'Our' Collective Goodness in the Tsunami Disaster

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Stung by the suggestion that “we” (please note the quotation marks) are stingy because “we” (quotation marks again) were sending only $15 million to the tsunami victims, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell immediately upped the ante with another $20 million in U.S. government assistance. Powell also made it clear that this is just the beginning and that “we” will ultimately send billions of dollars to the victims. Extolling “our” generosity, Powell vowed, “We will do more.”

So, with one quick announcement by “our” secretary of state, “our” generosity more than doubled overnight. And by vowing to send billions more in government aid to the troubled region, Powell ensured “our” collective goodness for the near future.

But let’s be clear about the nature of “our” goodness, “our” compassion, “our” caring nature.

In the 20th century, “we” embraced a collectivized system in which “we” nationalized everyone’s income and then made the government “our” agent for “our” goodness, compassion, and caring. The system that “we” adopted functions like this:

“We” authorize the Congress that “we” elect to take any portion of “our” income it wants, as long as the percentage is set in a democratic (i.e., majority-vote) fashion. Once that portion or percentage is democratically set, the Internal Revenue Service is authorized to use force to collect the assigned take from everyone. The IRS then delivers the take to other government agencies, which then distribute the take to the poor and needy of the world. Voila! “We” are caring, compassionate, and good … well, as long as “our” government officials and agencies are caring, compassionate, and good. If they are “stingy,” then “we” are stingy.

That’s in fact the underlying collectivized “moral” basis for the entire welfare-warfare system that “we” brought into existence in the 20th century. That’s why “we” are good in Iraq —because the IRS delivered a portion of the take to the Pentagon, which then used the money to invade Iraq to bring “democracy and liberation” to the Iraqi people, all on the orders of the president, who is of course democratically elected by “us.” Voila! Through the collective, joint efforts of the IRS and the Pentagon (well, and the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve also) and the president, “we” are good people for what “we” are doing in Iraq.

For that matter, let’s not forget Social Security. “We” are a good people because “we” elected a Congress that enacted Social Security, which authorizes the IRS to take a portion of “our” income to help the elderly. That makes “us” good people.

What about our American ancestors? You know, those Americans who for more than 100 years rejected income taxation, Social Security, welfare, foreign aid, and foreign wars of “democracy and liberation.” You know, our ancestors who believed that freedom entailed a person’s keeping everything he earns and having the right to decide what to do with it without government interference — spend, donate, invest, hoard, or whatever. You know, our ancestors who had the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and, without being forced to care for others, brought into existence the most charitable society in history. You know, our ancestors who believed that charity, compassion, and caring meant nothing unless it came from the voluntary heart of an individual, as compared to the collectivized force of majority vote.

Oh, they’re the “robber barons,” the selfish ones, the ones who hated the poor. They’re the ones who hated and abused their children, forcing them to fend for themselves for endless hours in dangerous sweatshops. For more information about them and their evil system of freedom and “rugged individualism,” just read about them in any government-approved textbook in any government-approved school to which “we” force U.S. parents to send their children.

Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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