Government: An Impediment to Serving Othersby Will Grigg
Feb. 05, 2014
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According to statist political theory, the government exists to provide indispensable services that are not offered through private, voluntary action. Without such intervention, we are told, people would die of starvation and neglect, medical emergencies would be ignored, and chaos would ensue.
Such claims are impossible to reconcile with the dismal reality of government performance. A splendid example of officially licensed lethal indifference was provided in Washington, D.C. recently, when a 77-year-old man died literally next door to a fire station after collapsing from a heart attack.
The manís daughter pleaded with firefighters to render the aid they had been trained to provide Ė only to be told that they couldnít respond unless somebody called 911. Help didnít arrive until twenty minutes later, by which time the victim was dead.
This official inaction contrasts sharply with the outpouring of private aid rendered by individual citizens in Atlanta following the recent ice storm. While Atlantaís Mayor and the Governor of Georgia were basking in self-approval at a lavish luncheon, thousands of drivers were stranded on the interstate. Without aid from government services, citizens reached out to assist each other on the freeway and in the city.
At its best, political government is an impediment to help, rather than the facilitator thereof.