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Taking the rough road

Submitted by on 04.01.2013 – 10:05 pm 29 Comments

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one in four Americans who are eligible for food stamps do not sign up for the program. The reason for this: they are embarrassed to be seen in need.

This is a good thing.

Allow me to clarify. It is not good that there are currently 47,672,299 Americans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the USDA. Americans are deeply in need and this is stark proof of that horrible fact.

What is pleasing is the fact that there are many eligible for programs like SNAP who do not want to participate. This means they are uncomfortable in their neediness, hopefully meaning they will seek ways to escape such discomfort, such as working harder to keep from becoming dependent of government welfare — even if it hurts.

This is one of the best ways to reduce poverty or neediness. We must play on their discomfort. People do not become motivated when they are made comfortable.

Benjamin Franklin expressed this idea well. “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means,” Franklin said. “I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out.”

Franklin then explained, “In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Classical Scholar Edith Hamilton wrote similarly, showing how dependence on and comfort from government needs to be avoided.

“Now instead of men giving to the state the state was to give to them,” Hamilton wrote. “What (the Athenians) wanted was a government which would provide a comfortable life for them… Athens had reached the point of rejecting independence, and the freedom she now wanted was freedom from responsibility. There could be only one result…If men insisted on being free from the burden of life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all.”

Franklin and Hamilton hit the nail on the head. Not only do the poor become poorer via public provisions, but so does the rest of society — sucked into the bottomless pit of taxes, debt and need in the name of comfort and humanitarianism. When government provides, responsibility is left in the dust along with our freedom. Difficult as it may seem to do so, government needs to remove its hand and allow citizens to provide for themselves.

In turn, Americans need to continue to veer from such dependency on our government and support those who resist government assistance.

Poverty and neediness happen, and could very well happen to you or me, but we cannot exchange our freedoms for any form of comfort or security. Americans need to take the rough road, as they have in the past.

Andrew Jenson 

can be reached at 

arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

Tags: , ,

29 Comments »

  • Steven Flo says:

    This is so excellent and so Politically UN-Correct! Expect great praise and persecution. Those that cherish truth will cherish you and your words. Those that cherish leisure and/or power will lash out. Tyrants get votes by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. This is why they will always oppose something fair like a flat tax. They can’t increase taxes and gain power if everyone is taxed the same. No one will vote for increased taxes on themselves. So here’s the game! Progressively tax the rich and redistribute to the poor and a tyrant will have what he wants: votes/power for himself at the expense of a people enslaved. Good job speaking the truth Mr. Andrew Jenson!!!

    • dcordis says:

      WOW! RIGHT ON! It’s refreshing to see our young generation catch on to this idea!!!! Lets just pray our government will too!!!!! Thank you Andrew! And great comment Steven Flo!

  • Shelly says:

    Andrew, this should be published in every newspaper across the country! I love reading your articles and always look forward to the next one. Everything you wrote is the truth and it needs to be heard! Thank you Andrew.

    • Count Leeches says:

      What is Truth lady? Define it and then use it. I guarantee you can’t. Philosophers and logicians for thousands of years have tried and they can’t do it, so how could this young man pull it off?

  • Rick Fletcher says:

    I wish somewhere in your words you would have told your readers what you know personally about true need. It’s difficult to take you seriously without you sharing that you have real understanding. Without it, you come across as a holier-than-thou preacher.

  • Steven Flo says:

    Rick,

    If he spoke in an unloving fashion – anywhere – point it out. But to say he has to reveal what he “knows personally about true need” in order to legitimize his comments and not come across “holier-than-thou”, that is not only unreasonable, it is requirement not even you abide by. For you speak your critical opinion in this public forum without revealing to us what you “know personally about true need”. Therefore we have no choice, according to your criterion, but to question your sincerity and tell you, you are coming across “holier-than-thou”.

    Throw away the sanctimonious standard you self-righteously set up in order to shut people down. The real question is, “Does he speak truth or not?”

    • Rick Fletcher says:

      To Steven Flo (is that your real name or are you going anonymous here, while attacking others?):

      Was the author “unloving?” I have no idea. But he did say,

      “This is one of the best ways to reduce poverty or neediness. We must play on their discomfort. People do not become motivated when they are made comfortable.”

