Charity vs. Altruism

Recently I have discovered additional insight as to why many Catholics, even those who are otherwise pretty conservative, support things like government welfare, including this health care mess. It has to do with the difference between charity and altruism.

Charity, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, is a free will gift of one’s own time, talent, and/or treasure to assist those who are less fortunate than we are. In Catholicism there is the principle of subsidiarity which “is opposed to all forms of collectivism.” Private non-profits (the higher-order entity) adhere to this principle by not forcing us (the lower-order entity) to give to them. In this was we still retain a sense of self when helping others.

Altruism, on the other hand, while it has in common with chaity concern for others as part of its definition, is vastly different from charity. This method of helping others violates the principle of subsidiarity. Altruism is defined as completely selfless concern for the welfare of others. Going from that definition the implication is clear. When altruism is placed in practice it means that to help others you must surrender your sense of self. And by surrendering your sense of self it opens you up to being reduced from a human being with civil liberties to a mere source of resources for the sole use of others. And once reduced to such a state one becomes no more than a slave to the class altruists seek to help and thus this leads to the very collectivism that the principle of subsidiarity so opposes. In fact it is altruism that has served as the moral basis for collectivism and slavery (which is really a form of collectivism anyway).  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “”The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which ‘make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.'”

So to sum it up:

Charity is the self-ISH concern for the welfare of those who are less fortunate. This is another way collectivists seek to justify their view, by using the fact that we have forgotten that there are 2 different meanings for the term “selfish.” One meaning is the negative one, where being selfish means you exploit others for your own personal gain (the other meaning that you simply have a sense of yourself as a human being with dignity and natural rights). This leads me to altruism. Altruism is the opposite. It is self-LESS concern for others. But as we have seen, help for others without a sense of yourself (which is what self-LESS means) conforms more to the “exploit one group for the sake of another” meaning of “selfish.” In this way when altruism is allowed to take hold as a valid part of any economic system, slavery results. One group is effectively yoked to another in one collective. Kinda like those Borg drones in Star trek: TNG eh?

So while charity and altruism may at first glance appear to be synonyms, we see that they are in fact polar opposites. And since collectivism is slavery, and slavery condemned by the teachings of the Catholic Church, government welfare (including ObamaCare) even without provisions that include funding for things like abortions, is still a policy that conflicts with Church teaching.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas my faithful (and few….:-P) readers!

*looks to PC advisor and whispers*….Did I offend anybody with that?  Oh?  Just all the free-speech hating liberals?  Ok….cool.

This Christmas season, let us remember our greatest and most powerful gift as members of the human race.  We are capable of a life-giving love so pure, so chaste, that we would give of our very lives for our fellow man.

So many people use this time of year to ramp up the demonization of those who have wealth.  These people forget that the pursuit of producing wealth is not wrong on its own power.  It is our intentions for doing so that can be called into question.  There are some who pursue wealth because they love money more than their fellow man, leading to the other extreme of poor people getting so jealous of what others have that they would be willing to break 2 of the 10 Commandments (Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods & Thou Shalt not steal) to get it.

On the whole though a lot of poor people I think are much richer.  Because the Scrooges of the world, like the man at the beginning of the movie, have wealth.  But those people are poor because they are lacking in love.  Despite all they have they are miserable because of that deficiency.  On the other hand I’ve met successful people who have plenty of compassion for those in need and some poor people who are so lacking in love that instead of working to obtain their “fair share” of the American Dream like the rest of us they covet what they don’t have.

Because, in the end, it matters not how much money you have.  What matters more is that you keep love, which comprises the entire essence of the Christmas spirit, alive in your hearts all year round.  Christmas isn’t the only time of year we need to remember our capacity for love.  Christmas is something that we would all do well to keep all the time and never lose sight of.  It’s the time of year when we were given the greatest gift of all: the gift of God Himself, incarnate in human flesh, to be given for us in bloody recompense for our human failings.  And we, who are made in His image and likeness, can do no less than to love one another as He loves us.

O Lord, dear sweet Father in Heaven, I pray that by Your grace we may have the strength of spirit to keep the Christmas gift alive in our hearts all year round by remembering those in need not just during this season but all the time.  Amen.

Government Welfare: Stealing? Yes!

Many people I’m sure have read my blogs regarding true charity and how forced taxation is not true charity for the poor because it’s the government telling you how to spend your hard-earned money.  This concept goes by another name: STEALING!  There is NO moral justification for stealing, no matter how badly you might need some food, water, clothing, or money.

How does government welfare equate to this most grievous of violations against another person’s property, you ask?  Simple.  Think about the nature of government welfare.  Their nature forces them to obtain funding through taxes.  Taxes are something that we the people have no choice but to pay.  The government takes this money and gives it to the poor people.  If the poor people did this directly we would rightfully call that stealing, but because the poor people have gotten the government to do it for them it’s somehow A-OK?

