Compassion in the early 1800’s United States – responsibility on both sides

I’m still going on Marvin Olasky’s book and get this – in the early 1800s, compassion and helping others was very much seen as an individual responsibility and everyone’s responsibility! Imagine that.  And those in need also had to take action to help themselves.

“It was important for the better-off to know the poor individually, and to understand their distinct characters.”

It’s worth noting that in these days, communities were smaller, and people KNEW each other.  He also talks about how the sermon at church was the primary means of mass communication, and “the need to offer personal help and hospitality became a frequent subject of sermons” in colonial days.

“Congregationalist and Presbyterian sermons regularly noted that faith without works of compassion was dead. (p.7, Ch 1)”

So it was a societal expectation, back then given that most everyone practiced religion, that you had to help others if you could.

Here’s what he says:

1. If someone got sick or had a tragedy happen to their family, other people in the community would look after them completely. They’d give their time doing chores or cooking meals. They’d take in orphaned children and help women who were widowed.

2. “Decent Living” was a prerequisite to being helped!  This meant that a) you had to be a moral person (not a drunk, abuser, thief, etc.) AND that b) you had to work if you could. If someone was seen as lazy and not willing to help themselves, they wouldn’t keep giving them aid.

“The able-bodied could readily find jobs in a growing agricultural economy; when they chose not to, it was considered perfectly appropriate to pressure them to change their minds.”

Aha. Makes sense. We don’t really differentiate at ALL nowadays between a) people who are poor or struggling due to tragedies or due to being born into bad circumstances and b) people who are poor due to their own inaction and/or consistent bad choices, or due to not wanting to work.

Wow, it’s probably heresy to even write down that the second category exists. Funny isn’t it?

I’ve done a fair amount of self-development courses over my lifetime: did Landmark Education, have been to Byron Katie’s workshops, listened to Anthony Robbins, even in my teens went to SuperCamp down in LA., as my parents wanted to help me see the possibilities for my life…ALL of these different approaches remind you that YOU and no one else is responsible for your life.  You can’t control external circumstances all the time (i.e. whether your husband has a subarachnoid hemorrhage when your son is 11 months old and won’t be able to work for the rest of his life). They tell you to focus on what you CAN do, what you can control -your own goals, motivations, actions, outlook.

So when I see non-profits with a goal ‘to end poverty in the world’…my first thought is always you can’t rid of all poverty!  You can’t stop or prevent the poverty that comes from being able to sit on the couch all day, watching TV or surfing the web and not taking any action.  I could choose to stop going to work, just watch movies and play with my kids all day.  I’d eventually get fired, lose my job…I could make our family poor in about 6 months; probably less, if I bought a lot of stuff online, took out some credit cards…Individual choice of course impacts whether someone is poor or not.

Most of the dialogue around fighting poverty doesn’t ever mention this, does it?  But labeling people as lazy or irresponsible and writing them off is judgmental, self-righteous, and unproductive.  I can imagine that in the 1800’s, you could get labeled as a ‘good-for-nothing’ and then be in big doo doo. We COULD, however, ensure that people are active participants in turning their lives around, that they build a growth/empowered mindset, and that there are consequences for their choices. That sounds like a good idea.

One recent example where the charity organization DOES require people to show individual responsibility:  Homeboy Industries, led by Father Boyle, in Los Angeles.  I’ve read his book, Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion.  If former gang members want to turn their lives around, Homeboy Industries requires them to make commitments in exchange.  If they are late or don’t show up to work X times (I can’t remember the exact number) they will be let go. And they have to attend life skills classes too.  Homeboy Industries requires that they are active contributors in turning their situations around. (I think I’ve recalled the details correctly; apologies if it’s not 100 accurate, though.) I was lucky enough to hear Father Boyle talk a few years ago at an IABC Los Angeles event.)Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest, by the way, for those of you who now distrust and dismiss Christianity as a force for good.

Thoughts? What other orgs are out there where they have recipients actively participate?  Habitat for Humanity, certainly.

Where are the truly compassionate solutions for helping others.

I’m reading Marvin Olasky’s book called The Tragedy of American Compassion, which Steve Forbes’ and Elizabeth Ames’ new book referenced! I’d never heard of it, since in 1992 I was graduating from university and busy with so many things. I’ve been asking and asking (everyone who’ll listen) my ‘compassion and the free market’ questions, but never heard about it. And here’s a book that’s exactly what I wanted to find!

