Friday, May 09, 2008

Aid to Natural Disasters

Seen the news?

It's terrible!  Thousands of people trapped by flooding without clean water or food.  Their leaders had warning but did very little to help their people prepare and now these same leaders are standing in the way of help arriving.  Absolutely unacceptable.  Am I talking about New Orleans or Myanmar?

The government of Myanmar has seized shipments coming into the nation and has decided to distribute the relief themselves (feed their police and military) even though they lack the experience to work with water and sanitation.

Here is the score:

Governments take tax dollars from their citizens and force them to donate to a military dictatorship that is doing little to prevent their own citizens from dying.

Libertarian lesson: 

Governments are not capable of charity because they are instruments of force.

I would even add the example of the greatest humanitarian relief project in the history of the world was done to project political will rather than humanitarian need...which was of course the 1948 Berlin Airlift.  Myanmar is neither strategic nor important to enough international governments to motivate a general political will to help them.  The government aid will only go to their corrupt government while scores of private charitable organizations and their armies of volunteers struggle on the ground to help the people.


Don said...

I had not thought of it in that light.

The situation seems very fluid, but the last I heard, at noon, was that American C130's with aid were sitting on runways waiting for "the Okay."

If we've proven anything in the last decade or so, it is that it does not take very much...okay, *anything* for us to fly right into your country, invited or not. What are we doing sitting on the ground? Is there no way anybody can figure out how to profit on it?

If we're going to hand out no-bid contracts to Halliburton and Blackwater, this would be a perfect situation. $10 for each bottle of water dropped on the country, $20 for each meal.


Tracy said...


US Acts Unilaterally - Snubs Myanmar with more aid against their will.

Mr. Evil said...

We should quit wasting our money and resources on worthless places like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia. These would be good places to test some tactical nukes or some new military technology and do all these people a favor. I mean really, they all live in horrible conditions, with no hope, and have governments that are almost as worthless as ours. Hell, we should take out most of the populated places in Africa as well. That would do wonders to help control aids. Be careful not to kill too many animals though. Africa has pretty cool animals.

Tina said...

Mr. Evil (appropriately name)

" we should take out most of the populated places in Africa as well."

How can anyone possibly consider or seriously suggest that testing nuclear weapons on Africa is a way to solve their AIDS program? Have you ever known anyone with AIDS?

If you ever saw how these people suffer you'd want to help them with a cure or get them medicine, not drop bombs on them.

I seriously hope you were making an attempt at a joke. That's not funny at all.

Tracy - Governments need to do more to help these nations stricken with natural disasters, not less. How do you explain all the countless times Government has come to the aid of people and they're so grateful. Maybe if you were the one receiving help you'd be less cynical about how the international community can help. Sitting in your comfortable life I bet you can hardly imagine.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Evil smells like my dog's farts. And he's just as funny.

robert the grump said...

Tina, I know Tracy and I know that he gives more money to political causes, charity and needy family members than he fact, if I were his financial advisor, I'd tell him to knock it off.

But he's a Libertarian, so what he believes is that people should give, but it's not the job of the government.

He'll probably send a bag of food, a check and his sincere best wishes to Myanmar, but he'll never agree that the government should do the same with his and your tax money.

Tracy said...

ozdjTina you seem nice and caring and you are of course thoughtful and intelligent because you read this blog. Your response will really help me explain where I'm coming from.

You used the words "international community" which sort of explains your confusion. It goes beyond what I believe the role of government should be and really speaks to what government is basically capable of.

Government is force. This statement is why I stated that government is incapable of being charitable.

Government doesn't help the drug addict, it forces him into prison.

Government doesn't help those impacted by bad mortgage loans they instead force the value of money down.

Government doesn't help those in poverty, they instead force them to stay impoverished with regulation using money taken by force from others.

Communities and societies are capable of charity (read Thomas Paine's Common Sense) When you call governments an "international community" you are attributing to these governments a status they have not earned and one that will be impossible for them to live up to.

I'm not cynical about government, I just have learned not to expect from government what it cannot do well. Therefore I call for government to do less so it can focus on the things that government can do well.

As for your back handed comment about my personal comfort and values I will not respond. The blog is not the forum for that and I believe that your comment is unmerited and one you probably already wish you could take back...because I still believe you to be a nice and thoughtful person.

Mr. Evil said...

I was only kind of kidding. Personally I am tired of trying to fix the worlds problems. All we get is crap from everyone else on the planet, but it is always us everyone looks to when something is fucked up. Then we end up in Vietnam, Iraq, Burma (The real name of another worthless country), and trying to feed the starving of the world and so on. In the mean time, we have a crumbling infrastructure, horrible roads, ridiculously high taxes, gasoline prices out of control, no medical coverage for our own citizen and on and on it goes.

We are so quick to try and help people all over the planet, but turn our backs on people on home that really need our help. Now I realize there are a lot of worthless low life’s in America that take advantage of the charity that is provided. There are also a lot of poor people who use to be middle class that our government does not give a shit about. If you truly want to help the rest of the world, you better make sure you are strong and stable in your own nation first. Something we are not even close to at the moment.

Let some of these other countries that want to be big mighty super powers step up. Where the hell is Russia, China, France, Germany and so many other countries when all this shit blows up? You would think when all these disasters hit on their side of the world; they would be the ones to take care of it. They should be the leaders taking charge to stop disease and starvation in Africa. Nope, it falls on us to do it, and at the end of the day all we will hear is criticism. Fuck them all.