      We must play on someone’s discomfort? Really? I’m assuming you work in some capacity – do you want to work for a boss with that kind of attitude? One who tries to force you to do something by applying discomfort? I sure don’t, and I have the resources to avoid it. In fact, that is one reason the US economy is changing – too many companies are moving overseas to locations where workers are still allowed to be motivated by discomfort. There are plenty of motivational studies that show this to be a false meme. It’s not a successful strategy in America, and it matters not whether or not it is “unloving.” It doesn’t work.

      My point is that the article is from a viewpoint that is not going to be successful. That’s why the author’s personal experience matters. His strategy is a failing strategy, taken from an incorrect world view and he would have a better idea about that if he would have ever been in a situation of desperation himself.

      The piece would have read better clothed in at least a thread of humility.

    • John says:

      It isn’t letting me respond to your comment on my post so I’ll try here.

      1) Religion has nothing to do with government aid.

      2) How about a list of atheist charities?
      http://techskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/12/atheist-charities.html
      or
      http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities
      Just google “atheist charity” for more.

      3) It’s funny you say to give willingly when the majority of religious money comes from tithe

      4) Its a shame Christ doesn’t help the 5 million+ kids that die of hunger every year. Where are those fish?

      5) Your last statement is laughable. Governments that help it’s people out of poverty are like Mao or Hitler? You need to take some more history courses.

      You rely on government money everyday. Enjoy paved roads, police, fire stations, ect? Those are all government hand outs.
      When the government helps lift people out of the vicious cycle of poverty we all benefit.

  • Count Leech says:

    As someone who is on food stamps while working in the summer and off of them in the school year I find this highly offensive and reductive. Food assistance exists for a reason. Food security is an important priority in the United States and not in the capitalist “utopia” you seem to hearken to. Food assistance programs are run at the state level rather than federally and as such the rules vary from program to program. These rules make getting food stamps highly selective and often require participants to attend mandatory early morning classes to build job skills if he or she is unemployed. Other requirements include that if you are a university student that you be working a work study job or at least 20 hours of any other kind of employment. So amongst two students from identical economic backgrounds, one of whom works up to 19 hours of a job and the other working 1 hour of a work study job in a week: The one who works more will not receive food assistance. There are many inconsistencies such as these within the rules. Also there seems to be some kind of cultural misperception that people who use food assistance live in some kind of perpetual party when this is far from the truth. The very marginal boost of food assistance is not going to make the difference in whether you make it over the poverty line in 5, 10, 20 years or a lifetime. The assumption that all people eligible for food assistance and do not collect because they are too embarrassed to receive food assistance is pure fabrication. I work hard and many of my peers work hard, the upwardly mobile, the privileged, and the stagnant. But all these groups are still victim to the hidden and pitiless forces of a socio-economic system they did not build, did not choose to be born into and don’t agree with. Through Economic downturn, lack of opportunity, Natural disaster, Unexpected loss of income and countless other unfair and unforeseen realities of living, Food Assistance can offer stability, psychologically (especially for children) and economically that can even appeal to the strictest materialist. By this, I mean to say that people will eat and will eat by any means which can mean a lot worse problem than marginal tax increases, especially for those lovers of the status quo.
    Lastly, food assistance should be well aligned with the Atlas-Shrugged-thumping Individualist crowd who chronically attack it. Why would a self interested party in a capitalist structure be opposed to an increase of their capital? While the good libertarian would argue that the food assistance money is stolen from taxpayers by a government apparatus, this very altruistic concern for justice towards the abstract “taxpayer” seems hardly in line with the aggressive, anti-environmental, anti-humanist, wealth-building of the individual.

  • Count Leeches says:

    “We must play on their discomfort.”

    This makes a lot sense. Let’s stress out people who are already extremely stressed out because then they will work harder?

    Why doesn’t the university play on your discomfort and force you to take 3 children, work 60 hours a week, and we’ll see if you can “get ahead”.

    However, Andrew, I do agree with you that people shouldn’t rely on the state. Our government is predicated upon capitalism, which as you clearly don’t understand is a system predicated upon a class structure. This class structure is set up in such a way that poor people are necessary. After all, you can’t have the rich without the poor. Rich people are those who, benevolently, have the ambition, ideas, and means to employ the poor old poor people so that they can survive and so the rich man can sustain his wealth.

    The problem with this system is at least twofold. First, the rich have the means to take the wealth from the “free market” and store it up. This means that there is no wealth for the lower or poor class to get ahold of. So even if they do work harder, there’s nothing for them to gain. Second, because there is no wealth to be had for the poor, they are not “free” to climb the class structure. Freedom is a vagary used to justify greed and ignorance.