So my next few posts will be related to what I’m learning and reading.

The first idea I see in the introduction:

“Americans in urban areas a century ago faced many of the problems we faced today, and they came up with truly compassionate solutions. We may not realize this, because only two kinds of books on the overall history of poverty-fighting in America are now available (emphasis added).  A few of the books argue that the free market itself solves all problems of poverty. The more conventional approach stresses government intervention to restructure economic relations. But neither kind emphasizes the crucial role of truly compassionate individuals and groups in the long fight against poverty.”

Aha! Already getting somewhere…

This is what I’ve been asking anyone who’ll listen to my spiel!  Why do we have this unspoken assumption nowadays that government is the place for compassion and helping others when it does it so badly and wastes an unbelievable amount of resources running a bad system? Why do we do this when we know codifying welfare kills innovation, other solutions, and inevitably the system will not be able to adapt an change as society and technology advances?

And why do the free-marketers not lay claim to all the voluntary compassionate activities and showcase them as alternatives to the welfare state? Why do they dismiss individual and voluntary groups working to help others – these are activities happening in the FREE market, whether for profit, non profit. Tom’s Shoes? The Salvation Army? United Way? Santa Barbara FoodBank? Jodi House? Millions of others? They certainly are not mandated, coerced governmental activities.  They are freely done and are organizations and people coming together to assist others. Yes, they’re being choked and starved out as government takes over, but clearly there is compassion and the will to help others showing in communities, still.

I went to FreedomFest this year (which was fantastic) and asked as many people as I could why Free Marketers don’t ever address the voluntary ways people and communities help one another and talk about the free market as providing better solutions to ending poverty. Well the answer: they ignore it as the best way to cure poverty is free markets where people can voluntarily exchange – this creates  value and more prosperity by far than other other system, and far more value than wealth transfers and charity…

Yes, true…I agree! But this doesn’t matter when you’re looking at suffering in the face. We need to talk about how one person who sees homeless people sleeping on the streets should/could help them. Saying ‘more prosperity and freer markets will cure this’, is not going to work. (I’m thinking of Arthur Brooks here – read his bit about how reason and the theoretical will never win an emotional argument).

So it’s time for someone to look a bit harder at to whether the possibilities that exist in the free market might work better than the centrally planned, blanket, non-compassionate, well-intentioned-but-with-massive-unintended-consequences, easily abused programs we have now…

Compassion and the Private Sector

Compassion & the Free Market

Proposal for creating/sparking a non-profit grassroots organization promoting the private sector as the best arena for solving social problems.



Create and grow a new branch of the free-market movement that explores, showcases and celebrates private sector ideas and solutions for social problems and the ways in which people and organizations voluntarily demonstrate compassion, create community, and help others constantly.  Change perspectives on compassion and the free market – to be measured by counting participants, followers, and people who respond to outreach efforts (measure likes, audience, reach, shares, donations, press, interviews). Aim for 50,000 year one.




Government is widely and mistakenly seen as a benevolent provider of compassion and also as the only means in which to help those in need. The paradigm that “government is good and the free market is bad” is widespread and damaging.

Viable solutions and tangible results are overlooked, and often wither and die despite being valuable to society. There is a lack of awareness that the private sector encompasses individuals, non-profits, for-profits, and social enterprises, all of which regularly contribute resources towards solving and reducing social problems. This lack of understanding results in many people endangering the innovation, freedom and creativity needed to address social problems. Codification in a government function dooms us to a slow rate of change, de-humanization of charity, waste, and the same types of failure that existing in the free market, only longer lasting and more damaging. (cite Mark Pennington)

To date, ”pro-market” organizations and people have battled to communicate the message that the free market provides more well-being to everyone and is the best structure to ensure all citizens prosper. Many organizations are advocating a reduction in the functions handled by government and its growing presence in all aspects of life.

However, their standard arguments do not penetrate most people’s minds, as they fail to get past the  belief that somehow government is the only conduit for ‘good intentions.’ Benevolent intent behind new bills and pieces of legislation trumps reason every time, (cite Arthur Brooks). They tend to focus on government’s inefficiency, its coercive nature, discussing whether a particular bill will actually do what it is intended to do, etc. Alternatively, they will approve of people’s freedom to shape their own destinies on an individual level and leave it at that. They rarely showcase or promote free market alternatives to a particular issue in question, but instead reject government as a solution and leave the alternative at ‘the free market will sort it out.’


