“I hear politicians talking about values in an election year,” President Obama said at a campaign event in Vermont. “I hear a lot about that. Let me tell you about values. Hard work, personal responsibility–those are values. But looking out for one another. That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in this together. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. That’s a value.”
Those are funny comments coming from the guy whose brother lives in a shack in Kenya, and whose illegal immigrant aunt was on food stamps in Boston. President Obama is quick to talk about what our obligations are, but he’s not so good at living up to his own familial obligations, it seems.
I agree that looking out for other people is a value, and a good one. We should help our neighbors, but I don’t think the government should mandate altruism. Because we all have different ideas about what is and is not “help.”
I don’t think turning the nation’s safety net programs into a hammock for those who don’t want to provide for themselves is “help.” I don’t think promoting government dependency is “help.” I think every American citizens should be free to live up to their own values when it comes to helping others, meaning that each individual American decides how much they can commit to helping others and how that money should be spent.
Obama would like us to believe that opposing government altruism means opposing altruism altogether. Which isn’t true.