This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization, which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.
—David A. Bosnich, Acton Institute
Community Essential to Help Neighbors
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed combining many of our Federal welfare programs and allowing States to administer these programs on a local level. Importantly, Ryan encourages private companies, non-government organizations and local governments to be actively involved in administrating these programs. Ryan’s “Opportunity Grant” gives communities the opportunity to holistically assist our unfortunate neighbors, and he is proposing an enormous policy shift from Federal control to the State overseeing them…and potentially local control.
The Klamath Falls, Oregon example:
After observing an increase in anti-social behavior happening in many of our public places – schools, grocery stores, churches, parks restaurants and more – a voluntary group of twelve people from different occupations, faiths and interests began meeting to understand the causes of why so many people were in need of help. We held numerous meetings with public and private officials of government, schools, churches and charities. We became aware of the serious societal problems of Klamath County – teenage births, children living in single parent households, absent fathers, alcohol and drug abuse, inadequate job skills, poor work ethic, and more. Tragically, single parenting was the biggest issue we found in Klamath County and is also destroying America’s children on a national scale. In fact, one-third of American children are not living in a two-parent home.
Our Federal government is sending welfare checks, food stamp cards and the other government benefits to ease financial scarcity for these families. Unfortunately, our Federal government and thousands of bureaucrats lack knowledge, discernment and compassion for the individuals and the families. Giving money without discernment and compassion harmfully allows people to merely survive and not prosper. It fosters a slothful existence of alcohol and drug abuse as well as sporadic employment. Tragically, this has contributed to the decline of a nuclear family, which also brings devastating repercussions to children living in these circumstances.
Community: Comprehensive Citizen Involvement Is Essential
Communities care. Members of the community know their neighbors. Family, churches, neighbors, charities and local government have more flexibility and diverse resources to discern the needs and methods of caring for people in their area. Community-focused programs respect and appreciate a person’s unique personality, interests, talents and needs. Some people need loving care while others may need a kick in the pants. In time, involved citizens will begin to reverse the destruction caused by the Federal government and comprehensive community involvement will begin to restore and repair families and neglected children.
To help people to excel, all churches, all foundations, all educational institutions, all medical facilities, all merchants, all restaurants, all trades, all financial institutions and all citizens must be aware and involved. By helping our neighbors, we will make our communities vibrant and livable.
This Is Subsidiarity.
"This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization, which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In 1991, Pope John II foresaw the human wreckage resulting from the welfare state. The Pontiff wrote that the “social assistance state” contradicted the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”
Or as Rep. Ryan said, "Listen to local leaders who are changing the status quo."