If I may offer you this thought, laws influence public perceptions. So if a law pertains to a moral precept rather than a precept to maintain order, the precept of law becomes the new definition of morality. In other words, those in government who influence new laws are also being given the power to alter or twist morals under the guise of law. (from here)
What exactly is the difference between a law that pertains to a moral precept rather than a precept to maintain order? In response to my observations and query, added the following.
What I had in mind referred to laws relative to moral beliefs of marriage, divorce, and,abortion.. When laws change the definition of marriage between a man and a women, or to define ending a fetal life as a lawful abortion, people perceive when a law is passed it must be morally right and the numbers of occurrences rise. Same as each new government spending avenues arise with each new added tax..When drugs become lawful, the same thing will happen..Seems definitions and morals change whenever new laws are passed same as perceptions change in the instance of feminism as you point out in your post.. (from here)
There is, I think, a large measure of truth in ‘s comments. However, we tend to overlook the fact that all laws enforce moral precepts. When politicians legislate on such moral issues as marriage, divorce, abortion,… they may or may not take their desire to maintain order too far, but our laws against stealing and murder are also based upon moral precepts. Moreover, our leaders want us to share their perception that stealing and murder are wrong (at least when stealing and murder do not have their approval).
So when is it wrong for government to make laws that seek to revise the public’s definition of morality? I believe has the key. The principle is order. I think government exists to maintain order by protecting our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government does not exist, however, to make us virtuous, wise, create jobs, end poverty or otherwise solve all our innumerable problems. If we want to fix the world, we must first seek to fix ourselves and ask our Lord for His help.
So What Is A Poorhouse?
When I think of people using government to force their morality upon the rest of society, I do not think of marriage, divorce, abortion,… Instead, I think about the trillions of dollars our government spends on health, education, and welfare programs. These programs do not exist to maintain order. Health, education, and welfare programs supposedly exist to protect the life, liberty, and the happiness of the poor, but these programs rob some citizens and transfer their property to other citizens. Therefore, we can rightly argue that those who support this robbery use the power of government to force their morality upon their fellow citizens.
How did government get into the business of health, education, and welfare programs? We can go back into ancient history for examples. Consider the phrase “Bread and circuses“. That goes back to the time of the degeneration and collapse of the Roman republic. The poorhouse (poor farms), however, has a far more recent origin.
Poor farms were the origin of the U.S. tradition of county governments (rather than cities, townships, or state or federal governments) providing social services for the needy within their borders; the federal government did not participate in social welfare for over 70 years following the 1854 veto of the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane by Franklin Pierce. This tradition has continued and is in most cases codified in state law, although the financial costs of such care have been shifted in part to state and federal governments. (from here)
By the time of the Great Depression, most Americans knew what a poorhouse was. Thus, we have this quote.
How The Poorhouse Grew Into A Great Temptation
Rogers was a deservedly well-known and respected man. So here is another Will Rogers quote (after the Wall Street Crash of 1929).
Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the late crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again. There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it. — Will Rogers (from here)
Rogers was a Democrat. So I doubt he understood exactly why Socialism cannot work. Like most of us, I think he thought we can fix our government and make it work by electing the right people. Nevertheless, after decades of trying, we have yet to succeed. If anything, our problems have grown. The rich are getting far richer, and the poor are getting even poorer.
Why do the rich keep getting richer and the poor still poorer? I think our problem is one of temptation. Consider what James had to say about temptation.
James 1:13-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Temptation is something that grows within each of us. If we let temptation grow within us, it destroys us. We can only overcome temptation by turning to God, remembering that He is the source of every good gift and every perfect gift.
When we started setting up government-run poorhouses, we gave to Caesar what belongs to God. We opened ourselves to temptation. Instead of accepting our individual responsibility to help the poor, we opened the door to the public treasury. Then, we gave our leaders the opportunity to tempt us with “other people’s money”. Now all we can do is admit the temptation and flee from it.
If we want to know what is corrupting our government, don’t we have to follow the money? Isn’t money what the politicians care about? Issues such as marriage, divorce, abortion,… These are highly important, but compared to what government spends on health, education, and welfare programs they involve very little money. Isn’t the fixation on health, education, and welfare programs bankrupting our nation?
Unfortunately, most of us still refuse to understand the corrupt nature of government-run health, education, and welfare programs. Even many Conservatives overlook the plain fact that government-run health, education, and welfare programs represent a humongous fixation on social issues, social issues where government has no business. Instead, we focus on marriage, divorce, abortion,… as if these were the only social issues.