Who hasn’t heard this saying? It goes,
“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for life”
Recently announced actions by The City of Manchester reveal their saying goes,
“Teach a man to fish, is a regulated activity. License fishing, I eat for life.”
The Union Leader reports Homeless camps in Manchester get an eviction notice, a plan to force people out of their homes on the west bank of the river Merrimack. No specific victims. No specific damages. No claim this will solve anything. This is a make-work act only happening because some people are willing to force other people into hiding, enforced under the guise of a camping regulation. Living outside is regulated, like the rest of life.
I call on the community of West Manchester, and all who will stand in solidarity with us, to demand a better way forward; a way that builds up communities, a way that doesn’t waste our resources, a way forward that is peaceful, respectful, and shows by example the generous, caring, and live free or die culture that makes New Hampshire great.
Libertarians are presenting a new paradigm. Force doesn’t solve anything. Libertarians want to teach these people to fish:
- If sanitation is the issue, libertarians want to show them why this community values sanitation and how to accomplish it. This benefits us all and is a topic that a community needs to address regularly to keep aware of best practices.
- If trash is the issue, libertarians want to show them why this community values cleanliness and how to accomplish it. A lesson we could all use a refresher course on.
- If violating a regulation or law is the issue, libertarians question the legitimacy of the politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and law enforcement to enforce such claims as they do.
The claims and reasoning for the announced action were ignorant and indecent, I’ll address a few:
- Forcing help. “The effort involves state police, Manchester police, local agencies and homeless outreach advocates who can provide possible resources and a better living situation for the campers”. I’ll put it more concisely: agents of the state will use force on peaceful people until they conform to state edicts. Indeed, the Union Leader interviewed resident Kia Chambers, who said “I’ll pay $100 a month (to stay). Just leave me alone”. The freedom to be left alone. The claim here is also ignorant of the reality that people want to live their own life, their way, on their terms, peacefully. A better living situation? Chambers was quoted saying “I don’t want to be inside, period”. Who wouldn’t want to live on the banks of the beautiful Merrimack, looking out towards the historic red mill buildings? Kia has for fifteen years. Libertarianism is the freedom to be left alone.
- Litter. The article mentions trash but claims “Chambers keeps her campsite neat, and she said she carries out her litter.” We all know there is trash along the river, but there is trash throughout Manchester. Matthew, the apostle of Jesus, once wrote “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own?” How much trash blows and washes down into the river and how much is from people living along the river? Libertarianism teaches a decentralized, localized change in culture starting with the individual, you, and working together to form strong communities.
- Eye Sore and Danger. Todd Boucher, employed by Manchester in the police department, is quoted claiming “complaints about the river camps deal with their visibility and highway dangers.” First, I don’t think anyone in our community should be shamed for being seen, and nobody has the right to require people hide themselves. That’s all the time I’ll give that claim. I’d like to see the mountain of evidence that leads Todd to think these are suicidal drunks. These claims display a lack of empathy towards others. Libertarianism is founded on empathy.
- Will it work? There is the implicit claim that this will change something. Why do something if it doesn’t work? Kia living there for 15 years seems evidence these actions do nothing. Furthermore, Todd Boucher is quoted saying “a lot of time they just go to a different location”. So, it is acknowledged to be a total waste of the community’s resources. This is a make-work, do-nothing action. I don’t know about you, but I want my money back. I think this community can come up with better, peaceful, and effective ideas and we can each put our money into programs the community needs and cares about. Libertarianism teaches this way forward.
- Other Options. Another implied claim is that these people have other options. The reality is that most options are illegal or regulated out of possibility. Tiny houses, tents, sleeping outside, sleeping in cars, homesteading, building any life outside the regulated normal is basically illegal. Regulation and waste is strangling the actual community’s ability to help one-another or themselves. Libertarianism lets you see the damage these regulations do to you, to our community, and to our economy.
Libertarianism teaches us that forcing people to conform to our values is immoral. To do good, force must be taken off the table. For this to happen, our community needs to embody live free or die as a culture of individual freedom, not just a motto.
Concentrate on what matters – teach, give, include, be an example, show your community that you care by any means except one; not by force.
That is how I leave the world better than how I found it.