Sunday, July 13, 2008

The International War On Hunger

So I'm watching Fox News, more listening than watching the continuing coverage of the comments of various thieves, power-mad politicos and pundits about the untimely death of Tony Snow. Snow was one of the nicer and smarter DC denizens, even despite the fact that he'd fallen in with a bad crowd. Compared to most of the thugs that inhabit Washington DC, he seemed to stand out as an honest, intelligent and rational individual (to the extent of my observation).

But, the passing of Mr Snow isn't what I'm writing about, today.

One of the thievin' thugs being interviewed by the Fox News talking head was Mike Huckabee, one of the unsuccessful Republican candidates for the party's nomination for President. Despite a few areas of grudging agreement, I'm happy that he didn't get the nomination.

Somehow, like most Republicans, Huckabee waxed altruistic (is it altruism when a man wants to give away money stolen from others? Of course it is!), and applauded the notion of the federal government "helping" in the fight against world hunger.

There are many problems with this idea, none of which will be addressed in the rush to take more and more money out of the control of those who produced it, and giving it to those who produce nothing.

  • The entire notion of forcing goods from their producers to give to non-producers destroys the philosophically required principle, and very American tradition, of one's right to one's life and the products of that life.
  • There is no Constitutional justification for "foreign aid" of any kind--in fact, the founders warned us in their writings about avoiding foreign entanglements.
  • Much of the money stolen from its producers will end up in the pockets of American politicians and bureaucrats, rather than the hungry people we're (sneeringly) told are to benefit.
  • Almost all the rest of the money will help fill the private bank accounts of the dictators in the countries whose people would supposedly help.
  • The few truckloads of actual food to be given to the hungry people will exist mainly to provide photo opportunities for the partially complicit and/or very gullible world news media.

Huckabee is an evangelical preacher, and hence a class I altruist, whose altruistic ardor has led him to the other half of the Dark Side--politics. All the faith and force you can imagine, all wrapped up in one somewhat charismatic fellow. Given his deepest wishes, he'd have all of our hard-won production at his disposal--not for himself, mind, but for the ever growing numbers of others. Not that he'll stint on his own creature comforts, of course.

They never do.

What has to be done to end world hunger is to make the parts of the world in which poverty runs rampant become productive. That requires freedom. It requires recognition of the individual's right to his life and the products thereof.

That's not the prerogative of the federal government of the various United States. It falls to the people in the areas affected to right things for themselves--though interested individuals might find ways to help.

The world is smothering itself in an orgy of altruism.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

14 comments:

Ol' BC said...

So true and very well put.

KentC said...

Such a key point. As Milton F. pointed out even Mother Teresa acts on her own self-interest, yet both the religious Right and the socialist Left (ie. all the Left) preach and promote altruism, where the highest value is sacrificing self to either god or the state. Yet those 'actors' are still acting in their own self-interest in their personal lives. They promote sacrifice to idiots who then demand it from the politicians, local, state and federal who are more than willing to accomodate (it keeps them in office, thereby 'promoting their own self-interest!' :-).

With the passing of Tony Snow and Tim Russert, what was the highest 'praise' we heard? How they unselfishly helped others in their times of need. You heard it from Barnicle, Maria K., Andrea Mitchell, et. al. about Russert and from Rush, Hannity and Hume about Snow. I'm not saying one shouldn't help others, just that when that becomes an aspect of character that trumps all others, and for others to emulate, then it tends to diminish rationally self-interested actions - something everyone practices but defraud people by claiming otherwise, which is then considered 'admirable' by all (but us ;-)

When sacrifice is the 'highest value' then the engine that runs a free market and a small gov't collapses. Does anyone remember Reagan preaching 'sacrifice'??

Aurora said...

Col., as a Christian myself, I have a different perspective on generosity than Huckabee and the very confused Christian Left. I believe that one's own belongings are one's own. That must never be confused. The Bible teaches 'Thou shalt not steal', therefore governments should not be stealing from the rich, or anyone, to give to the poor, or anyone. Stealing is wrong. I do, however, support an African family. I receive letters from them. The father is working and the child I sponsor is going to school. As the small sum of my money which I willingly choose to give to this productive family is going to seed productivity and employed and educated Africans rather than west-hating leeches, I'm glad to offer what I don't even miss. I would, however, deeply resent a government taking my money from me and dispersing it into their fat coffers and to whomever and whatever they see fit, especially when aid goes to such causes as the Palestinians or as you point out, into the coffers of human scum like Mugabe.

T. F. Stern said...

I tend to go along with Aurora on this; except I hand over a monthly fast offering donation to my Bishop with the understanding that he knows which families in our area are in need of temporary assistance better than I do. Theft, either by an individual or through government is still theft. Time to shut down the government give away programs.

MK said...

