Nobody Has A “Right” To Charity

Over at the Huffington Post, Kerry Kennedy and Monika Kalra Varma are making a rather bizarre argument about Haiti,

The international community too often regards procurement and distribution of basic supplies as charity, but it is wrong. Access to food, water, shelter, education and healthcare are basic human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For too long, the international community has also failed to involve local communities in the planning process or open their books so local stakeholders could see what was to be spent on which projects.

Like many liberal “ideas,” this sounds nice, but it’s almost unspeakably stupid and ill-thought out.

Providing people with “food, water, shelter, education and healthcare” costs money. So, it may sound nice to say that those things are “rights,” not charity, but what it actually means is that you believe someone else should be deprived, by force if necessary, of his property so it can be given to someone else.

Furthermore, there’s not even a need for the people receiving the “food, water, shelter, education and healthcare” to be grateful or even to work to provide those things for themselves. After all, they’re not receiving “charity,” it’s their “right” to receive those things.

Moreover, it’s true that conservatives tend to be a little quick to play the Commie card. But, when you start declaring that one person has a “right” to things that another person worked for and earned, you’re stepping up to that line. In fact, when you get right down to it, what Kennedy and Varma said there is little different from Marx’s famous quotation, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

If Kennedy & Varma want to argue that more should be done for Haiti or that nations that pledged aid should live up to their pledges, that’s fine, but when you start claiming that we have a responsibility to pay for “food, water, shelter, education and healthcare” for everybody in the world because it’s their “right,” then you’re veering into dangerous territory.

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