Friday, August 16, 2013

End Farm Subsidies, Then End Food Stamps

A New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial lambasting the House for failing to fund the federal food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is titled Ignoring the hungry. This is what the Republicans are accused of for severing SNAP from their version of the farm bill for separate consideration. Of course, the GOP fully supports SNAP, and merely wants to reduce its size, which has more than doubled since 2008.

I left these comments:

My answer to this editorial is titled, Ignoring the theft, which is exactly what the editors and all SNAP supporters are doing. The food stamp program is built on theft—the worst kind, legalized theft—and is therefor immoral and contrary to the proper purpose of government. The defenseless victims are the taxpayers whose wealth is seized at gunpoint to pay the bill; defenseless, because the thief is the very institution—the government—whose purpose is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens. When the government becomes the criminal, there is nowhere to turn—the individual is defenseless. Fortunately, we still have free speech, so we can at least speak out against corrupt government and the corrupt morals behind it.

By ignoring the means, the editors and their ilk obliterate morality. Morality is a guide to personal action, not merely a guide to ends sought. The ends don't justify the means. A proper moral perspective acknowledges this. Need is not a moral claim on the lives and property of others. If it is, then it follows that need is a license to plunder. Plunder is what this and all other government "safety net" programs are about. A proper morality forbids plunder. The issue is not about lending a helping hand to the hungry, which people can and have done privately and voluntarily. The issue is, what right does anyone have to impose "charity" by force? None. Every individual has a moral right to spend his own money as he sees fit, including if, when, in what capacity, and to whom he extends charity.

Anyone who promotes ends without any consideration for the morality and justice of the means has no right to claim compassion as his motive or reason as his method.

Having said that, I agree that it is unconscionable that "Their farm bill . . . lacks funding for food stamps, but it is packed with generous subsidies for farmers and agribusinesses." If their is one thing worse than forced charity for the "poor," it's forced charity for the rich. The Republicans, who actually support the food stamp program but just want to trim it, would at least be credible by starting with elimination of all of these subsidies. 

As to the food stamp program, it should be privatized and ended, with its operations turned over to whatever private charities wish to pick them up, based on whatever private voluntary donations they can raise, allowing enough time for the transition. As to those posturing champions of SNAP, they are free to seek out and identify children they deem worthy, and give them their own money or food. We need the separation of charity and state, so we can remove force and return morality to the honorable practice of helping others based on what each of us as individuals judge consistent with our own values and personal circumstances.

Related Reading:

Booker's "Humble" Food Stamp Campaign Highlights the Immorality of the Food Stamp Program

Government Should Not Subsidize Junk Food or Health Food but End All Subsidies

No comments: