Monday, February 24, 2014

I asked you to donate to poor people in Guatemala, and here’s what happened

I am only going to comment on a couple paragraphs in this post.

Matt Walsh writes:

I don’t want to wander too far off the tracks and turn this into a political statement, yet I can’t help but notice something. I often get into arguments about the Nanny State. I make my point that multi-trillion dollar entitlement programs aren’t necessary because Americans are charitable and generous on their own.  If that is true, then why does so much poverty still exist in the U.S.? If Americans were charitable and generous enough to do away with poverty without government intervention, why does it still exist? We will take care of each other, if only the government would back away and let us do what needs to be done.  What, exactly, is the government doing to prevent us from doing what needs to be done? I work with those in need on a regular basis. I have never come across any situation in which government programs prevented me from helping out. If poverty were a problem that could be solved simply by throwing some money at it, and if I had tons of money, I could very easily eradicate poverty in the U.S. right now. The government is not stopping me.  In response, I’m usually informed that I’m far too optimistic (which is just about the only time I’ll ever be accused of such a thing). I’m told that the government needs to do “what Americans aren’t willing to do themselves.” I’m told that the poor will be left to whither and die without the government facilitating forced “giving.” I’m told that the churches have failed in their duty to provide for the less fortunate. Maybe the problem is too big and too systemic for churches and/or individuals to handle on their own, despite their willingness.

I’m told such things. And then I write one post — just one — saying, “hey, can you chip in to help build a well and buy some food for poor folks in Guatemala,” and what happens? Scores of readers say, “absolutely.” A few days later, we’ve raised 17 grand. So here's the other point. It is very nice that your readers contributed that much money. Really. I don't mean to take away from that, but 17,000 is not going to do anything to solve world poverty. It's not even close to a drop of a drop of a drop of a drop in the bucket. It is a nice gesture, but charity will not address the deep, structural (political, economic, social) causes of poverty. Only an institution with access to resources and power (say, the government) could do that.

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