NH Conservatives and Libertarians should give more

New Hampshire Conservatives and Libertarians are not living up to their own ideals. They should be donating more to their favorite Seacoast non-profit organizations.

Advocates for limited government rightly oppose high taxes and redistribution of funds from private individuals through a central bureaucracy to third parties. They believe charity should begin and end at home and funds should not be confiscated against one’s will in order to give them to someone else. Charity should be a voluntary activity. People should give to the things they support.

The problem is New Hampshire citizens are stingy. They don’t give much. According to data reviewed by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation in their recent report, Stronger Communities, Greater Giving, New Hampshire ranks forty-ninth in the nation in charitable giving. We are one of the wealthiest states in the nation but we give the least (NH has been ranked #50 in the recent past). Like citizens in other New England states, New Hampshire residents apparently have shallow pockets when it comes to supporting charities. That is embarrassing.

Conservatives and Libertarians, especially should be digging deep to support local charities if they want to keep taxes low. I believe this is a moral imperative, not an option. If we want to keep government off our backs and out of our pockets we should be acting voluntarily to support the things we like.

I am now a candidate for State Representative in the Portsmouth, NH Floterial District 30

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17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by john babiarz on August 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I have seen that ranking year after year and it does not reflect the true story. A lot of people volunteer their time more so than money. We in rural New Hampshire are fortunate that people volunteer for fire and ambulance service, which if they did not, we would have not. Clubs like the Loins, Eagles do many projects that help the community.

    Reply

    • HI John: I’ve seen that as well. And I agree, volunteerism is critical. On the same token, most of these great charities do need some operating funds. An organization like the New Hampshire Theater Project, for instance, of which I was formerly on the Board, does great work in educating our kids about theater and life. They barely survive, even maintaining a shoestring budget and just a few staff. People just aren’t willing to pony up cash to support them. I want to encourage people to give more cash in addition to their time.

      Reply

  2. Posted by rayshak@aol.com on August 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Well Kevin, if the Government kept its stinking,Municipal thieving grubby hands out of our “shallow” pockets, perhaps there would be a greater tendency to dig deeper for Charities and less emphasis on guarding our pockets from thieving Government scum!

    Reply

  3. Sounds like you are not a big fan of government :).

    Reply

  4. New Hampshire has town welfare, which doesn’t exist in most other states. This is still government, but it is done at the local level. The town’s Welfare Officer helps local residents who are having financial difficulties. This can be with food, fuel, rent or help finding employment. The help is usually very temporary, and those who are expected to pay the town back when they get back on their feet. Also, in New Hampshire, by law relatives must help each other before the town does. This does not show up in the measures of charity you cited.

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  5. I think that statistic is wrong too. People donate time which cannot be measured. Plus right now some of us can’t pay our bills, let alone donate money.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Scott McPherson on August 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I tend to agree that if government were doing less individuals would be doing more. I do find it odd, though, that New Hampshire ranks so low, especially considering that people in the US overall give quite a bit to charity. One would think such a wealthy, individualistic region would be more charitable. On the other hand, wealthy, individualistic people tend to think that others should make a greater effort to get themselves back on their feet (a view I happen to hold myself). I’m not a fan of the “give back” mentality that has infected our culture; many take it for granted that we all owe something to others just because we are successful and they are not.

    Reply

    • Yes, I’m also not a give-backer so to speak, although I see it more as sharing the blessings with people I care about, which is often the people around me I call community. I like to buy stuff from people I know. I think we should pay for what we value. If you like the work nonprofits do, pay them for their hard work.

      in Philadelphia, there was a great community radio station that I absolutely loved. During their fund drives they would come on and say, “If you are out there listening and have not yet paid for the pleasure please do so now. Otherwise please turn it off. This is not free radio.” I thought that was honest. Instead of saying, poor us – we need your help and we are awfully cool, and nobody likes us, they said, We have a good commercial free product, and if you listen we expect you to pay. I think the same situation should apply to all nonprofits that provide a service.

      At the same time, nonprofits that are not providing anything of value or are providing a lousy service should go out of business no matter haw nice they are.

      Reply

  7. Posted by ___j___ on October 4, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Kevin, first of all, thanks for all your work towards liberty, and best of luck with your election. As for this particular post, I agree partially. But your simple idea is *too* simplistic. In the great words of Einstein, talking about how to grok the universe, everything must be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

    Libertarians must not merely be against welfare — we must also be in favor of charity. Okay, fair enough. But what *kind* of charity is the libertarian kind? We already know what the democratic kind is: run by the federal government, or at best, the municipal. (Ditto for socialist & communist — surprise.) We already know what the theocon kind is: managed by the churches of organized religion, with recipients subject to a religious purity pre-test. We already know what the neocon kind of charity is: give taxpayer dollars to overseas dictators that serve some role in top-secret geopolitical calculus. There is even a classic conservative sort of charity, which your first reply touched on: going out and personally helping somebody else, by donating your time and energy and gumption. *That* one isn’t so bad.

