Tuesday, January 4

How Much Aid?

Powerline has noted that the wacky left has not skipped a beat in faulting Mr Bush and the Administration for giving too little too late in aid for the victims of the tsunami. For example see Mr Kevin's rant on "Lean Left", but sorry I'm not going to give a link the post just irks me too much. So what should we do?

Now in the last month I've made (I think) convincing arguments against government sponsored charity (here). When the government performs our acts of charity it tends to replace our personal impulses for the same. The government takes money from us (by force if necessary). Using that money for charity both reduces our appreciation of the good done (from bitterness in how we had to contribute) and distances us personally from the charitable act (we don't see our personal hard earned dollars going to those charitable acts). So there are good reasons not to perform charity through the act of the government.

On the other hand, the human suffering and trauma in the wake of the recent tsunami is much helped by the military equipment on hand (air craft carrier based support) and logistical equipment and expertise supplied by the US military. No private NGO no matter how funded could "charter" the USS Abraham Lincoln on site to assist in humanitarian aid. So what should we advise? Here is what should be done:
  • Our government (military) should be on hand ASAP to use their vast resources to provide care and support which they are uniquely equipped to provide.
  • When the rush of getting supplies to those victims who need immediate support passes and normal channels for getting aid on-site is established, direct US governmental aid should be reduced. After all, as I've argued, governmental charity is both corrosive towards personal charity and inefficient.
  • Individuals or groups in the region may try to take advantage of the stress to the infrastructure of local governments and attempt seizing power illegitimately. Our government might keep an eye on this and act to prevent this for it would make it harder for NGO's and individuals from providing the aid that should be coming into the region.
  • That should be the end of our direct governmental involvement.
Finally, Mr Kevin in his diatribe against the Mr Bush, wonders why we aren't promising to provide "early warning" systems for the entire region? Well, as I've pointed out, it (charity) is not the job of our government. Now, I wouldn't expect a repeat tsunami event in that region for some time. So the call for an early warning system right now is actually counter productive. But perhaps Mr Kevin in 6 months or so might consider a personal campaign to install such early warning devices throughout the region. But I won't hold my breath waiting for him to do so. He is much more captivated by his personal campaign of destruction aimed at Mr Bush.

Just as (if actually true!?) the UN's announcement that UNFPA is carrying out reproductive health assessments (HT: Belmont Club) in the wake of the disaster. Oh goody, that's just the ticket in the wake of a disaster, reproductive health assessments? Somebody out there should read their own press releases! I think the reason people like Mr Kevin aren't complaining about the UN's lack of response is because of course, they expect a poor showing by them. Hence their continued support for the UN over their own country is a little perplexing.

Now I don't mean to pick on Mr Kevin in particular. He is just one example of picked out of a bucket of not-well-meaning and bitter lefties who are not responding fairly or appropriately in the wake of a large disaster.