Ohio Dem. Party Chairman Says Americans are Selfish and Against ‘The Least Among Us’


By: Warner Todd Huston

Chris Redfern, the Democratic Party Chairman of Ohio, apparently thinks that Americans are so stingy and selfish that the only way charity work gets done is if government taxes the people to make it happen. In a recent radio interview, Redfern expressed the assumption that “unfortunately most Americans would not” help out the poor. Even worse, Redfern honestly believes that freebies and charity work is just as much the proper role of government as funding the “military, law enforcement, and fire protection,” proving he hasn’t a clue what the proper role should be of the government America’s founders created.

In an interview with Toledo radio station 1370 WSPD, Redfern made the outrageous comments on how selfish Americans are and how we need government to force us all to care for, as he put it, “the least among us.”

Radio host LeFebvre, however, wondered why people making subsistence pay should be forced to pay the way of those who refuse to work? Using the situation of his board operator, Don Zellars, LeFebvre asked Democratic Party Chair Redfern why the lower middle classes should be expected to float the indigent? Close to the end of the interview, this exchange took place:

Fred LeFebvre: Don’s question was more about, you know, he’s struggling to pay his mortgage — he’s a brand new home owner here in Toledo — his wife has to work, he’s gotta pay for his own helathcare coverage here at the radio station, he wants… his questions is: how is it fair that he has to pay for other people before he gets his own money? How is it fair?

Chris Redfern: Well, if you’re applying the same logic to those kinds of programs or projects or initiatives, you have to be consistent. Why does it make people uncomfortable when I point out law enforcement, fire protection, the military should be treated the same as the environment, or helping out the least among us? You know, Don was taught early on that it’s his obligation as a human just to look out for the next guy. That doesn’t mean you have to… ya pay for everything, it means the least among us…

LeFebvre: But I think Don would do that if he had a chance to on his own. Because he is a charitable guy.

Redfern: Ha, ha.

LeFebvre: I mean seriously, he would do it if he had a choice.

Redfern: Well, I suspect Don would, but unfortunately most Americans would not and if we remove that kind of support stratagem then you remove the entire reason for having any kind of projects, programs or initiatives including the military, law enforcement, fire protection.

First of all, let us consider the arrogance of the rhetoric Redfern uses to describe the poor. I don’t know about you, but I don’t view the poor as “the least among us.” Talk about condescension!

Secondly, it is clear that Redfern neither has an understanding of, nor any interest in, the Constitution of the United States. Someone needs to inform this addled pol that the “the military” is mandated by the Constitution. Charity work is not. The role of police and fire protection is truly a legitimate role of government. Charity is not. Contrary to Redfern’s bald faced claims, there is NO “logic” or “consistency” that mandates charity work be done by government to the same extent as the military, police and fire protection. In fact, it is just a cynical warping of the truth used by Redfern to excuse his socialist theories and big government, nanny state policies. Our government was never intended to indulge in charity work. In fact, several presidents have been quoted exactly to that effect since the founding up until the socialist reengineering of government undertaken by FDR.

To quote a few…

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread which it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”–Thomas Jefferson

“With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and
unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” –James Madison

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents….” –James Madison

“I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity, [such spending] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” –President Franklin Pierce

“Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” – Grover Cleveland

“I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. .. I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.”–President Grover Cleveland

“We must always ask: Is government working to liberate and empower the individual? Is it creating incentives for people to produce, save, invest, and profit from legitimate risks and honest toil? Is it encouraging all of us to reach for the stars? Or does it seek to compel, command, and coerce people into submission and dependence? Ask these questions, because no matter where you look today, you will see that development depends on economic freedom.” –Ronald Reagan

Finally, Redfern’s claim that American’s are too selfish to give charity is an outright lie. At least it is an outright lie where it concerns conservative Americans. For instance, ABC’s John Stossel found that conservatives give far more to charity than liberals. Of course, based on Stossel’s work, perhaps it is expected that leftist Redfern never met an American that cares much to indulge in charity? After all, if he only hangs around other leftists when would he ever meet a generous American? Maybe he at least has an excuse to think so ill about his fellow Americans? Seriously though, it is only his illogical, uninformed personal experience as opposed to an opinion based on any fact that would make him think so.

But, even that aside, Americans over all, liberal or conservative, are far more generous than other peoples across the globe. As I wrote in 2007, according to CAF International, Americans individually give 1.67% of GDP whereas the UK gives only .73% while Canada gives only .72%. From there the bottom drops out with Australia giving only .69% and the rest at 40% or less. Unsurprisingly, France brings up the tail with .14% of GDP.

In the end, all we have here is a politician who does not have the first clue about the Constitution or the proper role of government. Not only that, but he doesn’t care and that is to the shame of Democrats everywhere in Ohio that have supported this sort of unAmerican thinking.

(H/T Maggie Thurber of Thurber’s Thoughts)

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