Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Having spent nearly a week immersed in the land of the liberals, I am grateful for my occasional exposure to how the other half of the country thinks. It is startling.

For instance, the other day I was telling the story of a particular individual who was having some difficulties and when other folks saw the problem, they jumped in and helped fix it.

Naïve old me, I thought it was simply a great story of a human being in distress and others jumping in to correct it. My audience, barely letting me get the story out, nearly simultaneously responded with, “Another example of societal failure.”

These two further pointed out that in nearly every case, when incidental parties have to jump in to help an individual, it is an indication the government has failed to provide an adequate provision for protection.

I thought about this.

Does this mean if I am standing by the seashore and see someone drowning, I am not to lift a finger, but blame government for not anticipating and providing an appropriate safety net?

Does this mean if I am walking in the woods and see another person being attacked by a bear, that I am to stand my ground, waiting for the government to swoop in and save this poor soul?

What happened to helping out your fellow human?

Over the past 75 years or so, the government(s) (local, state and federal) have turned us into helpless zombies. Particularly at the federal level, government encroachment has caused us to adopt the attitude that government is supposed to fix it – whatever "it" is.

In the process, for many people, government has made two institutions obsolete: Unions and churches.

With government regulations in the workplace, the need for unions has been usurped. Over time, safety, working conditions, benefits and so forth have gradually fallen under government control, leaving unions in many cases searching for a reason to exist (by the way, I am in favor of a safe workplace). I think this has been a large contributor to the decline of unions in the private sector.

Likewise, relief programs have diminished the role of churches in helping communities and citizens, close and distant, in providing help to those in need. In some churches, it is quite evident that helping one’s fellow human has diminished in priorities.

All of this government intervention and expectation of government intervention has modified the behavior of the needy and those who might help them in a negative way.

For instance, one of my aunts told me the story one time of a man who had come to live with my family, long before I was born. He apparently lived with them for a number of years. I asked who he was, was he a relative? The answer was no, he was a neighbor who had become old and feeble and had no family.

My aunt went on to say that back in those days, it was common for neighbors to take in people like this, give them a home and take care of them until they passed away.

In the neighborhood where I live now, some folks noticed this widow lady who lived by herself a number of years ago. Their “humane” solution to this? Call the appropriate government agency to come take her away – to where, I know not. Eventually, her house was put up for sale and others moved into it.

A system where we all, poor or well-off, thinks it is the faceless government’s problem to take care of the indigent, weak and poor, has a societal failure indeed. We don’t know our neighbors. We don’t take responsibility for our neighbors; hence, our helpless neighbors are hauled off to gulags or worse, and we become zombies awaiting our turn with the unknown fate.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.