Many folks in Haiti have suffered a terrible disaster. And as they dig out of the rubble, bury their dead, tend to the injured and sick, and try to build a future out of what was spared by the earthquake, the readers of this blog should consider our appropriate individual responses.
First: Those folks need our charity. Consider finding a suitable private organization and give, if only a little. Rest assured that charity and liberty go together. And realizing a psychic profit through helping others does add value to your world. (update: As noted by JFP, please use due diligence before selecting a private organization. Many NGOs are simply government by other means.)
Second: Do not count aid coming from the US government as a gift on your part. That money was thieved from your neighbors. And like all ill-gotten gain, most of it will end up in the hands of evil – the very same folks who have impoverished Haiti for decades.
Third: Remember that government aid is not charity. And even when that aid does provide for a short-term need, it comes with a yoke of suffering; a yoke that will last for years. While private organizations usually ask for nothing in return, government aid comes with a hefty burden – it entrenches the existing kleptocracy and enforces the ideology of theft.
Fourth: The recipients of private charity tend to recognize that such aid is the result of sacrifice on part of the donor – it is appreciated. It’s understood that this kind of aid is for the short term only. Government aid, on the other hand, is received with a frown – it is not appreciated, as the recipients expect more and believe the aid will never end, with dependency the result.
Finally: If direct aid is not your thing, work toward liberating Haiti with whatever vigor you can muster. The long-term goal must be the end to the evil state in Haiti, with prosperity arriving soon after the state departs. Any effort that accelerates that change will reduce future suffering.
But until that time, and with many folks suffering, it is charity, through private organizations, that will help those in desperate need.
Note: I was employed by the US Peace Corps in Jamaica and have seen firsthand the results of government and private aid. Private aid is not perfect, but it is not the evil that is government aid.