One of the most eye-opening books I have read about the founding principles of America is “The 5,000 Year Leap.”
Inside you discover the 28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom. You will learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5,000 years.
The 7th Principle is the Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things.
In Europe, during the days of the Founders, it was very popular to proclaim that the role of government was to take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots” so that all might be truly “equal.” However, the American Founders perceived that this proposition contained a huge fallacy.
In today’s world, it is being proclaimed as the redistribution of wealth…and it is happening. Did you know that 50% of Americans DO NOT pay income taxes? Even so, they still get an income tax refund every year! Why? Redistribution of wealth.
The Founders recognized that the people cannot delegate to their government the power to do anything except that which they have the lawful right to do themselves.
For example, every person is entitled to protection of his life and property. Therefore it is perfectly legitimate to delegate to the government the task of setting up a police force to protect the lives and property of all the people.
The American Founders recognized that the moment the government is authorized to start leveling the material possessions of the rich in order to have an “equal distribution of good,” the government thereafter has the power to deprive ANY of the people of their “equal” rights to enjoy their lives, liberties, and property.
This being said, the Founders still had a deep concern for the poor and needy. We still need to help them, but instead of giving them a handout that could make them dependent on the “system” but give them a hand-up to get them out of the trenches.
“To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good.” -Benjamin Franklin
Nearly all of the Founders seem to have acquired deep convictions that assisting those in need had to be done through means which might be called “calculated” compassion. Highlights from their writing suggest the following:
- Do not help the needy completely. Merely help them to help themselves.”
- Give the poor the satisfaction of “earned achievement” instead of rewarding them without achievement.
- All the poor to climb the “appreciation ladder” – from tents to cabins, cabins to cottages, cottages to comfortable houses.”
- Where emergency help is provided, do not prolong it to the point where it becomes habitual.
- Strictly enforce the scale of “fixed responsibility.” The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the country, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare. The Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor. No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare.
Looking at the world today, it seems that we have forgotten this principle all together. We have become so off target that the people first look to the government for help rather than their family, neighbor, community, etc.
We can rejuvenate this principle through educating the people. If you liked this post please comment below and share with your friends.
Remember, YOU have the CHOICE to make it a GREAT day!
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