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Governments cannot be charitable

When people criticise ‘America’ for not giving more money to help with the horrendous calamity that has overwhelmed a large part of southern coastal Asia, they really need to keep in mind that, as mentioned on James Bartholomew’s site, private aid does not get counted and that far outwieghs US government aid. Moreover, money received from a nation-state cannot be charity as the money is not freely given, whereas willingly donated private funds are true charity.

10 comments to Governments cannot be charitable

  • Just out of curiosity, what is the total figure (so far) for aid given by private individuals and – I can only assume – corporations from the US? It would be interesting to compare this figure on a per capita basis with, say, France.

  • Gary Gunnels


    Why? So you an get into a France-bashing contest like our moronic head of USAID? To be honest, is it remotely reasonable or helpful to get into a nationalistic pissing contest over this issue as has been the case over at Reason’s blog?

    Anyway, European and American individuals and corporations – from the reports I have seen – have both been quite generous in their support.

  • Stehpinkeln

    Impeccable logic. As usual, it will drive the experts up the wall. The next time you hear an expert espousing their expertise, remember that there are ‘experts’ (yes, those ARE snear quotes) on Leprechuans, ghosts, Bigfoot, UFO’s, and International Law, none of which actually exist.
    Matt, What does a percentage have to do with ANYTHING? Aid as a % of GDP it is more evidence of an anemic GDP then anything else.
    What counts is the bottom line. I know that drives the Socialists wild, but that is Socialism’s problem.

    “It is always a bad thing when political matters are allowed to affect . . . the planning of operations.”
    -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

  • Eric Anondson

    How much aid from European states currently goes straight to the pockets of corruption in 3rd world nations? Is that really “aid” that is worth trumpeting about?

    I know a good portion of aid can always end up in the pockets of corrupt bureaucrats and presidents-for-life, but the US was vilified when Congress began putting conditions on US aid that actual “results” be seen.

  • Doug Collins

    This question of who is giving how much is mostly a case of various domestic and foreign anti-Americans, with incredibly poor taste, using this tragedy for their own crass purposes. They are beneath contempt.

    If they are truly concerned about the pitiful victims of this catastrophe, their solutions are as close as their own checkbooks.

    Even if it mattered, accounting for funds being spent, at this early date would be an exercise in pointlessness.

  • I’ve posted a graph of the private and public aid figures here(Link)

    US then comes 12th out of 24 in the OECD – ie average – as you’d expect for its largest member

  • Julian Morrison

    I posted upstream, but I’ll post it again here. The correct term would be: international welfare. And its endpoint: the world welfare state, tranzi utopia.

  • The fix is not to advocate the end of international government welfare, certainly not right now anymore than any of the major domestic welfare fixes have been to just stop the programs. Such advocacy may make you feel better but they don’t actually get anything done except humiliate those libertarians who work hard at actually improving things in the real world by association with you.

    The solution is to aim at the inefficiency and corruption angle, mention the elephant in the room that $21B in UN corruption in UNSCAM is a danger to procuring sufficient aid, and that private aid should both be put in official counts of aid and should be given a bigger seat at the table because it’s easy to shut out a private institution that’s gone crooked and there are always many private alternatives who are honest and more efficient than most government efforts.

    I’d certainly be happy to live with losing the principle of no government disaster relief if I could win the practice of a vastly dominant private sector aid sphere and 99.9% of government effort being devoted to applying violence to looters, aid thieves, and other blood sucking criminals.

  • Indeed. Charity ends where coercion begins.

  • Verity

    Julian Morrison has a point.

    I’d be interested to see figures of amounts donated to the UN welfare systems against those donated to private charities. Although, private charity is hard to define these days, given Oxfam and its ilk. Are they private or tranzi?

    Julian, I agree with you on the point of international welfare and its profound undesirability – but what about a situation like this? It’s the tranzis that have been burrowing in for 20 or 30 years who have all the corrupt systems in place. Given the immediacy, we can’t chuck them out, at this moment, just because they’re corrupt. We should have chucked them out years ago, and still should, but that’s beside the point for the moment.

    UNICEF and its ilk have been posturing as the saviours of humanity, and disasters like this give them credence.

    We in the West must dismantle the toxic UN and flush it down the League of Nations toilet. But where will the will be found in Toneboy Blair’s Gramscian
    government/dictatorship and the fiefdoms of Europe?

    Only in America. And then it will be resisted by the Susan Sontagian lefties.

    BTW, if the real Susan is reading, did you notice that on the adorable BBC’s [Don’t] Have Your Say, at least a third of the posters loathed Susie Sontag? And to bulk up the numbers for the death of such an “important” figure, they had to run negative comments?