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The Difference between Charity and Redistribution


Is that the first is a virtue, and the second a sin.


Our working definition of Charity being the voluntary donation by an individual of goods or services to those in need, possibly through the agency of a third party.  Thus A chooses to give something of value to B, or makes the gift to C who will deliver the value to B1, B2, B3, etc.

Our working definition of Redistribution being the involuntary taking of goods or services from an individual by a third party for the benefit of a second party deemed by the third party to be in need.  Thus A is deprived of something of value by C, which C will distribute as it sees fit to B1, B2, B3, etc.

Our astute supporters of redistribution will, no doubt, seize on the fact that in both cases the goods or services flow from A to B1, B2, B3, etc. while no doubt insisting that A should want to provide those goods and services to those in need, and that C in both cases is acting for the public good.

They would even have a point were it not for the issue of voluntary versus involuntary, and the threat of force (Law) which C in the second case relies upon to seize the goods or services from A.  In effect, C has decided that A has something of value which it should not, something that B needs or merely wants, and thus deprives A to satisfy B.  Which is to say that C covets, on the part of B, something of value from A.

Thus Charity is indeed a virtue, and Redistribution is the sin of covetousness enabled by a third party.



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Comments (13)

It cracks me up every time ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

It cracks me up every time the left tries to use Christian giving as an example of why distrubtion should be practised by the govt.

"But but what would Jesus want? Doesnt it say in the bible that you have to be kind to the poor?"

I always say

"He would want me to give things willingly, being forced to "donate" things does nothing for my soul at all"

Oh, just dont mention reli... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Oh, just dont mention religion back at the left in context with ummm anything else. It is only to be mentioned when it can be used as a club against the right.

I would further argue that ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I would further argue that redistribution on the part of government relieves the individual from the burden of doing something to help his fellow man. By the government moving in and declaring that it is the government's responsibility to provide some kind of charitable service, it is telling the private citizen that he is no longer responsible.

In fact in some instances the government in creating laws to enable redistribution makes acts of private charity illegal. In the instance of medicaid, it was once common practice for physicians to set aside a portion of their practice for care of the indigent. Medicaid law prohibits giving medical care away for free if you are also receiving medicaid reimbursement. Not only did this stop physicians from offering services on a charitable basis, but it taught them to demand payment no matter what the financial state of the patient.

Government needs to get out of the way and let the people actually take care of themselves once again. We were far better at it.

Liberals have been describe... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Liberals have been described as people who are extremely generous with other people's money.

jim m,An excellent... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

jim m,

An excellent ancillary point.

Jim Addison,

I was avoiding that point, but it remains true. If the left are bent on re-distribution of wealth, they should start with their own as an object example for those they wish to convince to do the same. Failing to do so is giving in to the totalitarian urge.

For the lefties who don't l... (Below threshold)
jim m:

For the lefties who don't like Jim Addison's point - go and donate some of your money and stop being such a obnoxious tight wad. Study after study has shown that conservatives give more money to charity on average. And ultra liberal politicians like Obama and Kerry donate far less of their wealth on an absolute basis than people earning far less than they do.

You don't like it? Change your behavior and press your fellow leftist travelers to stop lobbying the government for handouts and part with some of their own cash to help the world.

"But but what woul... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
"But but what would Jesus want? Doesnt it say in the bible that you have to be kind to the poor?"


Jesus also lived by the Old Testament.

The Eighth Commandmant is "Thou shall not steal," which both acknowledges the concept of private property but bars taking money away from people to whom it belongs (including through taxation, one would guess). The Bible, especially Leviticus, is full of prohibitions against stealing. Leviticus also prohibits withholding wages from workers.

The Bible also says that if anyone is not willing to work, he is not to eat.

Oh, just go ahead and say i... (Below threshold)
jc:

Oh, just go ahead and say it. In the example you provide, one of the two cases is slavery. You can name it whatever you want, but it remains true that if you don't own your own time (that includes the wealth or goods you garnered by trading your time) then you don't own your own life. After all, your life is only comprised of the hours, minutes, and seconds between your birth and your death.

If you don't own your own life, you are either all or part slave. All people who are pro-wealth-redistribution are pro-slavery by definition, and we should just say so. I really believe there would be a lot less of them if the rest of us would start calling them what they really are.

"Redistribution is the sin ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Redistribution is the sin of covetousness"

No, the proper word is robbery, seeing that there is the ever present threat of force being held over one's head if they don't comply.

GarandFan @ 9 offers:... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

GarandFan @ 9 offers:

No, the proper word is robbery, seeing that there is the ever present threat of force being held over one's head if they don't comply.

I beg to differ.

All taxation is based on coercion, that I will grant. Yet we were advised to "Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's..." As well I would avoid the "Robin Hood" excuse in defense.

The sin is indeed covetousness, since those who have "...made enough." are to be deprived of what they have earned that another may prosper by it.

All taxation is ba... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
All taxation is based on coercion, that I will grant. Yet we were advised to "Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's..." As well I would avoid the "Robin Hood" excuse in defense.

The taxes Christ spoke of were not "redistributionist" as far as I know. I interpret "render unto Ceasar" as saying we have to bear our share of common expenses. Fair enough.

That's not what the problem is. Groups have acquired enormous political power to take money away from those who have earned it to give it to those who have not earned it.

It's theft.

I agree that the sin involv... (Below threshold)
Mark C:

I agree that the sin involved is covetousness. Socialism is the institutionalization of the sin of covetousness.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
(Ex 20:17 NIV)

God commends giving to the poor, but commands respect of property rights.

Any more logic like thi... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

Any more logic like this, Graves, and Euclid, if he's still current,will be banned in US schools. Neat presentation, thx.




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