Agree With Me, Or You Are Not Really Pro-life

Saturday, July 12, AD 2014

abortion and welfare

 

Mark Shea is back to his old trick of saying that unless you agree with me on policy issue x which is not directly related to abortion, you are not really pro-life.  It is an attempt to stop debate on policy issue x, at least among pro-lifers.  Mike Gannon at Pocketful of Liberty takes the argument apart:

 

This past Tuesday over at Patheos, Mark Shea, noted gadfly of Catholics and other Christians who come down on the small government side of the aisle, authored a post that started out with the provocative assertion “If we oppose abortion and social safety nets, we don’t really oppose abortion.”

Balderdash, I say!

Now, that’s a qualified balderdash, as I explain below. Mark Shea is a complicated thinker who is usually worth giving a second look (halfway through the piece he denounces the idolatry of the individual and the state in the same breath, demonstrating the difficulty one has at putting him neatly into this or that political box). Nonetheless, in this piece Shea falls victim to the temptation to cast aspersions on fellow pro-lifers who at the same time harbor serious concerns about the scope of our modern welfare state.

It’s a cheap trick that is all too common in political discourse to attempt to strong-arm a fellow traveler into lockstep with one’s own preferred platform by questioning their commitment to the cause if they disagree over tactics or emphases.

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24 Responses to Agree With Me, Or You Are Not Really Pro-life

  • One of many reasons for which I rarely read anything Mark Shea writes. Prosperity comes after obedience to God. A nation that murders its unborn will be punished by material poverty because it is spiritually impoverished and no amount of govt welfare can fix that. Bread and circuses did not work for Caligula and will not work for Obama no matter what Mark Shea proclaims to the contrary.

  • I did a year of welfare work in NY City after college as I waited to enter the military. You need welfare but it must be monitored with severity. If you leave out severe monitoring, you destroy the Matrimony stats of the group in question. Non severe monitoring produces babies with nomadic fathers and those babies rob the welfare money that should be going to those who need welfare due to layoffs, desertion by legal spouse or mental illness. God in scripture says, ” Those who do not work, shall not eat “…. but that presumes there is work. The unnecessary slothful welfare clients are part of the reason many of our mentally ill will never receive the therapy they need which is expensive. A paranoid schizophrenic with no family is given enough money to live in a bad neighborhood where her paranoia is actually correct. If all sloths were weeded off welfare, we could put her in a much safer neighborhood.
    I remember Gladys M. who had that situation. Welfare gave her enough to live in a dangerous part of lower Manhattan. I remember a mentally ill couple who lived on east 4th street where I carried a weapon as I walked up flights to visit them and passed a long line of guys waiting for admittance to a heroin apartment on a floor below my clients.

  • “Agree With Me, Or You Are Not Really Pro-life”. This statement includes the anti-death penalty group.

  • Another issue that Mark Shea didn’t take into account (and I posted a comment to this effect at his blog): we don’t do the unborn any favors by expanding social safety nets indefinitely beyond our ability to pay for them and running up gargantuan levels of national debt, which THEY will have to pay off, in the process. There’s a big difference between being totally opposed to ALL social safety nets and being opposed to a level of safety net coverage that is unsustainable and requires onerous levels of taxation to sustain.

  • How is plumping for the welfare state not also the heresy of Americanism?

  • Mary De Voe,
    In my one year of welfare work, I threw a prostitute off welfare in Manhattan and her pimp came to the office and threatened me with his own death penalty. He was quite pro “the life”.

  • Don, why should the government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al? The last time I looked at the Constitution, no provision was made for a welfare state. Historically, this has been the responsibility of the family, the church, and other private institutions.

