Archive for Charity

But Nanny, That Hurts!

Dave Killion — March 22, 2012

Sorry buddy, no more gruel. It's too high in trans-fats.

“In a move that combines the mayor’s affinity for overbearing health regulations with his controversial stance on homeless shelters already under fire from advocacy groups and City Council members, a new rule barring food donations to shelters is raising even more concern.

CBS reports on the bizarre rule that turns away food, perhaps the most needed item for any shelter, because according to health officials, it’s impossible to gauge the items’ salt, fiber, and other nutritional stats.”

If you were homeless, wouldn’t you prefer food that was potentially high in fat and salt to no food at all?

Welfare Air

Dave Killion — March 15, 2012

Via The Province

“The B.C. government announced a pilot project Wednesday that will fly, house and clothe B.C.’s welfare recipients and unemployed should they want “very high-paying” jobs in the province’s employee-starved rural communities.”

See what they’re doing? The government is going to provide social welfare in such a fashion as to dish out corporate welfare! Northern companies are already hard at work seeking out quality employees, and providing incentives to entice them to take on these high-paying jobs. If they think someone is worth flying up, housing, training, and paying, then you can bet your boots they’ll do so. But now they won’t have to. The government will pick up the tab, and these companies will get the people they would have hired in any case, but at reduced cost. And if the government sends up people that wouldn’t have been hired without this subsidy, you can also bet the bulk of them will wash out. End result? Money shifted from the pockets of provincial taxpayers into the bank accounts of wealthy business owners. How this is supposed to help the poor is a mystery to me.

Success!

Dave Killion — March 5, 2012

I am pleased to announce that FrackNation, the Kickstarter project I mentioned a couple posts earlier, has reached its target a whole month ahead of the deadline! I am confident that the faithful followers of the Libertarian Book Club were responsible for a flurry of donations that put FrackNation over the top, but if you were one of those unfortunate few who let the chance to contribute slip by, fear not! The filmmakers are pleading for even more support for this vital movie. Better still, a pledge of at least $20 will get you a copy of the DVD when it is released, so it’s not even so much pledging to donate as it is pledging to make a purchase. So call now! Operators are standing by!

Your Tax Dollars, Hard at Work

Dave Killion — February 29, 2012

Over at Reason.com, Shikha Dalmia writes about a recently-leaked memo revealing that the British government’s aid establishment has responded to a request from India to stop sending aid by pleading that India reconsider on the grounds that the British government has expended significant political capital selling aid to the voters, and that cancellation would cause grave political embarrassment. Dalmia points out that India currently accepts development assistance from only five countries. Is Canada one of those countries? Apparently –

“After 55 years of bilateral programming in India totalling C$2.39 billion, Canada’s bilateral development assistance program came to an end in 2006 following a change in Indian government policy regarding aid.   However, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) continues to provide assistance to India through partnerships between Indian and Canadian NGOs and multilateral programs. In addition, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, to support local projects in India focusing on gender equality, human rights, and good governance. “

I think it is noxious that Canadian tax dollars are being shipped off to a country wealthy enough to have an arsenal of atomic weapons. But it gets worse. From Dalmia’s article –

“Buoyed by its post-liberalization economic growth, (India) has decided to emulate its Western benefactors and dole out money to other poor countries…”

In essence, the Canadian establishment is using your hard-earned money to look good by giving it to the Indian establishment to use to make themselves look good. This is no surprise to libertarians, of course, because we know this sort of thing is a perfectly predictable consequence of putting charity in the hands of the state.

Libertarian lawbreaking

Dave Killion — February 18, 2012

Hang on, my buddy has some rope back in camp!

The one thing that separates libertarianism from all other political philosophies is a rigid adherence to the notion that no one has the right to initiate aggression. It’s not right to do so in order to provide for the less well off, it’s not right to do so because doing so is intended to have a positive outcome, and it’s not right to do so even if it will benefit those who are deserving. Individuals own themselves, which means they own their honestly acquired possessions, and there is nothing about the needs, wants, or desserts of others that changes that.

This leads some critics to come to false conclusions about the willingness of libertarians to ignore the sufferings of others, and in an effort to illustrate those conclusion, those critics deploy life-boat scenarios the likes of which I discussed in this previous post. These scenarios are extremely implausible (and certainly no justification for coercive redistribution) but critics know libertarians have plenty of evidence to support our rationally-derived confidence in the ability of civil society to tend the less-well-off, so they must try and concoct situations where civil society doesn’t come into play. That’s not easy, but since I’m a good sport I don’t mind helping them out by supplying a more likely scenario, and then responding to the criticism –

A libertarian is out camping with some buddies, one of whom has recently purchased some rope. It has been strung up between two trees to hold up a tarp, and about thirty feet of it dangles down into a coil on the ground. The rest of the group goes on a hike, while the libertarian tends the campfire. Suddenly, a call for help is heard, and the libertarian dashes over to a nearby precipice where he sees a man hanging on for dear life to a branch about ten feet down. Our hero runs back to camp, but the only rope available is his friend’s new one. Not only is his friend unavailable to give him permission to use the rope, it is tied so tightly  that the coil would have to be cut away. At this time the critic would point out that taking the rope would amount to theft (which is a form of aggression), and the libertarian must either let the cliffhanger plunge to his death, or acknowledge that it is okay to steal (aggress) for a good cause.

