Monday, October 1, 2012

Memo to Ed Bobinski: The Politicization of Food Starts with Government Programs

This letter by Ed Bobinski appeared recently in the NJ Star-Ledger:

   Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institution published a letter in The Star-Ledger deploring our state’s decision to feed poor children ("Government isn’t a charity," Sept. 12).
   Food should never be used as a political weapon. Poor, unfed children come from poor, unfed homes. Most parents are good, decent, moral folks who have come upon hard times.            Some parents are uncaring, drug-addicted felons. Some are ignorant about child-rearing. Sometimes there are no parents. But children are children, and hunger is hunger.
   The Heartland Institute is a multimillion-dollar nonprofit research institution. I’m sure its employees are well cared for financially. And what do these folks do with their living? At least one preaches against the downtrodden. What a way to build a country, a society, a civilization.
   Heartland, stay out of New Jersey. We take pride in caring for our citizens.

I left the following comments:

The minute the government undertook to feed one person at the expense of the seizure of another person's money by force, food became a political weapon. Therefor, it is Bobinson--who supports this practice--rather than Pullman who is using food as a political weapon.

I do not take issue with Bobinson's concerns here. They are his concerns, and he is free to act upon them, with his own time and money, as he sees fit. I take issue with his immoral methods. Anyone who undertakes to practice charity with other people's tax money forfeits any right to claim concern for others as a motive, and I utterly reject Bobinson's claim to the moral high road. All individuals, not just Ed Bobinson, have a right to decide when, who, and in what manner to extend a helping hand to others.

Bobinson speaks as if he has the lives and wealth of all "New Jerseyans" at his disposal. He doesn't. He has no right to claim to speak for anyone but himself. There is no "We." Just as it is wrong for him to rob his neighbor at gunpoint, so it is just as wrong to hide that theft under cover of tax law. Any "society" that exempts politicians from the moral law forbidding theft is not a "civilization," but a tribal mob ruled by thugs.

Yes, "children are children, and hunger is hunger." But that is not the moral issue. The only issue involved here is whether or not each individual has the equal right to act upon his own moral judgement without coercive interference from others, including others in their capacity as government officials. The right to disagree is the essence of a moral country, society, or civilization. Government should be out the charity business.

My advice to Ed Bobinski is: Put your own guns away, before you complain about others' use of political weaponry.

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