It seems to me, charity elevates both the giver and the receiver, while redistribution lowers both. This is a critically important thing for the average person to understand. Those who actually want to help their neighbor will try to comprehend, but those who are simply rooting for their team to win the political battle, will refuse to open their minds. This is a tragic fact of democratic politics. We vote for a team, our team, no matter what. Like the Red Sox and the Yankees, it is all about winning the pennant, not improving the lot of Man. The truly human hearted person wants to improve the lot of Man and doesn’t care about party.
Before a problem can be solved it must be understood. The simple fact is, political parties exist to take and hold power. This is their primary goal. Parties deal in votes like a baker deals in dough. In the political arena votes are the currency of the realm. Redistribution is where the government uses it’s power, a monopoly on violence, to take from the politically disfavored, and give that money to politically favored groups. Those who think otherwise are sadly deluded. Money is used by the political elite to purchase votes, whether from firms that support them, or the poor. The recipient of government largess is merely engaging in a crass exchange, a vote and support for money, no different than a baker sells bread else his bakery goes broke.
From this we can see that the political elite use the power of government, violence, to take from those they disfavor to exchange for political power. Government alms for the poor are no different. This makes the poor a party to a basically corrupt practice intended to help a party get and hold political power. Those that receive the money from government become clients of the party that favors them, just as a wealthy person or firm that engages in crony capitalism, is the client of the party that benefits them. Being a party to corruption makes a person corrupt. This follows like water flows down a hill.
Political parties that encourage people to be corrupt show their disregard for civil stability for matters of expediency. Those, whom the money that will be used for political machinations is taken from, are essentially robbed at gun point. If you disagree that violence is the primary means, simply refuse to pay your taxes, then wait and see if armed men don’t appear at your door. Logically, the person who’s money is seized, resents it. This lowers both the giver, the person who’s money is taken by force, and the receiver, the poor, or the corrupt businessman who engages in crony capitalism.
Charity on the other hand uplifts both the giver and the receiver. As I have said many times in these blogs, human beings have three parts, physical, mental and spiritual. If any, some or all of these parts are neglected, they atrophy, while they grow strong with exertion. The person who willingly gives some part of the money he or she has earned is exercising their spiritual part. To not only pay lip service to the less fortunate but to actually give of one’s own hard earned dollar is to show compassion. To demand others pay for the poor are examples of envy and greed. Compassion is uplifting and spiritually invigorating but envy and greed are lowering and spiritually destructive.
The receiver of real charity is not only getting money, food, clothing or housing, they are getting a sense that others value them as human beings. If someone is willing to freely give of their hard work to help another, that giver must believe the recipient has intrinsic worth. When we recognize someone has compassion for us we become more engaged in society, and we reciprocate with compassion for others strengthening our own spirit. Those that get largess from the State, understand it is not because anyone believes they have worth, but is merely a corruptly crass political payment for support and so, like any other market transaction they want the most they can get for their product… their support. The understanding that you have real worth outside some crass political scheme is spiritually uplifting and builds a person’s sense of self worth. When we believe we are a pawn in a power struggle our self worth is lowered. Therefore charity uplifts both the giver and the receiver while redistribution lowers everyone involved.