Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Charitable State.

Invariably when arguing for complete laissez-faire policies and the dismantling of the welfare state the question that the statist asks is...

"What are we to do with the people who can't fend for themselves as well as others and who need assistance in order to survive in society?"

The Objectivist response is that the individual can do whatever he wishes to do, but that he can not claim the right to force others. That he can not take his personal penchant for charity and with the loaded gun of government force others to be charitable.

There are two man-centric ideologies at work here, represented by the welfare state, and the charitable state.

The welfare state is ruled by conflicting premises.

On one hand is the claim that we men are caring creatures and that we are not "wired" or "evolved" in such a way to act as self-centered, egoists and individualists. The claim is that each and every one of us needs the community, the collective and as a result men overwhelmingly realize that the collective is greater than the sum of its parts. This reasoning is used to indicate that men should help one another, that we ought to be charitable, altruistic toward our fellow men.

The other (and contradictory) premise, which leads the welfare state to use its ill gotten force is that men are nasty, selfish, ignorant brutes who would never stop to help their fellow men and therefore must be forced to support all sorts of initiatives and progams to alleviate the suffering and hardship of those less fortunate.

Yes, the claim is that we are simultaneously "hard wired" to be altruistic and yet need to be forced to think of anyone but ourselves. This is a contradiction of epic proportions.

The Objectivist stance on the less fortunate is simple. Let each and every individual choose whether he is going to be charitable or not, depending on his preference and his ideals, his values and his own situation. There is no need to force charity.

Without government forcing the charitable to pay for every politician's pet project or well connected pressure group's personal agenda the amount of disposable income available for charity would be immense.

The benefits to the contributors would similarly be valuable to them. "Contribute to a home for the homeless? Sure! It might reduce crime, it would certainly make the city look better. Donate to the family down the street in their time of need, but of course..."

Funny isn't it that it is the selfish egoist's that are certain that individual, honest, uncoerced charity can function as required, and that the altruistic, collectivist humanists see the need to point a gun at your head and demand your money for their life.

1 comment:

rtaylortitle said...

Very well said...succinct and to the point.

Robert Taylor/Hondo, TX