Tag: charity

Interview With Brent DeRidder of the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

71 Republic’s Indri Schaelicke had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Brent DeRidder, the founder of the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief. He discussed the organization, its accomplishments, and how the people can help it meet its goals.

Schaelicke: What is the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief? What is your mission?

DeRidder: LCDR is a disaster relief organization. We were formed during the landing of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and endeavor to fill the gaps that government relief leaves. Our goal is to provide emergency aid during disasters and relief after. We work with other relief organizations, private individuals, and community groups to fill specific needs.

Schaelicke: What made you want to start this organization? Was there a specific event where you realized this was your calling, or did it just seem like a natural next step for you to take?

DeRidder: When my daughter, Emily, heard about the storm hitting Texas, she walked into my bedroom and demanded, sternly, that we take immediate action. She clearly pointed to the principles I hold dear and told me to “Do what you’re always telling everyone to do.” I picked up my keyboard and we got to work. Within minutes liberty advocates from across the country were joining our ‘team’ and soon we were crossing political lines.

Almost immediately liberty advocates were volunteering both physically and virtually. We lucked out and had a great administrative team that we still work with today. It wasn’t long before we had volunteers driving in with their own vehicles, towing their own boats, and loaded down with rescue and relief supplies. Within days we had entire communities making huge donations. We had volunteers going into places other organizations wouldn’t. This isn’t my calling. The movement is my calling. This is something the movement has called me to do.

Schaelicke: What does running the LCDR entail?

DeRidder: Working as a team! Nobody really ‘runs’ LCDR. We’re a network of volunteers. We’ve got a board and team coordinators, but none of us are in charge. As far as running a specific relief effort, it’s mostly facilitation. We figure out the need, come up with a plan of action, and organize volunteers. There’s a lot of organizing phonebanks to solicit supplies, finding volunteers a place to sleep, and coordinating with other relief groups.

Schaelicke: How do you receive funding for this massive operation?

DeRidder: People want to help. We’re working on our tax status and eventually, we’ll work year-round to raise funds and grow our network. We did raise a fair amount of funds during Harvey but, right now, we depend on the grassroots efforts of volunteers. We’re mostly facilitators. People want to do good. Sure, some people just want to donate money and that’s fantastic. We’ll be ready for that as soon as possible. Without money, though, we’ve still had great success and the future is bright.

Schaelicke: Do you have a memorable experience or favorite story from your relief efforts?

DeRidder: Absolutely. During the Harvey effort, Zach Garretson put together a team of volunteers. He coordinated supply donations and drops. The guy was a superhero. He loaded down his truck and made his first drops outside Houston, but heard Beaumont was impossible to get to and needed help. Zach risked his life making it through the flood zone to help get people what they needed. He’s a good friend of mine and was one of the first people to jump on board as boots on the ground. I’m a little biased, but that’s my favorite story so far.

Schaelicke: What lessons have you learned from your involvement in this organization?

DeRidder: LCDR has taught me that people really do want to help each other. We argue about politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and the order of operations for pouring a bowl of cereal, but when things are looking dark, we take joy in shedding light. We’re willing, even happy, to work together. It gives me hope for the future and it makes me want to do more.

Schaelicke: What is your biggest challenge right now?

DeRidder: Right now our biggest challenge is getting the word out. When people know there’s still a need, they volunteer and donate. Unfortunately, Florence hasn’t been given the attention that was needed from the mainstream media and it’s not a presidential election year so… Right now our biggest challenge is getting the word out that the Carolinas aren’t okay. There was a massive amount of flooding. It was more than I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived here my whole life. When we were driving home from through the mountains, we were seeing mud on trees several feet high form all the flooding. Major roads and highways are washed out. They’re just gone. Bridges are gone. Communities are wiped out. There’s a housing crisis because so many people have been displaced. They’ve lost everything. The water took it all.

Schaelicke: What is the LCDR’s biggest accomplishment so far?

DeRidder: The Coalition’s been able to create a network of volunteers from so many different walks of life. We have people from all sorts of belief systems and political leanings. Coordinating the efforts of such a diverse network of people isn’t always easy to do. For us, though, it’s been worth the effort. People who otherwise have a tendency to butt heads have learned to unify and work together on a common goal.

Schaelicke: What donations are you most in need of?

DeRidder: Right now, we need non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, baby items, hygiene items, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, bug spray, and volunteers. We usually fill up pretty quick on clothes.

Schaelicke: If someone would like to help in the relief efforts, how can they get involved?

DeRidder: We’re always looking for extra boots on the ground, but even if you can’t get here in person, there are tons of ways to volunteer. You can coordinate a local supply drive and get with a trucking company or truck rental company to help get it here. Lots of businesses are willing to help if you just ask. We also need phonebank volunteers. Our phonebank volunteers work between local organizations and individuals doing supply drives and trucking companies and our supplies chains to facilitate supply drops. We have areas with good shipping connections. We just need folks to call businesses and organizations in those areas to have supplies collected and donated.

Schaelicke: Is there anything you would like to share with the readers that you have not already?

