Assisting the Needy
"Helping those in need" seems to be an open and closed case. Who would stand in the way of "helping others"? Only a blood thirsty, fanged monster would not help the needy, right? But this argument presents only half the equation. What about the other half? When all the facts are not laid out, one must be careful of the true motives. The other half is hidden in order to lead us astray.
The provision of assistance necessitates the provision of resources. Resources are limited. The question arises then as to the "conditions of providing the assistance", and the "means by which the resources are obtained". We must investigate these two concepts built into helping others.
We take a closer look at the "conditions for assistance". Under what conditions should one be a candidate for the reception of aid? Here is my list of topics to consider:
- Is this a true need, or is this a want?
- Was the condition self-imposed, or is someone else to blame?
- What has the needy done for himself to correct the situation?
Likewise, we take a closer look at the source of the resources provided. Were the resources provided under free-will, or duress? Feeding the hungry is a noble cause. Robbing a bank is an evil deed. Do we justify robbing a bank by saying the loot shall be released to feed the poor? We should say not.
Inherent in honestly helping the needy is that the costs are borne by the one who has decided to provide assistance. The alternative is "robbing the bank", or "taking from the rich".
Government Coordinated Welfare
Until now we have been discussing assistance in general terms. What about government coordinated assistance? How does this work when considering the two concepts above?
Government Need Assessment
Firstly, the government is not capable of assessing the three questions regarding the conditions of aid. How would government know whether a person was hungry on account of blowing money on toys, alcohol and gambling? Or perhaps lost his job because he called in sick 15 days in a row, and when he did show, he smelled like a liquor store? How would government know whether the needy had taken measures to help himself?
Only an all-intrusive, spy-on-citizens type of government could ever be in a position to have access to the facts required to make a prudent decision. Here we can say that the "cure" is worse than the "disease". Beyond that, the bureaucratic nature of government does not lend to making these types of decisions even assuming that the factual information does exist. Anyone having dealt with government can attest to this.
Furthermore, political corruption comes into play. Why would government agents reward truly needy political opponents with resources? Why would government agents not provide resources for political allies, even when they are not needy?
The idea that government agents selflessly help the needy is preposterous. They direct resources toward rewarding political allies and away from opponents. The rewards come in the form of cash, contracts, employment, competitively advantageous policies and the like. And they have a habit of never using their own funds. Honest assistance motivated by love is self sacrificing. Government agents will have no part in this.
Government agents, especially at the elected level, do not really assess needs, but rather assess political alignment. The aligned obtain the resources. Others do not.
Government Aid Sourcing
For the second consideration, how do government agents obtain the resources in the first place? Do government agents collectively pool their personal wealth, or do they get it by other methods? We must acknowledge that the government did not obtain the funds per negotiated settlement. Nor were the funds wired with charity in mind. We know that the resources were extracted by coercion. See bank robber analogy above.
The Welfare Trade
Government "helping the needy" has very little to do with a selfless view for others at its own expense, and more to do with buying political support. The author can assure the reader that if the government agents did not benefit from the government aid, the aid would never have been forthcoming. In reality, the assistance is a quid pro quo exchange. One party gets money, the other party gets votes.
But whereas the votes are free, the money is not. This is what makes the deal so tantalizing. "All I have to do is vote correctly and I'll get a check in the mail!" The loot has to come from somewhere, and from somewhere it comes. Preying on the rich to pay for the assistance is the method of choice.
In the end we have a three party transaction. We have the voters (lobbyists, etc.), the government agents and the owners of wealth. The voters demand that the politicians transfer wealth from the wealthy to themselves. This is "robbing the bank" to do "good". The "needy" buy coercion services from government agents with votes. The rich may be able to protect themselves from the needy, but they cannot protect themselves from the coercion power of government agents.
In a twisting of the truth as a cover for the lie, we hear phrases like, "standing on the backs of the unemployed", and "protecting the wealthy". How does refraining from robbing a bank or extracting wealth from the rich via violent coercion constitute an abuse of the needy?
So, who are the heartless monsters? Perhaps the corrupt voters and politicians?
As long as society at large demands free money extracted from the productive, this system will continue to operate. It is not enough to point at corrupt politicians with their greed, lies and theft. Everyone must make the choice to not accept stolen funds, and to vote for officials who are ready to stop these fraudulent policies.
"Helping the needy" is a good thing. But it must be done honestly. There are two problems with government coordinated assistance. (1) It encourages others to act in a way such that they become needy. In this way, the government assistance is in actuality causing more harm than good. (2) It steals from peter to pay paul.
Author: Scott Wallace Brians
Date: 29 July 2010
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