My good friend Beau Weston at the Gruntled Center, in an uncharacteristically weak moment, recently welcomed the House passage of the Obama health care bill, the bill now being debated in the Senate. He sees it as the government "approaching life with generosity." Trouble is that generosity with someone else's money is commonly known as theft. Yet such is exactly the procedure followed in policies like the socialization of health care.
Can one legitimately reason from the fact that charity practiced by the individual Christian toward another using ones own resources is a Christian virtue to the conclusion that charity on the national level using resources confiscated from others is itself a Christian virtue?
Charity is by definition an individual virtue, and projecting onto a government body and calling it a virtue involves a process of abstraction which can only be called tortuous. Charity is giving of ones own to others; it is not taking from others to give to others.
In fact, it could be argued that the expansion of government "charity" is not only not a virtue, but militates against authentic charity by eliminating the conditions in which it thrives. One wonders what would happen to individual giving (which is substantial in the United States), for example, if the government took less of a percentage of people's incomes. What if, for example, one could take a tax credit for the amount one gives to social service charities? In other words, a system which makes it easier for individuals to practice actual charity, rather than a system which effectively discourages it.
"The richest nation in the history of the world," says Weston, "can afford to make sure every citizen has basic health care." But why is America the "richest nation in the history of the world"? It would be hard to argue that it was because of policies of government intrusion that result in a misallocation of resources, and much easier to argue that it is because of the ingenuity of private individuals operating outside the purview of government largesse.