Two-thirds or more Americans today believe we are no longer on the right track. What has happened? How have we gotten here? We have lost our way; people understand this and are reacting to it. This is evidenced by Donald Trump’s nomination and Britain’s vote to exit the E.U.
Do You Want To Be Free outlined both track’s foundations. Specifically, two sets of principles that have existed for over two thousand years - individualism and collectivism. These are not only contradictory, but incompatible. The first relates to our purpose, the second does not. The first leads to our independence, the second to becoming dependent. Collectivism and Charity extends the initial analysis to the behavior we should see within a society on the right track, and how it differs from one on the wrong track. The key is charity. Self-sacrifice versus self-service. The first is rooted in virtue, the second in vice.
No people give more to charity than Americans, but are we truly charitable today? I believe we once were, but the things that set us apart as a people are no longer passed on—they are no longer taught—the structures remain but are largely empty vessels. We are always one generation away from losing both our freedom and faith. It is the same with charity, if its underpinnings are not taught then it is easy to buy into collectivism’s deception. There is a direct relationship between a society’s governing principles and charity that requires understanding the languages of reason and faith.
The book opens creating a “model of charity” and linking its supporting components to the principles in the previous work, but Collectivism and Charity stands on its own. It puts forth a hypothesis that charity is rooted in individualism. The book outlines charity’s biblical principles and their development from the state religion societies through the Enlightenment, using Jonathan Edwards’ writings to embody individualism, and those of John Locke collectivism. The relevent principles from their writings are contrasted and compared.
The discussion recognizes education’s importance, the book’s next topic. It specifically looks at the last fifty years, a period corresponding to governance changes impacting education - of slipping from the right track onto the wrong track. No judgement is made. The facts are simply laid out and compared to the ideas put forth by Edwards and Locke, before laying out a possible solution to address the issues raised during the analysis.
The work closes with supposing that maybe charity is really rooted in collectivism, and briefly looks at three periods from history where collectivism prevailed: (1) Henry VIII’s becoming head of the Church of England, (2) the War for Independence and French Revolution, and (3) America’s war on poverty. It closes with a brief look at the roles of individuals and charitable organizations, and some final thoughts on our responsibility for charity and what it entails. The choice is ours.