"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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Reader comments about this quote:
Federal Charity? One of many really poor justifications for a really sick and evil system of taxation. The results being ghettos and generational dependency.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Oh how those in government make themselves look so compassionate while using someone else's resources.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    J and Cal have summed it up.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    The representative republic established by the limiting Constitution was to be a government, exclusively of law. There was to be NO government of men - as would include religion (a legislation capable of offering charity) One man's idea of charity may or may not be in harmony with law (a stated outcome, such as would be expressed by fiscal law). ALSO, one man's represented charity would be another man's larceny - an injustice from inception through fruition. The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land has divested itself of any government of law status in its felonious enforcements of what it calls charity.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    This is just so much "word poop" -- and you acknowledge this is your own statement when you write; "One man's idea of charity...". I totally agree with the implication that "One man's idea of charity..." is just that -- one person's idea of charity -- one definition which evokes a particular set of circumstances. The term "charity" is rendered virtually meaningless in the absence of some consensual definition. One of the goals of American law, as set out in the Constitution, is to "promote the general welfare". How one defines "the general welfare" is critical, as different people will define it in different ways. The overriding concept of promoting the general welfare is almost meaningless if we do not know what is meant by the term, including what is to be included within the concept and what is to be excluded from it. While the Christian Bible reads "thou shalt not kill," it is interesting to note that many who profess to be devout followers do not hesitate to call for the death penalty and are eager to enter into unnecessary wars, where many thousands will surely die -- all the while claiming to follow the dictates of their religion. Broad, generalized pronouncements often sound good, but are totally devoid of meaning without specific inclusive and/or exclusionary criteria to explain precisely what is meant by ideas or principles set forth. Such is a recipe for irreconcilable, unending disputes...and a higher and higher pile of meaningless "word poop".
     -- Louis Chitty, Long Beach, CA     
    Louis...the fact that the quote is from one of the founding father's ought to have provided some definition of the Constitutions intent. And if giving money to people who don't want to work somehow promotes the general welfare, I am unable to see how....In fact, it weakens the nation. It does not promote wellness on any level.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Louis makes several good superficial observations and even better conclusions. J Carlton makes an excellent reference as to a government of law. Louis, if you like, I can go into the Jefferson and, numerous other founders defining statements that clarified "General Welfare" as the "General Welfare of the State", as is apposed to the General Welfare of any one individual or society as a whole. The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land can not let that general / specific information out as it is diametrically opposed to its unconstitutional religious dogma and canons. AND, Louis, your reference to "kill" is most accurately interpreted 'murder', which is different than your / society's general misunderstanding. The blood lust of many self-referencing Christians is very disturbing Their choices are not based on the absence of some consensual definition but rather, a self identification based on emotion and desired life style, as is averse to substantive spiritual existence, the 'LAW', and the full teachings / definitions of the Christ.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    (-; OH, and Louis, I really like the picturesque "word poop" reference; I may have to use that in the future, thanks ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Given the fact that the modernday Democratic States are themselves run by Public Money... There cant be any 'charity' by the government towards its people either as a duty or any privilege !! It is a positive insult to the Citizens !!!
     -- Vedapushpa, Bangalore - India     
    Considering James Madison is credited with writing the Constitution, I would say he knows what he is talking about. Promoting the General Welfare is different than providing for the general welfare. And, please note, Louis, that the Preamble is just that -- the specifics of what promoting the general welfare is to be is written in the articles themselves. Madison clarifies this: "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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