Page 17


A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer perceive to be welfare wherein if we would invest monies, we could eliminate allocating resources in those particular areas in the future. For example, the Headstart Program where we take children who are in so-called welfare families and we give them a good education. Do we have the money for those programs? Of course, we do. Will it require an increase in taxes? I don’t know; it depends on how we re-allocate our resources. Just as a good business knows it must pursue vigorously those areas that will gain it the most profit, so we as a nation must do likewise. You have heard the old expression a million times, but it bears repeating: “If you give someone a fish, you have fed them for a day. If you teach them to fish, you have fed them for life.” As long as we continue to give handouts, people will take them and, even worse, will expect them. Each successive handout insures that the recipient is farther and farther away from ever being on the tax rolls of our nation. A couple of years ago, a man who is now deservedly in jail addressed the graduating class of a major college. He was applauded when he extolled the virtues of greed. It is one thing to recognize that we all have greed, but it is more important to understand that if it runs amuck, there simply “ain’t going to be no civilized society.” That is what government is for to understand this nature of the individual and to impose those constraints which enable us to live together in a civilized manner. I think about my own group the senior citizens. I, for one, don’t have any concern about whether I am called “old” or “senior.” The fact is I am well beyond 65 and nothing is going to change that. So the names don’t bother me. While I am certainly concerned about this group, my first concern is for my Abby, age 4, and for Emmy who is 18 months. I want to at least feel I am doing my part to make certain there will be a good and decent world for them. We, senior citizens, have become a very powerful lobby and will be increasingly powerful because we are living longer and the percentage of senior citizens relative to the population is increasing very substantially. What is going to happen is we are going to have too few people wgrking to support those who are not. But as a lobbying g\\oup, we clamor for more and more and more and when we get more, we overlook the fact some other groups are going to have to get less. The problem with all lobbying groups is that they vehemently pursue their objectives without recognition that the nation’s resources are finite. One of the problems is that we have too much of a tendency to support institutions and not to challenge them. Take the concept of the House of Representatives. When they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the first ten amendments, it has to be a unanimous conclusion that it was some of the greatest writing ever in the history of man. We have 457 lobbyists each vying for special privileges for their respective areas. So much of it is done with concern only for that particular area and without regard to the national interest. That is why we have military camps in areas where we really don’t need them and even special tax legislation for particular companies or individuals within those districts. It is a very serious problem. Do we have the right to question if the House of Representatives is a viable and necessary institution in an increasingly industrialized and computerized world? My response is I don’t think there are any institutions that have to be accepted on a basis that they must have eternal life. All institutions need to be questioned, analyzed, and assessed as to their worth and/or necessity. Take the concept of nationalism. National sovereignty is perceived to be an inviolate principle. The burning of the forests in Brazil and the chopping of the trees in China are affecting the future of my Abby and my Emmy. Is there anything I can do about it? Is there anything I should be able to do about it? Does this principle of national sovereignty mean that nations within their own boundaries can do whatever they like without concern of the deleterious effects that it might have on the rest of the world? Someone has to start thinking about these kind of problems or there may not be any of us left to think about them. Mr. Walzer summarizes it very well when he says, “Intellectuals uphold the eternal values of truth and justice. Politicians and soldiers do what must be done for the survival and enhancement of their communities. Curiosity, playfulness, skepticism, and critical discrimination sustain the ‘clerk’; loyalty, pragmatism, and worldly interest sustain the ‘layman.’ Civilization, writes Benda, is possible ‘only if humanity consents to [this] division of functions, if side by side with those who carry out the lay passions and extol the virtues serviceable to them, there exists a class of men who depreciate these passions, and glorify the advantages which are beyond the material.’ ” I know that the reading of the quotation from Walzer requires rereading several times. I don’t want, however, to be guilty of thinking that you can be persuaded to address the problems to which I have alluded with a pithy ten-word slogan. There seems to be a feeling among many of us that we are at a most crucial time. Yes, a feeling that if we don’t change some aspects of our understanding of what needs to be done, that the future is not very hopeful. Let us remember what the Prophet Amos revealed, “Thus the Lord God showed me; and behold a basket of summer fruit. And He said: ‘Amos, what seest thou?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then said the Lord unto me: The end is come upon My people Israel; I will not again pardon them any more.” I am always the optimist. Amos, notwithstanding, I have total faith that we Americans will rise to the occasion! That we can avoid the necessity of asking for pardon!! That we will totally commit to better allocate the nation’s resources so that there will for all time be an increasingly better America. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21