Sunday, January 01, 2017

All assistance should be voluntary

(My Eastern New Mexico News [formerly the Clovis News Journal] column for November 30, 2016)

Help one another, voluntarily (my chosen headline)

It is once again the season to remember the less fortunate. On one hand, you shouldn't need an annual reminder to be good to other people, but on the other hand, sometimes it's fortunate the calendar has a few such reminders built in.

If someone wants to help those in need, there is nothing stopping her from freely giving her own money and time to those she feels deserve help.

Yet most who feel more money should be spent on their favorite government programs are never content to simply chip in-- they demand laws forcing everyone else to do the same.

It's the opposite of generosity, compassion, or caring. Those things are better expressed individual to individual.

If someone truly believes the government is best able to help those in need, he's completely free to write the U.S. Treasury a check to spend on welfare-- or on a new drone to crash into a Middle Eastern wedding. Relying on taxation to pay for anything is unnecessary.

For those of us opposed to bullying of any sort, it is essential for all the help to be totally voluntary.

You don't need a "law" to remind you to help people. If you care, no tax is necessary to get you to donate. In fact, taxation reduces the amount you are able to use to help others. No "law" can change the act of forcing people to donate into an act of generosity. No one can be charitable with other people's money, nor is it kindness to hand over your own money under threat. Putting government in charge of such an extortion scheme doesn't change its immoral nature.

Instead of giving your cousin another cute plastic knick-knack to dust or forget, spend the money on someone who needs it; someone you feel is deserving. No one should be making that determination for you, either. When you personally know the circumstances of the person you help, you know their needs better, and care more, than any bureaucrat distributing pillaged funds possibly can.

An act which is of minor effort or cost to you might impact someone's life for decades to come. I know from personal experience, having been on the receiving end a few times.

I often remember those times, especially during the holiday season. It's something I'll always strive to pay forward. Taxes, regulations, and all the other government coercion only stand in the way. They invariably hurt more than they help. Let's start helping each other, instead.


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Setting myself up to fail?

I'm doing it. I'm making a New Year resolution. Unfortunately, it's not the kind that I find easy to make stick, but the other kind. I'm still going to give it a shot and, toward the long-term goal, I give myself permission to slip sometimes (although I will expect to be scolded if I do).

So, what is this resolution all about?

I am going to focus on preaching to the choir.

I'm not dropping the newspaper column, because Money, but I will try to limit my "spreading the message" to that. I may even find a more sensible focus for that column, too, if I'm lucky.

I realize I'm not going to convince fans of aggression and theft that they have been on the wrong side all their lives, and that their beloved uncle who died in some government war was on the wrong side. They don't want to hear it, and will do anything to avoid facing it.

So, I am going to try to focus on talking to YOU.

If some statists are "converted" in the process, great. If not, fine. I'm coming to see that they matter less and less to my actual life anyway.

And, just maybe, I'll come up with one of my other "resolution" type things, too. The type I have been more successful at keeping.


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