Archived Story

It’s easier to give others’ money

Published 6:07am Sunday, April 14, 2013

A letter writer in the March 25 Albert Lea Tribune complains that Republicans lack compassion and that they can “earn” his vote by agreeing to more government spending. It is very easy to be compassionate with someone else’s money. The true expression of compassion is through the voluntary giving of yourself. It can only be given freely. If it is coerced, it cannot be true compassion.

When an individual votes for a politician, who promises to take money by force (taxation) from one person to give to another, how is that a measure of that voter’s, or that politician’s, compassion when they have nothing personally invested in that transaction?

In a free society, individuals may choose, or not choose, to exercise compassion. If they choose not to, that is the end of it; they do not have to answer to the letter writer, or any authority, to justify their choice. In a free society, individuals may also choose the direction and the level of their compassion. I recognize that the letter writer has these rights. Why won’t he recognize that others have these same rights as well? Why does he display an authoritarian impulse to impose his ideas of compassion on others? If he doesn’t believe in a free society, he should be honest and come out and say so. Then we can have an honest debate about the relative merits of a free society and the kind of authoritarianism that he prefers.

Are we not supposed to buy “expensive wine” and “hot tubs”? He derides “Our desire for comfort and convenience,” but satisfying these desires are what causes people to have the jobs that cater to satisfying the “comfort and convenience” of others. Where is his compassion in depriving the workers who make expensive wine and hot tubs of their jobs while the writer lectures us about his superior compassion?

What we need are honest discussions about the real issues of freedom versus authoritarianism and not the moral preening exhibited by this writer. If a politician gets that writer’s vote, it will not be because he earned it, but because he bought it. The sad part of it is that he bought it with someone else’s money.

 

George Lundstrom

Albert Lea