The "forgotten man" was a term coined by a great conservative pro-market, pro-growth professor named William Graham Sumner. In an 1883 essay, he asserted: "As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine . . . what A, B, and C shall do for X."
Sumner wanted to know about C, the one he called "the forgotten man." As Shlaes explains, "[t]here was nothing wrong with A and B helping X. What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C, his forgotten man, to the cause." Sumner wrote of the forgotten man: "He works, he votes, generally he prays -- but he always pays -- yes, above all, he pays."
People see injustice: there are those out there who cannot afford one thing or another. So people come up with some grand idea of how you can get everyone paid for. All the As and Bs out there think that those who can afford things should give up some of their money to pay for those who cannot.
That's all well and fine with me.
The problem arises when one suggests that we use government to force one person's compassion onto others.
If it is the generally accepted moral thing to help others out, then why is it necessary to force others to do this; would they not give of their money freely?
Compassion isn't manufactured by government force. And looking out for person X by exploiting person C, the forgotten man, via government into serving A or B's moral ideals isn't compassion either: its coercion.