The Compassionate Side of Libertarianism in Action - an essay
By Gene Balfour
Recently, Lance (a contributor to our Facebook page) posed an excellent question that has arisen when he has spoken with others about Libertarianism. Some people seem to think that our Platform does not adequately address the needs of people in crisis or society's most needy people in general.
My wife, Cynthia, reminded me of a recent example of Libertarianism In Action. Many of you may have similar stories, but allow me to begin story-sharing with her example—The Minden Flooding Crisis.
Water levels this Spring are at record highs, and flooding is common in the Kawartha region owing to extremely high river and stream levels. The town of Minden was badly hit; flooding damaged homes. Who was one of the first there to help? The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) organization!
The MDS is a group of skilled Mennonite residents who volunteer (no payment expected) to help residents in this sort of crisis. These men and women help load sand bags along swollen river edges to minimize flooding. They enter your home to remove damaged walls, floors, etcetera and rebuild them with new wood. Food, shelter and clean water is offered to residents whose lives have been seriously disrupted. These volunteers receive no help or direction from any level of government except for permission by the reeve who controls when they can get started; then, they just show up, offer to help, and do so cheerfully.
Ironically, a news report during that period announced that a government meeting was planned to discuss how to improve government aid during crises such as these. Of course, this will begin the process of determining policies and budget requirements for this public initiative, and it will then become just another one of many initiatives that will compete for priority, funding and policy approvals in the years to come.
When the Ontario Libertarian Party speaks of enabling Non-governmental Options to become available without regulatory restrictions, it includes examples like this one where friends, neighbours, community groups, non-profit enterprises, for-profit businesses and yes - government services - can all have a role to play in addressing people's needs.
Governments generally like to be in control when "sh*t happens" because every politician learns to "never let a crisis go to waste" for the opportunity to expand government reach into, and impose more government controls onto our communities and their citizens.
We have the polar opposite view - to empower our citizens with more options to fight disasters in a timely and cost-effective manner.
If you agree with our Platform, join our Party and a rapidly growing community of citizens that plan to vote for our Limited Government + Non-government Options vision for Ontario. Make a donation to our War Chest. Getting our message out is expensive and every looney helps to inform & remind our citizens that government aid should not be our only option for aid, and is likely not even our best option. All citizens deserve access to their preferred "best options" in times of need and crisis and this is a bedrock belief in Libertarianism.