America the cheap

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5 comments posted
Stinginess

I think you've got the wrong end of this stick. The U. S. government is already more than doubling its contribution. Not only is our contribution the largest of any nation. It's the largest per capita of any nation. Then there's the contribution in kind: the Navy has been dispatched so that our sailors can used to help directly in the relief effort.

But our society is different than our European cousins and other societies in the world. It's not all about institutional virtue but about personal virtue. The Red Cross has already received more than a million dollars for tsunami relief. So has the Amazon fund. And others. And there will be much, much more.

Unlike Norway, Germany, or France we don't see the government as the sole conduit for charitable conduct. Sure, it plays a part. But it's up to us as well.

Frankly, I'm disappointed in the response of the left-leaning blogs on this issue. Most seem to be either ignoring it, giving it scant attention, or using it as a stick to beat Bush (and the American people) up with. Compare Eschaton and Instapundit who occupy similar niches in the blogosphere in their respective left- and right-hemispheres. Glenn has pitched contributions every day. Not so Duncan.

If progressivism is to mean anything it had better stand for personal virtue as well as institutional virtue.

Dave Schuler's picture
Posted by Dave Schuler (not verified) on 29 December 2004 - 10:11am
Who sets the standard?

Are we merely to measure ourselves by comparing ourselves with others? This country as a rich history of promising big and delivering small, especially when it comes to non-white cultures. I remember big promises about taking on AIDS in Africa a few years ago. Lots of big talk.

Personally, I also have problems with the whole "personal virtue vs. institutional virtue" argument. Our institutions either reflect our values, or they don't. Our government either represents us, or it doesn't. As a country, we do not take responsibility for much of what we're responsible for.

Our power is so great, and we're really good at destruction. We'll spend billions on the destruction of a culture, smashing the china shop with a sledgehammer to kill the rats, and ignore the price paid by others.

Oh, but I guess these thoughts are politically incorrect. I should be turning to Jane the grocery clerk and Bob the auto mechanic to deal with the big issues, because "institutional virtue" is too lefty for some folks. Jane, get busy on cleaning up the industrial air and water pollution. Bob, why don't you solve world hunger and get a start on ridding the world of curable diseases.

Sorry, I thought the American government represented the people. Sorry, I thought personal virtue extended to the people who represent us. My mistake. Poor President Bush. We should not judge him for what he does.

-media girl

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2004 - 11:02am
Europeans aren't virtuous?

In your estimation do Europeans lack personal virtue? Are you suggesting Americans are "better" than Europeans because Americans are "about personal virtue," imply Norwegians, Germans, and French aren't?

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 30 December 2004 - 7:12am
Typical blather, factually incorrect

I know the State Department is a bastion of liberals (or worse, according to Joe McCarthy!), but they do use numbers to back up their argument. The US is last in per capita contributions among developed nations. The US rate has been declining since World War two.

See: http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/trade/files/98...

Mark's picture
Posted by Mark (not verified) on 31 December 2004 - 12:58pm
We've heard it so often this week

The "We gave at the office" excuse.

To their credit, they have ramped up a bit. And given our president's military adventurism, we probably don't have the extensive military resources we might otherwise to provide what is needed there the most: logistical means, like helicopters.

AFAIK, to date we've offered up 14 planes, a bit of cash and a line of credit. Private Americans and corporations are making up for the slack -- we can be very generous -- but this is hardly the leadership of a "compassionate" administration that crows all the time about its "Christian values."

It's like coming across someone who has fallen in the street, bleeding profusely, and waiting to offer any assistance until a doctor shows up to properly diagnose the condition.

Oh, I'm getting worked up again. Thank goodness for the goodness of the people!

-media girl

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 31 December 2004 - 3:01pm