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Your Views: As welfare state expands, few carry their own chairs

POSTED: July 9, 2012 1:00 a.m.

Fifty years ago, in January 1962, I wrote an editorial for the school newspaper of Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, which I attended. It could have been written today, and with some updates, reads like this:

Who carries the chairs? Kindergartners from a Sunday school class were asked to move themselves from one room to another. An observer noted that about one 10th of the children tried to carry two chairs, one for themselves and one for someone else; slightly over half carried their own chair; and the rest walked to the new location with no apparent thought of their needs or the needs of anyone else.

This group of children was beginning to show signs of a suspiciously adult American outlook on life. There are still about one 10th (the percentage grows smaller daily) of the people who are willing to carry their share plus helping someone else, and there are still those who will carry their own load when they have to. Then there is the rapidly growing group who look with disdain upon any who might suggest that they should carry their own load.

Henry Van Dyke said that heaven is blessed with perfect rest, but the blessing of earth is toil. However, the welfare state into which this country is plunging cannot accept such a philosophy. Work is often seen as a curse, and shorter work weeks, shorter work days and more money for less productivity, and federal aid for everything imaginable, is promoted. This sounds vaguely akin to the old communist creed: from every man according to his ability; to every man according to his need.

Today, the current fashion is to be as liberal as the law will allow. Anyone even suspected of conservative tendencies often is looked upon with a great deal of suspicion.

Certainly all of the so-called extreme rightist movements may not be sound, valid or honest endeavors. By the same rule, all liberals do not have communistic leanings. This country was founded by people who were not looking for a handout but by people who believed in helping themselves, and they would lend a helping hand to others.

The increasing amounts of money being poured into every conceivable type of federal aid gives the government a tighter grip around the throat of the individual, until finally the individual gasps, rattles and melts into the state, and is no more.

This is not a call to arms. This is not some nave attempt to answer an almost impossible situation. This is merely one lone voice that says there is a great deal of difference between saying, “What’s yours is mine,” and saying, “What’s mine is yours.”

This is a nation of, by and for the people. The people should remain the government and should not be pressured into the oblivion of a welfare state, where individuals walk from room to room, waiting for someone else to bring the chairs.

Now here we are 50 years later, and we need a lot more chair carriers, and fewer who are only looking out for themselves and their next handout.

Harvey Nowland
Gainesville


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