4.13.2006

On Why I'm a Mean Conservative

The other day, I was sitting unsuspectingly in the library courtyard, soaking up some afternoon sun on one of my two days off that week (I work 20 hours a week, in an attempt not to sponge off my parents for the rest of my college life), when I was accosted by a student activist. This bleeding heart was trying to get people to join the ONE Campaign by signing a card that they would then mail to Congress, lobbying for a larger portion of the US budget to be spent on helping with AIDS and poverty worldwide. I think I gave the poor girl a heart attack when I said that I wasn't interested.
Let me explain: aside from the fact that the campaign has numerous highly odious people behind it (George Clooney is one example), I also feel that it goes against my conservative principles. The job of the government, in my own opinion, is a very limited one: to create the basic conditions necessary for its citizens to thrive. This means providing for trade, national security, transportation, regulation to protect the vulnerable members of our society, and ensuring that basic human needs (food, clothing, shelter, medical attention) are provided for those who cannot provide for themselves. Notice that this list does not include the following: making sure everyone is equal, legislating purely moral decisions (for the record, while I have religious issues with gay marriage, I have yet to hear a good argument for why the government should have the right to intervene), funding the arts (why are we still funding the NEA for God's sake?), etc.
In keeping with this principle, I don't think that it is our federal government's job to be making charitable donations (I don't count development loans in this catagory). No, that doesn't mean that I want children in Africa to starve, but charity should be a personal choice, not something legislated by our government, which should be solely focused on its own citizens. I truly believe that it is necessary for people to make some contribution to charity; I think we need more awareness in this country of the dismal conditions that people in other, less fortunate nations suffer under. I think we all need a better idea of how blessed we are in this country (then maybe people would stop whining about this "relative poverty" crap). Taxing citizens to pay for foreign aid is not a valid use of government power, and let's face it, most government programs are wildly inefficient, so we're much better off not relying on them anyway. So, yes, people need to be charitable. It is one of the responsibilities of every human being to do their part to end suffering, but the government should not have a place in it. So, no signing a ONE pledge for me; it's all well and good for George Clooney to make donations, and encourage us to do the same, but let's not get the government involved, shall we?
As always, feel free to disagree, or leave a comment. I looooove comments.
-The Quartermaster

3 Comments:

  • ...But! But! But! But it's for the CHILDREN...

    OK, I'm done. Channeling a troll is harder than you'd think.

    By Blogger The Anti-Hippie, at 12:33 PM  

  • "ensuring that basic human needs (food, clothing, shelter, medical attention) are provided for those who cannot provide for themselves."

    Exactly what is your definition of charity?

    Providing for the basic human needs of those who cannot provide for themselves is EXACTLY the role of charities...not government.

    1. You said it yourself, government is hugely inefficient at these things. I'd rather that the majority of the money actually get to the intended recipient rather than paying for some bureaucrat's salary and fancy office.

    2. Charity from the government tends to not be viewed by the recipients as charity, but "entitlements". It is rife for fraud and abuse and the recipients have no incentive to get themselves out of the situation they are in. Heck the government "owes" them this...they are "entitled" to it.

    3. Governmental interference in these issues only gives people an "out" for taking personal responsibitlity. "I don't need to help at the food bank or donate to charities, it's the government's job to take care of those things." Or, even worse: "I don't need to help take care of my parents now that they are old and decrepit, that's Social Security and Medicare's job".

    By Blogger Sailorcurt, at 5:01 PM  

  • Mostly, I actually agree with you. When I say basic human needs, I mean that if you are starving on the street, there should be shelters you can go to and employment services available, not welfare checks handed out as if you were actually doing something to earn it. You are absolutely right, though, that many people see government services as a reason why they shouldn't bother to get involved. The problem is, that in the interim period while teaching people social responsibility and removing government services entirely, there needs to be something to ensure that our fellow human beings are not siffering needlessly. As for government ineffieciency, that's a whole other issue which needs to separately be corrected.
    -The Quartermaster

    By Blogger The Triumvirate, at 7:23 PM  

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