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Topic: Social Programs, Matches 2 quotes.



No Special Privileges

It is definitely not the function of government to take positive action in aiding or sustaining or lending assistance to any person or group or segment of society. Such “help” can only be given to one person or group at the expense of others. The only principled role of society’s agency is negative; government should restrain anyone from doing injury to others. The law’s job is to codify the taboos or the thou-shalt-nots and enforce them; that is, it should invoke a common justice and keep the peace.

Any time and in every instance in which government departs from this negative or purely defensive role, avarice is released in the citizenry. Government can do all of us a service by warding off intruders; but when government pretends to “help” us, government itself thereby becomes the colossal intruder.

I am quite aware that to most people this way of drawing the line seems cold, heartless, and without pity. But pity, unless spiced with common sense, is what’s heartless. Providing people with governmental feeding stations not only kindles the vice of avarice but it renders them helpless. The process results in an atrophy of the faculties from which recovery is next to impossible. Helping people to become helpless is no act of kindness. Nor is self-pity in order, that is, feeling sorry for ourselves as taxpayers. Such sympathy as is within us should be extended to the recipients of this largess, for they have stooped and may not be able to straighten up again.

No doubt a world in which matter never got out of place and became dirt, in which iron had no flaws and wood no cracks, in which gardens had no weeds, and food grew already cooked, in which clothes never wore out and washing was as easy as the soapmakers’ advertisements describe it, in which rules had no exceptions and things never went wrong, would be a much easier place to live in. But for purposes of training and development it would be worth nothing at all.

It is the resistance that puts us on our mettle: it is the conquest of the reluctant stuff that educates the worker. I wish you enough difficulties to keep you well and make you strong and skillful!2

2. Henry Van Dyke.

Source: Leonard E. Read
To Free or Freeze, pp. 60-61

Topics: Charity; Social Programs; Welfare



The Townsend Plan

We have on at the present time a great political campaign, and I want to say to the Saints that I hope they will not allow their political affiliations, their regard for political affairs, to cause feelings of ill-will towards one another. I have had some of the most insulting letters that ever came to me, condemning me for not being in favor of the Townsend Plan, and that I must be ignorant of the Plan. I am not ignorant of the Plan. I have not read every word of it, but I have asked one of my secretaries to read every word of the Plan and to give me the important points, and to my mind it is in direct opposition to everything I have quoted here today from Brigham Young and from the revelations of the Lord. The idea of allowing every man and woman who has reached the age of sixty years and wishes to retire from working to get $200 a month from the government! There is nothing truer than Brigham Young’s statement, that we should give nothing to people, unless they are not able to work, without requiring them to do something for it.

I want to say to the people that one of my nearest and dearest relatives criticised me for not favoring the Townsend Plan. I love him just as much as though he did not criticise me. I am perfectly willing for him to think and believe and act just as he wants to do, I want everybody to do this; I do not want the people of the Church, when they are working for the government, to work by the day; but I do want them to work by the job.

Source: President Heber J. Grant
General Conference, October 1936

Topics: Social Programs; Welfare

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