Most people are compassionate, or at least consider themselves as such. They want what is good for those in need, for those with problems,for those who are knocked down. Officials are often elected to public office for the purpose of satisfying compassionate impulses. The politicians talk about their concern for the poor, the downtrodden and how they will fix everything. Some of them are even sincere.
The problem with political solutions is that they address the here-and-now, what is seen, and what will win votes at the next election. They don’t address the long-term implications or those things that are not seen, but those things are just as or more important. Political solutions often make a problem worse or replace one problem with another. In the long-run, they often hurt the very people they were supposed to help.
There are real economic laws that even politicians can’t break. Political solutions typically ignore them, but reality doesn’t. That is why there are always negative unintended consequences to programs that are billed as compassionate. The truth is that if actions lead to results that hurt, even if the actions were initiated with good intentions, then the actions were not compassionate. True compassion results from taking actions which actually help, not hurt.
Stay tuned for the upcoming publication of the book, Compassion and Truth-Why Good Intentions Don’t Equal Good Results, to see why so many well-intentioned programs, those promoted by Churches and socially conscious individuals, give such dismal results.
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