The national debt is nearing $22 Trillion. This horrific credit card balance will have to be paid by hundreds of millions of Americans yet to be born. It is a reckless mess that we are kicking down the road for our children and grandchildren — generations that will be born into instant indebtedness. Their taxes will pay for the excesses of a long-dead and selfish generation. It’s hard to imagine greater cowardice than to steal from those incapable of resisting. Incapable, because they don’t yet exist.
Idaho voters’ recent overwhelming vote to expand Medicaid signaled our state’s willingness to feed at this deep trough of runaway debt. Somehow, participation in the expansion of this collectivism — applied to healthcare — was sold and accepted broadly as “compassion.” Voting against it was cruelty. Some even said it was murder. Well, we need to either study the dictionary we have, or write a new one, because these words don’t mean what those saying them think they mean.
Much has been written already about compassion. This term used to define an individual emotion — and voluntary action if possible — to ease the burden of others. Like so many other words and concepts, the arbiters of meaning have created and now peddle a grotesque and counterfeit version of this simple ancient principle. The contemporary (and hopefully temporary) version demands the redistribution of wealth using government power. Those who enforce it are deemed the compassionate ones. Those who support the enforcement get to be junior members of the Compassion Club as well.
Yet, they are to true compassion what Milli Vanilli was to pop music. It’s fraudulent and self-delusional to believe forcing good behavior is a good working version of compassion. Authentic compassion happens when an individual choice is made, not when collective behavior is compelled. There is no such thing as mandated collective compassion. Applying that word and concept to a political agenda is only a tool by progressives to make otherwise decent people feel good about plundering. Government steals plenty of wealth. Now they’re stealing the truth about compassion from Jesus and claiming it for themselves.
The vast numbers of people who have replaced the experience of genuine compassion with the self-medicating counterfeit found at the ballot box are missing out. The Good Samaritan did not snap his fingers like a bureaucrat demanding others assist the beaten Jew. The Good Samaritan knelt down himself, bound up wounds, assisted the battered man to an inn, and used his own funds to pay for his care. Those who cannot make the distinction between this true, humble version of compassion, and its mangled politicized forgery are either dishonest or incompetent.
Call medicaid expansion an attempted solution to a public health concern. Call it a government expansion of healthcare. Call it a step toward socialized medicine. Call it whatever sanitized bureaucratic words you need to hide the fact this policy is more Marx-like than Christlike.
But for the love of truth and self-respect, don’t delude yourself into thinking it is compassion. That designation is saved for the truly selfless.
Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls is the author of “Living in Spin.” He is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 106.3 and 92.1, and also at www.kidnewsradio.com. “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekday mornings from 6:00 to 10:00. His email address is email@example.com.