Plan to Help the Homeless? Make Sure the Government Allows it First

According to the Washington Post, the government of Fairfax County, Virginia has decreed that individuals cannot give homemade food to homeless people without first obtaining government approval…

The casserole has been canned.
Under a tough new Fairfax County policy, residents can no longer donate food prepared in their homes or a church kitchen — be it a tuna casserole, sandwiches or even a batch of cookies — unless the kitchen is approved by the county, health officials said yesterday.
I’m not sure what political philosophy the individual or panel who made this decision believes in, but the Fairfax decree sums up the modern liberal (actually progressive) ideal of a strong state quite well – in the ideal, all human interaction (outside of sexual relations in the home) will first be sanctioned by the government.
Yes, the rules in Fairfax County are an extreme case (for now), but they embody the preferred approach of modern liberalism towards almost every domestic civic and economic problem there is. Want individuals to give food to the homeless? Sorry, can’t be done. Someone might bake a bad tuna casserole, so it’s best to limit hunger relief to government approved facilities only (even if it means that fewer people get fed). Want individuals to be able to choose the schools best for their kids? Sorry, can’t be done. Someone might make a bad choice for his or her child, so it’s best to have the government choose a school for them (even if it means that fewer people get a quality education). Want to let individuals put their Social Security in individual retirement accounts? Sorry, can’t be done. Someone might not invest wisely, so it’s best to let the government hold their savings, and give it back to them when the government deems the time to be right (even if it means putting the younger generation into a system destined for bankruptcy). Et cetera. Et. cetera. Et. cetera.
Further commentary on Fairfax County’s insanity is available from Jonah Goldberg, John J. Miller, and (in pro-active fashion) Donald B. Hawthorne.

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17 years ago

The rules here in Rhode Island are already such that when we have a banquet of any kind here at work, all the food has to be thrown away as it can’t be given to the homeless shelters once it’s been ‘served’.
Somehow, I don’t think the hungry really care that that sandwich they got for dinner might have been touched by another human for a fleeting moment when they’re willing to go dumpster diving to eat.
Blame the lack of torte reform. Everybody afraid some homeless guy is gonna get a bad tuna sandwich and sue for a million dollars and win.

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