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Letter: We should not look to government for empathy

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 6:21 am

Candy Warmuth recently asked, “Where is the compassion for the homeless?”

I was touched by the dilemma and economic hardship she is experiencing. She directed her questions and thoughts to the citizens of Lodi and its churches. She claimed Lodians did not have the level of compassion for the local homeless.

What needs to be examined is the definition of compassion and what factors influence the solutions for people like herself. Also, whose responsibility is it to manage the affairs of people who find themselves in these situations? Is it the church, city, state or federal governments’ role to structure solutions?

Let’s define compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

So this desire to fix the problem has resulted in hundreds of government-controlled solutions and programs over the decades. Resources are funded by taxpayers of Lodi and elsewhere across America. This has developed an expectation and mindset that government is responsible to fund helping the poor as it consumes the resources that would otherwise be available to people in general. Many people think their responsibility to help is absolved and various government entities have officially taken over the job of providing help.

I often travel to countries such as India, Thailand and China where government is not perceived as the solution to helping the disadvantaged. People there have the mindset that they themselves are responsible to help, with no expectations of help beyond what they themselves provide.

Benjamin Franklin once said that compassion which breeds debilitating dependency and blunts hope from entering the soul of a man is counter-productive.

People have been conditioned to expect the government to be the solution for fixing what needs to be fixed. Maybe that is why Candy is having difficulties finding the help she needs. Government is not compassionate — people are. The private sector should not expect the government to be the solution. Government should tax less so that more resources are available locally for people like Candy. Each person should expect to be responsible.

Darrell Baumbach

Acampo

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