise free medicine to all people, but it is not. True compassion comes from empowering people—not from enslaving them to a political voting block of government dependency.

Take, for example, the injunction of the Apostle Paul:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

Paul was not some crass, big-wig Republican Wall Street type. He was a well-educated, but poor tentmaker because he gave away all his money and spent his time and energy working for the kingdom of God, working with his hands by day so he could preach by night and travel to the different churches he was planting.

In giving this injunction to force people to work, Paul was affirming a principle of freedom. God originally created human beings to exercise dominion over the earth, to cultivate the earth, to work the ground and receive the rewards of their labors. There is righteousness in working hard and reaping rewards. Equally, there is poverty and bondage if this natural order is not followed. Making people dependent on the government is the opposite of compassion: It is enslavement. It is bondage. And it is calculated to create a voting block—not to genuinely improve the human condition.

Consider the results of welfare programs in the black community: In the 1960’s, nearly 80% of black families in America were intact families, with both father and mother living at home. Today, 70% of black children in America are born into homes without a father. As a result, poverty has increased. Families have been broken and destroyed by the dependency culture that came about through the “War on Poverty,” which was a political scheme instituted by Lyndon Johnson to get blacks to vote Democrat. In that sense, LBJ’s scheme worked. Blacks do typically vote Democrat. But the results have been disastrous for the black community. (See Star Parker’s testimony below).

The truth is, freedom comes from expecting people to provide for their own families. Freedom comes from empowering people through opportunity to succeed. If someone is unwilling to work, that person should not be fed by the federal government. America was founded on this very principle, and our liberty has been dependent upon maintaining it.

This lesson was, in fact, one of the first lessons learned in the American experiment. In Jamestown, the early colonists had a communal system in which all people were given equal shares of food, irrespective of work performed. Captain John Smith was forced to enact the biblical principle mentioned above in order to increase the work ethic and, thus, provide the food and goods necessary to keep the people of Jamestown alive. Over time, William Bradford came along and instituted private property rights, which not only expected people to grow their own food but also taught them to enjoy the full reward of their labors by owning, improving, and increasing their property (and hence, their prosperity).  Smith and Bradford ended up succeeding because of instituting the real-world solution of work and its reward.

There is no such thing as free food. And gifts whether they are given by fat-cat politicians or by bearded men with big bellies—all the same—they cost someone his wages.  As it turns out, the Daisy pellet gun I got as a kid is worth far more to me now because I know how hard my parents worked to give it to me. It cost them money they didn’t have to throw away. It was a sacrifice of love and now is a greater gift to me than it was then.

But when the government “gives” money away to people who will not work, they are not giving sacrificially like my parents gave. They are giving to a voter who will, in turn, vote for them. In a word, they are buying votes by taking money from all working Americans to create a voting block of Americans who are getting the “free” benefits of other’s labors.

It is not a legitimate defense of this practice to claim that it represents the compassion of America. Compassion is the task of individuals, of churches, of non-profits. The government cannot legitimately take on the role of compassion because the government neither produces its own wealth nor receives it voluntarily.  The government takes wealth from others. It should be free to take wealth only to the extent that it needs funds for defense and infrastructure. When Uncle Sam becomes Santa, all Americans lose wealth, freedom, and prosperity. There is no compassion in government spending. None.

To summarize the point: My parents did show love and compassion when they worked hard, earned their own money, and spent it sacrificially to give a good gift to their son.  If my parents had strong-armed their neighbors, taken money from them, and agreed to pay the rent for their other neighbors in exchange for some service, then my parents would not have been compassionate. They would have been criminals. Vote-buying and dependency building is not compassion. It is criminal.

Yes, America, There Are Pro-life Democrats


Are there any pro-life Democrats left in America? After the Democrat cave-in which came during the passage of Obamacare, and after the concomitant HHS mandate requiring contraception and abortifacient drugs be covered by all health insurance programs, the answer would seem to be an emphatic, “No!” The national platform of the Democrat party calls more or less for abortion on demand.

Still, there are some pro-life Democrats. I follow the blog of one such person, Rebecca Hamilton, a state representative from Oklahoma. From all I can see, she is a devout

Democrats For Life politics pro life

(Public Domain)

Roman Catholic who seeks to live out her faith in every aspect of life (not just during the Mass).  Her blog is tagged, “Public Catholic.”  I have a great deal of respect for her because she seeks to have her political ideals answer to her eternal faith. We all benefit from having such examples.

I encourage you to read through one of her latest blogs, as it will likely offend you whether you are Democrat or Republican. Such offense is good in the sense that it calls for a subjugation of your political party to your Christian identity.  Her concluding comment sums up the thrust of her plea,

I can’t emphasize enough that we need to stand and fight within our parties to change things. You cannot build a culture of life with half the people. It cannot be done.

Her heart is obviously in shining the pro-life light into an abortion-minded darkness within the Democrat political system. While I may not be as optimistic about her potential of success in the endeavor, I am quite impressed and encouraged by her effort.

She must feel alone much of the time. Her presence in the political arena as a pro-life Democrat is a reminder to all Christians that our faith ought never to be captive to any political animal, be it donkey or elephant.

 

De-funding the American Dream


Who is responsible for this bad economy?  Republicans?  Democrats? President Obama, or George Bush?  Pushing aside our partisan passions, we could probably all agree that no single individual is responsible either for a good economy or a bad one.  Although all politicians like to claim credit for the good times (and point fingers of blame during the bad), the truth is, our economy is not driven by any individual.  Rather, it is driven by all the individuals who make up our country.  Together, we control the economy.

A recent article by David Goldman in First Things points out what might be the single most significant factor underlying our economic woes: The loss of the nuclear family in America.  If Goldman is right in his assessment, the loss of the nuclear family in America means that our present housing crisis is only just begun and will not improve without an increased priority on the family.  Although the population of the United States has increased by 50% since 1970, the number of two-parent families has remained the same.  The number of houses built for families has kept pace with the population increase.  However, there are just not enough families to fill the houses.  This demographic downgrade of the family means that there are not enough young families capable of investing in the future of America.

Where have all the families gone?  Well, it turns out that while everyone has been focused on the “important” issues on Wall Street and in Washington, DC, the most important issues were being cast aside into the crate labeled “controversial.”  Though a few folks like Dr. James Dobson have been raising the alarms in defense of the family, most have silently acquiesced to the cultural accommodations on abortion, marriage, and no-fault divorce.  The last few decades have indeed brought a bulging economy, but at what cost?

While the economy appeared to be booming because of borrowed money, the family was failing.  Now that the economy is failing, we are finding out that the heart of the American family is barely beating.   The family heart rate may not be sufficient to supply the investment America needs for her future.  So, Wall Street and the White House will keep shuffling a billion here or a trillion there, but their solutions may simply be a study of a forest without any trees.  The disintegration of the family is to the United States what deforestation is to the rain forests.  Sure, it makes you seem prosperous for a day, but it is killing your every tomorrow.

If Goldman’s article is correct, then the deforestation of the American family may well be the de-funding of the American dream.  My prayer is for a revival of family life in America.