June 25, 2024

What Is Owed My Neighbor?

What are the limits of governmental benevolence? Clearly, deficit spending creates no limit.

By Mark W. Fowler

“The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.” —John Locke

Preservation of private property is one of the foundational responsibilities of government. Locke observed that a man owns his labor and property accumulated as a result of it. The most prosperous societies are those that value and protect property. Consider, then, the morality of these scenarios:

A) A newcomer seeks to improve his life by moving to a new place. On arriving, he demands of his neighbor food, lodging, and medical care until he gets on his feet in six months. The neighbor may morally and legally refuse such a claim.

B) The newcomer makes the same request at 3 a.m. in the neighbor’s bedroom, having illegally entered. The neighbor may morally refuse and enlist the government in evicting the intruder.

C) The government without a vote or debate insists the neighbor comply with the request for support. Now the neighbor must comply, or men with guns from the government will make him comply.

Is scenario C morally different from A and B? What claim does this newcomer have on the property of another just to improve his standard of living? And how is it moral or ethical to take from one man money he has earned to give to another man that which he has not earned? Stated another way, why is it greed for a man to want to hold on to money he has earned, but not greed for another person to desire money from another?

Change the facts a bit. The newcomer is from Ecuador. He entered the country illegally. He wants to improve his standard of living. In that posture, he has no moral claim on the property of anyone.

Change the facts again. The newcomer is an American owing $100,000 in student debt on his law degree. What does the electrician, plumber, or mill worker owe to this newly graduated lawyer who will make more than they will? Nothing.

Electric vehicles are more expensive than gas-powered cars. The federal government subsidizes the purchase of electric cars, most of which are bought by wealthier people. This is a classic case of the average American being taxed to support someone who is financially better off. It is indefensible, regardless of how nice it might be to have electric cars.

The sanctuary city of New York will spend $12 billion in caring for illegal immigrants. Denver will spend $340 million. Chicago will spend over $300 million. The diversion of these resources will mean reduced expenditures for fire and police protection and educational spending while taxes will have to be increased.

What are the limits of governmental benevolence? Clearly, deficit spending creates no limit. Shall this benevolence extend to not only immigrants but those who could not immigrate because of infirmity? Wouldn’t that be benevolent? And if so, wouldn’t it be benevolent to tax Americans to the point where their standard of living became equal to that of the poorest person in the globe so that all might have a share of wealth? That would be the epitome of benevolence.

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, the only problem with benevolence is eventually you run out of other people’s money.

This government largesse is not about benevolence. It’s about garnering votes with your money.

Mark Fowler is a board-certified physician and former attorney. He can be reached at [email protected].

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.