Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Charity Is The Enemy Of Good Government

Katrina opened many eyes to many truths.

We all know that it exposed the poverty of the black underclass, the incompetence of the Bush Administration, its emasculation of FEMA, its travesty in Iraq at the expense of our 'homeland', and the profound weaknesses in the American infrastructure.

Luckily, for those caught by this tragedy that need not have happened, the Red Cross, and numerous other organizations, funded by a the generosity of the American People were there to pick up the slack. Story after story on NPR followed these lines. There was nobody from FEMA to help, but there were these folks from a church in (insert faraway state name here) who helped us find a home in (insert faraway state name here).

But it's not just the bedraggled masses of New Orleans who are grateful for the help, even if their new life does take them to the frozen wastes of North Dakota. Because Katrina was also a hallelujah for the true libertarian. Their dreams were coming true. After years of erosion and inertia, the Government had reached a point of such utter uselessness that the plucky American People could finally show that the bad old Feds were surplus to requirements. Who needs the government when you have the Red Cross, Pat Robertson, and our friends from Sri Lanka (not sure what they donated but it's almost certain to have tasted a damn sight better than those bad old government MREs)?

The American People's penchant for charitable giving was in overdrive. Celebrities fought to be part of benefits across the nation, phones rang off hooks, from the smallest charity to the studios of Monday Night Football where Hall Of Famers took donations. And yet, if asked to put the same amount of money into a single central fund dedicated to the good of the nation overseen by the central government, by raising taxes, and there would be virtual civil war. As a nation, we trust the Red Cross more than we trust the Feds. And the more we give them, the better they do, in absolute terms, and relative to the outfit that's not getting our money - that would be the government.

In short, giving to charity deprives government of the ability to do its job. It sends the clock back, back, back to the Victorian era and even earlier, when there was no welfare state, when there was no safety net, except for you've guessed it - charity. Far from being the mark of a civilized society, charity is a sure indicator of its failure, of the rise of the individual, of the role of pity, and the supremacy of money as the source of all power.

Sure, the Bushies get kind of upset, the President has even appeared vaguely apologetic, but behind the scenes his handlers are chuckling. Because the charitable surge after Katrina has done more damage to Federal Government than just about any single event. But their joy doesn't end there, because the Bushies can revel in the fact that the fervency of the individual to give charity crosses party and ideological lines. In this one respect, even the Democrats, Progressives, and true lefties in this country are right wing libertarians, feeding the anti-goverment fire.

Even in their supposedly darkest hour, the right has scored a victory. After all, with government weaker and less respected than its been for decades, are we really going to let the people of New Orleans suffer?


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12:04 AM  

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