The Taliban is consolidating its hold on Afghanistan after 20 years of failed American intervention. Meanwhile, refugees continue to flee in hope of a better life elsewhere. The total numbers could be 400,000 to up to two million refugees. But where the government has continuously and catastrophically failed, charities and generous companies are stepping up. Particularly noteworthy is AirBnB, whose Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that AirBnB will house Afghan refugees at no cost.
“Starting today, Airbnb will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free,” Chesky wrote on Twitter. “While we will be paying for these stays, we could not do this without the generosity of our Hosts. If you’re willing to host a refugee family, reach out and I’ll connect you with the right people here to make it happen!”
This is especially interesting since Airbnb has been regularly demonized by everyone from conservatives to socialists, and blamed for everything from rising property prices to gentrification. If the people who think they know what’s best had their way, Airbnb would not exist or would be regulated into obscurity. But the loss wouldn’t have just been the valuable service that Airbnb provides. Without Airbnb, 20,000 refugees would still have no place to live.
Granted, housing 20,000 people is helpful, but won’t solve the refugee crisis, let alone the crisis of those who remain in Afghanistan. But if the past 20 years in Afghanistan have taught anything, it should be that the government and those who pretend to know best usually don’t. When the state and its appointed experts try to force their will on society, the results are never good.
When one central authority imposes their will on everyone, people can’t respond to everyday life—let alone to crises—in ways that are appropriate for themselves and their situations. In contrast, when people are free then there are millions of potential solutions. The government and their experts had their way with Afghanistan, and now the country is shattered and hundreds of thousands are fleeing. They had their way with the COVID crisis, and millions of lives were shattered. If they had had their way with Airbnb, the current crisis would have one less solution. It’s one more reason to get the government out of the economy.