Fred Thompson had this to say about charity the other day....
A woman asked him if he would “as a Christian, as a conservative” continue President Bush’s programs to combat global AIDS.
“Christ didn’t tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it,” Thompson said.
“The government has its role, but we need to keep firmly in mind the role of the government, and the role of us as individuals and as Christians on the other.”
He received a round of applause for his answer, and went on to expand on the role of government in fighting AIDS and other diseases.
“I’m not going to go around the state and the country with regards to a serious problem and say that I’m going to prioritize that,” he said.
He is exactly right and in saying that, distilled down one of the fundamental ideological differences between conservatives and liberals. That is, that conservatives recongize that it's the individual's responsibility, whether through churches, non-profits, foundations, etc, to attend to the charity-based needs of society through individual giving. Liberals, on the other hand, believe that it's the government's responsibility to take care of the needy by taking money from some Americans and using it to fund their giving to other Americans. Liberals love to point out how loving, and generous they are toward "the less fortunate among us". Well it's easy to be generous and loving with other peoples' money.
This difference explains the huge disparity between personal charity donations between conservatives and liberals. Liberals give way less charity than conservatives because they don't believe it's their responsibility to give, it's society's responsibility to let the government take money in the form of taxes and dole it out as it sees fit. Liberals love spending other peoples' money but they don't give any of their own.
If you haven't decided on a candidate who deserves your vote, you could do a whole lot worse than Fred Thompson. He gets it and is not afraid to point it out.