The 108th Congress should
- end the "maintenance of effort" requirement and
- prohibit new entrants to the welfare rolls;
- end the legacy of "The New Deal."
- acknowledge that it has no constitutional authority to levy taxes and
appropriate funds for charity.
Libertarians sometimes have a reputation of being greedy
capitalists who don't care about the poor.
Individualists who don't care
about their community.
Go ahead and assume for a moment that I'm a
cold-hearted uncompassionate conservative.
Capitalists who put profit ahead of people.
Assume that I don't believe there are
any poor people who deserve help.
- There are no children ignored by
- No elderly shut-ins with empty
"You're crazy!" you say. "What do you mean there are no
poor deserving of help? Haven't you seen the statistics!?"
I don't believe statistics. What you have to do is show me a poor person
that you yourself have personally met. If you know there are
poor who need help, Show me that person. Take me there. Point
out the "deserving poor."
When you do, then I will tell you what you have to do. Then
I will tell you what your three options are.
||You can take some money out of your
wallet and help that person.
Don't have enough money to share? Then you have two options
||You can persuade
me and other greedy Republican fat-cats to give you some of the
money we made as entrepreneurs and capitalists so that you can give
it to the poor person you encountered. If we think this poor person
is poor because of his own fault, and don't want to give you our
money to give to that bum -- or even if we agree with you that your
poor person is a victim of tragic circumstances, but don't want to
give you our hard-earned money because we're greedy and heartless --
then perhaps you will conclude you have one option left.
||Lobby for a government welfare
program so you can put a gun to my
head and order me to give you my money so you can redistribute
my wealth more "fairly," threatening me with fines
and prison if I try to keep the money I
Libertarians believe that this third option is really no option at all. It
is not ethically legitimate.
Why would you spend your time and money lobbying for a government program
instead of persuading people to directly and personally
help the poor?
I believe socialism is unethical.
Every government program is socialist.
Every government program is funded by theft.
Every government program is unethical.
So what am I going to do about the poor? As a Libertarian I only have two
Option #1: For nearly ten years
before I moved to the 41st Congressional district, I lived in "B-1
Bob" Dornan's district, in a not-very-desirable part of Santa Ana. I
rented a large 12-room house with a couple of friends, and I let those that
I thought were "deserving poor" stay in the extra rooms. I hosted
12-step meetings to help them get off drugs, sex,
gambling, and other "defects
of character" that kept them trapped in poverty. I helped them
write a résumé. I collected clothing appropriate for job interviews. I
gave them bus fare to get to their new job. I also let those that many
Republicans believe are "undeserving" live with me, such as illegal
aliens. I taught them English. I protested in front of the homes of
employers who didn't pay them what they promised. I made the poor a part of
my own home, and did so without salary or government grants, sacrificing the
earning potential of a USC graduate who passed the California Bar Exam. I
did this because I had been persuaded that helping the poor
made me more fully human.
I didn't do it because the government forced me to do
In fact, my most consistent obstacle in my quest to help the poor
was the government. I wasn't "licensed." I wasn't a
"professional." My home wasn't "zoned" as a "shelter."
I remember spending hours and hours with one addict, trying to keep him from
using, thinking I had succeeded, and the next day he received a check
from the government, who had decided that his drug addiction was a "disability."
That entire check -- over $1,000 -- was turned over to the local drug dealer
for a weekend drug binge. "Your tax dollars at work."
A faceless check from a Washington bureaucrat is no substitute for
genuine person-to-person, heart-to-heart charity. Socialism is not an
ethically legitimate option.
Now I am running for Congress to advance Option #2 -- persuading
people to take personal responsibility for themselves, their families, and
for the poor in their own community. Not everyone needs to invite a dozen
homeless people into their homes, but everyone can do something. Right now,
most people do very little to help the needy, believing "that's the
The Bible says
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the
Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Before the "New Deal" transferred charity to the State,
churches and voluntary
associations did not fail to provide for widows and orphans. The
transfer was made in order to benefit government, not the
In the days following the terrorism of 9-11, Americans showed themselves
to be charitable beyond measure, without government coercion. We came to the
aid of the people in New York because we are Americans, not because the
government threatened to have us brutalized in prison if we didn't. True
charity comes from the heart, not the barrel of a government gun. Welfare
belongs to the people, not the politicians.
Some people object to the Libertarian position on the grounds that the
majority of people are greedy and have no compassion for the poor, and the
poor will starve to death unless Government overrules the greedy majority
and provides benefits for the poor against the objections of the greedy
But every November these same people engage in campaigns and political
action to persuade the greedy majority to vote for liberal politicians who
promise to give money to the poor. Does this make sense? Why not just
persuade the greedy majority to give directly to the poor instead of sending
their money to Washington in a long, leaky hose, and have Washington send it
back with instructions not to use it to teach morality
Liberals don't believe the greedy majority can be trusted to take care of
the poor, but then they turn around and claim that the greedy majority can
be entrusted to vote in democratic elections for government officials who
will take care of the poor.
Or do they?
Some Libertarians suspect that those who object to the Libertarian
position don't really want the majority to decide, and don't really believe
in democracy. They are elitists who believe they are better than everyone
else. They want their views imposed on others by force.
In addition to traditional forms of
welfare for the poor, the Government currently provides welfare in the
If all Republicans are greedy and don't care about the poor, then all
Democrats are elitists who think everyone is selfish and depraved and cannot
be depended on to help the needy - everyone, that is, except Democratic
politicians, who "feel our pain" and are truly compassionate -- as
long as they can be compassionate with other people's money.
I believe America is a better nation than this.