Why would a reasonably intelligent person be left-leaning?
By Steven D. Miller
This left v. right question has be asked and re-asked throughout the history of mankind. The answers are always similar.
Reasonably intelligent answers throughout history
2150 years ago Greek Historian Polybius wrote The Histories Of the Roman Republic 220-146 BC, Book 6, section 9:
“But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders … when they begin to lust for power and cannot attain it through themselves or their own good qualities, they ruin their estates, tempting and corrupting the people in every possible way. And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch. “
And 2000 years ago Plutarch said “It is truly said that the first destroyer of the liberties of a people is he who gave them bounties and largesse. ”
Cicero in 45BC wrote about the same problem. Here is H. Rackham’s 1914 translation of Section 1.10.33 of Cicero’s De finibus bonorum et malorum:
“ On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.”
This was true when Samuel Adams speech at the Pennsylvania State House, August 1, 1776 told the greedy anti-freedom opportunists to “crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.”
When the proposed U.S. Constitution was debated in the State Senates.
To counter those rumors that the “general welfare” clause in the proposed Constitution would authorize any kind of welfare, James Madison, in Federalist Paper #41, explained its clear intent. He stated that it “is an absurdity” to claim that the General Welfare clause confounds or misleads, because this introductory clause is followed by enumeration of specific particulars that explain and qualify the meaning of phrase “general welfare”.
That’s right! Your Constitution was ratified under the assurance that it would never be interpreted to provide welfare to individuals.
This was still true when Congressman Davy Crockett made his famous “it is not yours to give” speech. It is not their money to give, not even for disaster relief in a federal territory.
Why do you want laws that force others to provide for you? You are demanding theft and extortion. It violates the Tenth Commandment to not covet your neighbor’s wealth.
Presidents also warned us
President Franklin Pierce in 1854 vetoed our nation’s first health care bill — a bill to help the mentally ill. His veto said:
“I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity…. [this] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.”
In Genesis 3:19 the unchanging God of the Bible requires you to earn your bread from the sweat of your face.
This principle was still true when Abraham Lincoln gave his second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865: “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces…”
He was talking about slavery. That’s right. Forced welfare contributions are just as immoral as slavery. Welfare and slavery are the same thing. It is using laws to force others to provide you with the fruits of another man’s labor. If you expect others to provide what you want, then you are as corrupt as a slave owner.
This was still true for Grover Cleveland’s veto of government pensions June 21, 1886:
“. . . Every relaxation of principle in the granting of pensions invites applications without merit and encourages those who for gain urge honest men to become dishonest. This is the demoralizing lesson taught the people that as against the public Treasury the most questionable expedients are allowable.
. . . I venture to suggest the significance of the startling increase in this kind of legislation and the consequences involved in its continuance.”
This was still true in 1897 when President Grover Cleveland vetoed an appropriation to provide disaster aid to victims of a Texas drought. His veto stated:
“I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds… I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution. The lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people should support the government, the government should not support the people.”
[my footnote: 1897 was 2 years after the Supreme Court ruled that income tax was unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmer’s Loan Co. — 157 US 429, and 158 U.S. 601],
This was still true for the Teddy Roosevelt speech to the New York City Chamber of Commerce November 11, 1902:
“it is a pleasure to address a body whose members possess to an eminent degree the traditional American self-reliance of spirit which makes them scorn to ask from the government, whether of State or of Nation, anything but a fair field and no favor; who confide not in being helped by others, but in their own skill, energy, and business capacity to achieve success. The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show not only the capacity for sturdy self-help but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others.”
Reasonably intelligent answers from the Bible:
- The apostle Paul repeated King David’s warning that government charity would be a snare to trap you. Romans 11:9
- Galatians 5:15 paraphrase: if you devour your neighbor, you risk being devoured yourself.
- Second Thessalonians 2:11 God himself gives them over to strong delusion that they might believe a lie.
- Romans 1:28 God himself gives them a reprobate mind.
- Christ himself, at the Last Supper, told us to not be like the kings of the gentiles (ie, pagan governments). We are not to be benefactors.
For more information read my essay on welfare and my book The Citizen Cannot Complain.
Steven Miller originally answered March 18, 2018
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