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Keywords:

  • history;
  • policy;
  • democracy

Editor's Note  Deciding when to assist and when to stand back so that individuals may follow their own desires has been a source of much public debate in the last few years with respect to health behaviors, social structures, and also political beliefs. The following short essay, published in the July 1948 issue of the first Public Health Nursing, illustrates, first, that from flawed logic we derive flawed conclusions, but also maybe a modicum of truth. Secondly, it aptly highlights the conundrum of “incentives” and the disillusionment of well-meaning “givers” when the recipients do not view our “gifts” through the same lens. We do not subscribe to the views of Ms. King, but rather raise the following questions for your consideration, “When we give, how much are we meeting our own needs rather than the needs of others?”“Can a society be empathic without losing its own sense of identity?” Things to ponder in this holiday season …