“Economic freedom produces unimaginable material prosperity, but it’s also the only economic form that encourages individuals to freely pursue their destinies, develop the character of self-responsibility, and strengthen communities.”

— Congressman Paul Ryan

“Only free enterprise encourages and allows each of us to define our destiny and earn our success.  Only free enterprise encourages true fairness based on merit and opportunity. And free enterprise is the only system that can lift up the vulnerable and those who have fallen on hard times by the millions—by rewarding entrepreneurship and encouraging charity.”


—  Arthur Brooks

I believe that most of us who live beyond survival mode, those with enough resources for food, shelter, and basic security, are compassionate by nature to others. Both Paul Ryan and Arthur Brooks above mention community and helping others, but don’t go so far as to contrast what is seen in the voluntary part of society to that which is legislated or run by government.


I believe human beings have a moral and instinctive desire to help our fellow man. Fellow man may mean family, colleagues, peers, the local community, people in other countries. But in any case, evidence is widespread that human beings who prosper at some level voluntarily do contribute to their wider community. Very few of us are true individualists, able and willing to live entirely for our own benefit. These examples, existing all around us are the area that requires study, encouragement, publicity, and attribution to individuals acting freely, ergo as part of what we call the free market.


Supporting community, charity, compassion and helping others is something that lives and breathes and thrives in the free market in millions of ways every day. The free market means the part of our society where individuals voluntarily create and exchange.


Examples of Free Market solutions to explore, showcase and celebrate as part of private sector:

–       Toms Shoes – social enterprise that has embedded into its for profit company a core goal of helping poor children around the world in a practical way – providing shoes. Voluntary exchange, voluntarily created organization. Buying a pair of their shoes is also a contribution.

–       Beito – From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State – historical analysis of how some current social need functions of government (i.e. unemployment benefits) were handled successfully by the private sector.

–       Churches, Synagogues, Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary, Girl Scouts, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, corporations (Starbucks gave $250,000 to Oklahoma tornado relief last month), religious organizations…

–       Non-profits such as Care International, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services –offering  microloans through village savings groups (Mutual Aid societies of modern day? ) that create sustainable cycle and fund more loans (social enterprise)



  1. Spark conversation, dialogue, and discussion on the ways individuals and groups of individuals (through non-profits, social enterprise, for profits) are helping to address social problems and have alternatives to government codified programs.
  2. Create and disseminate materials and a structure for others interested in this topic to use to start discussion groups, meet ups, grassroots organizations, pages.
  3. Create a way for people to contribute content, stories and examples of free market compassion that can be shared and explored as examples of innovation and results.
  4. Create and expand this premise into a body of work that can be published on this topic – Compassion and the Free Market
  5. Tap into grassroots for engaging, innovative content – video, audio, humor – crowdsource effectively messages that will resonate with people.



  1. I am looking for people interested in working on a team to develop and expand this premise and also look for and possibly counter objections. Also looking to determine the best for-profit parallel organization to create a sustainable income stream beyond donations
  2. I need a research assistant who can verify sources, examples, stories and ensure our work has integrity and doesn’t become simply another blind belief system.
  3. $200,000 – funds for 12 months for initial research, outreach, organization. 2 people…



“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”
― Horace Mann


“Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”
~Hubert Humphrey


“Why are the Agreeable Anti-Market?”  – Bryan Caplan blog post


Humans – naturally happier when they help others?


Helping those in Need – Arthur Brooks


Liberals and Markets – Bryan Caplan


“Homeless to Harvard” – a community came together to provide for a high school student, outside of government. Example of human nature and compassion


Portrait of a Modern Feminist: Amity Shlaes – historical analysis of Calvin Coolidge as president and prosperity from reducing government




Poverty Relief – government programs vs. private

Mark Pennington.  Robust Political Economy

My notes on reading the part on Poverty Relief –

Universal system of poverty relief vs a mosaic combining private mutual aid societies and charity.

Common objections against private sector –

won’t be enough charity and help. People won’t voluntarily help.

Won’t be the right kind of help – community – people fund their local community, not poorest that need most help. people/communities who need help may not be good at getting it (I’m thinking Mountain View PTA here vs. other schools, Malcolm Gladwell’s bit about middle class teaching their kids to get what they want and Oppenheimer example).

