Sunday, July 17, 2005

The American Agenda: Dependency on Government

The connection between government efforts to help the poor and the increase in the number of people needing/wanting government assistance is palpable. Below are two comments on this subject that are right on target.

The first one by Newt Gingrich is posted as a “Points to Ponder” at the top of this page (or was recently, until time to update that section) :

The greatest moral imperative we face is replacing the welfare state with an opportunity society. For every day that we allow the current conditions to continue, we are condemning the poor – and particularly poor children – to being deprived of their basic rights as Americans. The welfare state reduces the poor from citizens to clients. It breaks up families, minimizes work incentives, blocks people from saving and acquiring property, and overshadows dreams of a promised future with a present despair born of poverty, violence, and hopelessness.

The second one is by Gertrude Himmelfarb in her wonderful book, One Nation, Two Cultures:

What is evident in the rethinking that has been going on about social problems and policies in recent years is the bankruptcy of the theories and practices that have prevailed for the past half-century or more. Just as nineteenth-century reformers consciously sought to fashion social policies in accord with moral objectives, so their successors tried, just as consciously, to divorce social policies from any suspicion of morality. In part, this reflects the assumption that society is responsible for all social problems and therefore has the task of solving them, and in part the prevailing spirit of relativism, which finds it distasteful to pass moral judgments upon others, let alone impose moral conditions upon them. After decades of cultivating such a “non judgmental” philosophy, we are beginning to discover that all policies, for good or ill, have moral consequences, and that only by deliberately devising policies in accord with desirable ends can the good outweigh the bad.

The sad state of affairs with America's underclass, a group largely created by actions of our own government, is a major obstacle in the continued success of our nation. We need to end this culture of dependency. It is one of the several most serious problems facing the United States.

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