The Social Security program, despite how well meaning it may have been, has contributed to the destruction of the family in the United States. From this behemoth has come a plethora of welfare programs that have squelched the ability of people to provide for themselves.
It is important for us to take care of each other in times of indigence. This is the essence of charity. It is the essence of welfare. Welfare works best, however, when it is local. When welfare is local, it encourages the indigent to get back on their feet. Federal welfare programs have been largely a bust because they treat people like flocks of seagulls who don't know how to take care of themselves. As a result, they come to not know how to take care of themselves. A country cannot survive when the majority of its people become the equivalent of flocks of dependent seagulls.
Marion G. Romney, in a 1982 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, recalled a story he had seen years earlier in the Reader's Digest magazine:
“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …Ladies and gentlemen, government is running out of goods. They can't feed the seagulls anymore. The latest "infusion" of $1.2 trillion into the bond market by the Federal Reserve is indication enough that the United States is on a sinking life raft.
“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.
“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a handout.
“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?
President Romney goes on to say:
The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of wealth, possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.With his New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to solve clear problems of capitalistic domination of the working masses in America. Whether or not he was able to solve those problems, it is now clear that he created far greater ones, which still exist today.
We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and political, temporal, and spiritual independence.
Lyndon Johnson, the uber-protege of FDR, carried on Roosevelt's legacy with his Great Society. While minority (especially black) social indicators were improving consistently before the 1960's (when the Great Society took effect), those indicators plummeted thereafter. Minority families began to break down. Government-created neighborhoods provided backhanded incentives for crime to thrive. Educational achievement among minorities came to a screeching halt and went backwards. The drug culture became one of the most successful enterprises in many inner-city areas.
Because of government, masses of Americans have become as the flock of seagulls described above. We've forgotten how to take care of ourselves temporally and financially, thinking that no effort is required. We've forgotten to take care of ourselves spiritually, thinking that government can somehow do that for us.
If there was ever a time that we as states, localities, and families, need to become self-sufficient, rather than being wards of government bailouts and stimuli, it is now. We can't be like the seagulls, or we will die. Government, our welfare state shrimp fleet, is leaving port, and will not be back for a long, long, time.
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