Generosity, compassion have an insidious side

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By J. Edward Howell Jr.

The majority of people worldwide have a great compassion and a generous spirit. They readily demonstrate these traits in their daily lives. In the past, all people struggled to make ends meet and to provide a tolerably comfortable lifestyle for those in their charge. Even then they readily shared their meager means with those others in need.

As different countries and the USA began to prosper and some people rose to fantastic levels of wealth, it seemed to foster a feeling of greater concern for those less fortunate among them. Before the government social programs came about, people found a way to provide some help for the poor around them. Churches were the main sources of support along with the caring attitude of individual people. They helped the poor in such a way that helped them retain their dignity and work ethic. They provided jobs and opportunities that really lifted the indigent up and out of their misery.

As the federal, state and local governments began to become better organized they began to extract various taxes on the people to fund themselves and the growing bureaucracy. Some of these funds were used to build poorhouses to provide shelter and basic needs to those who could not care for themselves.

The federal government under Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, formed the WPA to provide jobs for men. Hoover Dam and the Skyline Drive are products of the WPA. Men on the road were desperately searching for any kind of work that would provide some money to send back to their families. They were called “hobos.” I had personal contact, as a boy, with many of these men. My mom fed any and all that found the way to our house. My mom and dad were very compassionate people.

It was NOT the social programs that finally brought prosperity back to the USA. World War II, as bad as it was, generated a need that caused business of all kinds to start and flourish. Manufacturing plants, shipyards and agriculture boomed and created jobs and opportunities for wealth generation. The people involved prospered and, at the same time sacrificed for the war effort. Young men, by the thousands, rallied to the cause and many never returned. It has been said that this was our finest hour. Winston Churchill said of the British people, after the air war called the Battle of Britain, “This has been our finest hour.”

Nothing of value is free. It comes with a cost.

In Leviticus 19:15, we are admonished not to be partial to the poor. Neither are we to give too much favor to the great. What does this mean? In my mind it means that we should have a great compassion for the poor and give them help and assistance when needed. BUT, we should not overdue our concern for them. When you continually give to some people they begin to depend on your generosity and less on their own efforts. You have made them comfortable in their own misery. You have deprived them of their work ethic and made them dependent.

Our country, through the years has been able to control diseases that at one time caused many infant deaths and problems. Doctors and scientific minds have developed vaccines that have successfully brought these diseases under control. Many young parents today have opted out of vaccinating their children. Some say they are fearful that it may cause autism.

Then the mass migration of illegal immigrants across our southern border began. Remember, at one time there was control of our immigration system, especially with those people coming to the U.S. from the European countries. They would stay on Ellis Island until an appropriate incubation period had passed to ensure that they would not bring unwanted diseases into our country. Those days are no more. Air travel and the uncontrolled masses of people coming across our southern border has destroyed any control of undesired people whatever the reason, from coming.

We want immigrants, but we want to have some say as to who is coming. The immigrants of yesteryear came to this country for an opportunity to work and prosper according to their efforts and talents. They received no largess from the government. Most of today’s immigrants apparently are coming because of the attraction of free health care and other freebies. They are eligible for welfare once here. The news has spread that we are the easy street. Their babies are immediately able to enjoy the full rights of citizenship with all its rights and privileges. This provided for by the way our Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution has been interpreted. The Fourteenth Amendment was written to legitimize the slaves and their offspring after the slaves were freed.

The amendment reads thus, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state in which they reside.”

This includes bringing all their relatives into the country. Various cities and states have offered them sanctuary and protects them from being sent back home. They vote in local elections in California and, it is reported, that some have voted in our national elections. Our generous and compassionate politicians fight against any form of required voter identification because they want illegals to vote for them.

Most things that are perceived to be free come at great cost. A mouse scurrying about the pantry finds a gorgeous chunk of cheese. The mouse happily sinks his teeth into the cheese and “SNAP!” He is no longer viable as a mouse. A bunny rabbit hopping along a path in a broom straw field finds a wooden box with an open end, he smells a delicious apple. He goes inside and just as he reaches that tasty tidbit he hears the slam of the door dropping down. That free apple spells his end.

Government social programs today have proved to be traps for many needy people and they have proved to have been the factor that has destroyed many families. As the politicians discovered that the more they gave their constituents the more the constituents loyally voted for their reelection to office. And so the politicians voted for more and more free benefits for the people under their control. As more and more of these programs came forward, they began to be also accepted by all the people who had done well for themselves. They had developed a sort of “guilt complex” about their own success. As time went on some of the social programs began to intrude into the private lives of the recipients.

Finally, laws were written that denied financial assistance to families with a man in the house. This was the beginning of the end of the family structure that was ordained by God Almighty. In order to provide food and necessary items for a family, the dad had to move out. Later laws provide more assistance to a mom if she had more babies. Dad had moved out, so mom turned to any man available to impregnate her. The girls, raised in these homes, felt no need to marry because it would jeopardize their entitlements. Children born out of wedlock have become the norm. Fatherless homes became so prevalent and became so numerous that the “generous” government led by a particular political force moved once again.

Those seeking political favor from these people offered yet another favor to counter the rapidly increasing birthrate of these folks. An organization named Planned Parenthood was formed to offer free healthcare to so-called low-income people. This seems to be an oxymoron. One government program encourages the women to have more children so that they can receive more income, and then there is a program that encourages the women to have a free abortion. Since their inception, millions of fetuses have been destroyed. A recent proposal to make a law that permitted the killing of a FULL-TERM infant that was born and breathing has been considered. This is infanticide or MURDER.

The act of personal benevolence has been perverted to what we now know to be socialism. Socialism claims to make everyone equal and supplied with every need. History tells us that this political concept does not work. There are those people in government that would abolish any mention of these political disasters in schools. They abolished history courses in school. Our young people, by their ignorance of these events, have become the new listeners to this evil propaganda.

In 2020, our people in the USA will have a choice to make. Do we want to become a socialist country like Venezuela or Cuba? Or do we keep that fragile republic that the Constitutional Convention gave us many years ago?

We at least need to re-evaluate the actions that our Congress is taking. Without losing our compassion for the needy we need to see and understand that exorbitant attention to the needs and wants of the poor and illegal immigrant can have a very bad, unwanted and unanticipated consequence.

JAMES EDWARD HOWELL JR. is a native of Southampton County, a graduate pf Franklin High School and a retired farmer and real estate broker. He is also the author of three books. Contact him at 562-3289 or