    Ultimately, though, Andrew, I think we agree, as summed up in your Hamilton quote, “Now instead of men giving to the state the state was to give to them.” Hamilton is right, the state should stop giving to men, and men should start giving to the state. No more tax breaks for the rich. In fact, let’s increase taxes for the rich since they have more to give to their country. I like this. It sounds like communism. The state will own everything and nothing will be yours or mine. But in order that the state get rich, they will need us to work and produce for them. We will all be poor together and the state will be healthy and strong, just like Hamilton and you want.

    Really, everyone should rob rich people and corporations because that would be true Freedom. after all, the logical endpoint of radical Freedom is Anarchy. So here, Andrew, you are an Anarchist. Start arguing like one.

  • Steven Flo says:

    THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. Count Leech is promoting a whole new world order which has been tried many times through the world’s history…each time ending in utter failure.

    Dr. C.F.W.Walther, a Lutheran Theologian of the 18th century, said in reaction to the philosophy of Karl Marx, “These days many hold that complete equality, particularly in temporal wealth, is the only means by which all men can be equally happy. If people would be neither rich nor poor, then the golden age predicated by the poets of almost all nations would come, the world would become a paradise, the countless sobs of the miserable would be stilled, and all humanity would become one great and blessed family. Others go even farther. They maintain: The fact that there are rich and poor . . . point to universal injustice. They say all enter this world with absolutely the same rights; all have equal claim to its soil, to its products, to all its wealth. To be a rich man and a thief many consider the same thing; they deem the government which protects the rich in his possessions the appointed public protectress of crying injustice.”

    These words were written by Walther in a sermon on Luke 16:1-9, for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity. He plainly shows that he understands the true nature of communism and socialism. Communism is not simply an attractive alternate economic theory, it is a monstrous, immoral, and ungodly evil. Dr. Walther continued in his sermon: “Solomon quite properly says: ‘The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all!’ Proverbs 22:2. Whoever calls the difference between rich and poor, between great and humble, between authorities and subjects, a state of injustice, insolently calls God the Lord himself, who has the power to do what he wishes with His own property, unjust, for God himself has ordered this difference among us fallen men!”

    ===========================

    Here is a summary of the 4 lectures Walther did on Communism/Socialism in the 1870s.

    FIRST LECTURE
    Labor unions used by communists; labor papers atheistic; French Revolution; No Christian can take part in efforts of Communists and Socialists; men are not intended to be equal by God; men are naturally selfish; happiness does not consist in external advantages.

    SECOND LECTURE
    Christian sympathy for troubles of laboring-man; condemnation of greedy employers; communist have never attained their purpose; history of real attempts at true communism: Sparta, Lycurgas, Pythagoras, Plats, Essenes, Monasteries, Thomas Muenzer, Peasant’s Revolt; Luther’s words to nobility; Joch Bockhold; First French Revolution, Jacobins, Babeuf; Egaliteurs, Count de Saint-Simon; Bazard; French Insurrection of 1848; Louis Blanc, Heine and the “Young Germany” movement; Weitling in Magdeburg; Fourier in France; “Icarian Communists,: Proudhon; France in 1871 and the “Commune”.

    THIRD LECTURE
    Communism’s attempt to justify itself from the Bible: Genesis 1; holding of personal property taught by necessity, reason, and for happiness; dangers in holing personal property must be watched; Acts 4:32; Matthew 19:16; laborers in Vineyard; Communists oppose definite doctrines of Scripture: personal property, fifth commandment, sixth commandment, differences between man and man, eternity, man must work to eat, man shall not seek his happiness in this world, sin is the source of all world’s troubles.

    FOURTH LECTURE
    Accusations of Communists against Christian Church, church in league with the rich and oppressors; Christ opposed to conquering world by force; Christ and Bible are friends of the oppressed; dreadful end of tyrants, Christianity not out to end corruption in the world. Christ’s Kingdom is above; Christianity never tried by Communists and Socialists; Consequence if it were tried; Christian’s aim is eternal Life.
     
