TCS Daily


Stimulating Civil Society

By Charles N.W. Keckler - April 17, 2009 12:00 AM

The President's stimulus legislation, together with the recently enacted omnibus supplemental spending bill (H.R. 1105), undeniably represent for the immediate future the federal government's expanded role in public welfare provision. In the short term there will be hundreds of millions of dollars in new direct spending, and more as States redistribute what they receive to local organizations. But the long-term effect of these actions on American civil society (until now the core of charitable and cultural support in this country) is uncertain and may depend on how wisely both funding agencies and recipients use this infusion of cash.

If nonprofits become fully dependent on federal grants, they will gradually become a de facto arm of the government, and a vibrant, independent civil sector will begin to wither away as government "crowds out" private giving, and co-opts the organizations that remain. The pressure will also be strong to indefinitely continue government funding at new high levels, worsening the nation's deteriorating fiscal situation and centralization of power. Even if budgetary pressures cause funding to fall back, communities that come to rely on the levels of service provided in the next few years will find their needs left unmet. Both alternatives are bad, but perhaps avoidable, outcomes of the Administration's new commitments.

If recipients are encouraged and empowered to use federal funds - or other money freed up by new government cash - to build up their own capacity and long-term viability as an organization, over time they will be able to support themselves through alternative means, possibly even sustaining expanded levels of service. As a result, a participating nonprofit, and civil society generally, will be left stronger rather than weaker as a result of its participation in federal grants programs. Strengthening organizations is a component of the $50 million dollars provided in the omnibus for the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Compassion Capital Fund "to provide grants to charitable organizations to emulate model social service programs and to encourage research on the best practices of social service organizations." And what, one may ask is a "model" social service organization? Among other things, it is one whose good work can occur with minimal direct support from the taxpayer. The Compassion Capital money is a bright spot in recent legislation, but the goal of organizational improvement can and should be administratively incorporated into all grants to organizations providing services at government behest.

A comprehensive plan designed to encourage the post-grant viability of fund recipients - "sustainability" in the language nonprofits - will have at least three components. First, agencies should preferentially select grant applicants from those that can survive (eventually) unaided by awarding points in merit-based grant competitions for the inclusion of a long-term sustainability program in an applicant's proposal, and should specify the need for such plans in their grant announcements and requests for proposals. Second, where allowable by statute, agencies should require grantees to provide an escalating percentage of non-federal matching funds each year of their grant, or alternatively, the agencies should, every year, gradually decrease the size of the federal grant provided to the organization (requiring an applicant's sustainability plan to show how the organization will compensate for these declining amounts). Finally, and critical to success, all government-funded technical assistance should be explicitly designed and directed to help organizations free themselves long-term from federal assistance, by implementing the various techniques to can help them stand on their own. These techniques include introducing management structures that can handle increased capacity and service delivery, technological innovation, and most crucially, developing the nonprofit's roots and partnerships within their local communities, to leverage paid staff into volunteers now, and create a network of donors and supporters for future years. In addition, government should actively encourage its grantees to diversify their funding base, strengthen their board governance, and focus their organizational culture on measurable performance.

In particular, the government's imposition of objective and quantitative measures of performance, and its independent evaluation of how successfully the grant is being used, should be a top priority for program agencies and actively embraced by all recipients. Evaluation inculcates the message - too often forgotten - that grants are not gifts, nor are they eternal; in principle, grants represent public dollars distributed for a specific purpose to be achieved within a limited period of time. If the purpose is not achieved, the funds need to go somewhere else. And apart from the practical improvements made to meet these measures, positive results found after serious evaluations become an important asset of any nonprofit. Hard numbers are crucial to "selling" the organization to donors down the road, who want the assurance that their donation will actually generate a social return, and this, in turn, creates an independent future for the nonprofit.

The question of whether the new Administration is acting from necessity, as it claims, or because of its desire to effectively replace the functions of civil society with central government control, as its critics contend, may ultimately come down to this: will the Executive Branch use the tools at its disposal to help recipients become stronger organizations that can become independent of the funds it provides, or will it allow this dependence to become permanent? Dependence is a fact of life already for hundreds if not thousands of federal grantees, some of which have been primarily funded by federal dollars for decades, but it will be revealing to see if this moment of opportunity is used to enlarge this number, or as I think possible, to finally start reducing it.


