Imagine there's an elderly widow down the street from you. She has neither the strength to mow her lawn nor enough money to hire someone to do it.

Here's my question to you that I'm almost afraid for the answer:

Would you support a government mandate that forces one of your neighbors to mow the lady's lawn each week?

If he failed to follow the government orders, would you approve of some kind of punishment ranging from house arrest and fines to imprisonment?

I'm hoping that the average American would condemn such a government mandate because it would be a form of slavery, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

Would there be the same condemnation if instead of the government forcing your neighbor to physically mow the widow's lawn, the government forced him to give the lady $40 of his weekly earnings? That way the widow could hire someone to mow her lawn.

I'd say that there is little difference between the mandates. While the mandate's mechanism differs, it is nonetheless the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another. Probably most Americans would have a clearer conscience if all the neighbors were forced to put money in a government pot and a government agency would send the widow a weekly sum of $40 to hire someone to mow her lawn.

This mechanism makes the particular victim invisible but it still boils down to one person being forcibly used to serve the purposes of another. Putting the money into a government pot makes palatable acts that would otherwise be deemed morally offensive.

Evil acts can be given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution or caring for the less fortunate.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one's fellow man.

--George Mason University economics professor Walter E.


innominatus said...

Then the socialists can meet behind closed doors, with no C-SPAN cameras around, to figure out how they can personally profit from the whole mess.

LandShark 5150 said...

INNO -- good to hear from you my friend. The biggest Ponzi scheme ever. Feeding goverment's hunger.
Thanks for the read. sharky

TRUTH 101 said...

To put this another way, unless the old lady is lucky enough to have neighbors like me who would cut her grass or tell his son to cut it, screw her. Her starving and having an unmowed yawn are just examples of freedom and the greatness of America.

You've gone over the deep end on this one Sharky. I'll gladly pay taxes to help poor old people live with dignity. And I will gladly mow an old lady's lawn. I will be cleaning a driveway for the two elderly sisters that live across the street from me tomorrow.

The_Kid said...

With a temporary blind eye to government - in particular what we know of its theivery, I would say we have a moral responsibility to care for those who are unable to do so for themselves.

I have no problem with that.

I do have a problem taking care of people who are quite able to take care of themselves and no is where we are talking about the real volume of wealth redistribution.

Add to this things like people who are working and paying for the worthless are often subject to drug testing while the one playing the system is not.

Include the reality that criminals 'rights' often exceed those of their victims, and whatever else you'd like to pile on here, and it's easy to see that the liberals have shifted balance way off sides.

Bungalow Bill said...

He continues to amaze with his common sense approach toward government and putting this on a level that people should understand and gain some emotion. One of the problems for many people is what the governmet does is over the heads of many, so they give up trying to follow it. I guess you can thank the federal education program for that.

Right-Wing Libertarian said...

You can see it in the comments. Socialism counts on human ambivalence. Nobody on the block will mow the lady's lawn of their own moral code, so the gummit gonna TELL somebody to mow it. Exactly the thought process that brought us to this point in the first place. Once the liberals killed the nuclear family and the nuclear neighborhood so they could capitalize on class warfare, all bets as to human goodness were off! That then becomes the excuse to enact legislation to MAKE you (so long as you have relatively deep pockets) your brother's keeper. What's gonna happen when they run out of rich brothers? Liberals never think that far ahead. So much for being progressive.

AnObiter said...

Honestly, I would hope that an able-bodied neighbor would voluntarily (sans any mandate) mow the lawn. OR would take the time & $40 to contact a company and get it done.

The government should never be allowed to mandate kindness or compassion...;)

RPM said...

Here's the real answer:

The government cites the person for failing to conform. The government does the job and overbills the woman for the work. The government levy's a lein for the work and seizes the property the woman worked her whole life for. The woman loses her home, winds up on the street and becomes a burden on the system.

LandShark 5150 said...

The point of this question is government taken from one to give to another. I have no problem caring for the elderly. I mow my elderly neighbor's pasture every year and check in on them several times a week. It is our moral duty, not one that should be mandated from government. When is it not ok to take from you to give to another? These questions will continue to haunt us as a civilization. Rights and responsibilities are both a double edged sword that can liberate and condemn us. Thank all of you for your reply.

Rational Nation USA said...

Just a thought, perhaps if Objectivist Philosophy were taught in schools the answers to questions such as this would be much clearer to most people.

Only a passing thought. GREAT post however.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

We have had "Government Mandated Charity" for a very long time. The analogy is perfect, and something I have grown to fondly expect from Walter E. Williams.

TRUTH 101 said...

Perhaps this will give you some insight into the liberal mind Sharky,

We don't like selfish assholes. If we have to tax them in order for them to do the right thing, and contribute to the well being of everyone, I'm all for it.

bluepitbull said...

LandShark, have you read Ayn Rand's "Anthem"? It deals with this liberal mindset and how they have to lie and coerce to keep things going.

Yeah, your above commenter is right about one thing; they think our money is theirs and they will damn sure do anything to get at it. It's wrong, immoral and no one is under any obligation to pay for others.

Most people do the right thing and donate their time and money without the dipshits in Washington telling us how to do it. The people who are criticizing the most are the ones who want a handout. Go figure.

Not to worry, liberalism is a sinking ship and some are standing on the bow peeing their pants.