• Arne Mortensen

The homeless issue - another chance to learn

Current news is dominated by the issue of drug use and homelessness, with one side favoring a government solution that is liberal and another side favoring a tougher (call it conservative for subsequent ease of discussion) stance, also a government solution. Let’s look at this struggle in some depth.

The first point to make is that both sides agree on the desired result. Both sides want the following:

All humans to be well and safe.

The second point to make is that vilification of the groups is not constructive. While both groups may practice this tactic, the greater offense is by the liberal group which is strident in its insistence that only they have compassion and true understanding of human rights and values; often they sell short the many people who help their fellow neighbors and strangers voluntarily and with no fanfare, out of their own pocket.

Let’s define at a high level the liberal and conservative thinking about a solution:

1. Liberal

a. People are not accountable for their actions because they are victims of circumstances; therefore, society is obligated to take care of them.

b. Government resources (money, time) is vast and endless. There is no price too high to pay to fix a social problem.

c. People are not responsible for their actions.

2. Conservative

a. The current approach, the giving of resources with limited accountability and responsibility, is demonstrably destructive.

b. The consequence of giving public money is the taking of private money, and that is fundamentally destructive.

c. Government programs, with inefficiencies of typically unaccountable organizations, drive out the private sector charitable efforts.

d. People work best when they are expected to do better.

Much more can be written, but I want to suggest that there are two points to consider:

  • Much of this discussion has been with humanity for centuries, so we have an opportunity to see how solutions have turned out from a written historical record. But we must be open minded to allow data/evidence that is contrary to our initial positions to be considered. One of a myriad of examples is the simple state of government housing … how has “free” government housing worked?

  • The nature of this country, which provided the greatest advancement that man has ever seen, has changed, and that change has brought us the associated problems of a society focused on the collective at the expense of the individual. In other words, the natural American independence and ingenuity that built this country with genius, sweat, and voluntary individual cooperation has been replaced with government control of many aspects of daily life.

And, one final question: what will those who advocate government solutions do when they run out of other people’s money?


  • The sense of individual responsibility has been known for millennia. Remember this little story by Aesop: ?

  • While Venezuela is resource rich, it is a social disaster. We should consider that country as one of many ghosts of Christmas future warnings. See this article: . Note that the Venezuelan being interviewed yet has not figured out that relying on the government is the fundamental flaw in her thinking. How many countries have thrown off the shackles of a Batista only to get a Castro? That is how Venezuela got Chavez.


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