Charles Keckler is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services
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59 Comments

stymying civil society
The government doesn't like the competition that's why they they like to replace civil charities. Since they want maximal control of people, it's better for them to do these things themselves, no matter how dysfunction the programs may be, or what the unitended comsequences.

Some decades ago poverty was being greatly reduced year by year, the government saw that and thought they had better take over welfare so they could keep people dependant and poor.

I agree with the analysts who say poverty can be eliminated in about 10 years if the government didn't interfere, preventing it.

No Subject
The left (Obamunists) wants to stimulate government by destroying the private... The charitable impulse stands in the statists path and so must be undermined using other people's money to imitate private volunteering and giving. Weakening private culture and strengthing reliance on government is un-American to the extreme.. but we are seeing this and a lot more in our own lifetimes. Our entrepeneurial/religious culture is awakening to the threat and many of us are finally pushing-back.

Flash Gordon
Ming the Merciless (democrats) do what they can to keep their opposition fighting amongst themselves.
If the objectivists would respect conservatives of faith and the anarcho-capitalists, and the libertarians would respect all who support free markets and those conservatives of faith need to recognize the state cannot be used to force morality and atheists are opportunities, maybe we could agree to oppose socialism and the tyranny required for its implementation.

So, you will STOP dragging IRRATIONALITY and SUBJECTIVITY, AKA, "faith" into politics?
..

No. You must learn to live with it or let the socialists win.
What is more important?

How does promoting IRRATIONALITY and SUBJECTIVITY, AKA, “faith” help fight socialism Marjon?
..

How does pissing off you allies help?
But I guess we are not allies as you are like Obama and the socialists and support a strong state.

Free will?
You keep reminding us the man has free will. Which means we have the free will to act rationally and choose not commit violence and violate the life and property of others.
I submit that the history of the last several thousand years has shown a trend for man to exercise that free will and not be controlled by animal instincts.
Given the current population of the world, if so many were predisposed to use their free will to violate life and property, no state could control it, as we see in many inner cities in the USA and around the world.

Why should being asked to keep their IRRATIONALITY & SUBJECTIVITY to themselves pi$$ off “fighters”
of socialism?

You can EVADE ALL you want Marjon; but the issue is WHAT IF a particular man uses his free will to commit violence and violate the life and property of others?

It’s NOT JUST in the INNER CITIES that violence is being committed and life and property of others is being violated.

What if man uses his free will NOT to commit violence and violae life and property?
How do you justify the state monopoly to murder?

If you are so objective, so ratational, and have free will, why can't you tolerate men of faith...
who support limited government?

violating life and property
I think I know what will happen. The guy might punish him for doing that. Or he might get restitution for the infraction. This has been worked out even by the 'common law' centuries ago and is no particular probelem.

" But we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers .."
""[War] is instinctive. But the instinct can
be fought. We're human beings with
the blood of a million savage years on
our hands! But we can stop it. We can
admit that we're killers ... but we're not
going to kill today. That's all it takes!
Knowing that we're not going to kill today!"
(A Taste of Armageddon)"
http://www.opossumsal.com/startrek.html

In this particular episode, two neighbors had been at 'war' for over 500 years. Such a war was maintained by agreements between the governments to use computer simulated attacks and those people who would have been killed in such an attack would have to report for disintegration. Nice, neat, the state survives but the people die and don't have to change their nature.

Under "anarchy", HOW does one DETERMINE that life and property have been violated PROACTIVELY?
That’s what you both are strenuously EVADING.

Marjon is ACTING as if he doesn’t know what “PRE-MEDITATED use of DEADLY retaliatory force” means
WHOEVER is supporting murderous State? Show me where I did. On the other hand, YOU support “anarchy”, a system where ANYBODY - which includes YOU - can PERSONALLY use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force on WHOMEVER he “feels” “Wronged” him.

