Saturday, July 12, 2008

Compassionate America

We all need to be reminded of this:

"Volunteerism is good. But why does every good thing need to be orchestrated by government? Most people think churchgoing is a good thing. Does that mean government should fund churches? That’s what they do in Europe and — surprise! — most pews sit empty. Americans are vastly more generous with their time and money than Europeans. According to social demographer Arthur C. Brooks, in 1995 (the last year international data on giving was available), Americans gave three-and-a-half times more money to charities and causes than the French, seven times more than Germans, and 14 times more than Italians. In 1998, Americans volunteered 21 percent more than the Swiss and 32 percent more than Germans — two countries with compulsory national service. Yet we’re told we should emulate them so that America, too, can have a “culture of service.”

Remember this the next time you hear politicians saying Americans don't do enough "service" to their country and community. We do plenty. And yes, there are many conservatives addicted to this notion that the government needs to encourage more "national service." They should beware.