.. When down on their luck, Americans have ceased to look to one another -- to families, friends, neighborhoods, churches, and other associations -- but now look, by and large, primarily to government support in times of crisis.
.. No one fails to realize that we must care for the poor, sick, and elderly among us, but most Americans are blinded by a “common passion” for state-sponsored solutions, forgetting whose responsibility care for the needy ought, firstly, to be.
According to the German philosopher Walter Schweidler .. “[T]he question for what we are responsible cannot fundamentally be divided from the question to whom we are responsible.” Yet if we believe that all state aid is indispensable, and fail to look around us at the people in our own communities and at what we can do for them ourselves, we create such a fundamental divide.
Meanwhile, the present generation continues, through debt, to spend the tax dollars of tomorrow, today. Instead of parents leaving an inheritance to their children, they are spending not only what they should pass on, but the very resources of the next generation. Indulging in unrealistic expectations and shirking the fundamental responsibilities of our most basic relationships fuel a passion for government provision in all areas of life, well beyond a safety net of last resort. Rather than arguing over which sector of civil society will carry each burden, the common passion today continually pushes to the state, considering centralization the only solution, despite its obvious insolvency in the long run.
All this has served as fertile ground for the sort of person Wilhelm Röpke termed a “centrist”: the cheap moralist who “does not seem capable of imagining that others may not be lesser men because they make things less easy for themselves and do take account of the complications and difficulties of a practical and concrete code of ethics within which it is not unusual to will the good and work the bad.”