Letters: Charity is not freedom


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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 12, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    @Nate - I appreciate your comment

    Tocqueville also wrote "The electors see their representative not only as a legislator for the state but also as the natural protector of local interests in the legislature; indeed, they almost seem to think that he has a power of attorney to represent each constituent, and they trust him to be as eager in their private interests as in those of the country."

    He continued elsewhere "In towns it is impossible to prevent men from assembling, getting excited together and forming sudden passionate resolves. Towns are like great meeting houses with all the inhabitants as members. In them the people wield immense influence over their magistrates and often carry their desires into execution without intermediaries."

    He finally warned ""If there ever are great revolutions there, they will be caused by the presence of the blacks upon American soil. That is to say, it will not be the equality of social conditions but rather their inequality which may give rise thereto."

    Remember, Tocqueville had the benefit of hindsight here - all but one of the signers was dead at this point. The signers had no visionary capability to see what might become.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 12, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    To "airnaut" and "Marxist" you are both wrong, and digging deeper. Neither one of you is big enough to admit that your family is not a commune because you and your spouse control the financial and physical assets of your households, just like all of those "evil" capitalists do with their businesses.

    Again, your children have no share in your finances or property. You, control the capital given to your children, and retain all retirement investments and physical assets purchased with your money.

    To "airnaut" Zion, Heaven are not socialist. This is proven easily by the scripture that says basically that their minds and hearts were one. The simple fact that minds and hearts being one proves that Socialism is not part of Zion or Heaven because you cannot be forced into Heaven and Zion cannot be forced on people. Socialism is a system of force to achieve equality.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Redshirt: "A family is more like a capitalistic society (those who own the capital control its use) with charitable giving to those that cannot support themselves yet."

    My family, like almost all families is a commune because I freely support my wife and kids REGARDLESS of what they do or how well they perform. Moreover, I don't pay my kids and wife salaries because they are not my employees. I don't try to make a profit off of them, i.e. exploit them. BTW, the capitalism you venerate is only about 200 years old, so there was no capitalism in the Garden of Eden or ancient Israel for that matter.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 12, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    Deep Space 9, Ut

    You use those lame excuses everytime this comes up.

    FAMILIES are Socialist.
    Out Country is Socialist.
    Zion is Socialist.
    Heaven is Socialist.

    Quote all the adhokum quotes you want but --

    If it swims like a duck,
    waddles like a duck,
    and quacks like a duck - it's a duck.

    ...and Families are the MOST Socialist of them all.

    Perhaps if Nations and the World acted more like Families [Socailist]
    we'd be ushering in the Kingdom of God on the Earth and establishing Zion.
    Having ALL things in Common.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 12, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    To "marxist" actually your family is not a commune unless you have done the following:

    Give your kids equal access to all household finances
    Kids are included on title for house and cars
    Kids have equal share of your retirement account
    Kids have equal responsibilities that you have
    Any money kids earn from mowing neighbors lawns is put into communal bank account

    I would imagine that your kids have no more access to your finances or titles than the family dog.

    In reality, you and your spouse decided how much money to spend on the kids. I would also imagine that your kids will not be getting a cut of your retirement, and probably keep any money they earn from mowing lawns.

    A family is more like a capitalistic society (those who own the capital control its use) with charitable giving to those that cannot support themselves yet.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    The natural unit of society is the commune. For example, is your family a commune? Yes, of course it is. Mine is. I don't pay my kids for doing their chores, do you? Looked at from another standpoint, there is a commonwealth, or in other words (2), a common wealth. For example, by Dad worked for a general warehouse on the Salt Lake westside. This was the era of carload freight so they unloaded a lot of box cars. One day when my father and his mates were unloading a brand new box car, one of the guys put a space heater on the floor of the car and burned a hole in it. My father complained to my mother and me, "that's just not right." He said that because he understood there is a common wealth - that is, burning a hole in that box car floor diminished the common wealth or common well being of society, even though it was the private property of Union Pacific

    Since there is a commmon wealth, it is appropriate that government be concerned with it, and provide a social safety net, what the writer derisively calls charity.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    re: 4word thinker last night

    Oh, goody... another thread devolved into liberal v conservative.