DeRidder: There’s always something you can do. It may be small. It can seem insignificant but, as a disaster victim myself, I can tell you it means the world. You making a quick phone call today very likely means a family won’t be hungry or cold tomorrow. Don’t ‘want’ to help. Help. That way when the world asks you, as an activist, “Without government, who would?” you can answer “We will!”


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No, Jesus Was Not a Socialist

By Ian Brzeski | United States

On countless occasions, I have either seen or heard that Jesus is a socialist. I see it through memes, I hear it through others. It’s complete and utter nonsense.

Let’s spot the differences in these two cases. In the first scenario, let’s say that you are walking down the street and a man comes up to you asking for money. He says that he runs a charity to help out the poor, and you decide to donate because you feel that it would be beneficial towards his cause. In the second scenario, you decide not to give the man any money at all. The man is upset at this and decides to pull out a gun, forcing you to donate to meet the threshold he needs to raise. In both of these scenarios, the man got the desired money and was able to help the poor.

The differences are clear. In the first scenario, you voluntarily gave up your money whereas, in the second, the man coerced you to. Objectively, the way the man acted in the second scenario is immoral, even though he gave the money to the poor.

Now, why is it different when the government takes your money through taxation? The government sets up programs for the poor, asks you for money to help fund the programs, and if you don’t give them your money, they throw you in a rotting cell for the rest of your life. That sounds eerily similar to the second scenario that I presented. The government uses a form of coercion in the same way that the man coerced you. Andrew Lepore writes a fantastic article which really delves into why just because you or somebody else benefits from taxation doesn’t mean that it’s morally justifiable in any way whatsoever.

Now let’s get to why Jesus is not a socialist. First of all, Jesus preaches about helping your neighbor and caring for the sick and the poor. He tells you to spread the Good News. It seems to some that socialists preach the same, but this is simply not true. Jesus never said that you can force somebody else to live by your values.

You should hope that people want to give back to their community or to the poor out of the goodness of their heart. You have every right to tell somebody that they should give to the poor, and to spread Jesus’ message. However, there’s a reason that Jesus never says that it’s okay to force somebody to live by His message. If somebody is going to hoard all their money, then they are well in their right to do so. You cannot, in good moral standing, throw somebody in prison on the premise that they are a subjectively bad person. The only just reason to do so is if they infringe on someone else’s rights. Not giving money to somebody else is not an infringement of their rights.

I urge people to not be that guy. I urge people to live by Jesus’ message even if they don’t believe in his divinity. The majority of people in this world are good. There are plenty of people who will give back to their communities; many celebrities already do. Ellen DeGeneres, for example, loves giving money to people who need it. Whether those people directly need it or are raising awareness for a cause, she will provide. There are plenty of other examples of celebrities giving back to their communities. There are millions of everyday normal people who give money and time to charities and other organizations and may even be incentivized to give more if the government didn’t already steal their money.

Socialism requires the government to use a coercive force to redistribute the wealth among everybody even if the majority of the people did nothing to deserve that money. It is completely immoral as it lines up with the second scenario I presented to an even bigger extreme. When Jesus tells somebody to go out and take care of the sick and the poor, he is saying for you to go out and voluntarily do it, and not to have a governing body force people to do it. If anything, Jesus is way more of a voluntaryist than a socialist, as the latter requires force which he opposed.


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‘Tis the Season, to Shame the Welfare State

By Addie Mae Villas | USA

With the holiday spirit filling the air, benevolence and well doing fills the minds of many people around the world. Driving them to do good and help their fellow brothers and sisters. With charities becoming more and more popular, it is a grand time to evaluate their effectiveness and compare them to the government-run social programs. As many people know, welfare is ineffective and only harms the people it is intended to help, so why are charities so much more beneficial? It’s simple, they aren’t run and controlled by the government and bureaucrats.

To begin with, let’s look at the status of charity in the world. Currently, the United States is ranked fifth in the world for charity by the World Giving Index, founded by the Charities Aid Foundation. This is the lowest ranking since 2011 and caused the US to shift four positions. Although it may appear second-rate that the US dropped so far, it is still ranked highly in the categories of helping a stranger and monetary donations. But, looking at the larger picture, charities have been thriving around the world and is often the focal point of many people’s lives. One can turn to religion for this fact. The World Giving Index stated that Myanmar was the most charitable for the reason of religion. The overwhelming majority of Myanmar, 87.9% to be exact, follow the Buddhist religion. Buddhism has always had an emphasis on charity, and consider generosity to be a paramita or perfection. Buddhism is not the only religion that holds charity near their heart. One can easily look to the Abrahamic religions for a focus on charity. Christianity demonstrates tithing in the Old Testament and the various verses, such as 2 Corinthians 9:7 and Proverbs 19:17. Islam also focuses on charity with the Zakat, stated in the Quran as an obligation to give 2.5% of Nisab to those in need. Finally, Judaism has Tzedakah which has Jews donate at least ten percent of their income to charity. Even the Libertarian Party has a role with charity as stated in The Libertarian Mind “A libertarian society is marked b widespread charity undertaken as a result of personal benevolence, not left to state coercion.” As shown, charities have ties to a major part of many of people’s lives.

