Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A political parable from life . . .

Saw the following story on Facebook. It was a bit more partisan than the slightly edited version I have reproduced here. I'd prefer to leave out the distracting political commentary so we can focus on the concepts or worldviews.
I recently asked my friends' little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President of the United States.

"If you were President, what would be the first thing you would do?" I asked.

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

"Wow! What a worthy goal," I told her. "But I have an idea. You don't have to wait until you're President. If you come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my driveway, I'll pay you $50 and take you over to the grocery store where a homeless guy hangs out. You can then give him the $50 so he can use it toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then looked me straight in the eye. "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work himself?" she asked. "Then you can pay him the $50."

This got me thinking: If I want "the government" to do something, is it because it is the legitimate province of government and/or something that only the government can (and should) do? Or is it because I think it is a "good idea" . . . just so long as it is "someone else" who (or someone else's money that) is doing it "in my behalf"?

Put another way: If I am free to do something and I am able (both morally and physically/mentally/spiritually) to do something but I am unwilling to make the sacrifices on a personal level to achieve that end [other than to call upon "the government" to do it in my behalf], then is my vote or political agitation really a morally right thing? Why or why not?