    Its not that dichotomy AT ALL! It is as Ned Beatty's character stated towards the end of *Shooter*... look it up.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 12, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    If taxes are charity then its the ONLY charity in the world that if you don't pay your "charitable offerings" the "charitable institution" will come and confiscate your property and put you in jail! Charity? Not hardly!

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    April 12, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Grover, you need to read the preamble a bit closer. It is not listing functions of the government, but listing reasons why the Constitution was written.

    Article I, Section 8 talks about raising funds through taxes and duties, and does mention using those funds for "the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;". I seriously doubt the Framers envisioned the Constitution being construed to mean that 47% of US citizens should be supported in whole or part by income taxes paid by 50% of the citizens. That's what we have today because of the "progressive" view that the government alone is responsible enough and intelligent enough to provide for people's needs.

    I don't for a moment propose that there should be no safety nets, but something has to change. We are heading toward the situation many European nations now face, where the government has promised far more than it can provide with its citizens' money.

    We owe the world nearly $17 trillion. There is no explanation or rationalization that makes that good in any way. The government needs a spending diet, and I say that as a Federal employee.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    April 12, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    Neither Jesus or King Benjamin authorized charity with someone else's money. Both said to do it willingly.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 12, 2013 12:39 a.m.

    @Eric Samuelsen: "[T]he powers reserved to the states are the ones that are seriously limited."

    Okay. Wow. Let's read the Tenth Amendment again.

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

    If I understand your argument correctly, you are saying that the powers delegated to the federal government are many, leaving relatively few powers for the states. Is this what you're saying?

    Now I'm curious to know how you read the phrase "or to the people" in this context. Do the people also have relatively few powers, when compared with those delegated to the federal government?

    In what way can this point of view be described as liberal?

    "I just understand it differently than you do."

    I'll say.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2013 12:06 a.m.

    "What percent of your fast offerings and humanitarian offerings go to the poor?"

    Lost, I'm sure he has absolutely no idea what percentage of his fast offerings go to the poor, and neither do you, nor do most people. You realize this, right? If you don't think that's true, please point me to a copy of the LDS Churches books.

    "What percent of your tax dollars actually help the poor?"

    Well, go look it up and figure it out, Lost. It's all public record.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:09 p.m.

    Great letter. Well said.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:04 p.m.

    " I have a plan, it will save every man. I will force them to live righteously. They won't blah, blah, blah. . ." - Satan

    Providing quotes from non existant people, Anti? Very cool, perhaps next you will give us a quote from the Easter Bunny, or maybe the Sandman.

    But all the same, I don't see what your quote has to do with the topic at hand. Nobody is talking about forcing people to do good or anything else. We are talking about how taxes should be spent. If tax money should be spent to help people in need.

    Uh. . . Strider, who is talking about government turning down the sheets for people? How did that become part of the discussion?

  • 4word thinker Murray, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    Why should we continue to pay more and more for public health care (medicare/medicaid, and soon Obamacare) when we know full well that there are greedy businessmen (drug companies, doctors, hospital administrators, and government bureaucrats) who have their fists in the pot taking out way more money than the value of the services they give.

    Until that issue is addressed, all we are doing is caring for the greedy on the backs of the middle class, leaving the poor under-cared for.

    I thought liberals hated lining the fat cat's pockets, yet here is one example (there are many others) where what they are promoting does exactly what they say they are against. Makes it kind of hard to believe anything they say they stand for.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    Sorry, to my constitutional scholar critics, but you don't know what you're talking about. The tenth amendment does preserve the states as laboratories of democracy, but the powers reserved to the states are the ones that are seriously limited. You suggest that I don't care about the constitution. I do care about it. I just understand it differently than you do.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:15 p.m.


    Toqueville visited America in 1831, and wrote his famous comments on "soft despotism" in 1835. If he could anticipate the dangers of Big Government at that time, I'm sure the Founders were capable of it a generation before.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 11, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    First, taxes are not charity. Period. They are not forced charity (a near oxymoron) or any other kind of charity.

    Second, yes the Constitution is the governing contract for our society. As to its limits - unless one of us here is actually a Supreme Court Justice, the truth is we don't get to decide. The arguments put forth, both liberal and conservative, have been batted back and forth by the Supremes since the beginning. But whether our Constitution is "living" or not, the interpretation of it surely is (and, whatever we might think of our favorite justices, it all has a political hue to it).

