10.24.2011 0

Notes of a 99 percenter

By David Bozeman — Speaking as one of the 99 percent exploited by the “evil” rich, the teeming hordes of malcontents occupying Wall Street and other major cities do not speak for me. I would rather die in poverty than live on their state-sanctioned sustenance. But for the moment, my outrage lies elsewhere.

Joe Scarborough, former GOP congressman and host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe recently interviewed Professor Cornel West and author/TV host Tavis Smiley about the Wall Street protestors and, in particular, black poverty. Scarborough, in what was far less a question than a rant, castigated the 2012 Republican field for extolling the Bible but seemingly ignoring the call of Christ to help the poorest among us. Scarborough cited a passage from Matthew, leading Smiley and West to cite a litany of similar passages and references.

Scarborough cannot be that dumb. Or maybe it’s an act to keep a job on President Obama’s favorite network. But first of all, Joe, no one — I repeat, no one — running for president is advocating that the poor be left on the streets to die. For more than 40 years, both parties have spent trillions of dollars to alleviate poverty (which, according to West, is not as much as it sounds, thus he demands more). That is to say nothing of the incalculable amounts of money and time spent in the private sector helping our neediest. And numerous private charities are — who would have guessed it? — religious-based.

Therein lays the defining component of charity — the fact that it is given voluntarily. Government-funded compassion is too often a mere transfer of wealth, and you should know that as well as anybody, Joe. And why are we bringing religion into this, anyway? Liberals bring up the Jesus argument periodically, but aren’t we always told that God has no place in public life?

When a high school valedictorian thanks God in her graduation speech, government thought police literally pull the plug on her microphone — brave, valiant liberals — but when they want to shame Republicans or when Joe Scarborough wants to be the most compassionate one in the group, God is fair game. Besides, biblical allusions have been extremely rare, as this election is about Obama and the economy.

It is not conservative Republicans but the welfare state policies since the Great Society that have exacerbated poverty, particularly in the black community. The entitlement mentality has bred inter-generational dependence. It was liberalism that told us we must go easy on criminals. Liberal culture told society that the family is an outmoded, oppressive institution and that fathers are irrelevant (“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” sounds cute at a trendy NOW fundraiser, but it wreaks far more damage in the real world). And one could speak volumes about an educational bureaucracy that leaves thousands of families clamoring — often in vain — for private and charter school vouchers.

Yet because we spotlight the failures of the big-government formula, we not only lack compassion, we are ungodly. As a freedom-loving American, how frustrating that in 2011, overpaid gas-bags are so eager to destroy choice and incentive that they would pit citizen against citizen. How sadder that government, once deemed by a patriot “a necessary evil” has co-opted the concept of compassion, which is now measured by the number of citizens dependent on a bumbling, bloated federal behemoth.

Ultimately, we are all motivated by our own survival, and I will bank on my own fortitude and the goodwill of my fellow citizens when the chips are down. Despite my modest station in life, I fear those who would make the case that I have it too good, that I need to “share” a little more. In fact, couldn’t we all afford to give just a little more?

That is the insidious nature of liberalism — it always demands more than its stated goal. Once you give into a mob, hold onto your wallet. It’s not the rich they’re coming for — it’s you.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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