By Theresa Camoriano
When I was a kid, my parents taught me to do my best at anything I undertook. They said, if you are going to be a ditch digger, you should strive to be the best ditch digger there is. That saying was very common back in those days, so you may have received similar advice if you are over 50 years old.
I have since come to understand that it does not make sense to try to do every job to perfection, but I did take away some important lessons.
For example, I learned that much of the happiness in my life comes from striving for excellence and taking pride in my work.
I also learned that no honest job is beneath my dignity or the dignity of anyone else and that every person deserves equal respect, whether that person does hard, manual labor or whether he is the CEO of a large corporation.
Another lesson is that we value the things we have worked hard to accomplish. Anything that is simply handed to us is not valued as much as something for which we have struggled.
Later on, when I became a parent myself, I found out that it is very difficult to watch your kids struggle. I wanted to solve their problems for them or give them the things they were striving for, but I realized that I had to allow them to struggle and even to fail sometimes. If I had swooped in and rescued them, I would have been doing them a great disservice, because I would have been depriving them of the opportunity to achieve the happiness that comes from having struggled. They would not have valued what they had achieved. They would have missed out on a lot of important life lessons and would be much poorer for it.
Most of us know this to be true for ourselves and for our children. So why do so many people promote government programs that essentially do what a good parent knows he or she should not do – swoop in and eliminate the struggle by giving people an unearned handout?
The people promoting government handout programs may say that they have good intentions, but, if that really is the case, why would they want something different for themselves and for their own children? Why would they not preach what they practice?
My theory is that many of the people who promote the government handout programs are doing so for their own personal benefit, not for the benefit of the recipients of the handouts. Some of them want the “cheap grace” of feeling that they are being kind and compassionate by handing out other people’s money. They do not bother to follow up to see how much harm the government programs are doing or to see how people can be helped in a much better ways. After all, if they actually looked at the results of the handouts, they would not be able to continue patting themselves on the back . Others who promote the handouts do not care at all about the “beneficiaries” and simply want more and more people to be dependent on government handouts, because it buys them votes and political power.
So, we continue with government handout programs that do tremendous harm to the supposed beneficiaries. They take away people’s sense of control over their own lives and eliminate the opportunity for struggling to achieve a goal; they take away people’s self esteem and happiness. They eat out people’s souls.
But, of course, we all have been told that anyone who opposes the government handouts and prefers other types of arrangements is a selfish, greedy, evil hater who wants people to go hungry and live in the streets.
So, let’s recap. If you support the government handouts, you will be patted on the back and told that you are kind, compassionate and caring, even though the handouts are destroying people’s lives and sucking out their souls. On the other hand, if you oppose the government handouts and want to take a different approach that treats people with respect and allows them to struggle, you will be attacked as being selfish, greedy, and evil.
Most normal, healthy people would much rather be patted on the back and praised than be attacked and called bad names. On the other hand, we have a moral obligation to do the right thing, even when it is difficult or unpleasant, and we have a moral obligation to elect representatives who are willing to stand up and do the right thing as well.
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