People won’t help themselves. People forced to pay social security for example, won’ t have discipline on their own to do it privately (will spend it, not save for old age).

Moving welfare aid back to private sector – Steve DeCanio’s thought:  it’s too late; no savings, no family ties, bad schools, people not used to looking after themselves and won’t be capable of doing it.  A lot of what helped people in the past no longer there.

Is poverty alleviation a collective good? with a small number of causes? Or an individual condition that takes individual action to alleviate? Is a “War on Poverty” a damaging paradigm that de-emphasizes individual effort?

Voluntaristic form of collective action = less susceptible to moral hazard. Gov’t schemes – you get vested interests needing status quo,  and supressing innovation

gov’t vs private anti-poverty schemes.

1. countries with no gov programs do not necessarily have more poverty:

Hong Kong (no gov’t) – same as Sweden (high gov’t relief)

Sweden (high gov’t relief) has less poverty than France (comparable gov’t relief)

“A voluntarist approach combining mutual aid, one-to-one assistance and donations to charitable bodies would enable a plurality of actors, each with specialized knowledge, to tailor their poverty alleviation efforts to specific individual contexts” p 164

universal solutions stifle innovation and macdonaldize the issue. Like healthcare. (Alternatives to status quo very difficult to test and even more difficult to take hold. Would Kahn Academy,, Tom’s Shoes,  ever have been possible through gov’t?)

Compassion and the Free Market part 1

Here is what I wrote September, 2011…Going to pick it up again now!

Compassion and the Free Market

1. The Free Market is perceived as brutal – ignores losers
It seems to me that the free-market rationale debunking government intervention, entitlements, and the ‘I’m here to help’ government role is missing something. Free market arguments while logical and supported, comes across as brutal – while the free market brings greater benefit/prosperity to people overall, the losers are usually dismissed without being addressed. I find this a bit of a paradox, as here we are, understanding that more people will be helped overall, but not addressing how the losers (the Detroit auto workers, the unemployed who will have to stop watching TV and get a shitty job J, the uninsured) will be taken care of by the private sector if the public sector doesn’t do it.

So while free market solutions are usually the most compassionate options, it rarely shows. This struck me years ago watching Johan Norberg’s “Globalization is Good” video – he shows us people in Kenya, Taiwan, etc., but it would have been even more compelling if he addressed the losers of globalization – perhaps contrasted a Detroit autoworker or manufacturing worker in the US and what they were going through after losing their job, what resources they had available, what options they had, compared to the Malaysian rice paddy worker if they lose their job.

2. Compassionate people support government solutions
I think that so many of the well-off stick with the Liberals because their perception is that Liberals provide the more compassionate choice, the only choice that helps out those less fortunate.  And I don’t see anything out there offering them better, free market alternatives for their compassion, ones that actually go beyond ‘feel good’ and provide evidence or results.

3. The Free Market is perceived as inadequate for charity/assistance
Usually I hear a general argument that private charity is sparse and most people are selfish, so people will be dying on the streets if the government didn’t fund/entitle/help out.. But haven’t we seen a massive shift in the last 2 decades, in terms of ‘corporate social responsibility’, the number of charities and non-profits popping up, shown on every soup can and cereal box?  You can hardly buy a product nowadays without some $ going to charity. Is this still true that private charity wouldn’t be enough? While morally I am against government force being used to take from people to give to others against the donors’ will, can’t we also make a case for private doing charity better and thus more compassionately than public sector?

4. Little awareness or discussion of existing compassion in free market.
When I check out Cato, Reason, the Independent Institute, and when I search online for ‘Compassion and the Free Market’ very little is there apart from an obscure blog or two.

Some of what David Beito looked at in The Voluntary City (mutual aid societies, private insurance) would relate to this idea, certainly. But I’d like to take it step further – you have to give people a clear vision of what’s possible, correct? From my vantage point, there is no positive vision today showing what it would look like if we curbed Soc Sec or government healthcare, beyond a vague understanding that it will be brutal and harmful.

I’m interested in research that gives examples and a future vision as to how the private sector (be it profit/non-profit) would handle or cope with entitlement-type goods transitioned out of government control. How about something studying the Kahn Academy, offering free training/learning videos, living by volunteers and donations, and contrasting that to what the gov’t provides in terms of retraining for the unemployed? How about something contrasting what Father Boyle of Homeboy Industries is doing for gang members (“Jobs, not Jails”), teaching them to function in society and see new possibilities, contrasting that to the kind of help they get from government sources? What about something painting a picture of how American society might look if we actually were able to dismantle/repeal various institutions?  What kind of effective, grassroots solutions exist today  that could be grown, if we all had more money and lost the idea that government should be involved?

