The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self-sufficient.
But our systems of state charity — aka welfare — have too frequently had the opposite effect: They have actually created dependency. It is time to rethink the way we help people.
I’m going to suggest something that many might find upsetting and outlandish — that welfare would be more effective, more varied, more widespread, and more affordable if there were no state involvement.
People instinctively think that without a welfare state, the poor and needy would not be looked after. At such an unacceptable prospect, people then become fervent in their defense of government welfare systems. You can see the passion people feel about this erupting all over the Twitter and the blogosphere ...