Can a libertarian support charities for veterans ?
I have often been asked, and asked myself about my ethical views as a libertarian versus the joy I find and have found in donating to charity.
As a libertarian I believe that no man should be forced to work for another man´s sake, nor ask a man to work for his ("Who is John Galt ?").
Some kind of charty might lead to a form of slavery, when the bequested becomes so used to it that his drive for self-fulfillment and self-proficiency dwindles.
That led me to my rule of 3 questions I appl to any charity :
1) Is the charity a true means to help in one cause that I believe in (I have onyl four I believe in, the main two being health and education of children and saying good bye to cancer within the next 25 years. The other 2 remain my personal secret).
2) Do I donate to enrich myself by the joy of donation, and by feeling enriched myself by the deed of donation, i.e. am I the recipient of the donation or do I feel compelled by any outside force, be it the law or be it a moral excise society bestows upon me? Do I do it to impress someone? Do I want something in return ? Unless it is the joy itself, or even if I sense a feeling I might be driven by one of the latter motives, I shall decline. 3) Most importantly : Is there a chance the charity might lead to any form of compulsion, of slavery, if it takes away the drive of a person to be no longer recipient of its means, I will honour the dignity of the person higher than to participate in a crooked dealing like that.
Now here is the issue : I detest any kind of war that are not in defense against external forces, against forces that aim to take any individual´s or group of individual´s rights away. And yes, I think and continue to think that any forced entry even by a military coalition in a foreign country is stupid, unnecessary and arrogant. I have repeatedly offered our German secretary of defense to give me her eldest son - let him and me drive through Mali, Afghanistan and Irak, as these countries we send german soldiers to are deemend safe areas, “no war zones”, we send our soldiers to god knows what they are supposed to do there. I detest any kind of war, and I will detest any shady dealings like "this is not a war, they are just soldiers in a foreign country". Send soldiers and by definition you have a war.
Still, I will always salute veterans.
Any person who saw war, who saw the atrocities, the pain, the suffering, the feeling of loss and mpotence against all that was happening around us, but who stood to stay his ground, with gallantry and honour, not falling to become neither vicious nor a coward, I will deem him and deem every veteran worthy of my support, no matter which side he or she stood upon.
I have seen things I did not want to see. I have seen things nobody should ever have to see.
I must admit that “Under the bludgonings of chance I have cried” my fair share. Some nights I have walked alone in the dark after waking up from a nightmare, sent back in it to the places I would never return to; and now too afraid to fall asleep again.
I know more and better man have seen much more, worse and most of all they saw it more often. The abyss that is in everyone opened up under us. It is a sight you do not expect. It is the most desperate view.
I will salute every veteran.
Not despite being a libertarian, but because of it. Because I know how much had been taken from us individually.How we were sent back to a life that could not be the same, a life we kept our feet still in while we wanted to run, tun away from all there was and no matter how fast we run, it will be with us, as it is burned into us. I salute veterans not because they deserve, but because I think we should honour them for being the great people they are. Being great, despite all.
Because only those who have seen and cannot forget will understand Aristotle´s words: "Only the dead have seen the end of the war".
I am a libertarian, and I sponsor the help for heroes UK foundation.