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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: Generosity With Other People’s Money

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Generosity With Other People’s Money

Once again the United States has come to the aid of people in desperate need of assistance; the tsunami disaster is only the latest example. Once again the United States is criticized by foreign diplomats for not contributing enough to help those who need the help. After all, the United States is the wealthiest country in the world therefore; the United States owes more to the relief effort. The sad truth is that not only are these comments coming from the socialist ideologues of Europe and the United Nations, but also from pundits and politicians on the Left and the Right in this country.

The actual amount the U.S. government should contribute to help the victims of the tsunami is $0. For those of you who do not subscribe to the Libertarian philosophy this may sound very cruel and harsh. The reason the U.S. government should not give foreign aid is because it isn’t the governments to give in the first place! Taking money from one person to give to another person, no matter how virtuous the cause, is wrong.

The government has no constitutional authority to spend taxes for any reason other than what is enumerated to the government in Article I Section 8. The wise men who wrote the constitution understood how governments could be generous with other people’s money; when spending someone else’s money, being generous is easy. The government is like a spoiled rich child who takes his parent’s wealth for granted. The child wrecks his new BMW and buys another one with his parent’s money. As a result, the child has no appreciation for the value, the hard work his parents had to put in to earn the money. Let’s suppose the spoiled child wants to do something good with his parent’s money such as feed a couple of hundred hungry people. Though he seems more virtuous in this scenario, the fact remains: it is easier to be generous with his parent’s money. If the parents decide to make their child earn his own money and he still wants to help feed the hungry, he is truly a generous person and the money he spends has value attached to it.

The government is our spoiled child that we have failed to discipline. We have allowed and even asked our child to spend our money for us on things that we (the private sector) could better provide for ourselves. In spite of the fact that the government is contributing our money to the relief efforts in Asia, Americans are willingly giving more. The American people are the most generous people on the earth, contributing over $1 billion beyond what the government has taken from us. This should be applauded; Americans should give to the less fortunate and have proven to do so with little or no convincing. When the government takes from its citizens in the name of charity and virtue, the government is still the thief, not only stealing the citizen's money, but also the joy in helping his common man.


Blogger Gunnar Hegel said...

"Generosity with other people's money" ... I love it. Well said.

5:38 PM  

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