Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scandal Is When You Can't Opt Out

HARBESON: Rise up against the force


CLARK COUNTY — An uneasy feeling of anticipation filled the air this past weekend as the Crusade for Children finished up its annual fundraising marathon. A Kentucky fire department chief is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for the Crusade, so organizers were unsure how this news would affect this year’s donations.

Everyone wondered if this scandal would burn a hole of mistrust inside this organization so large that donations would be severely affected. Crusade officials knew they needed to demonstrate their effectiveness in helping special needs children in the community. They understood they needed to calm any fears that the money would not get to the children who needed the help.

The fire department that was involved in the scandal did collect less money this year, but in total, the Crusade’s collection was the largest since 2005. Of course, it’s entirely possible they had to spend more than usual on promotional efforts in order to overcome the scandal, which means the actual take could indeed be less, but even so it was a success.

The Crusade already had a lot going for it to avert disaster because it is a voluntary organization. This enabled members to build the knowledge, strength and initiative they needed to accomplish goals.

With or without a scandal, they’ve always had to work hard to persuade others that what they do is worthy of support. That’s what happens when you interact with others on a voluntary basis.

In addition, prospective donors had many choices in how to react to the situation. They could refuse to donate at all or they could give less than before. They could decide, after looking at the specifics of the scandal, that they don’t want a fire department to play middleman and just give the money straight to the Crusade. Forget the boots and sirens.

Isn’t it refreshing to see what people can accomplish voluntarily when they believe in something? Obviously people care. Obviously people will support causes without being forced.

It’s difficult to stop good people from doing good work when it’s based on voluntary interactions. Just imagine if all of our interactions were done in such a voluntary manner.

Just imagine if any government system, a school for example, had to actually work to get funds based on voluntary interactions rather than using force. What do you think they would do differently? What would you do differently when scandals occur?

It’s not the same with government entities though. Scandals inside government institutions are so much different. They are merely tiny scandals wrapped inside a much bigger scandal.

We think we’re making progress or have some real power when we vote in someone new after a government scandal breaks out, but meanwhile the money to fund their misguided actions keeps on pouring in from our pockets, whether we want it to or not. That’s scandalous.

With governments, the initial setup itself is the scandal. The system we condone is as immoral as that fire chief, taking other people’s money and spending it without their explicit consent.

It’s time to start rethinking what we’re doing. That’s why I’m on a crusade of my own, a crusade that calls for increased voluntary interactions and less force. I want to persuade you to see that government-approved force is the problem.

We need the freedom to think for ourselves and make our own individual noncoerced decisions on what deserves our support. We need the ability to opt out of promoting and funding scandalous behavior and nothing is more scandalous than pointing guns at people to get money. No matter what the cause.

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson experienced an uneasy feeling of anticipation once when she found out she ate some laxative-laced brownies.


  1. As far as the brownies go, as long as I had some warning and could make the proper preparations, it would be almost like a mini-vacation. "Taking the porcelain cruise".

    Don't forget: June 18th is "Random Acts of Anarchy Day". Helpful. Public. Voluntary. Responsible. And without coercive government being involved in any way.

  2. Random Acts of Anarchy Day, I like it. :)