  • “[W]hy should the government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al?”
    .
    I agree. How is the government supposed to perform the “severe monitoring”? It seems to me that can only happen when one is intimately knowledgeable about the person in question who needs help. Even at the local level, I find it difficult to believe that a government bureaucrat really knows his clients. One welfare person might have a legitimate reason to have a Mercedes car. Another might not. One might actually need medical MJ. Not so with someone else. I know one “economically fragile” person with a much nicer cell plan than what I have. I have a much nicer internet plan that what she has (she borrows my Wi-Fi several times a week because she doesn’t have Wi-Fi and her smart phone can’t do everything.) I can react much more quickly with monetary (and other) aid than the local government can, if asked, and if I think theirs a legit reason. I can also say “No; you waste too much money on tattoos, drinking, smoking, junk food, and sex.” People often end up in bad economic circumstances due to sin.
    .
    It also needs to be remembered that the government bureaucrat is not spending his own money, but someone else’s. There is no personal motivation for him to economize. It used to be that the government didn’t hand out all the freebies. Now look: we turn to the “non-judgmental” government, and not our supposedly judgmental churches and neighbors who know us only too well. The government has grown very large; our churches and neighbors unimportant.

  • “Don, why should the government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al?”

    Because otherwise a good many of those people would starve. Such provisions have been made by governments in this country long before the advent of the welfare state. One of the problems with the welfare state is that it takes a fairly minor duty of government and transforms it into the be all and end all of government. The welfare state had no greater foe than Calvin Coolidge and he had precisely the same view as I do.

    The expansion of the welfare state of course takes away the ability of government to target the truly needy. More perniciously an expansive welfare state sucks initiative from many people and allows government to manipulate populations through large welfare systems that a majority of the population, in one form or another, and to a greater or lesser extent becomes hooked to.

  • “There’s a big difference between being totally opposed to ALL social safety nets and being opposed to a level of safety net coverage that is unsustainable and requires onerous levels of taxation to sustain.”

    Good point Elaine. Anyone who can’t see that the modern welfare states are dying and need massive reform simply haven’t been paying attention.

  • “[W]hy should the government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al?”

    The real question is “Why should the Federal government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al?” Under the original vision of Federalism welfare is solely the province of the states. Now it is true that a modern national economy can require a coordination of benefits across state lines, but this could have been done with interstate compacts. The federalization of welfare and other social programs will someday be viewed as an historic mistake.

  • Mac,

    Do you read Shea in the spirit of mortification (from a meditation on the Second Sorrowful Mystery)?

    I will not go into why the state (federal or states) has the power to take from some citizens to give to other citizens.

    Or, into: “Render unto Caesar . . . and to God the things of God.:”

    Or, wherein the state taking other people’s money to do your works of charity, which is like me doing your push-ups. You will not get any physical fitness benefit from my sweat. Coercive state takings for welfare (and voting for pro-abortion) don’t do anything for one’s spiritual well-being.

    It’s almost 10PM (pretty sure my children are where they should be) and the warden is in another state. I can have another cold beer.

    Regards to all (including Shea),

    Shaw

  • “Do you read Shea in the spirit of mortification”

    No, rather one of curiosity which is the main reason for all my reading that is non-professional. Shea is an interesting case study of someone who began as a conservative and has altered his politics to have them closely align with the various current policy positions embraced by the Church. Since no American political party embraces such a helter-skelter bundle of beliefs this has caused Shea to embrace a pox on both your houses attitude toward both parties, although his bitterness towards the Republican party seems more intense. Making your religion your politics is as unsatisfying as making your politics your religion. It also leads, in Shea’s case, to a desire to pretend that the Church has always held positions that she has in fact held for only the last nanosecond in historical terms, the current anti-death penalty position of the Church for instance. My politics are informed by my Catholicism, most notably in regard to the unyielding opposition of the Church to abortion, but it is not decisive in most areas, especially since I am enough of a historian to realize that the Church has held contradictory positions on many political issues, depending upon the personal preferences of the pope of the day, and that the Church wisely allows her sons and daughters to make up their own minds on most issues.

  • While the current welfare state is atrocious, I don’t think there is any doubt that cutting benefits will lead to more abortions. I’m comfortable with that trade-off but I don’t think it’s possible to deny that it is true.

  • The problem with Shea’s argument is that the data is not so clear. He notes that 42% (or something like that) of women who have abortions are at or below the poverty level. At first glance this may be so. But when one reads more closely this an other studies, the data is complex. Women frequently cite more than one reason for abortion one of which is not be able to afford another child. I say another, because most of those who cite such a reason have several children and are young. Other factors include interference with work or relationship problems. Some even cite unwillingness to go on public assistance. So its not a clear correlation with poverty.

