Everything’s illegal! Yes, even feeding the homeless
When government bureaucrats start shutting down lemonade stands and hassling five year olds for operating without a permit, you know we have a problem. When they make acts of charity illegal, you have to question if we’ve hit rock bottom.
Long time readers of this blog know about government’s war on freedom and liberty. Think you have a right to reasonable use of your property or a right to earn an honest living? Think again. And again. And again. I could go on. You might not know, however, the extent to which the government has banned purely charitable acts. Here are a just a few examples of the phenomenon:
- NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has “outlawed … food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content.” (h/t Reason)
- No unauthorized debris-clearing in tornado-stricken Minneapolis.
- Don’t feed the homeless: It’s BANNED in major cities all over America.
- Retired doctors are widely forbidden from offering charity care without maintaining a regular medical license.
What all these regulations have in common, from restrictions on property rights to shutting down lemonade stands and charitable “Feed the Homeless” events, is a mindset of politicians and bureaucrats to control every facet of our lives. It is, of course, done in the name of “safety” or “health risks,” but do we really want to live in a country when you have to get a permit just to be a Good Samaritan?
Unfortunately, there seems to be this idea out there that it is the job of the government to take care of everyone and that nobody else should even try. Thus, some of our most sacred rights and privileges have become little more than denigrated acts which may be extinguished by bureaucratic whim.
This reminds me of when I was in law school and Arthur Brooks – president of the American Enterprise Institute – spoke at a university forum on “Why Giving Matters.” I felt one of his concluding comments was appropriate here:
You will hear in the coming days and weeks and months that if our country were doing what it should be doing for people in need, then we wouldn’t need private giving, that the government would be taking care of people who need it, and that we would not need you to step in to provide needs. Having looked at the data, I am here to tell you today that the day the government takes over for you in your private charity is the day we get poorer, unhappier, and unhealthier. The process starts right now on the day the government crowds us out. We must demand to take our place as givers and to support our communities of need and people who need the services that we can provide.