For a few glittering days last week, one might have thought that Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stood apart from the crowing crowd in DC and understood the difference between charity and government force.
They appeared willing to cut $17.6 million in federal handouts to the private non-profit organization, The Special Olympics. If they had, this long marathon of false charity for a popular organization that pulls in over a hundred of million a year in private donations would have ended. But, instead, the tax cash will be redistributed as planned, meaning that the expenditure will be $2.6 million more than 2017, and that we will have to keep running before the crack of our federal overlords’ whips in order to make others feel “charitable”.
With their original proposal, Trump and DeVos had an opportunity to show principle and an understanding of the English language. They had the opportunity to remind people of the difference between real charity and government force.
The President and his Education Secretary caved to pressure from people like Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), who said of the initial proposal, “I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children,” adding that it was “appalling.” They capitulated to insufferably collectivist Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who blustered, “Whoever came up with that idea at OMB (Office of Management and Budget) gets a Special Olympic gold medal for insensitivity.”
Strangely, Durbin remained mum on the insensitivity of mandating that people fork over huge portions of their earnings to him and his pals or go to federal prison for “tax evasion”.
Even big athletes got on the pig-pile, as USA Today’s John Bacon reports:
Julie Foudy, former captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team, tweeted: ‘You need to only spend .01 minute watching these @SpecialOlympics athletes perform to understand the power of this program.’ Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden tweeted: ‘This is so wrong on so many Levels! I will continue to spend my time and resources with the @SpecialOlympics now more than ever. I’m Literally sick 2 my stomach!!!!!’
Haden provided the capital “L”s for free, by the way.
All over the US, leftists lambasted Trump and DeVos, and even some courageously “middle-of-the-road” Republicans like Rep Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chimed in with a solid, “I fully support the Special Olympics”.
And who wouldn’t be be convinced by hearing a noble Congressman say, “I fully support…” a charitable organization that gives intellectually challenged people the chance to compete in rewarding physical competitions? Who wouldn’t easily be drawn into the group-think of assuming that by him voting to make other people pay for it, Congressman McCarthy “supports” it?
Who wouldn’t be convinced that cutting it is yet another example of the cruelty of Trump and what many on the left see as a kind of megalomaniacal goon squad?
A few of us here in America-land aren’t convinced. A tiny fraction of the population in the United States still holds onto that ancient, vestigial race memory of the difference between actual charity and compulsion, something which Lee, Durbin, McCarthy, Foudy, Haden, and many others don’t get.
But why does Special Olympics, a private nonprofit, get federal money, anyway?
On the practical side, she notes that the organization, which was started in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, posted nearly $127 million in revenue in 2017, the year it received $15 million from the taxpayers.
But on the principles of it, the collapse of Trump’s stance, and the righteous indignation of politicians and celebrities affords us an important opportunity to remind people not only of the difference between charity and compulsion, but of how far many in America have strayed from a principle that most of their forebears understood.
It is the fact that charity requires volition. This is definitional, axiomatic, and essential to peaceful interpersonal relations.
Charity can never be “conducted” through the state, for, when a politician votes to force other people to pay for a “charitable” cause, no matter how much that cause might make the politician feel good, neither the politician nor the taxpayer can be said to value it. The politician is not spending his or her own money, and the taxpayer will go to jail if he or she does not pay. It’s quite possible that the taxpayer might value some other charity more than the one to which he or she is forced to pay. We cannot tell because the individual is not allowed to decide what to fund.
And by pushing public cash into a “charitable” cause, politicians create a situation whereby everyone forced to pay for it will have a valid claim that he or she should have a say in how it’s managed.
Would the politicians like it if taxpayers without cognitive challenges claimed they “identified” as “special needs” children, and raced against the kids we traditionally see in the Special Olympics? As asinine as that sounds, it’s one logical outcome of opening a private charity up to public funding.
Why not try getting off the emotional high-horse and recognize that charity requires individuals to care and show they care, that it cannot be shown through the machinery of force and that, perhaps, people should have their taxes lowered so they can fund what they want?
No one can say “America cares” when the politicians force Americans to pay for it.
This is a lesson taught to us by legendary American Davy Crockett in his well-known speech “Not Yours To Give”. Simply put, explained Crockett, the federal government is not granted any enumerated power to hand out money to people, even if the politicians think it’s for a good cause.
So this emotional story should have been just the beginning. The vast majority of what the feds fund is unconstitutional, and insultingly so.
Yet, this opportunity has been lost to indignant screams on social media. An opportunity to show people, to explain what charity really entails, and to tell people to grow up and pay for what they value, not force their neighbors to do so.
Davy Crockett would probably agree.
(Cover photo from Pexels.com)