It is through individual generosity and service to others that we become equipped, as a country, to deal with adversity. It is when we, as individuals, help others through disasters and other crises that we learn to be self-reliant and confident in our abilities. Americans have a long history of helping our neighbors. We founded many of the best known charitable organizations, including, Habitat for Humanity, CARE, HOPE, Samaritan's Purse, Water Is Life, The Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy, American Farmlands Trust, and many, many others.
Today we expect our government in Washington to take care of the folks that lose their homes in events like Hurricane Katrina, or the tornadoes that ravaged Joplin, Missouri, or the Front Range floods in 2013, or the Mississippi River floods in Baton Rouge this year, or that lost their jobs during market meltdowns in 2003 or 2009. We expect our government to deal with every crisis that comes along so that we don’t have to. We have delegated our individual responsibility to care for family, neighbors, and friends to a faceless someone in Washington that can only care about us or care for us in an abstract way. By doing this, we lose a large part of the benefit that comes from helping others. Every time we let the government argue with a hurricane victim about whether they are entitled to federal assistance, we lose a tiny bit of our very humanity.
From 1941 to 1945, we had an entire generation of men and women who gave up their normal lives to address a global crisis. That generation returned from war-torn Europe and the Pacific, and from war-time factories across the USA with a renewed sense of confidence. That confidence led into one of the greatest eras of prosperity and achievement the world has ever known. It led directly to the advances of the American space program that put men on the moon. It led directly to all of the conveniences that we enjoy today - including the internet, television, cell phones, computers, microwaves, and instant food.