In every election campaign, we hear the word “compassion” at least a thousand times. One political party supposedly has it, the other one doesn’t. Big government programs are evidence of compassion; cutting back government is a sign of cold-hearted meanness. By their misuse of the term for partisan advantage, politicians have thoroughly muddied up the real meaning of the word.
The fact is that some of what is labeled “compassionate” is just that, and it does a world of good; but a whole lot of what is labeled “compassionate” is nothing of the sort, and it does a world of harm. The former tends to be very personal in nature while the latter puts an involuntary burden on someone else.
A remarkable irony of statists in general is their definition of “charity.” On the one hand, they claim their giving to the poor is “compassionate” and “caring.” Yet in the very next breath they demand and force peaceful people to fork over the assets to be given. Prior theft does not charity make. I am reminded of what Penn Jillette said about such things:
Again, you can read the original article by Lawrence Reed here.