The earthquakes in Haiti have brought that little island hell-hole into the limelight (and at a VERY convenient moment when TPTB want you focused on anything except our own government). The resulting frenzied coverage of this third-world cesspool rekindled my long-standing concern and frustration with how too many Americans dispense charity.
Haiti's in the Western Hemisphere, but their "government" is essentially an African tribal kleptocracy. To the extent that anyone governs anything down there, it is done purely for personal gain. Too much of the aid we naively send down there ends up in the offshore accounts of corrupt ministers. By any honest measure, it ranks as one of the most corrupt governments on earth.
A great illustration of this is found in a comparison of Haiti's per capita annual GDP with that of the Dominican Republic (which occupies the balance of the island): Dominican Republic: $7400, Haiti: $1300. If the final score of a high school basketball game was 74 to 13 and your team scored 13, you'd be looking for a new coach, not flying him dinner.
Before the earthquake hit, there were already over ten thousand organizations from around the world giving aid to Haiti. This for a population of only nine million (more like 8.8 million now, I suppose). Many if not most of these aid groups are church-based. In my own tiny rural county, I personally know several people who have traveled there to try to help, and several more who gave money and supplies for the trip. (I applaud their intentions, but am at a loss to see where the populace of Haiti has significantly benefited from all the effort. Would the outcome of the earthquake be any different if we had done nothing for the last 20 years???)
This is a staggering number of people giving aid. Counting all the church members abroad, there are probably millions more people helping than there are to be helped. The sad state of the country prior to the earthquake proves that the problems down there are deeply rooted in very dark areas of human nature. Food, medicine and clothes clearly won't produce a Haiti that is any different next year than last. We're just 1) enabling the corruption, and 2) keeping the peasants alive to suffer under it.
With all the outside "aid" over the years the Haitian people themselves have developed a handout expectation/dependence that borders on repulsive. (I would expect my goats to bleat for food, but an entire nation of humans should know better.) We've been all too eager to accommodate, so I surmise that very few of the people trying to help have looked at the whole mess very critically. Since we've also ignored their real problem for decades, the Haitians themselves have no expectation of change. Waiting around for the next handout is actually rational behavior under the circumstances, and I don't blame them for it at all. I blame us.
To me, this boils down to the difference between teaching a man to fish and merely feeding him a meal. This earthquake produced a teachable moment of gargantuan proportions. We already have troops down there. The government, such as it was, is now nonexistent. We can't be accused of overthrowing anything, since there's nothing to overthrow.
Why not make all aid for rebuilding contingent on adoption of the International Building Code? (Given the "culture" down there some of the remedies in the Code of Hammurabi could be folded in for good measure, and you need to google this if you don't know what I'm talking about...)
Rather than rebuild anything FOR them, we should hire American construction workers (a few of whom just happen to be looking for work right now) to train and supervise Haitians, who will be paid in food. (Aid should be contingent on effort. You only get fed after you work! This is a perfectly fair pay scale, since these very people are presently engaged in begging or subsistence farming anyway.)
We also have a golden opportunity to do away with the self-defeating expectation of perpetual corruption down there. At the same time we're teaching them how to physically rebuild, most of the organizations who are already engaged in aiding Haiti should refocus their efforts on education. (The medical guys should stick to their guns, but most of the rest should help Haiti shake off it's third world voodoo mentality.) Teaching the basics will do - ethics, reading, ethics, logic, ethics, writing, ethics, math, ethics, Austrian Economics, ethics - all with an emphasis on ethics. (Did I make my point yet?) In other words, we would specifically set out to destroy the practices of voodoo and kleptocracy with ethics and logic.
We'd likely have to keep this up for a generation or three, but since we're now poised to assist them in perpetuity this is actually an attractive alternative.
(These ideas presuppose that everyone offering aid has honest intentions. The ethics part is particularly far fetched, since the globalists running America are hell-bent on destroying OUR constitution. It's a real leap to believe that they would tolerate individual liberty springing up anywhere else in the world. The whole idea is actually preposterous, and I offer it more as commentary than in expectation of results.)
This brings me to my last point on aiding those in need, which goes directly to our priorities: There are now unemployed people living in at least three tent cities within a 50 mile radius of where I live (and I live in out in the country!). I'm aware of several individuals and a whole family living nearby in cars and/or vans as well. It's high time all the "helpful" people in America turned their attention to their own nation and (preferably) their own neighborhood.
Yes, I know it's far easier to care passionately about a problem that's three thousand miles away than about a problem down at the other end of your own block. You can write a few checks, perhaps take an exotic vacation and you'll feel great about yourself. Unlike helping your neighbor, there's no chance the helpless needy bastard will ring your doorbell sometime next week looking for even more help.
If you know more about some Haitian family than your elderly or jobless neighbor, I'm talking to you. If you'd gladly send a $1000 check to Haiti but wouldn't help a neighbor catch up on his house payment or buy food, I'm talking to you. If you'd travel to Haiti to build an orphanage but wouldn't paint and caulk a little old lady's house in your own hometown, I'm talking to you.
We (as a nation) need to figure out what went wrong here at home, and we need to do so PDQ. We need to pull together, clean house and then help our own countrymen back to their feet. Along the road to an American renaissance we'll rediscover what actually betters peoples lives, which will make any future foreign aid far more moral and thus more effective.
Time is short. Get with it...
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