The Village View

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Putting my money where my mouth is

A couple of thoughts as the result of a discussion I had on Saturday night:

1) Disagreement and argument are inevitable in human discourse, hell they're necessary both in personal relationships and in government. One thing, however, that I think has slipped is our ability to disagree without being disagreeable. Unless someone is making a racist or sexiest comment, or directing a personal attack at you (or your mother), most times we could probably do a better job of separating the argument from the one doing the arguing. Heck, maybe if we do it in every day life, our politicians will pick up on it.

2) As Thoreau before me, "I heartily accept the motto,—'That government is best which governs least....'" Fundamentally, I think that the state's role is to provide the basic services (establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense), but that many things are better left to the private sector or individuals. For one thing, the private sector is more efficient generally then the government. Furthermore, and this is the crux, "it's my money" (that the government is using to pay for services). I understand that the government needs to take some of my money(through taxes) to pay for common goods, but I don't want the bureaucrats and politicians to forget that it's my money and they should use as little of it as possible. Ergo: a limited government spending the least amount possible to provide the basic services.

It is, therefore, imcumbant upon the citizens of such a limited state to step up to the plate. Don't want the government to spend so much money on homeless services? Get your ass out of bed on saturday morning and work in the soup kitchen, whip out that checkbook and make a donation to hurricane relief, disease research or your house of worship.

I've decided that since I feel strongly about the role of the state vs private citizens, I need to put my money (and time) where my mouth is. No more, "I'll do it once I'm more established finanacially" or "once I pay off my student loans." Therefore, I have decided increase my commitment to those non-profits that I support. One of these is The Nature Conservancy where I've recently decided to join the Young Professionals Council here in New York.

I would encourage those of you, who like me, cursed out loud when you looked recently at the various "tax withheld" boxes on your W2, to find a non-governmental organization with which to get involved.


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