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IPFS News Link • Welfare: Social

How Can Force Entail Compassion?

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

I just don't get that. The welfare state is based on forcibly taking money from people and giving it to other people who are purportedly in need of the money. How can force be reconciled with compassion? 

Suppose I accost you one dark night while you are walking down the street. I point a loaded gun at you and order you to go the nearest ATM. You decide to comply with my order simply because you don't want to be shot. At the ATM, I order you to withdraw the maximum amount from your bank account. You do it. I order you to hand me the money and you comply. I then depart with your money. 

When I get back to my neighborhood, I don't keep any of the money for myself. I give some of it to my mother, who needs it to pay some outstanding medical bills. I also give some of it some homeless people who are suffering from hunger. I donate the rest to my church, which I know will use it to help the poor.

I'm a compassionate person, right? 

I think most everyone — even the most die-hard welfare-statist — would say, "No, Jacob, you are not compassionate. You are nothing more than a robber. You have forcibly taken that money from someone and then used his money to do good. Genuine compassion would have entailed using your own money to help out others."