A lot of people, even some of my Catholic brethren, including some clergy, have forgotten that while we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to serve the needs of the poor people, Church teaching also says that those in need must also be Christ-like, and Christ never would’ve stolen money from people nor would he have used the Roman government to do the stealing for him through taxes.

Therefore, government welfare does not constitute charity at all.  It does just the opposite.  What government does through these programs is turn an entire class of people into thieves, thereby continuing, not abolishing, class warfare.  The only way poor people can truly be helped is to help them with basic necessities in the short term, while at the same time helping them to help themselves by teaching them skills that they can take to the job market and get a decent job so that they can obtain such basic necessities as food, water, clothing, and even perhaps some creature comforts, on their own power.  That is how poverty is truly treated.

People don’t seem to realize that the needy also have a moral obligation to obey the law.  This means that the needy only have a right to ask that people help them out of the goodness of their hearts, not to force or use government to force people to help them.

The preamble to the US Constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Notice how it states to PROMOTE, not PROVIDE, the general welfare.  There’s a world of difference between the 2 terms.  “Promote the general welfare” means that government must provide en environment by which people can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps by fostering a free market where both commerce and true charity can flourish.  If the founding fathers instead had “provide” instead of “promote” for general welfare we would have an environment where government turns poor people into nothing more than thieves by stealing money from us and giving it to the poor.

There are some people who don’t mind that government welfare programs only use government to enable the poor people to steal from hard-working American citizens.  Who don’t mind that poor people essentially use the government to commit a crime that is rightfully called stealing.  To those people I say that if you like having poor people, or anybody for that matter steal from you through government, move to a communist country, like China.  Then see what promoting socialism over using the free market to provide true charity gets you.

Note: My good friend and former roomie Tom did point me out to a clarification I should make.  I neglected to include the keyword “unwittingly.”  this grievous exclusion of that keyword on my part did make it sound like I was generalizing and accusing a whole class of people of being thieves.  I should have said that with these welfare programs government is UNWITTINGLY, i.e., without the knowledge or consent of the needy, turning the needy into thieves by stealing our money through taxation and giving it to them.  And THAT is the difference between actual thievery on the part of the needy and government welfare programs.  In government welfare programs the thievery is being done indirectly and the needy are none the wiser because the needy don’t care where the money is coming from.  But I would bet that if it were explained to the needy in this way that the needy would also be all for the same gradual changeover from government welfare to private charity services  that I support

Abortion, Contraception, and Social Security

I’ve heard a lot in the news recently about all kinds of budget shortfalls.  The most notable of these shortfalls is Social Security.  To be sure, a large part of our deficits stem from out of control spending and the belief that we as  a nation can borrow our way out of this mess.

But for this blog I intend to talk about Social Security and the effect that pushing abortion, contraception, and by extension the devaluing of the institution that gives new life back to society because of the participation in this institution of men and women who wish to commit themselves to each other.  That institution is the natural law institution of marriage.

People are under the erroneous impression that they pay into the Social Security system for themselves, and liberals have done absolutely nothing to discourage this impression they have of Social Security.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The SS system is set up so that members of the workforce pay into the system for the people going into retirement ahead of them.  So we are paying for others’ retirement and others are paying for our own retirement under this system.  Aside from the affront to liberty regarding our own monetary affairs that this system represents, there is only one way that this system could work out mathematically: the government must value human life and dignity above all else and it must value marriage as the life-giving institution that it is.  If the government ceases to do this, which it has, you wind up with more people entering retirement than there are people in the workforce to support their SS checks.

Back in the early days of SS, it did work out mathematically.  People entering into retirement had at least a good 3  or 4 people paying into the SS system for them.  This was because back then people never would’ve thought to kill their own child at any otherwise viable stage of human development or to glorify the devaluing of the sexual act as a mere tool to be used only for the satisfaction of base and carnal desires through the pushing of contraceptive use.  But then people began to push for these things in the name of so-called “choice and freedom.”  We bear stark witness today to the horrible and rotten fruits of this terrible push for the “right” to kill your own child and the “right” to devalue our greatest and most powerful gift, the gift that allows us to give to society in the form of new life.

Because of these things, the devaluing of human life as a blight upon “Mother Earth” rather than the gift to the world human life is, and of the sexual act that leads to new life, our population is aging.  Whereas in the early days there were fewer people retiring than were people in the workforce, today there are more people retiring than there are people in the workforce to support them through SS.  The fruits of this secular humanistic approach that the liberals are so fond of has wrought terrible fruits indeed, not only politically and socially but now economically.  The system is collapsing not just because of out-of-control government spending, but by the simple mathematical fact that there are fewer people in the workforce than there are people retiring.  The foundation of support for the elderly through social security, workers, is collapsing as a result of the push for those immoral things.

