"The Future of the Welfare State,"

by Howard E. Kershner, Ph.D., LUTHERAN DIGEST, Fall 1966

Dr. Kershner is editor of CHRISTIAN ECONOMICS which advocates free enterprise and is sounding a warning against bureaucracy and creeping socialism in our economy. He feels there is a close relationship between economics and Christian teaching.--Lutheran Digest, Fall 1966

The welfare state is based on the concept that some have a right to more than they produce.

It means that a part of our citizens get something for nothing and others get nothing for something.

It means that some live not by the sweat of their own brows, as the Scripture says, but by the sweat of the brows of other people.

The welfare state is based upon both coveting and stealing. History shows that those who thus disregard the Commandments of the Almighty do not long continue to prosper or to maintain self-government.

Under the welfare state, those who are awarded more than they produce soon learn to put forth less effort because they have been taught to believe that the state will provide for them.

On the other hand, those who are awarded less than they produce, soon learn to put forth less effort. They have been made painfully aware of the fact they will not be permitted to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Thus production declines.

No welfare state has ever been able to produce as abundantly as the states that have a free economy.

The welfare state and free enterprise are therefore in conflict with each other. They cannot permanently exist side by side. One will conquer and the other will disappear.

Once it is established that the majority has the right to dispossess the minority, the process will go on and on until the last bone of the last taxpayer has been picked bare and there is no incentive anywhere to work hard and produce abundantly.

Production therefore declines and in time there are no "haves" for the "have-nots" to dispossess. In the end, the welfare state will have nothing but poverty to distribute.

We need not depend upon reason, logic and argument to reach this conclusion. We have but to observe the results in welfare state countries--socialist and Communist countries--to see how it has happened over and over. We delude ourselves, if we think it will not happen here [it is happening here under Obama!--Ed.]. It is already well advanced in our country.

To be sure, we are riding an inflationary boom with the outward appearance of prosperity, but we are laboring under a greater load of crushing debt than ever rested upon any people at any time in history. More inflation is rushing upon us and we shall not escape the penalty for the coveting and stealing in which we have been engaged in our welfare state endeavors.

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."--Galatians 6:7.

Once we grant to government the power to dispossess the minority, we have embarked upon a process which will inevitably lead to poverty for all and a low standard of living.

We can distribute wealth that has accumulated during pre-welfare state days. As long as this wealth lasts, the welfare state appears to be both possible and successful. But when it is exhausted, it becomes obvious that socialism cannot produce abundantly and all must live on a low common-denominator level (this is the grim future of socialist European countries in the European Union, most of which are presently enjoying a prosperity that cannot last and will disappear, leaving the masses poor and oppressed by the powerful, wealthy elite governing the European Union!--Ed.].

Abundance is secured by the hope of reward and by the assurance that one may enjoy the fruits of his own labors.

In plain language, those who accept the handouts of the welfare state become the slaves of those who are strong enough to seize the reins of government. When finally achieved, the victims of socialism must live in poverty under savage tyranny (such as we witnessed in Romania, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, Cuba, China North Korea, etc., etc., etc.). Observance of the Moral Law of God, including respect for private property, is the only road to a free and prosperous society. We must stop misinterpreting our Christian religion. We must develop our understanding, our knowledge and our intelligence, and find ways of coping with this problem so that it will not undermine and destroy us.

Welfarism is a sentimental response to an urgent need. What we must have is an intellectual response which will find ways of solving the problem. Anything short of that is self-defeating and will, in the end, destroy the Christian's ability to make an effective contribution to those in need.

The above does not mean we are unmindful of theneeds of the unfortunate and the deserving poor. For these, there must be generous Christian charity provided by private organizations established for that purpose. Relief administered by such agencies is curative and constructive. It tends to restore physical and mental health and to solve the problem of poverty. Conversely, so-called state charity aggravates the problem, increases the number of then needy and finally crushes the fit in the effort to extract from them enough to provide for the ever-growing number of the unfit.--Dr. Howard E. Kershner

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