    Third, unless and until the Supremes tell us that govt. cannot engage in certain activities, they are constitutionally allowed. You and I can think otherwise but the Constitution is much more about process than ideals (it is the process that limits the powers). If the process has been followed, it is constitutional even if heinous in our view.

    Fourth, whether or not charity can be sufficient to meet people's true needs is not evident in history. Yes, it was in small, tight knit religious communities (such as the pioneer LDS). But read Dickens.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 11, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    I'm all about free agency and wicked Government suppresses that because they believe being law abiding isn't enough.

    I try to be as charitble as I can but I don't have to boast about it and nobody has to force me to be charitable.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    atl134 is unfortunately pretty accurate in his assessment of our propensity to give charity to those in need. That is why I can't decide which name the GOP really deserves, the Let Them Starve Party or the Let Them Die Party. In the end, though, they are the same. This is really what their ranting boils down to. Forced suffering in the name of freedom.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 11, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    @lost in DC "Don’t try quoting the constitution to Eric; liberals have no use for the constitution."

    I know, I know. Here's the thing: they keep telling me about the social compact, which supposedly compels me to help build their utopia. And I'm saying, the Constitution is our contract.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    April 11, 2013 1:15 p.m.


    You forget though, most LDS believe that the founding fathers were infallible and prophetic. While I agree they were inspired, I am not sure at what point we started to worship them and quote their words as if they were gospel truths.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    So private citizens will step in and chip in a couple hundred billion annually to replace Medicaid? Not gonna happen. Heck, a lot of you agree with Romney's 47% comments that people are moochers, why would I think you all would then turn around and voluntarily give money (or things bought with that money) to people to make up the gap if welfare or food stamps were cut if you think that way about a sizable chunk of those people?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    April 11, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    To "ECR" it is easy to achieve the "Zion" described in the scriptures. As the verse you quote says, "they were of one‍heart and one mind". We can never achieve Zion through government mandate because you will never get the hearts and minds of the people through force. Zion can only be achieved through a free society that chooses it, anything else is tyranny and communism.

    To "Eric Samuelsen" you are wrong, the founders did intend to limit the government. Look at the Constitution, it clearly states what the government can do. They set it up within a tight fence. It is the Progressives that have ignored the fence and have grabbed at powers never intended for the government to have.

    To "UtahBlueDevil" big governments should be feared. Look at the number of people killed by Nazi Germany, the USSR, China, Sadam Hussain, and countless tyrants around the world. They have killed millions of people all in the name of ideology.

    To "LDS Liberal" if you are "pro-choice" why do you support all of the gun legislation, overturning Prop 8, and the countless other freedom limiting measures that Obama has implemented? Hypocrisy they name is Liberalism.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 11, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    lost in DC
    West Jordan, UT

    LDS? lib,
    Do you GIVE money to the government to take care of the poor, or do they TAKE it from you?


    I filed the W-4.
    I filed the 1040.
    I made out the check.

    No jack-booted thug "Forced" me.
    No Ghestapo surrounded my house with lights and sirens.

    I WILLING paid my taxes,
    Just like reader of the New Testament and true follower of Christ would do.
    Without reservation.

    You know - I'm a pretty tolerant person for the most part --
    But over the last several years,
    I'm growing more and more "intolerant" of all these Anti-Government Anti-Government haters.

    I'm almost to the point of Captain Moroni and his resolve with the Kingmen -
    If you don't stop the trouble making and stirring up the hearts and minds of this people into contintion - perhaps we will have no other option than to make each one of us swear an oaoth of allegience by the sword.

    Is that where this is headed? Rebels?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    @Anti Bush-Obama
    Washington, DC
    God will not force any man to Heaven.

    11:26 a.m. April 11, 2013

    Ironic then that those who claim to be the followers of God -
    keep passing laws limiting Free Choice then, isn't it?


    BTW -
    While watching the Lamanites casting women and children into a fire,
    Amulek pleads with Alma to use God's power to stop them.

    Alma then instructs Amulek a profound lesson --
    that the wicked must be allowed their wickedness,
    that by taking away Free Agency THEY would then be the advocates of Satan's plan.

    That is why I'm a Liberal.
    That's why I'm Pro-Choice.
    And why I fight unber-far-right-wingers daily.


    For the most precious gift we have been given,
    Next to life its self, is the power to direct that life.
    We must have the opportunity to choose,
    And there must be the possibility of wrong choices.

