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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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Welcome to the discussion.

17 comments:

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 2:47 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1593

    Mr Baumbach really did himself a disservice here by taking a womans plea for empathy and turning it into a political construct without truly becoming familiar with Ms Warmuths letter. Her letter struck me as being very suspicious and possibly not in touch with reality. She presents facts that need to be taken at face value while leaving out other pertinent information that would help make sense of her plight. I could site examples but that is not my point. Then she winds up at the end insulting the religious community (the ones she is seeking help from) as "...not really living a godly life."

    Mr Baumbach shows where his "touched" sentiments are disingenuous by not reaching out to show the poor woman some avenues for help but rather seizes the opportunity to make political "shmatz" about how bad government assistance is and how the world of south east Asia makes some sense about freedom to him. And thats the world I see conservatives offering Americans.

    The foundation of Mr Baumbachs LTE has nothing to do with the local services, churches or citizens she complained about. And now we have the Capt of the local Salvation Army,Martin Ross, lay out the kinds of services that are available and acknowledges there are other service providers. Not to mention he also acknowledges the government funding they rely on to provide their help. This adds to the puzzlement I had with Ms Warmutn's letter. A difficult letter from which to launch any opinion from whether sympathetic or critical.

    As Mr Barrow stated earlier "Candy Warmuth claims a lack of compassion and Darrel proves her right. Attitudes like Darrell's is why we need a social safety net." In essence we need to be assured Mr Baumbachs lack of compassion, opportunistic exploitation of the needy and convoluted views of reality have a check point from which they can be curbed.

    So Mr Baumbach did not do himself any favor capitalizing on the unfortunate circumstances of Ms Warmuth to illustrate why government is bad while showing the absolute need for government assistance no matter how clumsy it can be.

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 1:28 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1593

    [thumbup]

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 1:24 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1593

    [thumbup]
    Thank you Ms Kaur
    I couldn't have said it better myself.

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 1:22 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1593

    [thumbup]
    A thumb up to your thumb down

     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:13 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2574

    I agree with Eric. Conservatism, by its very nature, precludes empathy.

     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:12 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2574

    Ed, I don't think the idea was for the disciples to sell their possessions to the poor, the idea was for the disciples to give their possessions to the poor (and, in doing so, become the poor themselves). The idea that the path to holiness is through poverty has long standing in Christianity, St Francis, the namesake of the current Pope discoursed on this subject at length.

     
  • Eric Barrow posted at 2:01 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1565

    Excuse me it should have said Jerome not Darrell

     
  • Walter Chang posted at 9:03 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Walt Posts: 1151

    plaster saint - noun. a person who makes a show of being without moral faults or human weakness, especially in a hypocritical way. (source: Google)

    [thumbdown]

     
  • Eric Barrow posted at 8:27 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1565

    "Usually when someone cites statistics such as these, the source is included. Or are these just hopeful statistics?"
    Fair enough, the article I quoted came from the Urban Institute but I believe they were using a study by the Brookings Institute. Also there is more info from the Census Bureau that states "Poverty is not necessarily a permanent condition, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau (2011). While 29 percent of the nation's population was in poverty for at least two months between the start of 2004 and the end of 2006, only 3 percent were poor during the entire period."
    I'm sure you can take it from there.

    You also make the claim "These folks finally became so used to the weekly payments that looking for employment was no longer their primary job; cashing the checks were.". To be fair perhaps you could provide me with a source for this statement or are we just stating opinions?

    Are for as Jesus the Bible and the poor are concerned there are numerous passages that state we are to care for the poor as I'm sure you know. I'll list a couple but Darrell these are your gospels and you site the bible often as a guidebook for life.

    Deuteronomy 15:11 ”If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.
    Leviticus 19:9-10 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.”


     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 6:05 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2574

    Jesus said we should give the poor the shirts off our backs but conservatives like Mr Baumbach seem to think that it should be the other way around.

     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 6:29 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2574

    I am fascinated by the idea that Mr Baumbach would like America to be more like India where mothers hack off their children's feet so that they will make more appealing beggars. Its good to see at least one Conservative being honest about their plans for our nation.