    ——

    You can read the lectures Here:

    WALTHER’S FOUR LECTURES:

    C.F.W. Walther: Lectures on Communism and Socialism – Lecture 1:  http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2012/10/cfw-walther-and-two-kingdoms-in-action_22.html

    C.F.W. Walther: Lectures on Communism and Socialism – lecture 2:  http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2012/10/cfw-walther-and-two-kingdoms-in-action_23.html
     

    C.F.W. Walther: Lectures on Communism and Socialism – Lecture 3:   http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2012/10/cfw-walther-and-two-kingdoms-in-action_24.html

    C.F.W. Walther: Lectures on Communism and Socialism – Lecture 4:  http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2012/10/cfw-walther-and-two-kingdoms-in-action_25.html

  • Ordo says:

    Communism has ALWAYS failed and it will ALWAYS fail! We see it in history.

    • Count Leeches says:

      Capitalism has always failed and it will always fail. We see it in history. Financial collapse. Bail out. There has never been a Capitalism without a Communism to rescue it, and there has never been a Communism without a Capitalism to do the same. Evoking one evokes the other. Welcome to the dialectical nature of identity. To have Capitalism, you need Communism. I myself am promoting neither here. Rather, I’m watching you promote Communism yourself.

      • Steven Flo says:

        - Neither Crony Capitalism or Communism -

        If the government takes more and more from the rich and gives more and more to the poor… is that the answer? Forced redistribution in the name of “equality” and “justice” (communism) has never worked in the history of the world. But, of course, crony capitalism (i.e. corporations in bed with the government) results in legalized thievery as well. So what’s the answer? NEITHER crony capitalism (i.e. government favoring corporations) nor communism (i.e. government favoring the poor)! Do you notice the common denominator in both scenarios is = THE GOVERNMENT! How about taking the government out of both as much as possible…as our founding fathers envisioned? How about returning to the primary purpose of the government which is to “bear the sword” (Romans 13:4). Simply put, it should protect us from 1) invaders from without and 2) corruption from within. But, instead, it seems obsessed with just the opposite: invading others without and corrupting corporations as well as the poor within. How about “we the people” telling our government to back off! How about “we the people” telling our government to bring our troops home and quit favoring anybody, rich or poor? How about a flat tax for everyone – equally. How about the government leveling the playing field so everyone has EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to labor and succeed as a result of their hard work, instead of equal pay for those who refuse to work? Inequalities between people will always exist. Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” (Mark 14:7). Some people will be leaders, some followers. Some will be doctors, lawyers, research scientists, nobel laureates. Some will be ditch workers, waiters, shoe shiners, custodians. Are all these vocations important? Yes! Do they all serve God? Yes! Should they all be paid the same? No! It is NOT the job of the government to equalize people or their pay. It’s the job of the government to EQUALIZE OPPORTUNITY so we can all earn our wage fairly. God does not want people lazily living and eating off the sweat of others. Of course, if they are disabled – yes, but if fully abled – no! God, in love, commands: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2Thessalonians 3:10) Let us do all we can to keep the Federal Government out of the “charity business” for the poor…as well as…out of the “bail-out business” for the rich? Let’s bring these concerns down to the local; state, community, and private levels. With 17 Trillion in debt and rising, the Federal Government has obviously proven itself to be totally inept at “charity” and “business”. The 40th President of of the United States was right, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem!”

        • Count Leeches says:

          1. Worshiping Capitalism in whatever form is Idolatry.

          2. Ground reason on Unreason (faith) is illogical.

          3. Religion is Communism.

          4. (A) If “God does not want people lazily living and eating off the sweat of others,” then you should be a farmer. and (B) What God wants is irrelevant in a society where God is not allowed in the Government.

          5. Capitalism is a form of government. It is a system organizing a mass of people under one logic. And, as systems which are more diverse are more stable, the more forms of existence we can proliferate the better.

          Bottom line: you are promoting a certain moral agenda that stabilizes your own ideological ends. This is plainly selfish and hardly predicated upon love, which is the entire message of the new testament. Repent sinner.

          Quoting a few “classical scholars” and the Bible makes you sound nothing more than antiquated and ignorant. Your lazy Protestant interpretation of the Bible is indicative of the end of a meaningful Christianity and only serves to make your narrow-minded Moralism all the less effective.

          Let immorality reign! The decay of society means FREEDOM from Moralism! The end of logically unified systems is here! Make war on whatever! Sleep with men and Women! Be ignorant! God is a woman! Women are Men! There are 10 Gods! There is no God! Jesus is Lord! Who gives a damn. Illogic is the new logic and you are the evidence of that Steven. Thank you.

