Governments cannot be compassionate. And neither should they attempt to be. The federal government of a nation has one purpose and one purpose alone – to protect the God-given rights of its citizens. That is the reason good governments exist.
National governments must act out of interest for their own citizens. In the past, when the US government attempted to act out of interest for another nation’s citizens, it has resulted in protracted wars, loss of blood and treasure, and at times the loss of individual rights.
Notice here, that I said the government cannot be compassionate. This is a very specific use of terms. Because the government is not the individual citizens. Individual citizens (that is you and me) are responsible for demonstrating compassion to our fellow human beings.
This is a big responsibility. And if you learn one thing from observing human nature, it is that generally speaking we hate responsibility. We will do almost anything to get away from responsibility, including give up our freedom.
As with many things, we have thrown the burden of individual responsibility on the shoulders of our government. We have willingly given away little bits of our freedom so that we can sit back and feel good about ourselves and our nation without actually doing anything.
For instance, how many times have you heard the “heart argument” regarding universal health care? It goes something like this, “There are millions of people who don’t have health care. This is just a way to help them.” In other words, “Millions of people don’t have health care. The government has a responsibility to help them by providing health care.”
That is the exact same argument being used here, by liberals and “conservatives” alike. “There are thousands of refugees who are in trouble. The government has a responsibility to help them by letting them into the country.” Someone who believes in the founding principles of America, the Constitution, and our Declaration of Independence will realize that this is a fallacious argument.
Do governments have moral obligations? I would argue that they do not. If a government has a moral responsibility to citizens outside its borders, where does it stop? If a government has a moral responsibility to help refugees, does it not also have a responsibility to help other people? If carried to its logical conclusion, ultimately this argument would end with the US government providing health care, Social Security, Medicare, and military protection to every nation on the planet. A completely laughable proposition.
When you boil it down, we are lazy. We get a good feeling when we see our troops handing out toys and food to children in war-torn areas. We get a good feeling when we hear Canada saying that all refugees are welcome. We get a good feeling when we can point to our flag and say, “This country has a heart for the hurting and the helpless.”
If we truly believe in limited government, then as government does less, we must do more. It’s a daunting task but when we band together, boldly claiming our individual responsibility, we can accomplish amazing things.
The refugee crisis is awful, sad, and heartbreaking. But it is not the US government’s problem. The solution does not come from government.
Brushing aside all the legal banter going back and forth regarding Trump’s latest action on refugees, the thing we must all ask ourselves is – why am I expecting government to solve this problem? We have become so conditioned to see a crisis and then wonder – what Washington is going to do to solve it? What will my state do to solve it? Or my city council? Or my school board? How will they address this problem?
Every time we ask that question, instead of taking responsibility, we give away another little piece of freedom.
I wrote the following over a year ago, and it still holds true today –
“The most important thing to understand concerning this issue, is that compassion is not government’s job. Some may be startled to hear this. But if one would bother to read the Constitution, one would realize that government’s job, the President’s job, is to look out for the American people.
When our government is fulfilling its proper role of perfecting the Union, establishing Justice, ensuring Peace at home, providing for the common Defense, promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Children, as dictated by the Supreme Law of the Land, then We the People are free to do our job of compassion to those in need.”