Thoughts on Charity

As President Obama pretends to channel his inner Christian and, in doing so, distorts Jesus’ message, a friend reminds me of another passage from the Bible.  Ruth 2:1-17 has many lessons, but one of them concerns the charity of Boaz toward Ruth.  Within this lesson is another.  Boaz had productive fields, else he could not have let Ruth glean from them—there would have been nothing to glean.

This new and old lesson is understood by many in our own time.  Isabel Paterson has also written about the relationship between charity and production.  In her The God of the Machine, she wrote

The great religions, which are also great intellectual systems, have always recognized the conditions of the natural order.  They enjoin charity, benevolence, as a moral obligation, to be met out of the producer’s surplus.  That is, they make it secondary to production, for the inescapable reason that without production there could be nothing to give.

Charity is a moral duty, and so of necessity a personal one.  Government cannot command our morality.  Yet President Obama’s policies add to the difficulty we have in satisfying our moral duty by taking our wealth away from us, by dictating to us our production and our exchanges among each other—and thereby reducing our ability to produce enough for our families and to have a surplus from which to offer charity to others.  Obama would have us glean our fields threadbare and give the surplus to his government so that he can engage in the wealth redistribution which he pretends is our collective charity.

Thus, Paterson also says this about that Obama-style “charity,”

If the primary objective of the philanthropist, his justification for living, is to help others, his ultimate good requires that others shall be in want. His happiness is the obverse of their misery.  If he wishes to help “humanity,” the whole of humanity must be in need.  The humanitarian wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others.  He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves.  The humanitarian puts himself in the place of God.

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