Show me where I showed any INTOLERANCE towards men of “faith”. Au contraire, YOU have been indulging in cheap ad hominem attacks against me and my mother in an effort to EVADE answering simple straight forward questions.

All I have been saying is (your) “faith” is IRRELEVANT to the (political) discussions we are having.

How is that being intolerant? If you have an answer that proves the relevance (of (your) "faith") to politics, please provide it.

When you make sense, maybe you will get an answer.

Marjon declares; ALL it takes to rid the world of violence is saying “we aren’t going to kill today”
Leaving aside the IMPRACTICALITY of getting ALL adults (and may be ALL late teens also) in a particular community take this “pledge”, how can you guarantee that NO dead body - with obvious wounds inflicted by others - will EVER turn up in that community Marjon?

I can’t say you are naïve Marjon. You KNOW, but REFUSE to ACKNOWLEDGE as you have publicly committed (yourself) to promotion of “anarchy”.

Marjons says “determining whether Life & Property have been VIOLATED PROACTIVELY doesn’t make SENSE”
All he wants is to be able to unleash SENSELESS violence with a CLEAN Conscience, whenever he “feels” somebody violated his Life and/or Property.

That’s why he assiduously promotes “anarchy”, a system where ANYBODY can use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force whenever they “feel” like it, on WHOEVER they “feel’ like using it on.

proactive
Here's one example. The guy breaks into your house and has your daughter tied up and tells you he intends to rape her in front of your eyes if you don't go with him to the ATM get as much money for him as you can. So I determine that he really means it because my girl is tied up already, and he's making the direct threat. Thus I will try to actively prevent him from doing so.

What would you do, I mean whether now under the system whereby the state pretends to protect you, or in an anarchic situation?

p.s. I would care what the 'disinterested third party' neighbour douwn the street thought about the matter.

how to guarantee
I know how to guarantee it. It would be the very same guarantee the current predatory state guarantees that no one will every be harmed; that is none at all.

You make the false presumption that an absence of government can guarantee something that huge invasion government can't.

How does the state prevent premeditated murder now?
Assuming the state wants to prevent such activity. It has no obligation to do so, but has demonstrated the capability of engaging in such actions itself.

Whoever is talking about what passes for "state" now? But YOU propose “anarchy” as THE alternative
So, the onus is on you to prove that your alternative is INHERENTLY superior.

I don't, Marjon does (implicitly). So, he has to prove that the "anarchy" he advocates is INHERENTLY
superior. He (and you) has failed to do so far.

You continue to PRETEND that you DON’T KNOW the meaning of PRE-MEDITATED use of DEADLY force
The example you have given is IRRELEVANT to the discussion and is an attempt to DROWN the discussion in concretes in an effort to AVOID discussing the principles.

The “twist” I gave for your other similar example holds good here and blasts your “case” to kingdom come.

There is an obvious typo in your post and you meant to say “I would care LESS what the 'disinterested third party' neighbour (sic) douwn (sic) the street thought about the matter”.

IF you REALLY didn’t care about the Third Party, you wouldn’t be spending your time here on this forum – and “god” knows in how many other forums – trying to convince anonymous Third Parties like me about the “Rightness” of your stance.

You would’ve JUST IGNORED my "rants". That you (and Marjon) don’t (ignore), is proof that you “care” about (the opinions of) Third Parties and want them on “your side”.

If there is NO Third Party, then there is NO “society of men”, only a “collection of animals”.

Who is talking of PREVENTING murders? The issue is the MECHANISM of DETERMINING if a specific act of
violence was committed in a PRE-MEDITATED manner or not.

But YOU imply that under “anarchy” – where ANYBODY can use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force whenever they "feel” like it – there will be NO PRE-MEDITATED murders.

So, the onus is on YOU to prove that such is the case.

And you pretend the state can prevent it or won't intiatiate such force.

Evidence proves the state cannot prevent premeditated acts.
And the state has no obligation to do so.

You cannot prove the state is effective at doing what you claim 'no state' can achieve.

