Socialism and the Nanny State: Global Call
To Cut The Apron Strings, Part II
©2007 Debra Rae
Ideals of Western society reflect an intuitively accurate grasp of what is required for nations and their citizens to thrive. For example, the decidedly Western ideal of rugged individualism gives legs to what author-attorney James Hirsen references as “the grand experiment we call America,” whose “divinely inspired and uniquely political perspective” holds that individual rights do not come from government. They are endowed by the Creator Himself.
From Puritan times to the eve of the Civil War, rugged individuals within the church worked for betterment of Western society. Long before America’s infrastructure of interstate highways, bridges and motels (not to forget Starbucks!), apostles on horseback and Methodist circuit riders courageously forged the rough frontier. In doing so, Francis Asbury was said to have worn out six faithful horses! Trail blazers, as these, are rightly credited with how the West was won.
For his forthright, individualistic style of preaching, Charles Finney offended many who gathered to hear him. But this did not thwart waves of spiritual awakenings that spread not only the Gospel, but the cause of higher education as well. Historian Whitney R. Cross linked Finney to the “lawyers, real-estate magnates, millers, manufacturers and commercial tycoons who led the parade of the regenerated.” The social impact was felt in the anti-slavery movement generated by the Second Great Awakening. Movements for prison reform, child labor laws, women’s rights and inner-city missions likewise rode respective waves of spiritual revival.
In the 19th century, a great network of volunteer societies (Benevolent Empire) organized to attack social problems (Christian History, Volume VIII, No. 3, Issue 23). Their collective efforts advanced the moral imperative to cooperate voluntarily as responsible, competent, ruggedly individualistic adults—not as “a great corps of mutual servants.”
To ensure freedom and peace for all citizens, society must provide an overarching social structure. But a flourishing, free society never undermines legitimate rights of the individual for the elusive good of the State. It does, however, acknowledge dependence toward God.
“One nation under God” presupposes generous acts of altruism; but societal goodness predictably springs from the voluntary expression of living faith—never from coercive government.
Charles Sykes has observed that “American life is increasingly characterized by the plaintive insistence, I am a victim.” This is because of my status as “worker”—or my state of unemployment. Perhaps it’s because I am a minority—e.g., a woman—or simply “the little guy.” No matter, I perceive myself as oppressed, disenfranchised and/or exploited and, therefore, entitled.
Life’s hard reality is that inequalities are inherent in nature. Who among us has not, at some point, been counted as poor, weak, sick, wronged or cheated? Justice is not based solely on need, inequality, disadvantage or suffering. Simply put, all of us are “born into trouble as the sparks fly upward.” The Bible makes it clear that rains of blessings and of adversity fall on the just and the unjust alike.
When one’s “just due” remains unrealized, the affluent, therefore presumed-to-be selfish are not necessarily to blame. Only a spoiled finger-pointing child is perpetually demanding and chronically resentful. Mature enough adults make no rightful claims to the fruit of another’s labors. They accept that, despite titanic claims, Big Government is ill equipped to eradicate poverty, ignorance, ill health and all other forms of social injustice.
In an equitable, free society, no one is exempt from constraints that others must respect. Similarly, none is exempt from exercising rights of self-ownership, first possession, ownership/exchange/transference of property, self-defense, just compensation/restitution, and limited access to another’s property in emergencies. Even a disabled, minimally competent adult can enjoy a life of his own.
Freedom-lovers take the bull by the horns, accepting that life’s inherent inequalities are not injustices to be remedied by the parental State. They understand that, when the State forfeits individual rights to satisfy group demands, productive adults suffer loss of earned benefits, just title, freedom of exchange and due process. This, they oppose.
No matter how they are packaged, liberal entitlements often damage the poor and perpetuate poverty by treating entire groupings of citizens as if they were helpless children. Most agree that human slavery is egregious; but, when the adult “child” becomes a willing “slave” to the Nanny State, no one’s the better for it.
Debra Rae is an author and educator who has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Having authored two books—the ABCs of Globalism and ABCs of Cultural-Isms (the latter highlighted at the 55th Annual CBA International Convention, 2004)—Debra contributing columnist for News With Views. Debra has been a speaker on numerous radio shows aired across the nation, the Western Hemisphere, Russia, and the Middle East. This past year, she co-launched and now co-hosts WOMANTalk, a special edition of Changing Worldviews TALK Radio, for which she writes weekly commentaries. www.debraraebooks.com, www.womantalk.us, www.newswithviews.com/Rae/Debra.htm