I was just thinking along these lines, and a friend posted my thoughts:
So that saved me a LOT of typing.
And what I have to add is something I have been going on about for years. It's usually in regard to the health care debate, but really, it applies to everything.
Sharing resources is a natural and normal part of the human experience. At the most basic level, ten people living together can do so exponentially cheaper than ten people living separately. There may be some line-ups for the bathroom, and some arguments over the microwave, but there's a reason we tend to live in groups, even if it's a bunch of unrelated people sharing an apartment for economy. It just makes sense.
Traditional societies do it even more. They pool resources for getting work done in a way they really could not function otherwise. The mention of Amish up there reminded me. Ever watched a barn raising?
And in traditional socieites, people tend not to live alone, it's weird and foreign to them. But our society allows people to do this. Encourages it. They call it independence. We get so hooked on the idea that we allow people to totally fall through the cracks.
There should be no homeless people in a first world country. There should be no beggars on the street. No matter how kind strangers are in helping them out, they shouldn't be there in the first place. It's proof that our system has flaws. It simply shouldn't happen. And it doesn't need to. There is enough to go around. There is more than enough.
The problem is not resources, therefore, the problem is distribution. So let's look at that. Private and public.
Those who think private distribution (churches, charities, individuals) is the best way to go argue that governments aren't very good at it. Often true, too. Red tape and budgets sometimes mean the most needy get the least help.
But is private distribution any more efficient? Has it solved the problem?
Clearly both methods of distribution of of resources to those in need are not getting it right, because in a society where billionaires with private planes waste money by the fistful, neither charity nor official welfare is hitting the spot. Corruption, mismanagement, and waste of resources occur in both public and private distribution.
Then there is this idea that you have to deserve assistance. Let's be quite plain about this, everybody and nobody deserves anything. Neither you, nor I, nor the billionaire, nor the mentally ill man who lives under the bridge deserves anything from anyone, and yet we all do. Equally. There are no people more important than other people. If you believe that any human being - ANY - is more deserving of food, shelter, and safety, than any other, then you are a disgusting person. Get off my planet.
Yes, some people work harder, some are kinder to others, some are more honest, some are more useful in some way or another, but when it comes to whether they should live or die, and have their basic needs met, there is no wiggle room. I'll share something with you I was studying recently.
Read it. If you disagree with any of it, you can go away right now. I don't want to know you. In any case, your country ratified that. It's not legally binding, but it is ethically binding.
In order to achieve much of that, we must pool resources. We must share, and we must do it in the most efficient way possible, which may be public or private distribution, but most likely some of each. I think this should be fairly obvious.
Therefore we should all support both methods. Both. Above all what we should not do is thwart any and all efforts to make distribution of resources fairer, by objecting to the sharing. No matter how it is done. Additionally, when we see an injustice in the process we should call it out. We should be loud about it.
As it stands what we have is a tax system that is a protection racket. We are obliged to pay into it with no certainty of getting anything out of it when we need it. That is wrong, and I will continue to say how wrong it is to my last breath. We have as much duty to try to right that wrong, as we do to support alternate ways to share resouces. Let's not forget that.
It's one thing to have preferences as to how resources are shared, it's quite another to oppose sharing.