While reading some other folks blogs this morning, I came upon a post by Tchaka that made me wonder. He wrote that he likes to look out for his fellow man. That is a paraphrase of what he said, but the point is that he wants to help his fellow man (or woman). I like that. I think that we all do.
I like to believe that most of us would help an old lady across the street or pull over to help an elderly person change a flat tire. We have all given money to the guy with the "will work for food" sign before and most of us have given money to the Salvation Army Santa Claus. Anyone who sees a lost dog on the street will practically risk their own life to get the thing off the street and into their vehicle for the quick trip to the animal shelter. That is how we do things here.
Our country as a whole has pretty much been a help somebody in need type of setup. We send loads of dollars to other countries. Tell us about a hurricane in some other in our country or even some other, and watch the trucks load up with blankets and food. Take a look at church and charity organizations to find that Americans volunteer to help others in pretty high numbers.
Now back to Tchaka's point, and mine. We like to help our fellow man. But, should we help our fellow man because we want to, or should we be forced to help our fellow man? In other words, should I give to my church and favorite charity because I want to, or should I give because my government makes me? And at what point does helping my fellow man turn into enabling my fellow man?
I realize that our political leaders like to fight over what types of actions on our parts, should qualify for a tax break. In some cases, we can save on our taxes if we give properly. In a way, that is forcing us to give to our fellow man. We all like a tax break so we may give a little more. But, it is our money that we are giving, and we do have a choice at this point. Either give to a charity or give to the government.
If I give money voluntarily to the guy on the corner with the sign, I hope that I am helping him. However we all know that there is a chance that he will buy alcohol or drugs with the money. In my opinion. this would turn from helping him to enabling him. Instead of lending him temporary assitance towards getting himself out of a bad situation, I am helping him stay in that predicament. Although I may never see him again, from a societal standpoint, I am not helping things. But, what if we were made to give to him? What if our government simply took money from us in order to give to him?
When our government forces us to give our money to others, so that we may help them, where do we draw the line on what constitutes helping them versus enabling them? Do we merely just write the person a check every month for the rest of their lives or do we ask something in return? Should they at least try to get educated and try to get a job? Should we be able to ask them to stay drug and alcohol free, at least while we are paying for them? Can we at the very least, put a termination date on the free money?
This argument goes to the healthcare idea as well. Are the people who expect free healthcare going to be required to eventually pay into the system or do they get to live off it forever? At what point can we as a society say enough is enough, you must now contribute something?
Will we help or enable?