Stupid imaginary critic, even when I hand it to you, you get it wrong! The non-aggression principal doesn’t mean you have to let people die rather than commit an act of aggression to save them. It just means you have to make restitution for your aggression afterwards. So the libertarian cuts the rope, saves the day, and buys his buddy a new rope. And in real life, if his buddy was such a dirtbag he insisted on restitution, the cliffhanger would probably cough up for it. So even life-boat scenarios fail to discredit libertarianism. Tough luck, critics.

A Turn for the Verse

Dave Killion — February 14, 2012

"There once was a man from Nantucket... "

After I finished high school, I served three years in the US Marines, shortly after which I moved to Canada. I took a carpentry apprenticeship and worked my way first to become a journeyman, then a lead hand, and then a foreman. After that, I started my own construction business, and while I was running that I got my certification to become a building inspector. While working as a building inspector, I attended university at nights, and completed a degree a couple years ago. I have done all of this in order to earn more money to provide good things for me and my family, and to spend on the things I care about, not so that  a great deal of it could be taken away from me and spent on things I don’t care about. Things like a Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate

“The Poet’s role is to encourage and promote the importance of literature, culture and language in Canadian society. Federal legislators created the position in 2001 to draw Canadians’ attention to poetry, both spoken and written, and its role in our lives.”

Nice work, if you can get it

The position comes with an annual stipend of $20,000, up to $13,000 in travel expenses annually, a budget for administrative expenses and translation/adaptation into Canada’s second official language.

Not the jackpot that would result from getting Oprah’s nod, but still, not too shabby. And although it’s not as fiscally devastating as most government projects, it’s still $40,000 +/- that won’t be donated to cancer research, protection of endangered species, education of girls in developing countries, or any other of the causes Canadians might have otherwise supported voluntarily. There’s no justice in that, poetic or otherwise.

Just Whose Side Are You On?

Dave Killion — January 23, 2012

A libertarian frenemy

 

One of the feeds to which I subscribe is the Cato Recent Op-eds, from the redoubtable Cato Institute. Cato has a senior fellow named Nat Hentoff, who is one of those principled leftists who is consistently calling out US President Obama and the Democrats for their anti-left conduct. Unfortunately, Hentoff also spends time advocating anti-libertarian activities such as state funding of PBS and NPR. On January 11, my Cato feed sent me an article called “Will Romney end PBS, public radio funding?” –

“If Mitt Romney makes these cuts, he will create a dark hole in our lives that will defy James Madison’s warning — which becomes more contemporary every day: “A people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives … a popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both.”

Commercials won’t tell us that our public schools no longer have nurses in our neighborhood.” 

Notice that if you click on the link to the article, you will find that it doesn’t go to Cato, but rather to one of the other sites still posting the op-ed. Hentoff’s piece is no longer to be found at Cato. I haven’t decided whether I think that’s good or not.

Of course Hentoff is entitled to his opinions, but libertarians who donate to Cato probably don’t care to pay him to campaign against us. If he would rather not restrain himself from championing authoritarian positions, that’s fine, but I won’t be sending money to Cato so long as he continues to do so. As valuable an ally he is, his contribution to the cause appears to be a wash. Perhaps it’s time to show him the door.

Eye Opener

Dave Killion — January 18, 2012

I don’t know what effect the anti-SOPA protest will have, but I won’t be surprised if it results in an increase in donations to Wikipedia. I really had no idea how many times a day I visited their site. Definitely going to send them some money soon!

A fountainhead of Objectivist books

Dave Killion — January 4, 2012

Provided you pledge to read it, a copy of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, or any other Ayn Rand book can be yours, free for the asking. Courtesy of Free Objectivist Books

“This site gets donors to send Objectivist books (books by Ayn Rand or about her philosophy of Objectivism) to students who would like to read them. Our goal is to get more students reading Ayn Rand.”

“Students create a simple public profile with their name and school, and say what book they want to read. Donors browse a list of students and choose which ones they want to send books to. The donors send the books to the students directly.”

Already read Rand? Then go sign up to be a donor, and help save some poor student from the indignity of becoming a progressive or a neo-con.

At least we’ll never be alone

Dave Killion — November 15, 2011

 

I recently heard  someone say something to the effect that the poor will always be with us, which I don’t think is true, but I’ve heard variations on the sentiment many times in my life and remember it as a bible quote from my Catholic upbringing. I went to search for the verse, and I was surprised to find two versions. The one I remember best is Mark 14:7 –

“The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

The other verse is Deuteronomy 15:11 –

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

While I was researching these verses, a nearby TV broadcast something about Occupy Wall Street. I was amused to think how annoyed the 99% would be to realize that while a day may come that there are no poor people in any meaningful sense of the word, the 1% will always be with us.