Seeing that giving is so important to so many people, charities are able to get funds and thrive in the free market. Nonprofits normally have small staffs, and provide minimal compensation for their employees, ensuring that the funds are used for the charity work. With government programs, they are often overstaffed and paid far more than their charity counterparts. John Chubb once investigated the New York City government and one of their social programs which employed more than 50 employees for one service compared to the Catholic Archdiocese which had just 26 employees. The other reason why charities succeed so much more than the government is that they have the motivation to do good. Since they always rely on donations, they have an obligation to do well. As compared to government-run social programs that function off the dollars of the American people through taxes. Since they will always have a steady income from tax dollars, they have no incentive to perform at their best, and most of the time they only function at a speed that gets them by. In the end, charities always outperform the government because of the silent hand of the free market.

Although we have no choice in how the government takes our money and uses it for ineffective programs. We can, however, choose to donate to charities, just take a look at the various volunteer organizations that have received a perfect score from the Charity Navigator. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, and remember the holidays are not the only time that we should be in the giving spirit and supporting charities, one of the best ways to combat the welfare state.

An Anarchist Society is a Better Society

Austin Anderholt | USA

Whenever I try to convince someone that taxation (and therefore government) is theft, I find the process is quite easy: I explain to them how a group of people with bigger guns than everyone else call themselves “The Government” demand that you pay them a certain amount of money that you never agreed upon, or else they will threaten to lock you in a cage. The debate may last a few minutes or even hours, but I eventually can convince most people that government is bad and that taxation is theft. At this point, almost every single person says the same exact thing: “But without government, who would build the roads?” Sometimes they ask how other government projects would be handled, but for some reason, most people seem to inquire about roads first. Nonetheless, people are amazed that one could hold the opinion that people shouldn’t be allowed to lock you in a cage if you don’t pay them the money that they demand. They treat anarchism like a bad word. They assume that a stateless society would be like some sort of Hollywood movie they’ve seen, and this view is completely false.
To the masses that have spent their lives on the highly addictive sedative that we call “The Government”, it may seem crazy that people could build roads and complete other tasks without someone pointing a gun at them and stealing from them. There’s a great political comic here, that shows people standing in a breadline in the Soviet Union, starving away. One of them says, “In Capitalist countries, the government doesn’t hand them any bread!” The people in that comic couldn’t possibly imagine a successful world where bread is distributed through capitalism and a voluntary society. This is very similar to the blindness that the current public has about things that the government does. For example, on the issue of Net Neutrality: Net Neutrality didn’t even exist until 2015. Do you remember a time where you had to pay money to big scary corporations to access all websites on the internet before 2015? Me neither, but the drug of government is so powerful that it’s victims start to assume that “If we don’t have someone controlling how we live, the greedy corporations will make it too expensive to pay for anything!” This is entirely false. Companies have to cater to the individual, or else they will fail. If I owned McDonalds, and I started charging a million dollars per hamburger, everyone would stop buying from me, and my company would fail. This is common sense; if companies want to be on top, they have to compete with each other for the lowest prices and best goods/services, in order to ensure that they’ll get repeat customers. No company would ever charge a huge toll for roads or internet or any other good or service you can think of, or else another company could just sell it for a cheaper price, and therefore get more business. Companies must cater to the customer to survive, and the idea of these “greedy corporations” is just plain false.
That being said, have you ever driven on a private road before? I’m sure you have. Did you have to pay a greedy corporation a huge toll to drive on it? Probably not. In fact, many toll roads are government roads. So, how would roads work? In one scenario, you have businesses competing for the cheapest road prices. Many of them might implement different policies, such as, “Our roads are safer because we don’t allow drunk driving” or, “Our roads are cheaper because we only make you pay one small price forever!” This would make roads extremely efficient, and it has worked in the past: The first American railroad was privately owned and built. Let’s say you were really afraid of these non-existent greedy corporations, and you didn’t want them owning your roads. You could crowdfund for monetary donations to build a road that you let everyone go on for free. It would be like taxation, but completely voluntary and with a significant lack of cages.
With that in mind, privatization would help everyone a great deal. Prices would shoot down for things like healthcare, education, and whatnot. Currently, we live in a system where the government has a forced monopolies on those items, and they can demand any amount of money they want for it. Due to this, they can be wasteful and inefficient, but private companies wouldn’t have that option. However, let’s say there’s a family that’s struggling to get by in a stateless economy, and they can’t afford these items. There are tons of huge private charities that are fighting to end things such as hunger and to give free checkups, showers, meals, etc. to people who are in need. Once taxation stops existing, and people’s paychecks aren’t being slashed in half, can you imagine how increasingly generous people would be in donating to these huge causes? Private charity for people in need would skyrocket!
In conclusion, a stateless society would thrive. As we’ve seen through times like the prohibition, public school, and the Middle East, government intervention almost indefinitely makes things worse. Private companies and charities will do much more good than anything currently being accomplished. A voluntary society is a better society!