Dear God I hate Statists – that’s you Stephen Timms, Mary Creagh and Kate Green
AN interesting and long piece in The Guardian about the rise of charity food banks in the UK. And here’s the bit that truly pisses me off:
Stephen Timms, shadow work and pensions secretary, says it is a “pretty worrying reflection of what’s going on in the country, when people are dependent on these charitable handouts. My worry is that we are really just at the start of cutting back the benefits system and already a large number of people are not able to buy food for their families. This shouldn’t be happening on the scale that it is now happening.”
Manchester Labour MP, and former head of the Child Poverty Action Group, Kate Green describes the growth of food banks as a disgrace. “I feel a real burning anger about them,” she says. “People are very distressed at having to ask for food; it’s humiliating and distressing.”
Mary Creagh, shadow environment minister, who has responsibility for food and was brought up in Coventry, is ambivalent about the rise in food banks. “There’s something about feeling that you are asking for charity rather than getting something from the state … it’s humiliating; it involves swallowing your dignity, travelling distances to the centres and walking home with plastic bags,” she says.
The pissing off comes from the howlingly sad insistence that if something needs doing then it has to be the State doing it.
There are two parts to this specific example as well: the first being, well, do we think the State would actually be any good at doing this?
What the food banks are actually doing is recycling the just about to go out of date food from the supermarkets into the cupboards and bellies of those too poor (for whatever reason) to be able to afford said food. I cannot imagine a world in which the British bureaucracy would be better at doing this than a group of volunteers. Given that it takes them a month to process a claim for money we’d find the stuff turning up 30 days after its sell by date instead of the current day before.
But there’s a more important philosophical point as well. Here we have a lovely example of voluntary cooperation: spontaneous order. Yes, there really are two problems: hungry people and food being thrown away. Whatever else you might want to say about the religious nutters described they are solving both problems at the same time. Without anyone from government to tell them what to do, without taxpayer pockets being looted, just human beings looking at the world around them and making it a better place. And that, of course, will never do.
For if people can just do it for themselves then what price politicians and their client states of clipboard wielding box tickers? How can government justify nicking 50% of everything everyone produces in a year if it turns out that problems can be solved just by people of good heart getting on with things? Who needs fucking generals when the sergeants of society can organise the little platoons?
That’s what’s motivating Timms, Green and Creagh: as and when they get back into office they want to make sure that they get to tell people what to do instead of leaving us all to get on with it.
Sod ’em. Free people have solved this problem freely. Leave ’em alone.