I was watching a television show the other night, the name of the show already escapes me, that told the true story of a family into which a diseased child was born. A couple had already given birth to two children when the third child, diagnosed with hydrocephalus, was born. As you might expect the birth of a hydrocephalic child brought dramatic changes to their lives. That is what I want to write about today.
Life is filled with sorrow. To avoid the pains of life millions of Amerikans make the rational decision to medicate themselves with illegal drugs, government approved drugs or a wide variety of obsessive-compulsive behaviors that allow them to never have to confront head-on the pain that life brings. Others make the state-worshiping decision to confront their pain by taking it to their god, civil government, whom they beseech and petition for relief with the full expectation that it has the power and ability to make everything alright.
I would never wish pain upon anyone in this life. Life is filled with so many difficulties that we all must face at various times that we should pull together and try to help each other through them. However, pulling together to help one another through the pains of life does not mean that people should be forced, against their will, to help someone in pain. Our associations with one another must be voluntary if they are to be genuine and moral. Because of sin, both actual and original, life has an almost infinite supply of painful situations that need remedial action. Many times the pains of life are directly related to sinful decisions and behaviors previously engaged in. I am not convinced those pains should ever be ameliorated. Choosing which of the many painful situations encountered in life to render assistance to is a personal decision that should never be mandated by civil government and the laws it creates.
I felt sorrow for the family that welcomed a sick child into their home. I wished that it did not have to be so but I am also enough of a realist to know that these things happen. I do not have the financial ability to help them and, not knowing them personally, I have no ability to reach out to them in any way at all. That is not a bad thing. None of us, even Bill Gates, is capable of alleviating every desperate situation that exists in the world. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, we simply need to let people suffer.
Not everyone sees things the way I do. I know that shocks you to know but it is true. In fact, most people do not see things the way I do. Even more precisely, the bottom 51% of the income population sees things quite the opposite of the way I do. They believe that "we" (defined as the top 49% of the income population) need to "do something" (defined as taxing the top 49% of the income population and giving that money to the members of the bottom 51% of the income population who have been diagnosed with some sort of government recognized special need) about the sorrowful situations that come up in life. In particular, the majority of the people in this country believe that "rich people" (defined as the top 49% of the income population) should be taxed to pay for 100% of the federal government programs that give money to people who suffer under government approved illness, including giving birth to children with hydrocephalus.
My sorrow at witnessing the birth of the sick child was magnified many times over when the report went on to tell me that the mother became an "activist" immediately after her sick child was born. An "activist," in case you do not know, is someone who runs to the god of civil government and begs the career politicians who operate it to send some tax dollars her way. In other words, an activist believes that because she has suffered a painful situation someone else in the country should be required to pay for it. She believes in theft by majority vote. She believes she is entitled to cash because her life is harder than mine. How sad it is that she has come to think that way. How even more sad it is that so many would praise her for her activism. I guess the old maxim is true, there are no atheists in foxholes. People who have spent most of their lives not petitioning the government for cash will run to their god the moment something bad happens to them, fully expecting to be granted most privileged status and become future beneficiaries of taxpayer dollars.
In the late 19th century, there was a book called The Forgotten Man and a famous lecture that went by the same name. The author and speaker was a Yale professor named
William Graham Sumner. Please allow me to quote a portion of that lecture for you to consider in light of today's topic:
"It is when we come to the proposed measures of relief for the evils
which have caught public attention that we reach the real subject which
deserves our attention. As soon as A observes something which seems to him to
be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then
propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always
proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B
and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X
what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they
might better have done it without any law, but what I want to do is to look up
C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man.
Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is
thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and
philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves
your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon
Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, ready to
earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent,
self-supporting, and asks no favors. He does not appeal to the emotions or
excite the sentiments. He only wants to make a contract and fulfill it, with
respect on both sides and favor on neither side. He must get his living out of
the capital of the country. The larger the capital is, the better living he can
get. Every particle of capital which is wasted on the vicious, the idle, and
the shiftless is so much taken from the capital available to reward the
independent and productive laborer. But we stand with our backs to the
independent and productive laborer all the time. We do not remember him because
he makes no clamor; but I appeal to you whether he is not the man who ought to
be remembered first of all, and whether, on any sound social theory, we ought
not to protect him against the burdens of the goodfornothing. In these last
years I have read hundreds of articles and heard scores of sermons and speeches
which were really glorifications of the good-for-nothing, as if these were the
charge of society, recommended by right reason to it scare and protection.
are addressed all the time as if those who are respectable were to blame
because some are not so, and as if there were an obligation on the part of
those who have done their duty towards those who have not done their duty.
Every man is bound to take care of himself and his family and to do his share
in the work of society. It is totally false that one who has done so is bound
to bear the care and charge of those who are wretched because they have not
done so. The silly popular notion is that the beggars live at the expense of
the rich, but the truth is that those who eat and produce not, live at the
expense of those who labor and produce. The next time that you are tempted to
subscribe a dollar to a charity, I do not tell you not to do it, because after
you have fairly considered the matter, you may think it right to do it, but I
do ask you to stop and remember the Forgotten Man and understand that if you
put your dollar in the savings bank it will go to swell the capital of the
country which is available for division amongst those who, while they earn it,
will reproduce it with increase."
I am a forgotten man. Maybe you are too. Unlike the kind and gentle tone evidenced in Sumner's address, I am a bitter and angry forgotten man. I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of by the majority. I am frustrated and upset that I am forced to pay for every philanthropic program the political majority wants to enact but refuses to pay for. I do not want credit for the fact that I, and other forgotten men, pay the entire budget of the federal government. I do not want to be praised or receive a plaque (as if either of those two things would ever happen!) for giving large sums of my money to people who are on rare occasions true victims of life's pains and sorrows. Indeed, I would appreciate it if, after paying the entire bill, the folks in the 51% would stop calling me a greedy monster and accusing me of not paying my fair share. I just want for others to pay their share of federal taxes, for no one to be forced to pay for charitable endeavors and to be left alone when the time comes to determine who shall receive my charity.