Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
(02-03-2012, 12:05 PM)Micawber Wrote: I don't have time now to respond to everything above; briefly for now:  a duty manifestly DOES NOT imply a right; for many reasons, but in part because a right is a "kind of dominion" over one's property and sphere of action & personhood vis a vis other persons, but more specifically vis a vis State power.  To say that someone has a right to appropriate my property, or impinge upon my sphere of action & personhood, whether direclty or via the machinery of the State, is to directly contravene what a right is. This is exactly why Marxists have focused on "rights" language - an infection in language and philosophy that seems to taken hold in many places, including the Church.  A sad state of affairs and much the reason why we are such a mess here in the US and Europe.   

I think you're right. I would add that a duty has an active connotation (i.e. it is something you should do) while a right has a passive connotation (i.e. it is something received). So the question should be: is there an active-passive relationship between duty and right?  Does the duty of one person automatically imply the right of another? I see no inherent correlation between the two.

In terms of rights, we should operate on the premise that all of our rights come from no one other than God. And the rights he has given us are life, liberty, and property. Properly understood, these are biblically defensible. However, healthcare is not a right. Food is not a right. The means of survival aren't a right. When God cast man from the garden of Eden, he told Adam that he would have to labor by the sweat of his brow to survive (rather than simply receive the fruits of the earth, as he had done in Eden). By original sin, we forfeited the right to food and health that God had granted us.

Conversely, Jesus Christ did teach us that it is our duty, in charity, to love our neighbors and even our enemies. This entails assisting with their survival. This could be almsgiving, but sometimes this doesn't necessarily mean outright gifts of money, food, or clothing, but rather teaching them the skills and values needed to assist themselves. Our Lord's imperatives were directed at the heart of man, not at the state. They are for the individual to consider. The individual must make the decision to respond.  It is by such choices that man's love is tested. We remove the opportunity to practice charity and build a society of love when we delegate the care of neighbor to the coercive power of the state.

Messages In This Thread
Re: Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that? - by rbjmartin - 02-03-2012, 01:53 PM

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)