Greg Jungman: Giving should be a personal decision
As much as I always enjoy and learn from Jeffrey Bergeron’s columns and humor, I could not help but feel the need to respond to Sunday’s column on “Neighborly Socialism”. The point of the column was, I believe, to point out how essential neighborly behavior – or mutually looking out for and being helped by our friends and neighbors – is to make our lives work. By extension then, is the idea that society should enforce this behavior, be it by communism or socialism. His view of communism is it should be without the totalitarian government, which I see as similar to basic socialism that a society voluntarily accepts plus the not so minor parts about banning religion and pushing this government style upon the world. The thought was also thrown out that this is like basic Christian ideals, which many in the world strive toward.
To me, the difference between society required donations of your time and money is vastly different from volunteering to do for others. We certainly need some of both, as the government’s forced tithing such as our country’s Social Security tax (I know it is over the 10 percent of historical tithing, but you might get some back yourself) is quite helpful to keep our country working, and this safety net fits our sense of fairness. Yet, do you feel good as you pay taxes or are forced to spend your money or effort for others if it is not your decision to do so? It is helpful, but not fulfilling and often resented since it is imposed.
When you do something for others, either quietly on your own or as part of a church, club or service organization, you are helped as much or more than you give. Do you know anyone you respect that does not go out of their way to help others? When you do unselfish things for neighbors, you feel good, and they do when they do something back. I absolutely agree with Jeffrey’s contention that this neighborly spirit with friends and relatives – and even when we send it off and away internationally – makes the human experience richer and fulfilled. What I disagree with is any more of it being done by government than absolutely has to be, as it then not only takes from the “giver” by force, it also dehumanizes the receiver and they do not feel they can help the giver back, and they often fall into a resentful state of mind called entitlement.
I find great wisdom in your quote from Luke: “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” I do note that blessing comes from your neighborly decision to do these things, not from your government telling you to.
Yes, Jeffrey, communism and socialism have gotten a bad name in our country, but it is justified.
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