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I've been mulling over your response a bit. I would agree that Matthew was thinking on personal terms. I suspect that in Matthew time a government that engaged in extensive charitable activities (such as Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Denmark -ODA > .7% GNI) as part of a national identity (?) was unknown.

I like the idea that one of the responsibilities of government is charity, or to remove it from charity entirely and say this is basic to our society. We don't do food banks because everyone in society has enough to eat. It isn't charity; it is because this is what civilised people do. (I wish.) Ya - I'm going beyond Matthew.

In Canada various conservative governments have tried to court the popular vote by promising to lower taxes. It doesn't work very well. Maybe on some level we really are giving - at least some of our taxes - from the heart. At least enough of us to keep the taxes going. If it isn't from the heart, I guess it isn't charity, but government policy and taxes. I don't think that this would make it wrong though.

Instead of calling what we do at the governmental level charity, maybe we should call it human dignity. Ours and theirs. (Just as torture states degrade themselves as they degrade their victims, so to - we degrade ourselves when we allow others to be degraded poverty and hunger.)


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Nov 25th, 2006 at 03:02:50 PM EST
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