`At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, `it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.'
`Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge.
`Plenty of prisons,' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
`And the Union workhouses?' demanded Scrooge. `Are they still in operation?'
`They are. Still,' returned the gentleman, `I wish I could say they were not.'
`The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?' said Scrooge.
`Both very busy, sir.'
`Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,' said Scrooge. `I'm very glad to hear it.'
`Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,' returned the gentleman, `a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink. and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?'
`Nothing!' Scrooge replied.
`You wish to be anonymous?'
`I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. `Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.'
`Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'
`If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, `they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.'
`But you might know it,' observed the gentleman.
`It's not my business,' Scrooge returned. `It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!'
Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
This Dickens quote is one of my favorite quotes and reminds me that the taxes I pay are strictly forced transfers of wealth which do nothing for my soul and that regardless of how much I pay in taxes it is MY responsibility not the governments to care for the poor and needy.
This past weekend, because I speak Spanish, I volunteered to deliver Christmas for the children of 10 of the poorest Hispanic families in a neighboring city. 40 of my neighbors in an affluent area sponsored 45 of these families. It was a massive effort of true charity with thousands of man hours and dollars being willingly spent on behalf of those without.
I cannot accurately describe the conditions that some of these people live in. The shanty town of 20’ single wide trailers that were on old, narrow partially dirt roads were set in hodge-podge fashion. Trying to find addresses was difficult because the numbers on trailers which sometimes were painted on the trailer, did not appear to be consecutive. The newest trailer was at least 50 years old. Inside the trailers it was dark and cold and dimly lit. The carpeted floors were threadbare from too many years of wear.
The vehicles outside the trailers were old and worn out and it looked more like a auto salvage operation than operating family cars. The children seemed happy though, as they played with sticks and small rubber balls. One of them accidently hit my new bright red suburban with a ball, causing no damage, but they scattered for fear they may have. I did not see one child riding a bike that day nor did I see any chained up or in the trailers I went in.
In the day time it was a little scary as I wondered how many gang members and drug dealers might be living there and my tensions grew as darkness set in. The streets were short and narrow with no room to turn around. I had to back out of almost every one. One car placed strategically behind me would have stopped me from leaving and put me at the mercy of any foe. Fortunately, my worries were only that and not reality.
Since it was not Christmas Eve or day we tried to help the parents hide the presents from the children but how do you hide a bike in a small trailer? Many had asked for them and many received them.
The tears of gratitude from the parents and the children’s faces of excitement as they peaked from around corners to see what Santa had brought were more than my heart could take. Tears still well up as I consider the service of love I gave that day.
Correct principles— The gov’t needs to let us give to the poor from the goodness of our hearts. We don’t have the same feelings of love and compassion when the government forcefully extracts our taxes to give to the professional welfare bums. We could and would give more to help the poor if the gov’t would stop taking our money from us.
Moral of the story: Do not be content like Scrooge to think you are doing good by paying taxes. That is neither charity nor love and you will not receive the joy that true giving brings.
During this season of good will, please do a random act of service for someone in need. You will never regret it.
Have a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.