Tithing, Tax Time and Specialization

Complex advanced civilization, more than at any other time in human history, is providing millions of people with unprecedented prosperity, health and longevity—except for those who it does not provide for, who suffer immensely by missing this boat of freedom. But the primitive nature of poverty relief is exactly the problem, unlike ancient forms of poverty intervention whose sophistication dwarfs that of modern libertarian society. Every farmer in ancient Jewish society had to be a part of the solution for every poor person who lost his farm, just as a small example.

It is complexity and specialization, however, that gives us our modern prosperity. A successful citizen relies on a massive variety of specialists, from x-ray readers, to retirement investor specialists, to train engineers, to architects of hardware and software, to specialists in dental prosthetics, to chemists of tar for roads that prevent crashes. The variety is infinite. Therefore, when we want to reconstruct a fallen life, why is it reduced to a social worker, and an unemployment bureaucrat? This is a primitive response to the foundations of human prosperity.

It is time for a tax on all the professions of modern society. Every professional, every organization of professionals, must be called upon to devise a way to help with up to ten percent of one’s time, an individual or family, with the special tool of prosperity unique to each specialty. Dentists must devise a way to provide some dental help, investors a way to help with savings and even donated investments or stocks that can benefit a family, scientists perhaps donating time for science tutoring to poor children, every lawyer in the country on the advocacy team of one poor individual, doctors, entrepreneurs, accountants, teachers, sports educators and trainers, nurses. There is not a profession in our world that cannot devise a creative way to donate time to the improvement of a needy life. This is the way that all ships will rise, and poverty will begin to disappear.

Government can and should play a crucial role in subsidizing this work, especially in the costs of formation of organized groupings of professionals in every town and city. But the personal engagement of human beings with each other, and the leveraging of personal expertise together with personal care, is an invaluable asset that every citizen can engage. It is well known that this personal involvement in care makes human beings much more generous, and we need civil societies across the globe where the benefits of citizenship are balanced with the obligations to give back to society. This while create a far more mutually responsive and committed citizenry, and create many cross-cutting ties between religions and minorities which is essential for nonviolent society. This approaches capitalizes on the paradoxical fact that those who give more are happier and motivated to give even more. It also capitalizes on the fact that when a human being gives not only his money but his expertise it lends dignity to both the receiver but also the giver, which creates far more mutual commitment and responsibility to succeed. There are already groupings of lawyers who do this work with the poor, but the argument here is that the vast variety of basic human needs that must be addressed to get people back on their feet cannot be limited to legal advocacy. We must see a vast increase in professional commitments, organized, accessible, and mutually reinforcing, in every town and city across the nation.