Friday, August 12, 2022

Blackstone on Duty to the Poor

 The law not only regards life and member, and protects every man in the enjoyment of them, but also furnishes him with every thing necessary for their support. For there is no man so indigent or wretched, but he may demand a supply sufficient for all the necessities of life from the more opulent part of the community, by means of the several statutes enacted for the relief of the poor, of which in their proper places. A humane provision; yet, though dictated by the principles of society, discountenanced by the Roman laws. For the edicts of the Emperor Constantine, commanding the public to maintain the children of those who were unable to provide for them, in order to prevent the murder and exposure of infants, an institution founded on the same principle as our foundling hospitals, though comprised in the Theodosian code,(y) were rejected in Justinian’s collection.

And generally, the conservative/liberal division throughout our history has been:

1. how much aid to provide;

2. What is the most efficient way to do so; and

3. What should we do to discourage indolence and encourage self-sufficiency.

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