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I’m From the Government, And I’m Here to Help You

No longer just humor, but irony. Read what I mean in this week’s edition of Isn’t That Ironic?”.

I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.

Do you know the joke? What are the three greatest lies?

1. The cheque’s in the mail.

2. Of course I’ll respect you in the morning.

3. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.

Don’t worry, there really is a spiritual meaning in all of this. It’s coming.

In a spiritual sense, we are definitely here to help each other. The tougher question is, “What exactly constitutes help?” Maybe you’ve heard the old Chinese saying,

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

It’s a crucial distinction. Both are “help”. But the latter is much more helpful than the former. Its help is permanent. It leads to independence, self-sufficiency, maybe even to self-transcendence because the man can, in turn, teach others how to fish.

I have my own take on this aphorism.

Give a man a fish, and you make him your slave.

Teach a man how to fish, and you set him free.

When you simply give him the fish, he becomes dependent upon you. He will be back at your door tomorrow, asking for another fish. He will do what you want because he needs the fish. Ironically, “help” can become tyranny. We have to think clearly about all the effects of our “help”, intended and unintended.

In spirit, we are all meant to grow up, to become independent, to realize that each of us is on our own unique spiritual journey. We must travel it independently, even when in the company of others. Others cannot carry us. Metaphorically, each of us must learn to fish for ourselves. Only then are we free. Only then can we truly make our own journey.

I don’t know what’s happening in your country, but here in Canada, our government has used the cover of a virus crisis to make everyone slaves. It’s more than ironic. It's become tyranny. The government said, “Stay home. Don’t work. We’ll give you money. Everything will be fine.” As an economist, I can assure you, there is no such reality. Money represents production. If you just print money out of thin air, the money takes on the value of air. When you make millions of people dependent upon government, you make them slaves of government. The government controls them. Whether this is intended or unintended, the result is the same. You have given men fish—and taken away their fishing rods.

Seek your own independence, physically and spiritually. Realize that no one else can carry you back home to God. You must walk your own path. Even though all paths eventually lead you home, you must choose your route. Help everyone around you to find their own independence. Neither can you carry them. Set them free. Freedom—spiritually, politically, economically, in every way imaginable—is one of the fundamental truths of life.

When you realize that government is us, that governments have nothing of their own but only what they have taken from us first, the metaphor becomes even more meaningful. In truth, there is nothing outside yourself. Everything is already within you. The peace you seek, the love you seek, everything you seek, is within you. Because God is within you. The Holy Spirit dwells within you. Seek what you desire where it may be found, not where it is not. As St. Augustine said,

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.”

Choose your own path. Walk it yourself. And we shall meet in God.

God Bless You!

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