I’ve been off-blog for a time here as I tend to family during the holidays — normal posting will resume next week.
In the meantime, best wishes for the new year to all of you who keep up with my small effort in the blogosphere here. We celebrated, as is often the case here at our home, with good beer and spicy Szechuan meat sauce noodles — noodles being, as I understand it, symbolic, in the Chinese culture, of long life. Also tasty.
And of course it’s not possible this year to celebrate without thinking of the thousands lost and the thousands still coping with the sorrows and privations of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Living here as we do on the Hayward and San Andreas faults, we can only acknowledge our collective vulnerability, and offer whatever help we’re able.
It’s good to see that our government is finally reacting to the enormity of this disaster with a more appropriate level of assistance than first announced.
But not everyone sees the humanitarian value in such decisions: Our friends at the Ayn Rand Institute argue that the U.S. government shouldn’t offer any humanitarian aid at all. After all, the government has no money of its own except what it raises by taxation — and taxation is, you know, like, theft. “Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first” — so let’s stand on that principle while thousands die!
This ludicrous argument has no virtue other than consistency with the rest of the rad-lib[ertarian] “starve the beast” mentality that, alas, has achieved more influence in the Beltway than anyone would have imagined possible a decade ago. It’s a perspective that’s not far removed from those of proponents of Social Security pseudo-reform, who are really eager to scuttle the program so that the government is no longer involved in securing a safety net for the elderly.
In the end, these people see no role for the government in taking care of anyone, ever. We’ve gone way beyond the days of complaining about welfare queens and the nanny state. We now face determined ideologues who honestly believe that government should let people die of starvation before taxing citizens a cent. Surely the best retort to their extremist idiocy is a simple demonstration of the effectiveness of both public and private aid in the face of nature’s implacable havoc. May such help be there, for them as for all of us, should it ever be needed.