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”?

Hmmmm.

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

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