No doubt American statists are feeling that they are good and caring people given the fact that the U.S. government is sending warships and supplies to the Japanese people. I wonder if they also feel that they are bad people given the fact that the U.S. government is also sending cash and armaments to brutal and corrupt dictatorships in the Middle East.
The difference between humanitarian aid provided by the U.S. government and that provided by people in the private sector is the difference between night and day. The government sector relies on force while the private sector is based on voluntarism. The use of force is antithetical to principles of morality and freedom, while the principles of voluntarism are consistent with the principles of morality and freedom.
Contrary to what some people might claim, under U.S. law the payment of income taxes is not voluntary. The payment of such taxes is mandated by law. If a person refuses to pay such taxes, the government has the authority to initiate force to prosecute the person criminally and to collect the money in coercive civil proceedings. The person might end up spending many years in jail. At the same time, he might have his bank account seized, his home sold at a tax-lien foreclosure sale, and his wages garnished.
All such legal proceedings are based on force.
The process is entirely different when it comes to making donations in the private sector. Groups often approach people in the private sector and ask for a donation. The person has the right to say yes or no. If he decides not to donate, the entity requesting the donation lacks the authority to use force against him. It cannot seize him and cart him away to jail. It cannot seize his assets and convert them to its use. Under the law, it must respect the decision of the person being asked for the donation.
When government forcibly takes money from people and delivers it others in need, who is the good, caring, compassionate person? The IRS agent? The congressman who enacted the law? The president who enforces the law? The federal judge who interprets the law? The bureaucrat who delivers the money or the weaponry? The taxpayer? The citizen?
Actually, none of the above. No system based on force can be justified morally, religiously, or spiritually. In fact, the real question is: Who is morally responsible for the stealing, plunder, looting, and denigration of free will and freedom of choice when the U.S. government taxes people and delivers the money to others?