I agree with Aurora as well, some one else's money is not mine to do with as i please. Sure there are people out there who have untold wealth but squander it when there are many others out there less fortunate than them, but just my judgment, not to be foisted upon them.

Besides what's staring us in the face is that after decades of foreign aid to Africa, they're pretty much still in the same position they were before all of us decided to pave the way to .... you know where .... with our good intentions.

Col. Hogan said...

Kent,

Agreed. My bit of charity usually goes toward individuals who do things of which I approve, or who show potential. I rarely give to charitable organizations, since they are often nondiscriminatory--not to mention incompetent.

Col. Hogan said...

Aurora,

When individuals help other individuals, it often works out that they chose those who'll make the best of a leg up. This is the kind of help that really helps.

When governments take your money by force and hand it out to the "less fortunate," they create a parasitic underclass who rarely use the aid to help themselves improve.

It's a real difference.

The Winecommonsewer said...

Some charities are all right. Red Cross, Salvation Army. Salvation Army was feeding people after Katrina before the disaster hit the media. They are also who the National Guard kept out of Nuawlins at gunpoint while people went hungry.

Had a client that I used to think was a cheapskate because he never gave to charity. Then one day, in casual conversation, he began to talk about the need for taking care of those close to you, family and friends. Turned out he was quite a generous guy after all.

I sort of subscribe to that theory too. If everyone did, we'd be money ahead.

Col. Hogan said...

TWC,

I won't argue with you on this, because I don't know much about these organizations except what I see/hear/read in the media, and I don't trust them very far.

The first argument I'll make, is that the donations go to faceless bureaucrat types and pretty much vanish at that point.

The second argument is that, as long as government is confiscating over half of my earnings, and (they say) doing so much good for the poor and downtrodden, why should I donate more. My fifty bucks is nothing compared to the thousands they've already stolen from me. I'd rather give it to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership or the Ayn Rand Institute.

At least then I'm pretty sure it won't be used against me.

Col. Hogan said...

MK,

A great point. Most of the funds confiscated from their producers is squandered and lost in bureaucrats' pockets.

There's a recent story here in El Pueblo about the city giving money (hundreds of thousands) to a supposedly reformed gangster to fight gangs. It was learned recently he was using the money to buy guns to give to his homies.

We hear stories like this very often, and should really remind ourselves that this is our money they're using for stupid stuff like this.

Donating money to people and organization where you know they'll be effectively used is definitely the way to go.

It would be good to take the government's ability to redistribute funds from producers to the kind of unfortunates they choose, but it's unConstitutional here, and that doesn't stop 'em.

Col. Hogan said...

TF,

To the extent that I understand it (I've worked for two LDS members in my career), the LDS organization has an excellent system for taking care of its unfortunate members. It includes recommendations as to avoid becoming one of them.

Other religious organizations would do well to follow their example.

Kent C said...

MK,

I'm with you, of course, on the libertarian idea that 'forced giving' should "not to be foisted upon them", but you lose me here:
"Sure there are people out there who have untold wealth but squander it when there are many others out there less fortunate than them"

I see no irony (or _any_ connection for that matter) between what a wealthy person does with, (or how he disposes of) his own money or property, and a person who hasn't taken responsibility for their condition in life (ie. the "less fortunate").

Both ideas are part of the class warfare/socialist/altruist package deal. You have to have the 'victim' in order to carry out altruism and the wealthy are always the target source (although in reality, it means _anyone_ with any money ;-) In order to 'sell them' as a target, they have to devalue them. And they do so by depicting them as criminals and/or squanders. If they were just people who use their reason in order to create a product or service and get paid according to market forces, then they wouldn't be able to be exploited as easily. Then they have to devalue and criminalize the whole concept of a 'free market'. The Left, of course, does both.

When any part of the package exists as concepts within one's conceptual hierarchy of ideas or values, then there's always the possibility that when the right "altruistic chord" is struck, there can be a compromise in the making. This is how you get a Republican Congress that acts like Democrats, and Republican Presidential Candidates that will fold as soon as someone accuses them of being self-interested - which happened to McCain, long ago. When you have a Libertarian candidate, Barr, that thinks Al Gore was right on global warming, then everyone loses.

CelticForestGoddess said...

Y'all know how "altruistic" I can be. Yes, it makes me feel good to make other people feel good and is a moral/ethical thing for me. However, the line goes from doing to forcing others to do. And I agree with KC that because another person has a large amount of wealth, they do not "owe" it to anyone else. It's theirs, period. Taking it, regardless of how much they have or the circumstances of others, is theft.

Col. Hogan said...

CFG,

Nice to see you here.

Most of us commit charitable acts as suits our character, but I agree that "forced charity" isn't charity at all. It's merely an abortive attempt of the forcer to appear benevolent to people who aren't terribly discriminating.