Website owner:  James Miller

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The welfare state. Is it wise in its shielding of the foolish from the consequences of foolishness?

   Is it prudent for society to attempt to shield the fool from 
   the consequences of his own foolishness?  

   The welfare state has as its goal helping those who need help.  
   A noble goal.  But often the people needing help are in trouble 
   of their own making.  They are sleeping in the beds that they 
   themselves have made.  There are those who find themselves in 
   need through no fault of their own.  They have been unlucky in 
   some way or another and find themselves temporarily in need of 
   help.  There are many people who would like to help such 
   people.  However, the vast majority of people who are being 
   supported by our welfare system are not in this category.  
   Instead they are in need of help because of their own foolish 
   actions, immoral conduct, laziness or irresponsible behavior.  

   A person cannot manage his money.  He squanders his money on 
   foolish buying and ends up destitute along with the rest of his 
   family.  Should the state come in and save him (and his family) 
   from his foolish ways by providing him with assistance in the 
   form of food, shelter and money?  A person is lazy and doesn't 
   want to work.  Should the state come in and save him and his 
   family by providing him with all the necessities of life?  A 
   single woman leads a wanton, licentious life, bears one 
   illegitimate child after another, and is unable to hold a job.  
   Should the state come to her aid by supporting her and her 
   children the rest of her life?  The lazy child doesn't study in 
   school and then isn't fit for the work world when he reaches 
   adulthood.  Should the state then come to his rescue and 
   support him? 

   Is it prudent for the state to try to save the foolish from the 
   consequences of their foolishness?  In the animal world the 
   foolish rabbit that doesn't keep his eyes open for the fox gets 
   eaten and the foolish squirrel that doesn't store up food for 
   winter starves to death.  In the natural world the consequences 
   of foolishness is harsh.  The fate of the foolish acts as a 
   warning to the rest.  It teaches a lesson on the harsh 
   consequences of foolishness. 

   Most people do not find themselves in want because of a single 
   incident, mistake or wrong action.  They find themselves in 
   want because of a series of wrong actions over a period of time 
   i.e. repeated wrong action, wrong habits.  They have dug their 
   own hole through foolish, irresponsible or immoral behavior 
   that has become a permanent part of their character.  People 
   get into bad situations because of bad habits, wrong ways of 
   thinking, bad traits of character, etc. (e.g. laziness, 
   drinking, drug use, wantonness, profligacy).  It is habits, 
   attitudes, outlooks, values, traits of character that take 
   people up into success and happiness or pull them down into 
   defeat and want.

   Should it be an object of government to save people from their 
   own self-destructive habits and foolishness?  Is it a sensible 
   and practical objective for government to set for itself?  Is 
   it right to ask the rest of society to support this sort of 

   The natural consequence of foolish action is destruction.  
   Should the government be meddling with this basic natural law?  
   What are the consequences of such meddling?  Left alone the 
   working of the natural law provides stark images that exhorts 
   the rest of humanity to caution, prudence and virtue.  When the 
   danger is stark and real people take notice and modify their 

   The welfare state is like a "big daddy" who rescues his child 
   whenever he gets himself into trouble.  If the child never has 
   to face any consequences for bad or foolish conduct he doesn't 
   develop good conduct and good character.  He becomes spoiled 
   and irresponsible.  

   If you shield the foolish from the consequences of foolishness 
   don't you encourage more foolishness?  Isn't paying the proper 
   price for foolishness an important part to learning prudence, 
   caution and responsibility --- an important part in the 
   development of character? 

   Laziness brings consequences.  Irresponsibility brings 
   consequences.  Profligacy brings consequences.  Wantonness, 
   immoral and licentious living brings consequences.  Should the 
   state shield the individual from the consequences of these 
   kinds of conduct? 

   By removing the risks and dangers associated with wrong or 
   foolish conduct doesn't the state encourage wrong or foolish 

   A large share of humanity will be as irresponsible, immoral and 
   bad as it is allowed to be.  If you shield people from the 
   consequence of their own foolish actions won't a small stream 
   of foolishness become a river of foolishness and won't a river 
   of foolishness become a flood of foolishness that engulfs the 
   entire society? 

   June 1996

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