Community and the Less Fortunate

Modern liberal statists often label themselves as the advocates of community. Some may contrast this with the supposed individualism of libertarianism, although this would display a misunderstanding of what we actually believe. So, what is healthy for a community? What fosters the sense of community? I believe that our current welfare state destroys community, whereas a free society that respects property rights (doesn’t steal through taxes) fosters community. In a free society, if a less fortunate person is in need, they usually have to seek assistance personally from others (even though there may also be large private assistance organizations and charities in a free society). Other people in the community, knowing that this poor person has nowhere to go but to them for assistance (because there is no welfare state), are quite likely to assist the person in need because they know the consequences of their inaction. The personal relationship begins. When people don’t have a government to go to, they turn toward each other directly for assistance and cooperation. This is community.

However, in a welfare state, when a poor person is in need, they have no need for personal interaction with their neighbor or family, as they can simply go to a bureaucratic office to sign some forms and get their assistance in an impersonal fashion from a faceless government. In such a statist society, the middle class tends to view the poor as nameless statistics that have to be considered for budgetary purposes instead of individual people that they themselves would have to interact with directly. Moreover, the state creates bitterness between the “haves” and “have-nots” by coercively stealing from most people and giving it, often with poor oversight, to some. Force and stealing is a divisive feature of the state. In your own experience, haven’t you noticed many middle class people being grumpy and bitter toward the poor at various times because they believe that their money is being mishandled and wasted in certain welfare/healthcare programs? It is beyond obvious that force and the threat of violence (this is what government is) does not foster brotherly love, but hatred instead. Overall, government acts as an impersonal middleman, often inefficient, that separates the assistor and the assisted, destroying personal interaction within the community.

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