          • Steven Flo says:

            Count Leech says:
            “What God wants is irrelevant in a society where God is not allowed in the Government.”

            The fact is:
            Our Founding Fathers predicated their Revolution and the new Government they established… entirely on God’s existence:

            1) When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of NATURE’S GOD entitle them…

            2) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

            3) We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WORLD…
            —————————

            Leech says:

            Bottom line: you are promoting a certain moral agenda that stabilizes your own ideological ends. This is plainly selfish and hardly predicated upon love, which is the entire message of the new testament. Repent sinner.

            The fact is:

            Everyone is promoting their own world view, moral agenda, ideological end. Leech does the same. He says: “Let immorality reign! The decay of society means FREEDOM from Moralism! The end of logically unified systems is here! Make war on whatever! Sleep with men and Women! Be ignorant! God is a woman! Women are Men! There are 10 Gods! There is no God! Jesus is Lord! Who gives a damn.”

            Count Leech, as you promote your ideology, will you excoriate yourself with the same words you use to shut others up? Quote: “This is plainly selfish and hardly predicated upon love, which is the entire message of the new testament. Repent sinner.”

            —————————
            Mr. Leech, it’s obvious your problem is not really with me, capitalism, moralism, but with God Himself. You are not alone. This is the dilemma for all of us. We all are by nature sinful and unclean. All of us are filled with cursing and bitterness toward Him (Romans 3:14). All of us want to be God and it makes us mad as hell we can’t be. Be honest. Confess it with the rest of us. You want Christ dead and out of the way? Too late. He’s already done that. By His death your sins are forgiven. Kick, scream, curse, spew all your venom on Him…it makes no difference. You can not stop Him from loving you. He’s speaking on OUR BEHALF right now: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Throw it away if you want. He’ll love you with tears all the way to hell.

          • Count Leeches says:

            1. Worshipping the Forefathers is a form of Idoltary.

            2. The Forefathers are boring, irrelevant, and I could care less about their opinion.

            3. In this perfect world that God created he made it possible for me to sleep with a man or a woman. The Laws of Nature permit it. I love it.

            4. Truth is an abstract vagary used to justify an ideological position.

            5. Selfishness reigns. I am glad to be selfish. I will never excoriate myself.

            6. I love God. He exists and is the best, #1 guy. He tells me to kiss boys.

            7. Church is way boring.

            8. Jesus is my Savior or whatever.

            9. For me to be Honest there would need to be a stable set of criteria for which my intentions would need to align. But since the smartest people in the world can’t agree about how intention works, or even its origin, I can’t align my intentions with an externally observable set of facts that would allow for Truth in the form of correspondence to occur. Truth is a belief and so by no means holds any sway in a logically constituted proposition.

            10. God is outside the bounds of reason. Therefore, to presume to know God’s intentions or use the idea of God to justify any worldly action or opinion is to commit a logical fallacy.

            11. We live in the Best of All Possible Worlds because I can sleep with both sexes.

            12. If this is the best world, how I come I can imagine a better one?

            13. If God already planned everything out, there’s no such thing as free will and everything I’m doing and saying–like having intercourse with 2 people while typing this–is god’s plan. And since it is God’s plan, I’m not sinning.

            14. The same logical fallacy that holds to the notion of truth holds to the notion of sin. There can be no criteria by which to judge sin and therefore sin cannot occur.

            15. Kids just don’t care about God anymore. It is simultaneously terrible and wonderful.

            16. My problem is with the conflation of God and Reason. I love God. I am god, I think.

            17. If this life doesn’t matter, but only the “after life” (a notion invented by Pagans and forced upon the Jews) then why do you argue about any of this?

            18. I don’t like America.

            19. America is the best.

            20. You wanna hang out, Steve?

  • John says:

    I’m sad to see that you are writing again. It was a nice break from your ineptitude.

    Nice to see you saying hungry children are a good thing.

    Those leeches don’t need aid.

    • Steven Flo says:

      No one has helped the poor more than Christ and His Church. Show me any institutions of mercy and healing atheists have come up with. We’re all in favor of helping the poor. But willingly and individually, not forced by government mandate. Take the government out of it. Let people give by their own free volition. Charity isn’t charity if it is forced. History is replete with examples of despots who have promised to take care of the needs of the people by governmental decree, and when in power the people are murdered and enslaved (i.e. Mao, Stalin, Hitler).