    ~ Jesus
    [also from the play - My Turn on Earth]

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    For the trillionth time, the Founders DID intend a limited federal government. Perhaps not as limited as existed under the Articles of Confederation, but limited. They wanted the power to reside in the states, closer to the people.

    Don’t try quoting the constitution to Eric; liberals have no use for the constitution.

    LDS? lib,
    Do you GIVE money to the government to take care of the poor, or do they TAKE it from you?

    What percent of your fast offerings and humanitarian offerings go to the poor? What percent of your tax dollars actually help the poor? And you are REALLY comparing the two????

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    Anti Bush-Obama,

    Lucifer didn't propose to force people to live righteously. He knew as well as we do that you can't force people to be righteous. What he proposed was to destroy people's agency by removing the consequences for their actions, a ploy that is still very popular today, on both the right and the left. It's an apolitical gambit.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 11, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Fred illutrates the big difference between conservatives and progressives/liberals. Fred believes the government is a foriegn body that needs to be controlled - the enemy. Liberals believe that "we the people" are the government - and that there is no third party called the "government".

    Back when the concstition was written, big government was not an over bloated democracy. It was a monachy rulled by birth right. They were not talking about anything like we have today - because what we have today did not exist - anywhere - in society at that time. They couldn't have been talking about it... they didn't know what "it" was.

    Now, I do agree, government, and government spending needs to be contained. We the people have been given access to the piggy bank, and it is very hard to control that urge to spend beyond our means. I fully support "limited" government in this context.

    But there was no "Big Government" as Fred illudes at that time.... when applied to todays defnitions. It didn't not exist.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 11, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    I find it hilarious that some deluded people who shall not be named, actually believe the Government helps people. They take everything for themselves and give the people they are supposedly helping the table scraps leaving them dependant instead of teaching them a trade of any kind.

    Most of these other "charity" organizations take all of the money for themselves and give the people they are supposed to be helping the pocket change.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 11, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    God will not force any man to Heaven.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 11, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    " I have a plan, it will save every man. I will force them to live righteously. They won't have to choose. Not a one we will lose and give all the glory to me. This is the way, not a thing you will pay. Any problems and pain will not be. No wars and no strife, a wonderful life and give all the glory to me. Follow me this is the way it should be. Nobody needs to be free."


  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Fun posts to Fred's letter. I get a kick out of Eric's tirade of the correctness of his opinion, or else. Those who would not have government be "charitable" however it may be defined are vilified, those who would have government do everything but turn down the bed and leave a cookie seem to see themselves as one rung below angels. How about this: Life isn't fair, not charitable nor evil it just is. We as carbon based life forms can make a difference by our actions. If we want charity then we should individually fund it. Agree to increase withholding taxes earmarked for charitable giving by your favorite entity be it government or private. Or, donate to Shriner's hospital, PCMC, Fourth Street Clinic, etc. and allow others the same privilege.

    We can all start by taking care of our own back yards, and when that's done we can focus on our neighbor's ills.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    The distain for having to provide for societies poor, sick, homeless, needy [those not willing or able to contribute to society] -- was the primary driver for Nazi gas chambers.

    That, and the continuing distain for non-Christians, homosexuals, liberals, communists, and immigrants.

    sounds to close for comfort to me...

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    @Eric Samuelsen "[T]he Founders DID NOT intend a limited federal government."

    I'd like to see your explanation of the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

    It is clear that the Founders intended to delegate some powers to the federal government, and withhold others. The entire Bill of Rights enumerates individual rights which cannot be infringed by government.

    They intended a stronger government than was provided by the Articles of Confederation, but they still created it with limits.

    @Ultra Bob "[T]he government can always do it better and cheaper than the private businessmen."

    On which planet?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    The purpose of government is to do those things for people citizens that they can’t or don’t
    want to do for themselves. There are no golden or laws from God that put limits on what those things can do.

    In America, under the Capitalistic economic system, people who profit from the needs of people don’t want government to fill those needs. Because the government can always do it better and cheaper than the private businessmen it cheats the businessmen of their profits.

    Business is a necessary and proper element in our society, it provide the transfer of wealth and goods through out the society. Private charity is a business that takes wealth from the people and returns a portion thereof but never destroys the need for charity. Only the government has the authority and ability to fix the problems that charity feeds upon. But if it did, it would eliminate the need for the parasitic business.