So because of the glorification by the left of the immorality of lifestyles that dissociate the unitive act from the procreative act and of lifestyles that are by nature closed to the gift of new life (seeking a moral equivalency between the homosexual lifestyle and the special and unique life-giving love that can only exist between a man and a woman), we witness today the severe economic repercussions of such glorification.  All of these have led to a vacuum that people wrongly look to unconstitutional expansion of government to fill, when the proper solution is to restore life and liberty and the natural law that gave us these things to their rightful place in our Republic.

As for the homosexual lifestyle, I would like to add that liberals will, and have, lied about the nature of this lifestyle in order to make people who live with this unnatural lifestyle feel good about their sinful behavior by calling it love.  That is patently incorrect, for the love that can only exist between a man and a woman naturally is our greatest act of charity as human beings.  In this act man and woman give themselves totally to each other, and through their selfless act of commitment to each other give back to society in the form of the most wondrous gift of new human life.  The homosexual lifestyle is rightfully known as unnatural and carnal precisely because by its very nature the homosexual lifestyle dissociates the unitive act from the procreative act of our sexual gifts by being intrinsically closed to this gift of new human life.

True Charity and Catholicism

Ah, charity, that greatest of cardinal virtues.  It is by this virtue that a bond is formed between all members of the human society.  This virtue enables us to love one another as God so loves us.  As an expression of this love we dutifully help our fellow man with basic necessities.  We do this because we love our fellow man as members of human society and so we want to do this.

As I have stated in previous blogs, true charity is not found in the mandates of government welfare programs.  The very nature of these programs forces them to obtain funding through taxation.  And so because funding for these programs is forced through taxation, people are helping their fellow man not out of charity and love, but because they are forced to through government mandates.

And thus it is with great sadness that I see an increasing number of my fellow Catholics who have forsaken or who simply have not been taught in the first place the most basic principles of charity, and its relationship to the principle of subsidiarity.  By voting for drastic increases in government welfare spending such as those found in the health care bill, such Catholics are displaying a growing and open defiance of these basic principles.

The principle of subsidiarity, as set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, states:

“A community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of  society, always with a view of the common good.” – Paragraph 1883 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

With government welfare programs, the government (the community of higher order) is directly interfering in the internal affairs of the individual (the community of lower order) by robbing him of the freedom to choose whether or not to help someone and interfering in the individual’s monetary affairs.  This is in direct opposition to what the role of government should be, which is an authority that facilitates and co-ordinates commerce with respect to the common good and to freedom.  In the case of help for the poor, the government instead should seek to not put out welfare programs funded through taxation, but instead should facilitate charity through the private non-profit entities whose business it is to help those who are in need of help.  This prohibition against the “nanny state” and activities by the government that lead up to it (the gradual but steady expansion of government welfare spending) is given in paragraph 1885 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states:

“The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.  It sets limits for state intervention.  It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies.  It tends toward the establishment of true international order.”

Thus do Catholics who vote for people who seek only to expand the welfare state, including this health care bill, do so in direct opposition to Church teaching.  Church teaching in this matter is very clear that because of the principle of subsidiarity, charity must be a free will gift from the heart of one’s own time, talent, and/or treasure and should be geared towards helping the needy become self-sufficient and productive  members of society.  And such a free will gift is not found in government mandates through welfare programs funded through taxation.

True Charity

Many times have I been accused of not caring for those “least among us” for fighting against health care reform and other government welfare programs.  People who accuse me of this are just plain ignorant of the concept of true charity.  Government welfare is not designed with true charity in mind.

Number one: Government welfare is forced through taxation.  This does not fit the first rule of true charity, which is that it must be a free-will gift of ones own time, talent, and/or treasure to benefit those least amongst us.  Where’s the free will in a welfare program that instead of letting you decide how to help these people they decide for you in the form of taxation?

Number two: Government welfare is not explicitly designed with the adage “give a man a fish, he eats for a day…teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” in mind.  This means that true charity must also be geared towards the goal of helping poor people become self-sufficient.

So when I fight against government welfare programs it doesn’t mean I hate poor people and think that they all deserve their plight.  I in fact have great compassion for those least amongst us.  I just simply want them to utilize private charities that do a better job of embodying the 2 principles I just discussed.  Programs that use free-will donations to provide for the poor while at the same time teaching them the honest skills by which poor people can then take to the job market and eventually get a decent job that they can use to feed, clothe, and otherwise care for themselves.  And that is how poverty is truly dealt with, through these private programs that actually work to liberate people from poverty, not keep them in it like most government welfare programs.