As a conservative Christian who is deeply libertarian with regards to economics, I wanted to write an article to counter the idiots I frequently encounter who name the name of Christ, but spit on His teachings regarding the poor and needy.
Specifically I want to take a metaphorical mallet to the "Christian Social Justice Warrior" (my name) individuals who twist the very faith into a pretzel to justify their unbiblical and hellacious ideology. "Poverty" as spoken of by them is yet another excuse for more government money and sanctimonious preaching about (for example) the need to "wife-up" single mothers and support them while raising another man's illegitimate offspring.
Firstly; poverty is frequently spoken of in relative; as opposed to absolute terms. Many Americans classed in poverty have indoor plumbing, a car, a big screen TV, and a refrigerator. Those living in genuine poverty are those who fight for every crumb of food and do not know where their next meal will come from. In America; we have an obesity epidemic among those receiving welfare; in Africa there is starvation. Using taxpayer dollars to fund an obesity epidemic among America’s lower income and even negative income individuals and families does a disservice to both them and the American taxpayer. As one study stated; “we should focus less on making poverty more comfortable and more on creating the prosperity that will get people out of poverty.” If the woman can't keep her legs closed, why should the taxpayer make life comfortable for her and her illegitimate offspring?
Secondly; taking the definition of poverty as “being in a position to receive government welfare assistance”; it becomes clear that paying welfare recipients such high “wages” that it would require them to find an entry level job for unskilled labor that paid well above the minimum wage just to get off of the public dole is unsustainable. In Hawaii, the total value of benefits for some classes of welfare can reach an astounding 49,000 dollars a year; which is money that the government takes from the productive and gives to the non-productive. The non-productive in this case being a single mother of two (typically illegitimate) children.
As a Christian and a proud American, my goal is to pursue ways of taking care of the needy while facilitating their climb out of poverty; not enabling them to live in it indefinitely. For those with the capability to work; allowing them to live in sloth and laziness by subsidizing their lifestyle is unacceptable and unbiblical. The Bible says “if any would not work, neither should he eat” those who can work should not be allowed or incentivized to stop looking for work.
The United States has an obligation to protect our own first and foremost; through creating effective policies that allow businesses to flourish; driving new jobs and lifting people out of unemployment and the lack of self-respect that comes with that. As a Christian; I support these policies and oppose those that seek to expand the welfare state. In the world sphere; the United States has an obligation to avoid supporting countries that oppress their citizens and keep them in genuine poverty. African nations are especially vulnerable to tyrants who deprive them of basic staples of life for political gain and enrichment. By not sending our foreign aid dollars to such nations; the United States can encourage the formation of business friendly environments and hasten the decline of tyrannical dictators. Alternately, we can simply let them fall into the pit of their own making, with private philanthropy working to assist where they want to, and keeping my tax dollars out of it.
For me specifically; my political affiliation with the conservative movement arises out of my desire to see our country pursue policies that enable individuals to earn an honest living and keep what they earn. I do not support the “legalized plunder” that Bastiat wrote about and I will not support a politician or plan that turns the government into an armed thug; taking from the weak. As the Bible wrote two thousand years ago; “The labourer is worthy of his reward”, something that Bernie Sanders for example cannot seem to grasp(although he certainly wants to grasp from me and my wallet). It is the poor who suffer the most when the government grows into a leviathan; because they have the most to lose and the least separating them from independence and dependence. In addition; the 126 separate federal programs that give welfare and poverty assistance duplicate each others’ efforts, are inefficient, and waste vast sums of taxpayer dollars.
As a conservative Christian it is my belief that the poor are helped the most when government helps them the least. As the sphere of government cradle-to-grave involvement shrinks, the sphere of private charities and churches expands. Churches and charitable organizations do an amazing job of helping the truly needy, and my political activities in this area of policy are invariably in support of expanding their role and shrinking the government’s role.
Even “the least of these” deserves the opportunity to advance themselves as far as their talents and energy will take them, and only that far, they do not deserve to relax on a cushion of my hard earned dollars. Working and providing for your own gain and advancement is one of the best ways to increase self-respect, especially as a man and even if the job may start out small; as the ancient wisdom of the Bible says; “in all labour there is profit”.