  • Dave D Pocatello, ID
    April 11, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    It appears that the letter writer does not want his tax dollars to go toward these sorts of things. I think we can all point to many things that we do not want our tax dollars to do. But providing, in some small way, for those that our society leaves behind falls dead last on the list of wasteful spending in my mind.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    The Government does not provide "Charity", it provides "Welfare".

    There's the problem.
    Not using proper definitions,
    or twisting them to suit an agenda.

    BTW - Charity is the pure love of Christ.

    So, I can give money to a church [an organization] that helps those in need,
    I can give money to a government [an organiation] that helps those in need,

    The underlying factor is: Are you helping your neighbor or serving mankind?

    Who CARES who's name is on it.
    I'm obeying God regardless.

    It's really a mindset.
    It all depends on where your heart is.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    For the billionth time, the Founders DID NOT intend a limited federal government. They already had one, in the Articles of Confederation. They hated the result. The central Constitutional doctrine is NOT limited government, it's separation of powers. In other words, government was intended to be big enough, and powerful enough, that it required decentralization. Get this principle right, people.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    To me, everybody who makes this argument sounds selfish.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    April 11, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    Fred, one purpose of our constitutional government is to "promote the general welfare". Why in your view are public "moneys" excluded as a means to accomplish that constitutional goal?

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Excellent letter Fred. Thank you.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    I would love to hear Fred parse the phrase from the preamble to the Constitution that one of the functions of our government is to "provide for the general welfare". No religion mentioned or inferred. Straightforward and easy to understand. I am puzzled how he missed this clause as it comes prior to the second amendment in the document.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    Fred, have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount?

    It came from some guy named Jesus. Ever heard of him?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:25 a.m.

    Charity is an essential element in our society, but it must be done freely, in a way which elevates both the giver and the receiver.

    If the giver is forced to give, it's not charity. If the receiver feels entitled to take, it's not charity. Our current programs fail in both regards. Federal bureaucracy is a horrible way to provide charity, even laying aside constitutional considerations.

    We need to revive the concept of civil society, which includes all of the diverse ways in which citizens freely organize in order to provide charity for those less fortunate. Churches, clubs, fraternities, schools, families, professional organizations, philanthropic foundations, trade unions, and sports groups are all examples of organizations which make up civil society.

    I disagree with the headline. I believe charity *is* freedom. We can't have one without the other.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 11, 2013 6:48 a.m.

    So is Christianity a part of the constitution or not? Because when it comes to social issues, repubs love to insert religion into the constitution. Just look at mike levitt's comments at Uvu a few days ago. But when it comes to health care or edu, all of a sudden religion is yanked out. Why?

    Make up your minds repubs! Y'all can't have it both ways!

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 11, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    My father diesd in 2010 at the age of 90. He grew up in the midst of the Great Depression. Over the years, we enjoyed many philosophical discussions about the country and our obligations as citizens. I'm sure my father would never have wanted a return to the Depression, but when he talked about those times he almost spoke with fondness about the community he grew up in where nieghbors looked out for each other and, despite those challenging times, no one went hungry. It was a small community which probably had a lot to do with how they lived. Today urbanism has replaced rural life and some hardly know the names of their neighbors just two doors away, let alone whether or not they need help. I think it was probably that communitarian spirit that John Florez was writing about.

    A favrite scripturwe says "And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one‍ heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."

    Those are lofty goals. So the question is how to attain that condition in our modern lives?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 11, 2013 4:35 a.m.

    Ok Fred,

    Lets say that you are 100% correct. And that we all agree with you.

    Now, lets talk about a separate issue.

    People without food or health care.

    There will always be some in society that are not making it. Yes, maybe they are lazy, or crazy, or stupid, or sick, or hurt. Surely you understand that "charity" does not cover all these people.

    What do we do as a society? I mean that as a completely serious question. I am talking about the people (children included) that dont have access to their church welfare program or friends and family that can help them out. Do we let some starve to death? Or die because they cant afford a routine medical procedure?

    Now, many will say that we are too generous with our government help, and I would agree. Government help should be reserved for those who are truly in need. Those that wont make it otherwise.

    Until we get out of the ALL or NOTHING mindset, ideas just look crazy.

    And to those of you who carp about what the constitution does and does not allow for, you may want to re read. Supreme court perhaps?