This piece will start out like a political rant, but I’m coming to a moral point. Or at least the first stirrings of a moral point.
A physician friend shared an analysis/opinion piece about the surging bureaucratic population of the medical field. Here’s the graphic from the piece, lifted from government data:
By now some of you will have clicked away, harumphing about “conservative” anti government propaganda. But here’s the evidence of how the ostensibly “private” sector gets government dole (small snip of a very long list):
How about what President Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” (relevant video preceded by advertising, of course)?
How about a so called “women’s health” provider that fights for government funding (and contributes to campaigns to keep it coming)?
“Conservatives” in particular grouse about “welfare,” but take aim at programs for the poor, marginal and vulnerable. It seems to me that the real “welfare,” in the pejorative sense of that word, is the gazillions of dollars taken from working people and transferred to educated, affluent and powerful people in both private and public sectors.
More and more, I wonder if big government, the bureaucratic state and cronyism (the doling of public money to favor private interests) isn’t just extravagant welfare for people who have the intelligence, energy and gifts to make a living, but choose instead to have their hobbies, ideologies and vices subsidized by the rest of us.
St. John Chrysostom, who wound up dying in exile in a labor camp for criticizing the elites of his day, challenged people to use their resources to help the truly vulnerable poor:
Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs.
His moral point is based in his theology; all that we have is given by God so that we can share in God’s revealed work. Simply put: we have money so that we can care for others who are in need.
But the bloated state takes this money to make high paying, protected positions for people who have the resources (human and material) to make their own way.
That’s the “welfare state” that we should protest. That’s the elitism upon which Elijah declared God’s curse when the governors of his time were self-enriching at the expense of the people:
As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”’” (1 Kings 21:15-19 ESV)