So Compassion and the Free Market is a project/study area I want to develop so that we can paint an honest picture that appeals to those who do care about fellow human beings, but don’t understand ‘free market’ beyond its brutal reputation.

I’d like  to change the national paradigm, dialogue, framing of issues, so true compassion shines through.

What’s Wrong with Selling a Product? For Profit?

Random thoughts – forgive me if my logic/reasoning is flawed. Just going to put this out there to the 3 people who read my blog! (Thanks, Steve, Mom, Karla).

So I have a company that provides a particular software, that does certain things other software doesn’t. We tell people about it, we show it to them, we find out what their problems are and talk about how our software might help. We let them USE it. We tell them how much we will sell it for. If they want it, then we discuss a bit more, sign a contract. We send them the software to use. They send us some money.

We are a “for profit” company, meaning that we sell the software for more than it costs us to produce/market, etc. the software. Are we evil? Are we less noble than government or non-profits?

Who are we exploiting?

Employees?  I cannot coerce someone to work for me. They can give notice at any time. They voluntarily contract with us to be an employee and do certain work, in exchange for certain benefits/payments/value.

Customers?  We tell them what we’ll sell it for, and they choose to buy or not. We have a contractual agreement on what we provide, what each party’s responsibilities are. I don’t see any exploitation there.

I can tell can tell you that I’m VERY keen to make a profit. Making a profit means: we may be able to buy a house in Santa Barbara some day, we may be able to finance our kids’ university education, and we may be able to pay for my husband’s heart valve replacement surgery in 8-9 years (yes, we have insurance, but I’m expecting  by then the deductible would still bankrupt us:). From our share in the business.

What if the business is a roaring success, and my net worth ends up in the millions?  Is this evil? Unethical? Would I somehow be destroying the community/the world? Exploiting someone?  Is there a line somewhere to what’s an OK amount of profit and what’s too much?  If you knew that the company was going to give  10% of all profits to the Salvation Army, would that make it all better?  If you were a shareholder, would you be angry that the company was giving away profits to a charity rather than to you? Maybe you hated the Salvation Army and loved the ALS Association?

Are we less noble than a Non-Profit or Government entity?

We provide a software that helps large organizations communicate better than they could before. Our software helps call center reps get last minute info about power lines being down faster than before, which improves how knowledgeable they are during their service calls.  Our software has helped reps on the road find out about price drops before they go into call on customers. Our software has helped executive teams find out how well employees are taking the restructure, or if they really understand the new processes. This is good stuff, and I’m proud to work for a technology company that provide tools that enable these kinds of things. Profits reward the people who started the company, dumped in a pile of money to see if anyone else out there thought the software was as good and as useful as they did. These are the people who also risk LOSING the pile of money they gave to the company in exchange for shares/part ownership.  This is innovation. This is what creates economic growth – people figuring out how to do things BETTER, FASTER, for less money/time than they used to do it.  This is how we ‘grow the pie’.


Their survival depends on whether they get enough donors to support their cause/project/goal. They are part of the private sector as much as for-profits. I love them! They are valuable and necessary to our community, to positive change in society, to humanity.  Do they grow the pie? I think YES – they provide products and services voluntarily that people and entities want. If people/entities decide they don’t want them, they can stop donating. People who take the risk in setting up a non profit, dumping in a pile of money do not expect to get it back. They transfer it to the non-profit essentially – non-profits cannot be owned like for-profits and thus can’t be ‘sold’ or exchanged, right? The reward and benefits from creating a non-profit are somewhat non-tangible. What do you think – frankly I’ve never ran a non-profit or researched the sector.  Of course, non-profits that survive on government grants are sort of in the next category, my least favorite.


Did you ever say- “hey, I’m not happy with the state of our schools, and I know that $XXX of my tax dollars is given to schools. I’m going to switch carriers – cancel my service with the local School District and send it instead to the Montessori.”

NOPE, you can’t opt out or go to the competition when it comes to government. If politicians vote to take more from you in tax to pay for a skateboard park behind your home and the public agrees – you HAVE to pay or you’ll be fined/jailed/wages garnished. There is no voluntary contract here.

