October 31, 2009
Charity and Sacrifice in a Free Society
By Andrew Foy and Brenton Stransky
If men have grasped some faint glimmer of respect for individual rights in their private dealings with one another, that glimmer vanishes when they turn to public issues – and what leaps into the political arena is a caveman who can’t conceive of any reason why the tribe may not bash in the skull of any individual if it so desires. – Ayn Rand
The Founding Founders established a Republic under a written Constitution with the clear intent of protecting individual freedom; however, the role of our government has been grossly perverted over the last century to the point where politicians now violate individual rights routinely and without batting an eye. Most violations occur under the banner of providing for the public good, and to garner support, call upon the virtues of charity and sacrifice. Fortunately, charity and sacrifice in a free society are individual and personal undertakings and as a rule, cannot be subject to coercion if liberty is to be maintained. The current President and various members of both political parties do not abide by this rule and as such are positioning themselves as tyrants; servitude will be the price we pay unless we stand up today and defend our rights boldly and educate the broader public on the proper role of charity and sacrifice in a free society.
In his authoritative work on freedom, The Constitution of Liberty1, F.A. Hayek explained the role charity plays in a free society:
By common opinion our chief concern…[is] the welfare of our family. But we also show our appreciation and approval of others by making them our friends and their aims ours. To choose our associates and generally those whose needs we make our concern is an essential part of freedom and of the moral conceptions of a free society. General altruism, however, is a meaningless conception. Nobody can effectively care for other people as such; the responsibilities we can assume must always be particular, can concern only those about whom we know concrete facts and to whom either choice or special conditions have attached us. It is one of the fundamental rights and duties of a free man to decide what and whose needs appear to him most important.