Sunday, September 1, 2013

Government forbids people to feed the homeless

I often hear people express scorn of the voluntarism embodied in Libertarian thought.  They assert that Libertarians are effectively heartless because they prefer to rely first on people helping other people than to invoke the power of the State.

But it actually takes the State to make feeding the hungry illegal:

In Raleigh NC:
On the morning of Saturday, August, 24, Love Wins showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years. We provide, without cost or obligation, hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to anyone who wants one. We keep this promise to our community in cooperation with five different, large suburban churches that help us with manpower and funding. 
On that morning three officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever. An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested.
In New York:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have struck again! Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Glenn Richter arrived at a West Side synagogue on Monday to collect surplus bagels — fresh nutritious bagels — to donate to the poor. However, under a new edict from Bloomberg’s food police he can no longer donate the food to city homeless shelters. 
In Orlando FL:
 Since when is it illegal to give somebody food? In Orlando FL, it has been since April 2011, when a group of activists lost a court battle against the city to overturn its 2006 laws that restrict sharing food with groups of more than 25 people. The ordinance requires those who do these “large” charitable food sharings in parks within two miles of City Hall to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per park for a year.
Notice in that last one that activists took the city to court for the right to feed the poor ... and lost.

Perhaps, as my friends critical of volunteer action would argue, a Libertarian society would leave the poor and destitute behind.  I doubt it, but we can debate the matter.

What appears indisputable, however, is that in a strongly statist society the poor and destitute WILL be left behind.

6 comments:

Dana Garrett said...

You left out the most damning and causative backgrounds of these stories. City governments take these actions, create pretexts not to help the homeless, after businesses in the cities claim that the presence of the homeless on city streets hurts their businesses. So the initiative for these actions come from the private sector, a sector that Libertarians do not want to prohibit from making financial contributions to political campaigns.

Also, the chief complaint is that a Libertarian society would create more homeless people, a certainty after it abolishes minimum wage and subsidized housing for the poor.

tom said...

Is that a real, observable "certainty", or just a theoretical "certainty"?

Can you show any documented instances where eliminating a minimum wage or a subsidized housing program caused a long-lasting or permanent increase in homelessness?

There is plenty of evidence, including the government's own statistics, showing that every increase of the Minimum Wage creates a long-term loss of jobs, and that subsidized housing programs decrease the amount of housing available at the low end of the market.

delacrat said...


"There is plenty of evidence, including the government's own statistics, showing that every increase of the Minimum Wage creates a long-term loss of jobs, and that subsidized housing programs decrease the amount of housing available at the low end of the market." - Tom

If there was "plenty of evidence," you'd have mentioned some.

tom said...

If only there were tools that indexed the vast amounts of information available online and made references to it available at the click of a button...

Imagine: even google-eyed yahoos like Delacrat could easily research any subject. And they wouldn't have to resort to lame fallacies like, "Tom didn't mention it, therefore it doesn't exist."

But alas, that is firmly within the realm of Science Fiction.

delacrat said...

Tom,

It is customary for the burden of proof to lie with those who make the assertion, not on those whom the person making the assertion is trying to persuade.

tom said...

which is why i'm still waiting for an answer from Dana...