Helping the helpless?

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adam smith

It seems that old people have sort of claimed politics as their hobby, so I usually have to visit my grandma’s Facebook page if I want to read a political commentary, but I knew that this week’s DNC would be the talk of the social media water cooler – even amongst my friends.  As much as I didn’t want to look through my feed and shake my head in disagreement at the comments coming from people in my life who I otherwise respect, something in me just had to know.  Who’s with me?  Who’s not?

I stopped on a comment from a college acquaintance.  She had posted a picture titled “Republicans for Obama” and had a picture of Adam Smith attached.  Beside his picture read, “Father of Modern Economics, Father of Capitalism” and under it, a quote from him:

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

The problem with this is that his quote taken out of context.  Adam Smith was known as the father of capitalism because his theories suggested that rational self-interest and competition could lead to economic prosperity – quite controversial for his time.  He was for capitalism, so why are liberals using a quote that he said about being a good steward to fit their political agenda?

That’s a great quote about being a generous person, but its not a great quote to tie to the government.  The Democratic Party claims that they are using our taxpayer dollars to help the helpless.  Ok.  Well, one thing our taxpayer dollars are going toward is abortions – even overseas.  Obama has been on record, continually supporting infanticide – which means killing a baby who survives an attempted partial-birth abortion.  If we leave it to the government to “help the helpless,” then they are the ones who get to decide what that means.  Pro-choicers at the DNC, kept talking about how pro-lifers want to make them “second class citizens” by not allowing them to “choose when they can start their family.”  If you were made of money, wouldn’t you want to decide who you’d bless with your charity?

I’m all for helping the helpless, so that’s why individuals and the church as a whole should give freely.  Rationing healthcare, giving food stamps to people who are healthy and able to work, funding abortions and handing out free birth control doesn’t sound like helping the helpless, to me.

What do you think?


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  • JC

    If you are going to complain about a quote being taken out of context, then you may want to provide the relevant context of the quote. I can only assume that you did not do so because you have not read the quote in context, because if you had, you would know that it is absolutely justifying TAXING the rich more than the poor. The paragraph from which it is taken is about the virtues of property taxes, which have the beneficient effect of falling heaviest on those who possess the most. It is not about private charity. Smith was not the free market capitalist that modern day neoliberals wish us to believe. Here is the quote in context:

    “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”