Amazingly Senseless

I find it good to avoid living in a libertarian echo chamber. I have J around for my daily conservative fix. I read one or two left-leaning blogs. Some days, I wonder why.

Take this lovely post. Wow. Full of mean-spirited vitriol. Plus, it's factually inaccurate! Gotta love that combination, don't you? I can take vitriol when it's backed up by facts. I can take clueless idiocy that has a good attitude. But both at the same time is a little much to stomach.

What's the US government doing to aid tsunami victims? Feeding them and providing medical care and supplies. That's more than somebody sitting on his ass in Seabrook, Texas is doing. It's a hell of a lot more than the UN is doing for anybody right now. In fact, we had people on the ground before anybody else, if my newsfeeds are to be beleived.

I could also mention that the purpose of the United States government, despite what everybody seems to think, is not to provide disaster relief to the Third World. Nor is it the purpose of the US military to deliver such aid. Do I think it's a good thing that the government is stepping up? Yes. Quite bluntly, the military is the only organization I can think of that is prepared to cope with the logistical problems currently faced in places like Bandar Aceh on the appropriate scale. They are doing a bang-up job, too, despite what the post that prompted this rant may imply. They are making things happen while the UN sits around and tries to figure out what to do. On a practical level, it's the way to go for immediate relief. This is one of those situations where an immediate response is best.

Philosophically, though, the case for US government action is pretty goddamned weak. Once again, we're back to the unpleasent business of forced charity. Robbing me to pay for food for the third world is not an unambiguous moral good, as some would have you think. Want an unambiguous moral good? Go here and donate some money. Nobody is pointing a gun to your head to do so, are they? You can't force people to make moral choices. You can force them to do things, but once you apply coercion, the moral dimension vanishes. You are giving them the choice between compliance or consequences.

Ever time I point this out, I also have to offer the disclaimer. I think you should help out the unfortunate. I don't think the government, or anybody else, should ever force you to do so. Basic human decency should be enough to motivate you to help. If you lack decency and empathy, nobody can force them on you.

Someday, these beknighted idiots that think the state is the only organization capable of handling things will pull their head out of their fourth point and get a clue. I'll also point out that the less money the state drains off through it's parasitic bloodsucking, the more citizens have to contribute.


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