Friday, January 15, 2010

Disaster aid and the violation of liberty

I sent the following letter to the editor at the Wall Street Journal after it printed an editorial praising ObaMao for his "unwavering support" for the victims of Haiti's earthquake and robbing Americans of $100 million for this "support."

Few people anywhere in the world cannot feel great distress at the grievous tragedy that has befallen the people of Haiti.

But it is in such disasters that the principles of proper constitutions and governments are sorely tested by emotions – and the U.S. government once again fails the test by robbing Americans to pay for the plight of foreigners instead of letting voluntary worldwide charity do the job. The Journal itself, unfortunately, adds insult to injury by proclaiming “rightly so” to President Obama’s “unwavering support” of Haiti.

It is clear that our citizens and our politicians must learn the lesson of Rep. Davy Crockett of Tennessee almost 200 years ago when he came upon a wise farmer who said he could no longer vote for Crockett because Crockett had “appropriated for charity” in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Crockett had joined the rest of the House of Representatives earlier to take $20,000 from Americans to help out families made homeless by a great fire in Georgetown.

Said farmer Bunce: “Individual members (of Congress) may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. … (But) the Congressmen chose to keep their own money. … (And now) you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.”

Crockett learned his lesson, earned the respect and vote of farmer Bunce and henceforth convinced other Representatives of the error of coercive charity. We modern Americans must learn this lesson and put an end to such coercion, whether it is welfare handouts, health-care handouts or disaster aid. It’s time to return to the principle of liberty and stop being guided by altruistic emotions.

1 comment:

COCO said...