Saturday, July 2, 2011

How Could We Help the Poor without Government Welfare?

This is the second post in a very irregular series examining ways social problems can be solved without the state. One of the comments I received after my "What Would Jesus Cut?" column was that the people who need help simply would not be helped without state welfare.

It turns out that historically it just was not so. In Joshua Fulton's "Welfare before the Welfare State," he provides the valuable service of reminding us that people did minister to the poor before the State assumed responsibility curing poverty. They did so voluntarily, not through the compulsion of the tax code. Such history is important because we develop intellectual blind spots. We now have a generation growing up who have virtually no memory of poor neighbors being sustained by anything other than the state. The history we read in Fulton's piece helps us conceive of how free societies responded to various social problems and how we might try to do so again.

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