Two perspectives on government-enforced morality and welfare

In the first, Connor Boyack takes the religious angle, where morally-superior folks feel justified forcing people to choose the right when they don’t do it voluntarily.  Via Immorality and Irresponsibility: A Justification for Statism? | Connor’s Conundrums:

One such argument claims that because people are unrighteous, the government must do for them what they will not do for themselves.

Those who advance this argument often point to some common examples to support their claim. Because people do not give enough to charity, the welfare system is needed to take care of those unable to provide for themselves. Because children whose families are poor or who live in remote areas would otherwise not have access to a school, a public education system must be financed by taxpayers to provide education for all. Because drug use is prevalent, regulations and prohibitions are needed to criminalize the production and consumption of these illicit substances. The list is lengthy, and each justification is based on the core idea behind this argument: widespread immorality and irresponsibility implicitly authorizes the government’s attempts to enforce a standard of morality that people would otherwise abandon.

He goes on to expound on a 2009 speech by the Apostle D. Todd Christofferson thoroughly refuting that rationalization.  A christian would work with compassion and education, not compulsion.

And from another perspective, the Cato institute explains why welfare-by-compulsion, and pretty much all other government programs, fail to meet their goals:

In addition, whatever the intention behind government programs, they are soon captured by special interests. The nature of government is such that programs are almost always implemented in a way to benefit those with a vested interest in them rather than to actually achieve the programs’ stated goals… Among the nonpoor with a vital interest in antipoverty programs are social workers and government employees who administer the programs and business people, such as landlords and physicians, who are paid to provide services to the poor. Thus, anti-poverty programs are usually more concerned with protecting the prerogatives of the bureaucracy than with actually fighting poverty.

via Welfare and Private Charity | Cato @ Liberty.

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