     
  • Jien Kaur posted at 6:04 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Jien Kaur Posts: 258

    Mr Mork - do you have a real and true understand of the benefits to avail the unemploy in United States? You comments say a big no. May you have the ability to find out what you say before it is said. I hope for you to learn and not say wrong things.

     
  • Eric Barrow posted at 3:19 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1565

    Thanks Jien you do clear things up in regards to Darrell and his utopian view of the East.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 3:17 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2363

    "From studies we know two things, one is that over 50% of Americans will find themselves in poverty before the age of 65 and two, half of the people in poverty today will be out of poverty within a year. Most people simply need a temporary fix to get them through a rough spot."

    Usually when someone cites statistics such as these, the source is included. Or are these just hopeful statistics? Still, I'm interested to learn just how much a "temporary fix" might be and how long those "rough spots" might be expected to last. Clearly, unemployment insurance payments soon became expected "income" for many Americans for many years as they were extended quite a few times. These folks finally became so used to the weekly payments that looking for employment was no longer their primary job; cashing the checks were.

    As for Jesus Christ and his admonition to disciples about there always being poor among us, let's try to keep things in context. The complaint came while a woman (some believe to have been Mary Magdalene) was anointing Christ with expensive oil. The disciples became indignant and wondered out loud about the waste; what that oil cost could have fed the poor. Christ rebuked them by letting them know that there will always be poor among them, but you won't always have him. (Matthew 26:6-11) Basically, He was telling them to back off and let her prepare Him for his burial.

     
  • Ed Walters posted at 1:27 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    the old dog Posts: 587

    I agree with Baumbach`s post, as far as it goes. There are different programs set up for people like Warmuth, of course you have to walk or drive to receive help, it is not like Welcome Wagon. Half of the country is living off of food stamps, along with waiting for their monthly check from the federal government, some who have never worked a day in their life and live off of the generosity of others, they don`t work and never will as long as that monthly check comes in on the 1st of the month and all bills are paid for by, they don`t care as long as they are paid and the big screen continues to function.

    Jesus commanded his disciples to sell their possession and give them to the poor, and brings up a question, what did the disciples have to sell, and could the poor afford to buy them, if so the disciples would be in the same position as the poor. I believe I read somewhere, where God helps those who help themselves.

     
  • Jien Kaur posted at 12:49 pm on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Jien Kaur Posts: 258

    I think the mr Baumbach make great mistake here because the Candy Warmuth letter not demand government help even if she mention local communities make the less expense housing for homeless. She make the strong of her commenting about charity resources not government.

    I cannot seem to make the understand about the mr Baumbach comments to compare India China and Thailand. These three countries have the people who live in the most terrible of poor conditions and many people have live in shacks many time of the paper of boxes especially India my home country. These are the country with much government of the corruption that government people take much money so then no money to help poor. This not make poor people strong. More it make for more crime. Many in India can not have place to use a toilet and many just do the squat in the streets. Terrible terrible is the disease from this condition.

    Please mr Baumbach - the United States cannot make the compare with this countrys. I think that experience of American tourist is not the real truth of these countrys because the need for the tourist money and to treat tourist very well.

    Here is good sample I see today in the time magazine for in India no help from the government for stop this kind treatment. I do the quote here - 'Fired - All employees over the age of 35 at India's national public radio broadcaster. Some may be allowed to stay, provided they pass a test indicating that they don't sound too mature and boring.'

    If no government help measures here in United States for this we have large amount of the unemploy people over 35 years of the age.

     
  • Eric Barrow posted at 8:53 am on Tue, Aug 19, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1565

    Candy Warmuth claims a lack of compassion and Darrel proves her right. Attitudes like Darrell's is why we need a social safety net. We simply can't rely on individuals to help those in need. From studies we know two things, one is that over 50% of Americans will find themselves in poverty before the age of 65 and two, half of the people in poverty today will be out of poverty within a year. Most people simply need a temporary fix to get them through a rough spot. For us to turn our backs on others in need goes against our nature as Americans. Also I'm not sure we should be looking to Franklin on this issue wasn't it Jesus that commanded his disciples to sell their possessions and give it to the poor? Didn't Jesus say that we would always have the poor with us to be kind to and that we should be openhanded in helping them?

     

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