Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Draconian Benevolence

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government" 
-James Madison-

     A disaster of unprecedented magnitude recently struck the impoverished nation of Haiti. With so many people suffering, we rightly ask ourselves "what can we do to help?" Private organizations are flocking to Haiti by the dozens, and doing a large amount of good saving lives, treating the sick and comforting the brokenhearted. However, recent gifts to Haiti from the US government that total 100 million taxpayer dollars are not only unjustified, but are also contrary to the purpose of civil authority. My argument is simple: the government should have no role in monetary foreign assistance. Imagine for a minute that the US government did not have a 12 trillion dollar national debt, or a 3 trillion dollar budget deficit. regardless, foreign aid/disaster relief from the government is still unwarranted. This argument is supported by four universal contentions: 1- The government has no resources of its own, 2- Government programs are inefficient, 3- Private donation is sufficient and 4- The Government's duty lies in domestic affairs.

     The first order of business concerns the source of all government funds. Civil authorities acquire funding through one primary means: taxation. When the government gives funds toward disaster relief in Haiti, remember, it is using your taxes to finance this act of kindness. Instead of confiscating money from its citizens in a fraudulent attempt at benevolence, the government should instead encourage private action. Remember, these people actually have money of their own, unlike the government. 

     Milton Friedman once said "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert, in 5 years, there'd be a shortage of sand." Unfortunately this quotation sums up the efficiency of government programs. Recent federal regulation of the economy has proven the inefficiency of government programs. Much of the economic turmoil we are experiencing today is a result of government regulation! The population frequently fails to see the correlation between government ownership and inefficiency. You may think it presumptuous to label all government programs as inefficient. I ask you to provide me with a counter example to this theory, then I may consider rethinking my position. 

     The recent celebrity campaign entitled "Hope For Haiti" has generated nearly 66 million dollars. This fund, along with countless others have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in America alone, all for the purpose of Haiti. Remember, these funds were given voluntarily, unlike recent government aid to Haiti. There is no question, the private sector can raise enough funds, and can provide more than enough assistance for disaster relief. In the absence of federal assistance, relief efforts can, in fact, succeed! 

     The US government was established for once purpose: to protect the rights of its citizens. When the government sends aid to foreign entities, it violates the solitary purpose it was established for! Life, liberty and property are rights of every US citizen. It is the governments job to protect the rights if its citizens, not the rights of other people in other nations. That may sound cruel and downright heartless, but that does not make it any less true. Foreign aid is not the job of the government, period. 

     If the government really cared about the Haitian people, it would encourage private giving, and restrain itself and only exercise the powers delegated to it by the constitution. As oxymoronic as it sounds, this approach is not only in the interests of the United States, but its in the interests of the world as a whole. The US government has many responsibilities. Unfortunately, charity is not one of them.  


  1. WOW! Hey. I found your blog. Way to go!! You write so well. My mom didnt believe me when I told her you were my age! :)

    Also, I have missed you since P.A.! I didnt know how else to talk to ya. hope all is well!

  2. Very good argument. You may have convinced me.
    It reads almost like a newspaper editorial. Great job! I love your blog.