This is post has been provided by a completeinsurance.ca “Car Insurance for Canadians”
Whether deserved or not, insurance companies across the board, from car insurance to health insurance, often have a terrible reputation in terms of ethics. This reputation is especially widespread in the life insurance industry, where there are far too many stories floating around of people who have had to fight for their rightful insurance claims. In response to this negative image, life insurance companies decided to try to rectify the situation by creating the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA). IMSA exists to promote high standards of ethical conduct in dealings between life insurance companies and consumers. It does this by offering ethical certification to qualified companies. Participation in IMSA is completely voluntary – at this point, there are few ethical governmental standards and even those are inconsistently applied.
The Roman philosopher Cicero wrote “In nothing do humans approach so nearly to the gods as doing good to others.” The human capacity for helping complete strangers is one of the behaviors which truly defines us as humans. Unfortunately, many of us are trapped into a bad mode of thinking where we morally equate the laudable act of helping others with other very different behaviors.
When you give $20 to a homeless person, that is charity. When you donate $20 to the United Way to get a write-off on your taxes, that is not charity, that is financial planning. When you vote for the government to take money from one of your neighbors and give it to another of your neighbors, that is not charity, it is using the force of government to take away the right of your neighbor to make her own financial choices.
Giving is a personal choice. When you choose to give, you receive the good feeling which naturally comes from sharing your strength with others. When you choose to give as a financial strategy to avoid taxes, you are not really giving anything. You are simply using government-approved charities as a technique to lower your tax burden. This does not make you any more or less moral than anyone else, because you are not giving of yourself. When you choose to use the force of government to take from one neighbor to give to another neighbor, you are not giving anything of yourself and you are stealing two things from your neighbor. Most obviously you are stealing her money, but more importantly you are stealing her right to make her own decisions. Your neighbor can no longer decide what to do with the money you have taken from her, because you have taken that decision from her. She is no longer a free person making her own free decisions, she is now enslaved to your wishes. You have given nothing and you have taken a persons freedom.
The American President Thomas Jefferson wrote
To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.’ The next time you think about giving, be sure to differentiate between true giving of yourself and violating the rights of others to make decisions for themselves.