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Why libertarians should be charitable

Today was our supposed-to-be-monthly Kiva lending group meeting. I initially suggested it as a response to the federal government cutting financial aid to African farmers.

I'm a libertarian. I do not believe the federal government should give aid to African farmers, but I believe African farmers should receive aid. When I initially decided I was an atheist, I concluded soon after that although there is no God, there is an eternal Sacred. We are part of that Sacred, so the only face of God any of us will ever see is the one we present to one another. If we make present the face of God, we can transform the world.

Ayn Rand would disagree, but Ayn Rand was a horrible, cruel, utterly selfish woman. None of us are islands, so none of us should live like it. The principle of non-duality says that there is no difference between ourselves and a person halfway across the world who lives a completely different life from us.

I find it distressing when I hear people say that if the (federal) government doesn't do something, who will? The concept of paying for things that do not serve the immediate public good should still be paid for by government abjures us of our responsibility to each other. Ebenezer Scrooge at the beginning of "A Christmas Carol" points to prisons and poorhouses paid for out of his taxes as the reason why he didn't have to do anything else, and if the poor didn't take advantage of public programs, they needed to die and decrease the surplus population.

San Diego recently has had many public goodies lose their funding out of the public purse. One of these is the firepits on the beach. Happily, faced with the removal of the firepits the residents of Pacific Beach hit on the crazy idea of funding the firepits themselves. It works, it works efficiently and nobody who doesn't use the firepits has to pay for them.

As further evidence of what private funding does, I point you to the National Cat Rescue Society. They have a Facebook page. They just put in a new building and renovated their senior cat retirement center where old kitties can live out their golden years on heated mats in a playroom decorated like a volcanic island. (The volcano is a climbing platform.) I've also heard recently about websites where one can invest in an up-and-coming artist's work. I think this is a much better concept than the NEA. No one is owed a government grant for their work unless they're hired to decorate a public building, but if you like an artist and think their work is worth promoting, support them!

What goes around comes around. Start the wheel rolling.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Except when it comes to the poor, seniors and disabled.

Private funding won't come to the poor and disabled as a whole unless it's the flavor of the week, and then it will only come to those who 'qualify' - and are willing to go through an often very public and extremely humiliating process.

Private funding may help the animals, but it won't help the chronically poor or disabled.
Aug. 1st, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)
Except that private funding *does* come to the poor and disabled when it's allowed to. I've seen it. Bon Dieu Dans La Rue in Montreal is 100% privately funded, and it's a huge success story in getting homeless youth off the streets. I used to volunteer for them.

Was that actually the news story you meant to run? I see something about Wisconsin and a bad ID-for-voting law, but nothing about poor people.

Edited at 2011-08-01 04:55 am (UTC)
Aug. 1st, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
Schnikey. That was actually supposed to be three articles.

I agree that money isn't allowed to come to the disabled; mostly because government has monopolized disability, and so have the Jerry Lewises of the world with their telethons and crap like that. It's my big fear though, and where I was writing from, that the money that is allowed to come to the poor and disabled will be geared towards children only, and the adults are left to go throw (which is how it is now) unless adults are willing to submit to a grueling, time-consuming and humiliating 'qualification' process.

I noticed in your edited comment that you brought up SSI and I am inclined to agree with you. If anything, I think programs like SSI should be geared to getting people back in the workforce permanently (in real jobs, not sub-poverty McJobs) and not like it is now - a very broken and abused system.
Aug. 1st, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
It's my big fear though, and where I was writing from, that the money that is allowed to come to the poor and disabled will be geared towards children only, and the adults are left to go throw (which is how it is now) unless adults are willing to submit to a grueling, time-consuming and humiliating 'qualification' process.

That's the way it is now, under government coverage.
Aug. 1st, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
But would handing it over to private institutions make that better? I don't see it happening - I actually see it getting worse.
Aug. 1st, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
That would depend on the organization. I'm also not saying there would be NO public services, only that the gaps need to be filled by private individuals and groups and that those who object to social needs being funded through taxes are the ones who most need to step up or shut up.
Aug. 1st, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
You touched on some of the things I myself have struggled with regarding how the government/the state helps disabled people find work. By putting us (by which I mean those of us who aren't severely physically disabled) in fast food or retail slave jobs, they're wasting our potential. They just want us to work and nothing else, even if the job is loathsome and destroying our sanity.

Don't even get me started on my attempts to apply for Social Security either, and how they think because I've worked, and because I have X amount of money, I'm considered "not disabled." I've pretty much had to give up now, because with all the inheritance money I've ended up with since the end of last year, there's no chance in hell of getting anything.

And charities...ugh, yes. They're almost all focused on children, and the few who do include adults are always overshadowed/muscled out by the bigger, kid-oriented ones (see Autism Silenced Speaks vs. the Autism Self-Advocacy Network), like we adults with certain disabilities/disorders don't exist.
Aug. 1st, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks of Scrooge whenever I hear the "we have to have a government program to take care of poor people" argument. To so many people, it's as if only the government is a real institution. Churches and food pantries and civic clubs don't exist.
Aug. 1st, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
I'm very leery of funneling all social welfare into churches and was even when I attended one. (I haven't been since December.) The reason isn't that I'm opposed to church programs but that in the past, the reason the Catholics could run so many schools and hospitals was because they had a huge unpaid work force in the form of nuns.

I think you are the most correct person in the world when you say, "To so many people, it's as if only the government is a real institution." It abjures private individuals (and of course a corporation is legally an individual) of responsibility. So yes, I do think of Scrooge when it comes to government as the only institution.
Aug. 3rd, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's the result of a lifetime lived inside the Beltway, but I think of the government as us, pooling our resources to do the things that we together decide are worth doing. We each have a personal responsibility for what the government does and how it does it. The government is not a third-person entity.

That's the theory, anyway. Trouble, for me, is that the USA is waaaaay too big a polity to really be government by the people.
Aug. 5th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
I applaud your putting your money where your mouth is.
(Deleted comment)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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