In every election campaign, we hear the word “compassion” at least a thousand times. One political party supposedly has it and the other one doesn’t. Big government programs are evidence of compassion; cutting back government is a sign of cold-hearted meanness. By their misuse of the term for partisan advantage, politicians have thoroughly muddied up the real meaning of the word.
Some of what is labeled “compassionate” is just that, and it does a world of good; but a whole lot of what is labeled “compassionate” is nothing of the sort, and it does a world of harm. The former tends to be very personal in nature, while the latter puts an involuntary burden on someone else.
by LAWRENCE W. REED