      • John says:

        1) Religion has nothing to do with government aid.

        2) How about a list of atheist charities?
        http://techskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/12/atheist-charities.html
        or
        http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities
        Just google “atheist charity” for more.

        3) It’s funny you say to give willingly when the majority of religious money comes from tithe

        4) Its a shame Christ doesn’t help the 5 million+ kids that die of hunger every year. Where are those fish?

        5) Your last statement is laughable. Governments that help it’s people out of poverty are like Mao or Hitler? You need to take some more history courses.

        You rely on government money everyday. Enjoy paved roads, police, fire stations, ect? Those are all government hand outs.
        When the government helps lift people out of the vicious cycle of poverty we all benefit.

      • John says:

        1) Religion has nothing to do with government aid.

        2) How about a list of atheist charities?
        http://techskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/12/atheist-charities.html
        or
        http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities
        Just google “atheist charity” for more.

        3) It’s funny you say to give willingly when the majority of religious money comes from tithe

        4) Its a shame Christ doesn’t help the 5 million+ kids that die of hunger every year. Where are those fish?

        5) Your last statement is laughable. Governments that help it’s people out of poverty are like Mao or Hitler? You need to take some more history courses.

        You rely on government money everyday. Enjoy paved roads, police, fire stations, ect? Those are all government hand outs.
        When the government helps lift people out of the vicious cycle of poverty we all benefit.

  • Cirk P.E. Secord says:

    Andrew Jensen believes it “is a good thing” that “one in four Americans who are eligible for food stamps do not sign up for the program”, because “they are embarrassed to be seen in need”, and therefore “we must play on their discomfort”, “to keep [the objective poor] from becoming dependent of government welfare — even if it hurts”: this in the context of the correlation between the depressed state of the US and Greek economies and employment, and the 10% increase in the wealth of their billionaires between just last year and now. If only the media would mount a campaign to drive them into complete shame; if only doctors would treat all feverish patients by throwing them into ice water! The symptom is not the problem, and treating the symptom is not the solution. Evocation of Benjamin Franklin – who among other American forefathers advocated a progressive income tax, explicitly, as a bulwark against the corruption of wealth and power that has so afflicted the US and world economies for the past thirty-odd years- as someone who would either think or believe we of the modern age are being “sucked into the bottomless pit of taxes, debt and need in the name of comfort and humanitarianism”, is either nonsense or blasphemy. A couple centuries ago, Ben prescribed “leading or driving” the poor out of poverty, and Andrew is persuaded Edith Hamilton believed Athenian wisdom advocated the same “If men insisted on being free from the burden of life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all”. The ambiguous reference of this quotation aside, in the admiration and pleasure I have had with reading Edith over the years, this sentiment did not rivet itself in my memory, but I wonder little what shrift the Athenians of a couple millennia ago and today would advise for those who have been “driving and leading” them into poverty. Andrew advises “we” treat the poor with tough love, but what does he advocate “we” should do for the wealthy and disenfranchising who have created, and continue to benefit from this increasing impoverishment?

  • Yet Another Leech says:

    If you have to resort to god to win an argument you lose. go live in a cave and eat lentils.

  • Steven Flo says:

    God is that in which we put our trust. It might be our own image, logic, luck, man, money, or the Lord. We all trust something. Mr. Leech, I’m hearing all about your anarchist God. Others want to promote themselves. You’re hearing about my Crucified One. There’s no avoiding running into “Gods” when people talk. Yes Leech, let’s hang out and talk some more.

    • John says:

      Seems the million of kids who starve to death every year need something more than trust in god.

      • Count Leeches says:

        I agree with John, here.

        We might also note, that no one started talking about God until Stevesie did. God’s just not a relevant issue anymore. Personally, I tend by this slogan “Destroy the gospel by ignoring it.”

        What is relevant and necessary for this discussion is a non-religious ethics. We’re dealing with a broad group of people who all deserve representation on their terms. As such, we cannot reduce their positions to religious discourse.

        And sorry, John, if it feels like I hi-jacked your comment.

        Ethically speaking, I don’t see any justification for supporting a system that is predicated upon inequality. The imposition of inequality is the imposition of non-Freedom.

        There will always be suffering, but better we suffer together at the hands of a system that is brutally fair than one that is easily manipulated. “Freedom” is always an excuse to hide subjective selfishness.

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