Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
I was kind of thinking about this because a few months back we had a thread about how Aquinas said we were obligated to care for the poor, but the government did not have the right to enforce this.  This kind of bothers me, as elsewhere it seems as though we say that the government should (or at least can) enforce morality.  I have been thinking about these things, and about what constitutes a right, particularly in regard to government subsidized heath care.  Is health care a right?  My instinct is to say no.  Nor is education.  So the government is not justified in redistributing wealth to provide those things.  But would we have the duty to help the poor with those things, assuming their basic needs were met?  Have we failed in our charitable duty if the poorest people are capable of providing food, water, and shelter for themselves, but not education, and instead of paying for their education, we save our money?  And if that is the case, does that then imply that the poor have a right to these things?  It seems our duty to the poor may not necessarily correspond to a right on their part.  So rights may imply duties, but not the other way around?

I don't know.  Something about all this just doesn't fit together.

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Re: Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that? - by cgraye - 02-02-2012, 09:46 PM

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