Most are aware of the concept of “the big lie.” The most obvious and egregious falsehoods may turn into a sort of common knowledge “truth” if they are repeated often and brazenly. Many, even supposedly educated people who should know better, actually believe the Holocaust never happened. A great many continue to believe President Trump engaged in “collusion” with Russia to win the 2016 election, despite the Mueller report. Of course, that report is a political document, trying to have everything two–or more–ways. Many even believe republicans were responsible for slavery and for opposing civil rights for Black Americans. Another commonly believed big lie is Democrats are uniquely caring about the poor and others in need.
Reality, as usual, is very different. Conservatives give far, far more to help others than Democrats, and the difference is enormous. This is something I explain to my students each year when we discuss the media. They, like many Americans, know almost nothing about the philosophies of our primary political parties, and without that knowledge, they can hardly understand the media.
This is so because Leftists of all stripes see Government as the source of all power. To their way of thinking, it’s government’s job to care for the poor and the sick. Thus do they take money from the undeserving, and redistribute it to those they consider more deserving, which is almost always people that will support them. Theirs is a secular faith in government, which is always a pay to play matter.
The Veteran’s Administration is a good example. Billions have been poured into the agency, and until Donald Trump became president, much of it was wasted. Veterans were terribly treated, and many died waiting for treatment that was never provided. But Leftisists could–and did–point to the billions spent as evidence of their great concern and caring for veterans.
Conservatives, however, take seriously their Christian obligations, and when they see people that need help, they don’t wait for government, they help them. They also tend not to brag about their kindness–there’s no political gain to be had in so doing.
Charity, you see gentle readers, can never be mandated. Taking the money of others and giving it to political constituencies is politically useful and satisfying. It allows one to virtue signal and to feel virtuous, to scream for all to see: “look how morally pure I am!” but true charity must come from the heart, and must actually take one’s time, money, and above all, love. It is always freely given, which is where quiet virtue always lies.
As I’m sure you know, gentle readers, H. Ross Perot died last week. He was a billionaire, and he did it the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He was a great philanthropist, and I’ve benefited from his philanthropy, performing in the Meyerson Concert Hall in Dallas, a facility to which he donated $10 million dollars. He ran for President as an independent, but his politics, and his actions, were always far closer to conservatives than leftists. Lke some wealthy men, he practiced Christian charity, and few were ever aware of it. He didn’t virtue signal. Now that he’s gone, some of the stories of his charity are beginning to emerge, like this one in The Dallas News, written by former Texas Governor, Rick Perry:
During my time as governor of this great state, I had the honor and privilege of knowing countless warriors who stepped forward to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned home with horrific wounds of war. U.S. Army Cpl. Alan Babin Jr. is one such hero.
While serving in Iraq in 2003 as a medic in the 82nd Airborne, Alan was shot in the abdomen while tending to a fallen comrade. While Alan survived his injury, he faced a long and difficult road to recovery, complicated by the onset of meningitis and a stroke-induced coma that left him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
On the one-year anniversary of his wounding, I joined Alan and his family for a small gathering. He was still in very bad shape, neurologically and physically incapacitated. When I asked his mother, Rosie, what I could do to help, she said she was eager to get him out of the hospital and back home, but struggling with the prospect of transporting Alan to his many medical visits.
What happened next is not at all surprising to Texans. They practice charity every day.
I knew there was one person to call: Ross Perot. What happened next still amazes me to this day. The next morning, Ross personally called Rosie and made arrangements for his plane to pick up the Babins in Austin and fly them to Dallas where Alan could be seen by leading neurologists at Zale Lipshy University Hospital.
When the hospital elevators opened, Ross was standing there to meet Alan personally and ensure that he got the best of care. Later that day, Rosie was handed a key to a hotel room across the street so she could be close to Alan throughout his extended stay.
When Rosie had to return home, Perot regularly visited Alan in the hospital, worried that he would be alone.
After three weeks in Dallas, Alan and Rosie returned home to Austin on Ross’ plane. When they arrived home, a fully customized luxury conversion van equipped with a wheelchair lift was waiting for them in their driveway.
Perot told Rosie to call whenever she needed anything, and he always answered those calls:
In 2005, when Alan needed to return to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Ross flew the Babins to Washington, D.C., and arranged for a private ambulance to pick him up on the tarmac and transport him to the hospital.
Today, Alan and his parents live together in a specially adapted smarthome provided by the generosity of another great champion of our wounded warriors, Gary Sinise. Thanks to the support of patriots like Gary and Ross, Alan has progressed in his limited physical ability to become an accomplished adaptive skier, hand cyclist and golfer.
So much of what I write about on this scruffy little blog is distressing. I know there is goodness out there. I’ve lived it and seen it. Americans are the most generous, accepting people on Earth. H. Ross Perot was the embodiment of those real virtues. He saw a young man who gave so much for his country, his countrymen, and used his enormous resources to care for him in a way that government never would or could.
Perhaps this actually true story can help put one big lie to rest: kindness comes from people willing to give of themselves to benefit others. They see others in need and they don’t think: “oh my, government will save them.” They do it themselves. Government has no conscience, no kindness. It lives to wield power, and that is, at best, amoral, and usually, immoral.
Charity is about compassion, about putting the needs of others over your own. Government is about the raw, often brutal, exercise of coercive power over others.
Ave atque vale, Mr. Perot. You did it right.