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For the Record: We Are Our Brother’s Keeper

2009/12/16
Caveat: The First Law of Unintended Consequences is that No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished…

Health Care: The Religious Question by Alan F.H. Wisdom in American Spectator:

“It was inevitable that religious groups would be drawn into the fight over health care reform. Any proposal to restructure one-sixth of the U.S. economy is bound to affect almost every social institution, including religious institutions. In fact, these have a significant stake. The Catholic Church alone delivers $5.7 billion in health care annually through 600 affiliates.

“Health care is an area that particularly touches upon religious values. Catholic hospitals can trace their lineage back to the Middle Ages, when religious orders took the lead in caring for the sick. They were trying to imitate a Savior who first made his reputation as a healer.

“The moral questions about the boundaries of health care become more acute as health care is centralized. When health care is provided through local markets with a multiplicity of players offering disparate services, individuals have freedom to choose the options that best fit their moral convictions.

“The debates about abortion and health care reform are not between religion and secularism. They are between different sets of religious values.”

Please read the whole article.

Mr. Wisdom’s article operates within the generally accepted assumptions of the morality of Government provided charity. We must ask the underlying religious question being ignored.

As a young man, I was saddened that thieves such as Robin Hood were treated as heroes. The question was (and remains) straightforward:

How is it moral or even charitable for the Government to use force to take the property of some for redistribution to others?

I accept western civilization’s recognition to be my brother’s keeper. I accept as well that responsibility, as a personal duty, that applies to each and every adult – even to those that receive charitable aid. Where I differ from the vast majority of Church and Rabbinic leaders is the notion that “society” can discharge it’s responsibility for the care of the incapacitated with someone else’s money. “Society” can do no such thing…

… because there is no such thing as social justice. Justice is unique to the individual for the same reason that Charity is a unique individual duty.

For example, when Jews or Catholics voluntarily donate wealth and time to support Jewish or Catholic hospitals, they set the example of meeting a personal responsibility with personal means. It is the very essence of Liberty.

If the hospital Board, however, agrees to accept Government funds to offset costs, those funds – forcibly taken and redistributed – invariably arrive with stipulations antithetical to the moral values of those responsible for providing care.

Worse, religious leaders admonish and excoriate those who oppose “national” health care. Would it not be superior to demand instead that Government abandon the game entirely and return that responsibility to individuals and their congregations?

There is no moral basis – nor even empirical evidence – for the notion that Government and it’s stolen funds can successfully absolve us of individual duty.

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