We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 22. 2022
About 5 years ago there was a Political QQQ posted. Today I'll post another by the same person.
"How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being?" ~Auberon Herbert
I recently was in a heated debate with someone who called volunteerism a "Republican guilt complex", stating that government directed welfare was better and anything done voluntarily would never live up to overall needs as effectively.
Posted by Bulldog in Quotidian Quotable Quote (QQQ) at 13:06 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
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The attitude of most do-gooders is this: I am good. Therefore, you must also be good, even if I have to force you to do the things I think are good.
Reality smacking a do-gooder in the face is the only thing that changes minds, and often not even then.
I just gave my "troubled" teen grandson the advice to volunteer at a homeless feeding station. I didn't suggest it out of guilt for myself or him but as a way for him to experience the good feeling helping gives you and the people you meet. I see homeless shelters and feeding facilities as a less undesirable solution to the problem and not a great solution but so much better than putting them up in hotels or expensive facilities.
If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good?
Whence does the state draw those resources that it is urged to dispense to individuals? Is it not from the individuals themselves? How, then, can these resources be increased by passing them through the hands of a parasitical and voracious intermediary?
When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate that gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.
Ayn Rand had a lot to say about altruism (sorry, I can't get the quote thingy to work):
“Altruism,” according to Rand, means “the placing of others above self, of their interests above one’s own.” This account is consistent with standard dictionary definitions of “altruism,” such as “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.” But Rand departed radically from conventional wisdom in pinpointing altruism as a pernicious doctrine that is incompatible with individual rights and a free society. “Altruism,” she declared, “is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights.” In one of her later articles (The Ayn Rand Letter, Nov.-Dec. 1975), Rand wrote:
"Time and again, I have found that the basic evil behind today’s ugliest phenomena is altruism. Well, I told you so. I have been telling you so since We The Living, which was published in 1936. Those who still pretend that they can save freedom and individual rights without challenging altruism, are outside my power of persuasion (and, I suspect, outside any sort of persuasion, i.e., outside the field of ideas)."
Bulldog: I believe compelling people to do something doesn't make them good.
Well, no. But, democratic societies act in congress to alleviate suffering among their numbers, as part of a mix of private and public efforts.
The old-fashioned conservative view was to provide just enough relief to stave off social unrest. Nowadays, most consider it part of the normal functioning of a complex modern society.
Bulldog: Furthermore, it opens the door to corruption, destruction, and destitution. Politicians view the money collected as 'theirs' and they will do as they please with it.
Corruption is a problem with any human endeavor. However, accountability is not unattainable. Otherwise, nothing would be possible.
"The old-fashioned conservative view was to provide just enough relief to stave off social unrest."
Why provide any relief? Why should the government take from Peter to give free stuff to Paul? I am a believer in "charity" but not by government. In fact the reason our problems are so extreme now is because of governments interference in these issues.
OneGuy: Why provide any relief?
You just replied to the old-fashioned conservative view—which you ignored.
OneGuy: Why should the government take from Peter to give free stuff to Paul?
Another reason is because in modern, industrialized economies, macroeconomic shocks can cause severe social disruption beyond the ability of individuals to cope and beyond the capability of traditional charities to respond effectively.
..." stating that government directed welfare was better and anything done voluntarily would never live up to overall needs as effectively.
That was the point where you should have demanded proof of existence, because every government-run program I've ever seen, US or anywhere else, has been a disaster combination of incompetence, pettiness, greed, and endless turf squabbling by the ones invested with governance authority.
I still believe the best characterization of this is Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Volunteers start out with the kind of good intentions that are matched with a willingness to commit. People like your friends are the Big Talkers, the bums in the bleachers. You can sh*t the fans, but you can't sh*t the players.
Ayn Rand wasn’t right about everything. The most altruistic man that ever walked the earth, was convicted in a puppet court; scourged and nailed to a cross. It’s not hard to imagine Ayn Rand in the crowd, angrily yelling, crucify him!
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - Jesus
This troll is a special kind of stupid who uses logical fallacy and half-truths, as well as moral relativism to push an agenda which is antithetical to the behavior and thought of any decent person.
But trolls must be trolls and demand their toll. Which means an appearance regardless of the worthlessness of their presence.
"stating that government directed welfare was better and anything done voluntarily would never live up to overall needs as effectively."
In plain English, individuals acting voluntarily make decisions which this person does not agree with. Left unstated is the idea that those decisions should be prohibited.
What's more, I'm not persuaded that the government-administered charity is as effective as the private voluntary sort. I know the theory is that only the government's safety net is broad and consistent enough, but if it's also destructive of both the giving impulse and the recipient's proper integration into society, the breadth and consistency become more a bug than a feature.
It's a tough issue, because private, voluntary charity does have to answer for its gaps, which leaves each of us individually on the hook morally. I still believe we are called to give individually and personally, not to farm our obligations out to strangers by compulsion.
I think it was Thomas Sowell who pointed out that the NY phone book before the great society listed page after page of private charitable organizations, and that they actually competed, if not actually bickered, to be the ones helping the needy, After 1965 that was all extinguished.
I love the default assumption that if government doesn't do it it will not get done.