Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brief Responses to Irritating Memes I: What the Hell's Wrong with GoFundMe?

During previous election seasons, I used to respond to social media nonsense on a fairly regular basis. Given that we are in the midst of yet another disaster election season, I think it's time I re-institute the practice. Oh, and what do we have here? Well, gee, I think it's a perfect place to start:

We can debate the pros and cons of government-run health care until the cows come home. What I actually want to address is this meme-maker's evident aversion to private charity. What exactly is wrong with using crowd-sourcing to raise funds for a person in medical trouble? For me, GoFundMe is a potential alternative to statism and a beautiful example of the genius de Tocqueville observed in his writings on American volunteerism. Friends and family coming together and pooling their funds to help a person in need is wonderful -- and not necessarily inferior to the faceless bureaucracy of the welfare state. As I wrote years ago:
I have been in a welfare office before. In 2006, after a long illness that required repeated hospitalizations, I was without health insurance and facing a $30,000-plus medical debt that I would not have been able to pay even if I had cut out every single luxury from my budget. What I remember most about the experience was the austerity of the waiting room – the rows of uncomfortable plastic chairs – and the human isolation. We didn’t talk to each other; there was no sense of human solidarity in suffering. I understand that a welfare office must exist to handle certain contingencies, but I will never understand why some people consider such a place to be preferable to a private and/or religious charity. The latter presumes that you are a human being with dignity and treats you as such; charity workers ask you about your family, may share a meal with you, and are, on the whole, more willing to go the extra mile for you because they are there voluntarily. A government social worker, on the other hand, may be a caring and compassionate person in his or her everyday life, but he or she is also frequently overworked and laboring under a bureaucratic machinery that, by its very nature, doesn’t presume your dignity simply because the sheer size of the caseload prohibits such interaction. To put it another way, to the government, you are a series of numbers (income, debts, bills, etc.).
The left is always looking for ways to depersonalize the social safety net -- and frankly, I don't understand the urge.


  1. He or she would rather live in a country where the powers that be can make the elderly and infirm die off while they wait for care.

    1. Or they just don't realize that would be the result.

      (BTW, thank you for your comments. I don't always have the time to respond, but I DO appreciate your readership!)

  2. They don't expect it to workout that way (we have the right people in charge, so this time it's got to work!), but it always does.

    As to any delay in response, I just assumed you were one of those weird people who insists on having a life outside of the Net. One of the sites I go to is Jammer Reviews. It took him until the 3rd new Trek movie to post his review of the 2nd. Of course in between those movies he got married, bought a house, and had a child, so maybe he was a little distracted. 😀