In a recent post I pointed out that our scriptures unequivocally command us to “spread the wealth”. That commandment is an undeniable fact when it comes to us as individuals. The question is whether government programs designed to spread the wealth are a good idea or not. I don’t claim to have the definitive answer to that question but the argument many participants in that discussion gave against such government programs is clearly bogus. Here it is:
Argument: “Any law that compels or coerces people to do good acts is Satanic”
The second half of this argument is that laws that forbid or prevent or punish doing morally bad acts are hunky dory.
The reason this argument is bogus is that refraining from morally bad acts is a moral good so laws that forbid bad acts also compel good acts. Here is the formulation:
Coercing (A) requires forbidding (Not A)
Forbidding (A) requires coercing (Not A)
Here are some examples using existing or potential laws:
Compelling (minimal honesty) requires forbidding (dishonesty, including theft, larceny, etc.)
Forbidding (dishonesty, including theft, larceny, etc.) requires compelling (minimal honesty)
Compelling (pregnant women to carry babies to full term if possible) requires forbidding (abortions)
Forbidding (abortions) requires compelling (pregnant women to carry babies to full term if possible)
Compelling (sharing money with the poor) requires forbidding (not helping the poor)
Forbidding (not helping the poor) requires compelling (sharing money with the poor)
Now of course (1) is currently a law in the U.S., (2) is not, and (3) is probably partially in place based on our current tax codes. The point is that none if these are “Satan’s plan”. In a democracy like ours these three could all be voted into laws or all be voted out as laws. I don’t think anyone argues against (1) but I do notice that most politically conservative people who might call (3) Satan’s plan don’t think that (2) is Satan’s plan even though the compel/forbid formulation matches.
There are surely good arguments against taxpayer funded social programs but this “Any law that compels or coerces people to do morally good acts is Satanic” is not one of them.