    Conventional charity-organizations are *wrong* for libertarians. We are happy to donate our time to a good cause. We will lend our friends goods, or cash, if we so wish. But we don’t see altruism as the end-goal of our lives. We measure worth objectively. What is the model of the conventional charity? Fork over some cash, to some sort of well-dressed beggar, who says their all-knowing all-seeing all-benevolent all-wise centralized bureaucratic Official Tax-Deductible Charity Recognized By The Federal Government will make all the decisions. Whaaaaat? That ain’t libertarian, friend. Move along, ‘fore I release the hounds.

    Here’s the libertarian kind of charity: first of all, potential recipients are linked directly to the donors, based on geographical proximity. That way, donors can offer classic conservative charity — helping with their own two hands, sharing a meal together, and such. Second of all, potential recipients are vetted by the donors, so that the charity-work we libertarian donors contribute does not merely *add* to the top of the welfare-state and the theological-church pile. I want my hours and my dollars to quite literally *displace* those things. In fact, if a charitable organization were to select a deserving candidate once a month or so, I would be willing to teach that person the philosophy of liberty, help them get a job, and find them a place to stay. Every person this sort of uber-libertarian-charity takes away from the dole, is not merely another person that has been given a fish for a day. We’ve taught them how to fish, for themselves. Beyond that, we’ve taught them how to *think* for themselves. Instead of being a dependent entitlement-slave, beholden to their masters in DC, voting for the prez that will give them the most goodies, they’ll be voting for liberty-candidates, because they’ll grok freedom!

    Maybe the free state project could found the sort of charity that I describe? NH would be a great testbed, with a reasonably dense population pattern, but without millions and millions of hopeless entitlement-drones. I’ll be happy to help build the website where candidates are vetted and donors are matched to them. Should be minimal costs in terms of infrastructure methinks. Even if only half the libertarians convert five people per year each, that’s still several million voters that will show up in 2016 to the primaries, ready to preserve their new-found freedom, and their newly-regained dignity.

    Once we prove the system works, we can think about hiring some fulltime workers (the most effective ones — as measured by their metrics in the volunteer donor-matching system) and *really* start to deplete the populace on the dole. If the converts from last year help with converting the remaining entitlement-drones, we’ll exponentially deplete the entire welfare state in less than a decade, easy. Maybe we can finally repeal social security and food stamps and medicare and medicaid (note: recruit more libertarian-leaning doctors), if nobody is cashing those monthly checks anymore, because libertarians convinced them to wake up? Even if we just concentrate on the states that had at least 25% of the republicans vote for Ron Paul in the primary this year, wouldn’t it be nice to zero out the homeless population in NH, eliminate the people on food stamps, and cut the medicaid/medicare/socsec/etc/etcetera/adinfinitum in half?

    Reply

  8. Gosh, this is a very thoughtful post. I concur with most everything in it. We have the same vision for libertarian-centered charity. But don’t forget, there are many organizations that are classified as charities today that have an educational purpose. They may not be charities in the classic conservative sense but they are providing community-enhancing services. I’d like to remove cash transfers from them too. People should pay for what they like. Get the coercion out of it. Unfortunately we are stuck in a system that has a long way to go before it is completely neighbor-centric.

    If the Free State Project were to embark on the initiative you suggest I would love to be involved as a consultant to help them set it up. It would be the best way to shrink government and build a more peaceful and healthier community. It is something we envision doing with our common sense community builders as well.

    Reply

    • Posted by ___j___ on October 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Sure, getting people off the dole should not be the only goal of TCHTWHTRPFLFI. You mentioned the theater-group in one of your posts. I would donate a few hours to that effort, *if* the group would guarantee me they were displacing some dept-of-education grant money, or some NEA grant money, or something similar. (Also, um, if the kids could stand my singing voice. Maybe I should avoid the musicals?)

      The idea is, I want TCHTWHTRPFLFI to vet charity-orgs, and make sure they are helping me *replace* government-funded charity with private-sector charity, when I donate. Make sense?

      The reason I mention free-state-project is because I though you were involved with it. (I’m not a NH resident, yet at least. I do take your state motto as my own, however!)

      Reply

      • I like your thinking. No, while I meet many FSP people in my liberty conversations I am not part of the project. I support most of their goals however.

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