The recent county hearing regarding the proposed sale of the Montevue/Citizens properties offered the perfect opportunity to draw distinctions between the voluntary and the coercive options at hand. The opponents of the sale were organized in the usual manner when these types of decisions are before a government body. First, the “customers” of the service being considered are trotted out in the beginning of the hearing with truly heartbreaking stories of dire need. Then the “experts” are assembled - in this case the leftist politicians and Board of Trustees current and former - to testify about the need being genuine and the financial costs being worthwhile. Lastly the staff which almost always consist of public employee union members are lined up to talk about how they love the job so much and do such a good job and are so dedicated that it could never be duplicated in the free market. The primary tone of each person testifying in favor of the government service is that the only motivations of those opposing them are criminal cruelty to the needy and/or outright corruption.
The possibility of the exact opposite being the case is never entertained, because these tactics have for so long worked so brilliantly that nearly no one questions them anymore. And who could stand up under the withering attack by the special interest group vilifying their opponents as heartless and mean if not “on the take”. Particularly disheartening are the despicable lies that the organizers tell the “customers” of these services. The specific scare-mongering for these residents was the story that they would literally be thrown out on the street if this sale occurred which was not true in any sense. The typical union bullying and social pressure started before the event even started out in front of the venue and online. Hurling vile insults via facebook and other social media at all those who oppose their obviously righteous campaign, the opponents of the sale accused the proponents of wanting to throw grandma of the cliff once again. During the staff testimony section, a union member (in the form of “testifying”) performed the tired role of outing the opposition by asking for a show of hands of who is for and who is against in order to poison the well for the eventual testimony of the proponents of the sale so the organized will know who to boo a priori.
What goes unsaid too often is that the better way to care for these needy is by direct and voluntary charity rather than the government coercion and the force of tax law. Even less said is the fact that the morally bankrupt position is in fact the one held by the folks who want to use the police power of the government to enforce stealing from the many to enrich the few. This modern day robinhoodism is a thin veil hiding the real corrupt party in these hearings. These public employee labor unions always operate on an inherent conflict of interest. They take dues from their members who are government employees in order to lobby the government to give more pay and benefit for the workers over and above what the market would bear in the voluntary sector. But moreover, they lobby to add dues-paying members to their numbers through an increase in government positions which always leads to higher taxes for the fewer and fewer left holding check. The truly heartless in the room were those using the elderly as props to continue the theft of that which they cannot or will not compete for in the voluntary sector. Instead of honestly querying their families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, businesses, faith communities, and civic organizations for voluntary donations for this very worthy cause, they choose short cuts and the way of violence. They choose to use the police power of the state.
We heard over and over again during the hearing that the buyer was a for-profit company, and that that means the elderly will go uncared for. These folks refuse to or can’t understand that the best service is always rendered by the market for the price. The price is always lower when the government stays out of that market meaning that the charitable have less cost to cover and is therefore more efficient in meeting the needs of the truly needed. This brings us to the next feature of voluntary care for the elderly or whatever other government service that is unnecessary. The truly needed are cared for and not the free-rider due to personal accountability which is the hallmark of direct and voluntary charity. A nameless, faceless government cannot and will not be able to distinguish between the two.
The best, most efficient and effective means of supporting the neediest in our communities is always through voluntary association. This is also the only virtuous action with regards to caring for people. When we advocate for government to take care of charity by socializing the cost across the entire taxpaying population, it is shirking our responsibility as individuals and as a community.