November 10, 2014

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

government here to helpI see a lot of local news articles. And I’ve done a few write ups here about the over regulation of businesses by the government.

But perhaps the bigger picture isn’t the regulations. Perhaps the bigger picture is dependency. This article is specifically for those who believe that we pay into the system because we receive from the system. This ALSO goes out to those who find people like me callous for opposing taxes which are purported to help the poor.

Our first story is of the 90 year old man who was cited for feeding the homeless on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is known as “Chef Arnold” and has done this for decades. There is an ordinance that has deemed this activity unlawful. Amazing how a law can quickly change a man from charitable to criminal in a matter of a single vote.

The ordinance was meant to address how the parks have been overrun with homeless individuals, which has allegedly inhibited locals and businesses from accessing these areas of the city.

It would seem the mayor took his cues from Brazil during the FIFA World Cup and decided to shift the “problem” to another area of the city. Understandably, city officials probably do get tired of hearing the citizens complain about the homelessness issue, demanding that they do something about it. But the mayor hasn’t don’t anything to fix the homeless problem… unless the problem wasn’t that people were homeless but rather that they had the audacity to be homeless in an affluent area of the public.

To be fair, feeding meals to homeless people doesn’t solve the homeless problem either. It solves the immediate hunger problem for those who are unable to feed themselves. But private charity is just that: what someone chooses to do with their time and resources is entirely up to them. What someone chooses to do with other people’s time and resources, however, is not. The mayor employed the time and resources of local police, has congested the courts, and expended tax dollars to go after this man and his two pastor friends.

And while feeding the homeless doesn’t fix the homeless problem, it doesn’t harm anyone either.

If you look at the various “Tent Cities” around the United States they are often run by donations and local pastors of small churches. In Lakewood, New Jersey, the homeless have carved out a little campsite away from the city and out of everyone else’s business. They are self-sufficient, privately funded, and the population of approximately 80 people survive off about $1,000 per month!

Not good enough! While the link above indicates the judge allowed them to stay, this year, they were shut down. This is happening all over America, and these individuals are figuring out how to survive on their own, partially because they did not qualify for public assistance. Others don’t want to get on public assistance… they liked their life in the camp.

The government officials interviewed like to boast about how much they spend every year on the poor, but heaven forbid the poor do for themselves! Lakewood spent between $400,000 and $600,000 to evict these people. Money well spent? According to their own little budget, that money could’ve kept the tent city going for another 600 months (or 50 years!!).

So far, feeding the poor in certain areas is a menace, letting the homeless fend for themselves in the woods somewhere is a menace, so what about if ONE homeless woman were to build herself a home by itself in the woods? If the groups of homeless are the issue, maybe just one person solving her problems isn’t so bad.

Wrong. A homeless woman in Northern Quebec tried building her own house. Private individuals decided to help her in this endeavor, offering her materials for this undertaking. The Canadian government gets a whiff of people coming together and helping one another, and puts an end to it.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has charged Necan with breaches of the Public Lands Act that carry fines of up to $10,000, and up to an additional $1,000 fine each time she is caught continuing to build. Necan believes it is because somehow the place she grew up has become Crown land.”

I’d like to offer up the government’s defense of such an act, but they were unavailable for comment for any of the repeated efforts made by CBC.

This next case takes us to Maine: a corner of the northeast United States consisting of fabulous blueberries! Two men were sentenced to two years in prison each for hiring undocumented immigrants. They told federal officers that they had completed federally required documentation regarding the immigration status of their employees, but that was not true. They were then convicted of knowingly hiring individuals who were not legally living in the United States.

So it’s criminal to feed the needy, leave the needy alone, or employ the needy. It really has me wondering if private affairs between private citizens is really… well… private! Check out where private exchanges have gone:

  • If I invite you over to dinner at my house, and choose to feed you from my unregulated, pH imbalanced, two-sink kitchen for free, that’s fine. Although, it might not be acceptable in New York!
  • If I choose to give you money, no questions asked, when you asked for it on the street, that’s usually okay, thought there are cities that have signs posted saying “No Panhandling”.
  • If you choose to help me move my stuff out of my apartment in exchange for a 6 pack of beer and a pizza, that business arrangement is okay… although technically we should each be taxed for the value of that barter.

I want people to do for themselves. I want more accountability and self-responsibility. I want to render the welfare state irrelevant and allow people to help one another in a more direct way through mutual aid and local community outreaches. Charity should be just as competitive as any other business: earning the contributions of every donor and answering to them directly.

Working people are forced to borrow money for houses, cars, and school because they have to pay their fair share in taxes. Imagine if they could just keep that money. All of it. How much debt would we have then? It’s like the government doesn’t really want people to do for themselves, they want that leverage of welfare, something needful, that they can dangle over people for their votes.

But HOW on earth can any of this be achieved when whenever people do organize voluntarily, the government snuffs them out? How can people advocate for self-sufficiency and private sector solutions when that’s blocked at every turn? I don’t know if there is an answer. But when charity becomes activism and then becomes acts of civil disobedience, I think it is indicative of the horrible transformations America has undergone while we were sleeping.

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