Charity or Robbery?

What would you call it if a person walked up and pointed a gun at you and demanded your money?

Robbery.

What if three guys did it? Would it be something else?

Of course not, it’s still robbery.

Okay, but suppose you live in a town of 100 people and 99 of them get together and decide to come to your house with guns and take your possessions. What’s that?

Robbery. C’mon.

How many people would have to get involved before their taking your stuff was justified?

That’s silly, it doesn’t matter how many robbers come — it’s still robbery.

thidthief.jpgBut suppose they came and took your possessions and, after pawning it off, took the proceeds and fed some hungry people in the neighborhood. Would that justify their actions?

Of course not, Robbery is robbery regardless of what you do with the stolen property.

Interesting.

All of those scenarios were robbery and easily understood as wrong but we blindly accept this kind of robbery in America every day. In fact, many of us enthusiastically support it.

We just call it taxes.

Congress confiscates huge portions of our money every year and gives it away based upon their discretion. And, should we refuse to pay, the “authorities” would eventually show up at our door to take our money or our freedom by force. We are robbed, quite literally, at the point of a gun.

Quick Note: The previous analogy was borrowed from Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University and frequent quest host of the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

I guess we tolerate this robbery because, at the moment, Congress behaves more like a mugger in an alley — taking only the money we have on us — and not like a home invader who comes and cleans us out. For the moment they leave us a portion of our earnings (and expect us to thank them for not stealing it all — how nice.)

I bring this concept up because this is an election year and most of the candidates are telling us they are no longer satisfied with what they can take from us in the alley. They plan to follow us home and steal everything we’ve got. Oh, they don’t put it in those words. They hide their intentions behind carefully crafted phrases like, “I don’t plan to raise taxes, I plan to raise hope,” and “I want to provide universal healthcare for every single American.”

They commit robbery and call it “charity.”

With one stark exception, every candidate for president (both Democrat and Republican) has grand schemes for our money. And, should we be in need of some of our own money, well, we’ll have to go take a number at a government office somewhere, wait our turn, fill out a bunch of forms (in triplicate) and beg — for the “privilege” of having the use of our own money.

I realize many readers would think I’m overreacting. Some might think I’m being alarmist. But let me remind you of something. Our country was founded on the principles of liberty. Our founders valued equity in opportunity not outcome. We all were to have an equal shot at making the best of our lives with the resources available to us. But we do not have a right to some arbitrary standard of living if it means robbing our fellow citizens to pay for it. That, my friends, is socialism. And, as much as I hate to point it out, our country has been on the march toward socialism for some time.

thidtax.jpgThere was a time when Americans would have been shocked at the idea of an income tax (which, by the way, was a “temporary” government measure). There was a time Americans would have been appalled at the idea of Social Security (which, by the way, was supposed to be “optional”). There was a time Americans would have been angry at the concept of government intervention in the country’s health-care system.

But, our federal government has done all of these things and now we think of them as normal. And the thing we can’t seem to understand is that government intervention in our lives is a bad thing. I’ll give you just one example.

Government’s intervention in the American health-care system is destroying our health-care system. And the politicians’ answer to this problem is more intervention in the health-care system. I cannot emphasize this enough, universal government healthcare is a nightmare waiting to happen.

And of all the presidential candidates only one has unveiled an economic plan that is suitable for fixing this enormous bureaucratic mess.

But the most disturbing thing in this whole scene is the role many Christians are playing. Far too many of us have come to expect the state to be God’s instrument of grace when it’s not. Many of us — whether we realize it or not — view the state as some sort of savior. And when we come to a presidential election we often reject our King of kings and demand our own earthly king, instead.

America will become socialistic if we allow it. And when it does we can expect tyrannical government edicts (like this one) to become the norm.

As believers in Christ we need to understand the proper role of the Church and the proper role of the government. We also need to understand that robbery is robbery regardless of how you try to justify it.

And robbery is forbidden — just check the eighth commandment.

Bumper sticker of the day:

jitcrunch-91.jpg

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

7 Responses to Charity or Robbery?

  1. David says:

    Hmmm-

    So what would you call it if you drove on a road that you hadn’t helped pay for?
    Robbery

    What would you call it if firemen saved your house from burning down and you refused to pay them for their work, their training, and the equipment they used?
    Robbery

    And what would you call it if you demanded someone protect you from being sold contaminated meat or dogfood without poison in it, and you were unwilling to pay for it?
    Robbery

    There are none so blind as those who will not see (the complexities of the social system in which we live and all the benefits they use every day but don’t want to pay for)

  2. Chip says:

    David,

    Thanks for commenting — although your final comment “There are none so blind as those who will not see (the complexities of the social system in which we live and all the benefits they use every day but don’t want to pay for)” shows that you did not fully understand. I am perfectly willing to pay for the services I use. But assuming the government is best suited to deliver those services is just wrong. Private industry and the free market have consistently outperformed the “public” sector in terms of quality and efficiency (as economist Murray Rothbard noted in his classic essay “The Fallacy of the ‘Public Sector'” which you can read here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard37.html ).

    When the government “provides” services there is a disconnect between the provider and the consumer. An attitude develops on the part of the government whereby they think they are “providing” something for free when, in fact, we are paying for those services (as you pointed out.) But because those in government think they are “giving” us something they also think they should be able to dictate the terms of the transaction — what we want really does not matter.

    However, when the private sector provides goods and services they must be concerned with the satisfaction of the customer — or the customer will take their business somewhere else. When government “provides” they always ensure they have a monopoly so we have no alternatives. (For more info on these concepts check out the Economic links on the Thideology homepage).

    But the real issue, here, is whether or not we subscribe to THE foundational principle of this country. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that a government’s authority comes from the consent of the governed. If citizens do not consent to certain things the government has no authority to do them.

    I’ll give you an example: I do not consent to paying Social Security taxes. All of the money I’ve “contributed” up until now has been spent. If I live to 65 the government will begin to pay me “benefits” provided they are still able to do so. But if I die before I turn 65 all the money I’ve “contributed” is gone. My family won’t see a penny of it. I’d rather provide for my own retirement.

    Now, the government does not have the authority to take my money for Social Security (according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence). I pay them, however, because the government has the power to force me to comply — BIG difference. Consent and compliance are two completely different things. If I don’t pay they will put me in jail for tax evasion. So I pay. Just like a robber who points a gun at me has no authority to take my money still gets me to comply by threat of force. I don’t consent to his demands but I comply with them.

    Our government forces me to accept a “benefit” in Social Security I’d rather not have. I do not consent to the program but I comply — because of the threat of force.

    Of course, as I pointed out in my initial post, the analogy of robbery is not original with me. I borrowed it from Walter E. Williams. I happen to agree — but I didn’t come up with it. I’d recommend you read some more by Walter Williams (he’s a regular writer at http://www.worldnetdaily.com), or read some of the wonderful articles at http://www.mises.org. There’s a lot of really good information there as well.

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  4. johnMark says:

    David,

    I’m wondering, do you think it would still be robbery if someone who received more money from the Federal Gov. than they paid, drove on roads they didn’t help pay for?

    Mark

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