by Chet Hardin
A libertarian (read Republican) friend of mine sent me a link to an odd little gem of libertarian thinking. In it, the writer essentially argues that government ought to respect the law of strangers, meaning that the government ought not force you to do for a stranger something that you wouldn't choose to do yourself. Like give them food. Even if you would choose to do it yourself, the government ought not force you to do it. That's the gist.
Even staunch anti-libertarians would be baffled if a homeless man announced, "Give me my money!" instead of asking "Spare change?" After all, the beggar is a stranger. All the libertarian is pointing out is that your other "fellow citizens" are strangers, too. You're not cold and cruel when you refuse to help; they're being pushy and totalitarian when they refuse to take no for an answer.
It's not hard to imagine this being the spiritual guidance for the Republicans, such as Rep. Kent Lambert, on the Joint Budget Committee when they voted to cancel the funding for the state's free school breakfasts, the Start Smart Nutrition Program, thus saving a whopping $124K. All those pushy, totalitarian, child-sized strangers with their baffling demands for nutrition will just have to go beg somewhere else.
Unless, as The Colorado Independent is reporting today, Rep. Cherylin Peniston gets her way and moves legislation through the Republican-controlled House that would reinstate the flow of free breakfast.
“Nobody expected this,” Peniston told The Colorado Independent. She said that $124,000 has already been appropriated and is sitting in a cash fund to use for the program. “To have [the JBC member Republicans] lock down on this, that just made no sense. No one prepared for it, so we are all kind of scrambling. But the legislation is now a bill and it is moving forward.”