Minimum Duty of Free Citizens

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No society can be built on so-called voluntarism and welfare. It is the cumulative input of individuals pursuing their own dreams that results in the total output of a nation. The universal law of life and nature is symbiosis – mutual exchange and mutual benefit. There is none who is so bereft of blessings and capabilities that their perpetual state must always be that of a receiver. It is the will of our Creator that we access the common blessings of sunshine, fresh air, water and the other blessings of nature coupled with the individual endowments that He has given to every created being to sustain ourselves individually and to bless others.

It is a perverse philosophy that encourages mature human beings to expect only to receive. It is well to give someone food for today, but, it is better for that person to be empowered to sustain himself/herself. This empowerment starts in the mind. It is not the will of God that any of His creatures should live on the eyelid of another, as a perpetual parasite, for the simple reason that it is not sustainable. The ideal is described in Isaiah 65:22 as follows: “They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands”. The prosperous days of Israel were described in a similar way: “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25).

Minimum duty

The point is that every individual should be encouraged to accept that their minimum duty in a society of equals is to take care of themselves. Is this too much for individuals to aspire to achieve? This releases others around them from the task of doing for them what they should be doing for themselves. A part of the problem in society is that people often busy themselves getting involved in other people’s matters while leaving their own matters unattended, which then become a mess and a nuisance to others for others to clean up. In God’s wisdom even the infants are provided with parents to help them to a point where they can stand on their own and it becomes a part of their duty to stand by to give back with gratitude and love to their parents if and when the parents decline back to a state of dependence due to health challenges or otherwise. This is all a part of the principle of reciprocity on which nature and humanity are intended to function.

Training prepares one to be able to offer goods or services that other people want and are willing to pay for. The provision of goods or services to others in exchange for payment is the basis of economic activity and the means by which individuals are able to access other goods or services that they desire. Certification is not a guarantee of a livelihood or even a job; it is a promissory note or a statement of what one can do. Nobody owes us a living. We must combine natural skills and endowments with training, good attitude and effort in order to provide the type of life we want for ourselves. Life is about living, not about looking good or posturing.

Government should not posture itself as being the provider of sustenance for its populace or encourage its citizens to view them in such a manner. The resources that government would provide have to be generated by people. Thus, in looking to government for personal sustenance one is in reality looking to one’s neighbour for that sustenance. The larger the number of people who look to others to sustain them the fewer there will be who will produce and the smaller will be the total output of the society. It is an unseen hand that grows the economy of a country based on the consistent work of the people in that country. Government’s role in this is not to plan the economy and tell people what activities they should engage in. That is for the people to individually determine using their own creative capacities.