Nanny-State Busybodies

I’ve been reading Zig Ziglar’s autobiography this week. He was the tenth of a widow’s twelve children. His mother had no career, no job, no education, no welfare, but she still managed to feed and clothe and educate her children. She taught them to be hard-working, responsible people. She sold dairy products and home-grown produce. Her children worked at grocery stores, delivered newspapers, sold peanuts, and did other odd jobs to help.

She might not be able to do that today. She would probably have to move into a cinder-block cave (aka low-income housing project), get on the dole, let her kids run with gangs, and submit to periodic interference from social workers. All in the name of helping the poor, of course.

We have laws against self-reliance these days, against child labor, private enterprise, homeschooling, home maintenance, and just about everything else that allows the poor to live independent and responsible lives. Some of the worst things that have ever happened to this country were the New Deal, the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and all their relatives. Too many people think they have to solve every social problem there is, and they aren’t content just to lend a hand themselves. They have to start a government program, a tax, a bureaucracy, a task force, a committee.

I can’t even call these people well intentioned, because I don’t believe they are. They say they want to help the poor or the children or whomever, and they might even believe that, but what they really want is to help themselves. They want to feel as if they’ve done something without actually doing anything. If they really wanted to help the poor, they’d walk down the street and help some poor people, but they don’t want to get dirty. Instead, they extort (because that’s all government really does) from everyone else to pay for a scheme that delivers ten cents worth of services out of every dollar extracted. Then they pat themselves on the back for their bravery and compassion and wonder why crime, illiteracy, disease, and divorce rates go up.

Give us all a break. The next time you feel like helping, why don’t you go volunteer at the Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, a church, hospital, or any number of other places where you will come face to face with the people who need you. Keep the government as far away from them as possible. If you can’t handle that, then mind your own business. You can’t save the world, so try not to ruin it for everyone else.

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