Empathy deficit?

According to the U.S. government, total charitable contributions in the United States amounted to over $240 billion in 2005. That didn't include volunteer work. which was estimated to include 44 percent of Americans producing a dollar value of $240 billion.

But apparently it's not "enough."

President-Elect Barack Obama's has asserted that America suffers from an "empathy deficit." This, in part apparently, because CEOs make so much more money that most in his listening audience, per one of his comments. In such statements, Obama ascribes to the liberal tenet of faith that our bloated, inefficient, corrupt and bankrupt government (as opposed to individuals acting privately) is the solution to nearly all problems.

The government article noted that "The stereotype many Europeans hold of Americans as uncharitable towards the poor is wrong, according to a scholar who has studied the link between faith, charity and politics for many years."

Ironically, givers are skeptical of government, particularly government efforts to redistribute income, according to this State Department article. "The poorest and richest households give the most as a percentage of income. Non-givers, according to [David] Brooks, tend to be young, unreligious, unmarried males who believe government should redistribute income."

Meanwhile, we the obnoxii, should not be surprised by greater government moves into the egalitarian/welfarism realms. And these supposedly will usher in the "New Birth of Freedom" a la Obama.

It's taken many decades for us to arrive at the current state of the union. And it's been a bi-partisan slide downhill. ). It calls to mind the informative neo-Roman characterization of living in a condition of politically-instituted/politically-sustained dependence on others as equal to a loss of civil liberties, tantamount to slavery, and the defining mark of tyranny.

Quentin Skinner, in Liberty Before Liberalism: "The concept of slavery is initially discussed in the Digest under the rubric De statu hominis, where we are told that the most fundamental distinction within the law of persons is between those who are free and those who are slaves. The concept of liberty is always defined in the Digest by contrast with the condition of slavery, while the predicament of the slave is defined as that of 'someone who, contrary to nature, is made into the property of someone else.'...[slavery is the] predicament of anyone who depends on the will -or, as we say, on the goodwill -of someone else."

Sallust in the Bellum Catilinae refers to the "obnoxii" who live " in subservience to" the powerful.

Per Tacitus -those who live at the mercy of others are exposed to harm. A condition of dependence is linked to forfeiture of liberty.

Skinner on Livy -"the posession of libertas, the ability 'to stand upright by means of one's own strength without depending on the will of anyone else.'"