The Corner

Aid to The Stricken

At the risk of waking up tomorrow morning to find recruiters from the Ayn

Rand Institute camped on my front lawn, I’m having trouble convincing myself

that the US govt. should give *any* of our public monies to the stricken of

South Asia.

The call for “government aid” is, after all, just an anthropomorphizing of

government; and that leads to innumerable evils.

It is, in any case, as someone (Oakeshott?) has pointed out, a kind of

category error. We should not wish for our govt to be as we wish our

friends to be. I want my friends to be trusting and generous; but I’d

prefer my govt chronically suspicious, and when govt is generous, it’s

generous with OUR MONEY.

As private persons moved by this ghastly event, we should of course be free

to, and be ENCOURAGED to, do all we can to help. But “government aid”?


John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Ohio Bans ‘Nature Rights’

Finally! After voters in Toledo granted "rights" to Lake Erie -- in a special election, it should be noted, with minuscule turnout -- Ohio has outlawed the enforcement of "nature rights" in a budget bill signed by the governor. From the legislation: Sec. 2305.011...[Definitions omitted] (B) Nature or any ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More