Saturday, January 08, 2005

A clever summary of the classic republican perspectives on the poor

Asymmetrical Information: Numbers that just don't add up
1. Those tricksy bastards (Dems) are wildly overstating the problems [this post];

2 A lot of the problems associated with the lower end of the income scale are a result of the stupidity of the poor (and really, what can you do with the stupid?) [this post]
3. Almost all Republicans have suffered through much more trying times than any of the poor have faced - and they've kept the aspidistra flying, dammit; the poor need to stop whining [this post];

4. Mercy is twice blessed because it is given; it cannot be commanded by the government. If someone has screwed up and doesn't get another chance - well, they made their own bed. That someone else, with a different background, has had a second chance (or however many chances one gets in getting from 20 to 40 as a drunk) is of no import whatsoever, and people who are envious of the latter group should have had the forethought to have better parents. Indeed, even asking that we temper our scorn for them is too much - might be a disincentive to change [drug post];

5. Of course, the poor don't need to have forethought because we keep cosseting them. If we let a few old people starve to death on the streets, they'd smarten up, work harder, and start investing; doing anything at all to help the poor merely robs them of the incentive to improve their lot [SS post];

6. Occasionally, you run across the very rare situation where it's hard to entirely blame the poor for their situation, like natural disasters. In those cases, we may give them some help. But, before doing so, it's important to note
- that they've done very little for us;
- that they are insufficiently grateful at the moment of the crisis;
- that if we're going to put aside our principles and help them, we must get credit!
[stingy post].

Many of these are variations of a longstanding theological premise -- that poverty is God's way of showing who he disproves of.

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