I’m not a fan of government taking over non-profit functions or for-profit functions, in case you couldn’t tell.  Government exists to provide rules, guidelines, consequences so that everyone plays the game fairly. Government is there to stop bad guys who steal, kill, harm,  lie, cheat, right?  I don’t think gov’t’s job is to pick winners or losers or stack the deck for certain groups and ignore others. Right now, government acts for whomever lobbies the loudest, right? It’s all about special interest groups competing for dollars/rewards taken from someone else and given to them.

Last thought for the day. I’m not a fan of large corporates who provide a service or product not on its own merits in a fair trade and open market but instead get in bed with government to

  • pass favorable rules to keep out other companies
  • receive subsidies, propping up products and services that DON’T actually provide enough value to stand on their own,
  • get special tax breaks for their company or their region or their industry (that others do not get)
  • buy off politicians with special pricing, perks, charity donations, community project

This is corporatism, where the elites in gov’t and the elites in private organizations stack the deck. Worst sort of game.

I’m on the tip of an iceberg here, clearly. This keeps getting longer and longer. Next time I’ll get into the value of government – some of the great things it provides.

Your Safety Initiative? Ha! Theory vs. Reality

Heard a crazy story from a old schoolmate (I’ll call him Z) I caught up with a few weeks ago.
He works in a manufacturing job and is part of a union.
He changed careers a couple of years ago, and still getting the hang of it. Here’s how he got branded as a troublemaker when he believed the Corporate Safety Training. He told me NOT to mention company or industry, as it could only get him into more trouble. Lost all faith in fairness or ‘doing the right thing’ on the job.

See if this could happen in your company!

New job – full day training on safety where everyone was told:

1. It’s OK, if you have a safety concern, you can report it without fear of reprisal.

2. We care about you, about safety – it’s the most important thing.

3. If in doubt, go the safety route.

4. Then they went through safety procedures.

The Incident:

Z is working, boss comes over, says Z, help me move this steel pipe (rigged up). Z says, that’s over 100lbs, are you rigging certified, because I’m not, and yesterday they told us that’s a safety violation.   Boss says no, he’s not certified, but to do it anyway. Z says no, this is exactly what they told us not to do yesterday, and wonders if his boss was there. Boss gets angry, tells Z where to go, finds someone else to help him move the pipe.


Soon after, Z is working and over his head comes rigging with a massive steel pipe – it’s his boss, moving this pipe even though he can certainly see Z working underneath. Z stops work and gets out of the path. Boss tells him to keep working! Z refuses (not going to be crushed by a steel pipe for anyone). Boss says, you think you’re better than me? You after my job? You the big man? and more trash talk.  Z reports his boss. 

The Sad End

When he talks to the supervisor later, finds out his boss responded by badmouthing Z of course. Boss also reported Z for SLEEPING on the JOB, which is outrageous and not true. Supervisor agrees with Z, but doesn’t do anything about it.

Boss and Z have more words, Boss makes it clear he will will win and will make Z’s life hell if Z continues. Boss is Latino – all Latino workmates stop talking to XXX (who isn’t).  Things are tense, Z thankfully moves to a different crew soon after that.


Z = branded as a troublemaker within union/by line managers.
Z = no longer believes corporate BS about safety.
Z = learns you’re not SUPPOSED to think or take initiative and will be punished if you do.
Z = stops his errant behavior, toes party line, takes up no more causes.

Boss = not individually incented to care about safety.
Boss = gets in trouble if safety problems; doesn’t want them brought up or reported.
Boss = protects himself and his job from newbies.

Safety Initiative = good luck getting that reduction in safety-related incidents

I still want to write about compassion a

I still want to write about compassion and the free-market – if we get rid of government entitlement programs which is the moral thing to do, who steps in to fill the gap? The Gov’t programs have atrophied the non-profits who used to fill this role. So today, how do we help one another, recreate true community and avoid the brutality that is expected to come when the gov’t safety nets go? Seems to me that churches and synagogues used to be the natural answer, community groups that could care for those down on their luck. Am I right in thinking that fewer and fewer go to church, and we’re pretty isolated from one another – at least in our family, that’s the way it is. There’s some connection through the PTA, after school activities (superficial) and we used to have community through our co-op preschool (was wonderful).