No state is required for such determination.
I have demonstrated that before.

the principle involved
What about this one, the 'non-aggression principle', which says that no one should initiate violence against another, but you have the right of self defense.

So there's the principle, and just above I gave you a concrete example of it.

Now what would you do in the case of my example?

anarchy as INHERENTLY superior
I claim that it is so because anarchy is morally superior.

Statism is based on the use of deadly force, whereas anarchy isn't.

Are you still having trouble deciding what to do in my example of your daughter imminent rape and murder?

Off topic: Coral Reefs recover on their own. No help from Al Gore!
"Marine scientists say they are astonished at the spectacular recovery of certain coral reefs in Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from a devastating coral bleaching event in 2006.

That year high sea temperatures caused massive and severe coral bleaching in the Keppel Islands, in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The damaged reefs were quickly smothered by a single species of seaweed - an event that can spell the total loss of the corals.

However, a lucky combination of rare circumstances meant the reefs were able to achieve a spectacular recovery, with abundant corals re-established in a single year, said Dr Guillermo Diaz-Pulido, from the Centre for Marine Studies at The University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS).

Dr Diaz-Pulido said that the rapid recovery was due to an exceptional combination of previously-underestimated ecological mechanisms."

http://www.physorg.com/news159558717.html

"previously-underestimated ecological mechanisms.""

Scientists don't know everything? But they DO know what WILL happen in 100 years?

Roy's right about NearNod
Roy says this guy is insane, and I guess he's right.

A broken clock has the correct time twice a day.

Show me where I said "State" can't inititate force. But YOU imply "anarchy" is a better alternative
and that it PREVENTS initiation of force. So, prove it.

“NO ONE should initiate violence against another” is a WISH, NOT a PRINCIPLE
A PRINCIPLE is “an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct”.

And the question you are trying hard to EVADE is; what’s YOUR professed rule of action or conduct IN CASE you come across the RESULT of an (obvious) act of violence, such as the discovery of a dead body on a College Campus.

Since you promote “anarchy” – a system where there is NO PRE-DECLARED mechanism to deal with such events as the discovery of dead bodies on College Campuses – you either live in a “dream world” where such incidents NEVER happen, OR want to dispense “speedy justice” as you “feel” like it.

Whoever is saying "State" can prevent ALL premeditated acts? But YOU claim "anarchy" does
So, prove it.

So we have ONE MORE poster here on TCSDaily.com resorting to ad hominem attacks to EVADE
..

You haven’t DEMONSTRATED; only ASSERTED. Tell me, HOW does the Third Party KNOW “right” from “Wrong”
under “anarchy”. You are yet to demonstrate the MECHANISM of such determination.

Yet another ad hominem attack from Marjon, this time relying on a guy he castigates regularly
Way to argue Marjon.

done both & u still don't make sense NeaRNoad
I've given you both specific examples, and what the principle is involved(the non-aggresion principle), and you still claim we haven't!

Tell us what would your 'mechanism' be in the case i just gave about your daughter tied up. What do you propose a guy should do in this example? Or what mechanism do you suggest? Perhaps 'dial 911 and die'?

dead body on campus
If I found a dead body on campus I would have the janitors remove it.
If the perp was there too and had killed himself, I would have them remove him too.
If the perp was there and was about to kill another one, I would shoot him, then have the janitor remove the body, clean up the mess, cancel the class for the day, continue tomorrow.

Colonel would JUST remove HUMAN dead bodies from College Campuses & go about his life
No investigations, no identifying the perp(s), no learning lessons and implementing solutions to see that such a thing becomes MORE difficult to repeat, NO NOTHING.

Just remove the dead bodies AS IF they are animal carcasses and go about (your life) AS IF NOTHING of significance happened. After all, what’s ONE more human life?

Great PRINCIPLE to organize “your society” around, Colonel !!!

Say Colonel, if THAT is your organizing PRINCIPLE (for a "society"), why are you cribbing about the many atrocities in the CURRENT dispensation?

