Monday, January 18, 2010
Haitian Relief: Who's Responsibility?
So what do we make of the situation in Haiti from a constitutionalist/libertarian/conservative point-of-view?--a question we must face in light of the suffering caused by the recent earthquake in the region.
The simple answer is this: much should be done, however, not by way of the federal government.
Tragedies like the Haitian earthquake demand a reaction from us all. Hopefully, that reaction is one of concern for our fellow man. But the question arises: Should the response be based on charity or aggression? By this I merely mean: Will true altruism in the form of voluntary giving be the response or will taxes--taken at the barrel of a gun--be forced from some who do not desire to help.
The simple fact is that the Constitution does not allow for foreign aid, even in times of emergency. This does not mean that states under the power of the Tenth Amendment cannot offer foreign aid or that individuals cannot come to side of those suffering. In fact, if you have not already contributed and you are able, I would strongly encourage you to help the Haitian people in any way you can--monetarily or physically.
It is true that foreign aid in itself is flawed and hurts developing nations. But what is to be made of emergency aid?
I contend that allowing the expansion state influence into the affairs of other nations is a potential hazardous concern for ourselves and those we intend to help. Aid should come via a concerned people not an expansive state.
Moreover, even though our military may look good on a humanitarian mission in Haiti, I am not sure that we should support such a measure as it undermines the mission of the military to provide for the common defense of the United States. And I am not the only one who sees it this way. A better image--and one that does not violate our Constitution--is the image of citizens voluntarily coming to the aid of the Haitian people.
Some have said that sure we could help out as a government, even Ron Paul. And while I agree this is not the worst thing that could be done, I believe that it would be far better for the private sector to act alone in the humanitarian efforts. It is quite doable and I am sure that the private sector will be most responsible at the days end. Lastly, I am not even against governmental action--as long as it is not federal in nature.
My point is simply this: no matter what the situation that arises let's not look to the federal government as our savior. Moreover, let us in the private sector step up, be consistent in our views, and provide help if we are able and willing.
My thoughts and prayers truly are with the Haitian people. May Christ be magnified in this tragedy, and may all suffering be alleviated.
PS: I would also recommend you read the following post by the Humble Libertarian on How to Help Haiti for the Long Term. It provides what we can look to long term after we take care of the needs of the moment.