Community Organizers and Politicians: Enemies of the Taxpayer

In an editorial, the Chicago Sun-Times takes offense at Palin and Giuliani’s belittlement of Obama’s record as a community organizer:

Republicans insist that people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Communities should take care of their own and not depend on big government to do the job. And the folks who do make it should give back.

We agree wholeheartedly.

But on what is the job of community organizer premised, if not those very principles?

After endorsing small government for the first time in its history, the Sun-Times then lavishes praise on Obama for his altruistic record of “working with the poorest and most powerless people on the South Side of Chicago, doing his damndest to help them help themselves.”

Based on what I know, Obama’s “community organizing” had little to do with helping people help themselves by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. It mostly consisted of a well-coordinated high-pressure campaign by paid “organizers” to force taxpayers to pay for services that should be provided voluntarily. That is not mutual aid, at least in the sense that Tocqueville understood it when he described how Americans formed voluntary associations to build hospitals, churches, and roads.

David Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and editor of the Independent book, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (with Peter Gordon and Alexander Tabarrok).
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