You are AGAIN harping on cut & dry concretes. Talk in PRINCIPLES Colonel; it’s not THAT difficult
And I DON’T THINK you are INCAPABLE (of talking at the PRINCIPLES level). You don’t WANT to discuss the PRINCIPLES as that would expose the contradictions INHERENT in your position.

Since a PRINCIPLE is a rule for action for a specific category of situations, non-aggression principle could be YOUR rule of action. You have EVERY RIGHT to expect that the people around you adhere to that (principle of non-aggression). But NOBODY can guarantee that EVERYBODY around would follow that principle throughout their lives (more appropriately, throughout YOUR life). So, you must have a rule of action (a PRINCIPLE) for the situations when people around you VIOLATE the non-aggression principle. You must also have a rule of action (a PRINCIPLE) to DETERMINE IF the non-aggression principle was, IN FACT, violated. And, since you propose to live in a “society of men” – as opposed to a “collection of animals” – the principle(s) used to determine whether the non-aggression principle was, IN FACT, violated, must be objective and pass muster with the proverbial materially disinterested honest Third Party. Otherwise, there is no “society of men”, only a “collection of animals”.

The NEED for Objective PRINCIPLES to handle violence and fraud (between men) arise from the VERY nature (“free will”) of the beast called Man and “anarchy” DOES NOT provide them.

Who is comparing “anarchy” with (what is normally understood as) “Statism”, Colonel? Don’t DIVERT
“Anarchy” is based on the PRINCIPLE of “ANYBODY can use ANY amount of DEADLY force on ANYBODY and it’s NONE of ANY Third Party’s (bloody) business”.

And you claim (moral) superiority for such a system?

You defend the state. You critique anrachy ....
for not being able to prevent initiation of force.


WELL, THE STATE CANNOT PREVENT THE INITIATION OF FORCE BUT YOU DO NOT CONDEMN THE STATE FOR THE SAME REASON. WHY NOT?

Show me where I defended what passes for “State” now. But YOU promote "anarchy" as THE solution
So, YOU have to prove how it’s better.

Whoever is talking about PREVENTING ALL initiations of force? The issue is HOW to handle when SOMEBODY DOES initiate violence.

And you promote “anarchy” because you want to PERSONALLY use PRE-MEDIATED DEADLY force whenever YOU "FEEL” somebody initiated violence (against you OR anybody you "LIKE").

Show me where I defended what passes for “State” now. But YOU promote "anarchy" as THE solution
So, YOU have to prove how it’s better.

Whoever is talking about PREVENTING ALL initiations of force? The issue is HOW to handle when SOMEBODY DOES initiate violence.

And you promote “anarchy” because you want to PERSONALLY use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force whenever YOU "FEEL” somebody initiated violence (against you OR anybody you "LIKE").

NO, YOU MUST PROVE THE STATE IS BETTER.
The state has proven that it can murder millions and CANNOT prevent the initiation of violence, AND, IN FACT, initiates violence on it own behalf.
How is the state better than NO state?

I DON’T support the status quo; but YOU promote “anarchy” as THE alternative for the status quo
So, YOU have to prove that your alternative is better. And you failed to do so, save repeatedly ASSERTING that it (”anarchy”, YOUR ALTERNATIVE to status quo) is better.

Since “anarchy” is a system where it is IMMORAL to entrust the use of PRE-MEDITATED retaliatory (DEADLY) force to a PRE-SELECTED group of people following PRE-DECLARED Objective principles to determine violation of the Rights to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, it follows that “anarchy” is a system where it is MORAL for ANYBODY to use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force on ANYBODY they (subjectively) “feel” “Wronged” them.

And you PROMOTE such a pernicious (philosophical) system. The only conclusion to draw is; you want to PERSONALLY use PRE-MEDITATED DEADLY force on whomever you (subjectively) “feel” “Wronged” you, with a CLEAN CONSCIENCE. That’s why you promote such as “anarchy”.

the Principle involved
I already mentioned that too. If some other guy doesn't observe the non-aggression principle, like the guy in the example where they are holding your women and about to rape them, then the next principle kicks in: it's the principle of self-defense, thus you can protect yourself or your women.

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