    In fact it seems that much of the problem is related to the breakdown of the family. If so, and if current welfare police contribute to such a breakdown, then decreasing the welfare state might actually reduce abortion.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

  • “‘Do you read Shea in the spirit of mortification”
    No, rather one of curiosity which is the main reason for all my reading that is non-professional.”

    It was a rhetorical question.

    Anyhow, my opinion (klaxons!) Mr. Shea habitually confuses whatever prudential judgment he likes/dislikes with objective truth teachings of Holy Mother Church and then blows it out of proportion.

  • “It was a rhetorical question.”

    For lawyers T.Shaw there are no rhetorical questions, merely opportunities for rhetorical answers! 🙂

  • Why do women have abortions? There is really only one reason–they engaged in an act of reproduction (or pro-creation if you prefer) without the desire to have a baby. The same is true with men.

  • bill bannon: “In my one year of welfare work, I threw a prostitute off welfare in Manhattan and her pimp came to the office and threatened me with his own death penalty. He was quite pro “the life”.”
    .
    Ho! Bill Bannon you would have become a martyr for virginity, chastity and personal self-governance.

  • “[W]hy should the government be involved in any sort of support for the handicapped, the mentally ill or handicapped, injury victims et al?”

    If we want to curtail welfare spending, are we ready for a repetition of les journées de juin 1848, following the closure of les Ateliers Nationaux? Then, the Liberals secured a victory over the Radical Republicans, but at the cost of 1,500 dead in combat and thousands of summary executions of prisoners. The Assembly, one recalls, welcomed the surrender of the last barricade with cries of “Long Live the Republic!” What they got, inevitably, was Napoleon III.

    Nowadays, when governments depend for their legitimacy on media coverage and the cult of personality, it is pretty generally recognised that welfare cheques, drug-dealing and cheap alcohol are indispensable guarantees of the political order.

    Remember Talleyrand, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

  • Anyhow, my opinion (klaxons!) Mr. Shea habitually confuses whatever prudential judgment he likes/dislikes with objective truth teachings of Holy Mother Church and then blows it out of proportion.

    Well said.

  • “Render the poor unto Caesar.”–from the gospel of Mark Shea.

  • There was a time America had no “tax dollars paying for welfare” and no legal abortions and better public morals and no Mark Shea. Correlation or causation, you decide.

  • Oh my gosh, how did we ever get along without Mark Shea tap-tap-tapping out his frustrations and posting them on the blogosphere. He needs to get a job that does not involve being a professional Catholic.

Mercedes and Food Stamps

Saturday, July 12, AD 2014

19 Responses to Mercedes and Food Stamps

  • “You should have sold the Mercedes prior to sponging off the government”

    No, I absolutely don’t agree at all. If they were down on their luck enough to apply for WIC or food stamps, they probably didn’t have enough spare cash to buy a used car without borrowing money and the LAST thing they needed was to take on more debt. Perhaps they could have gotten by on one car (her Honda), but if he was out going to job interviews, trying to get freelance work, etc. and she was trying to take their babies to doctor appointments, shopping, etc. at the same time, that might have been a problem. Perhaps one of them could have used public transportation, but we don’t know what options were available to them, how much it cost or whether the routes and schedules took them where they needed to go. And expecting people whose income is low enough to qualify for food stamps to pay for taxi service — no way. Have you ever tried doing your grocery shopping on a city bus because you have no car and can’t afford to pay for a taxi? I have — for two whole months — and I really don’t want to do it again.

    “When a man has a family he has a duty to support that family, and if that means taking a job outside of his field, that is what you do.”

    Assuming that anyone was willing to hire him outside of his field. The article doesn’t say how many or what other type of jobs he applied for. Nowhere does it say that he was “content to have his family take welfare benefits” in the meantime.

    At least no one told her “you shouldn’t have had kids if you couldn’t afford them,” or if anyone did, she doesn’t mention it. Of course, when she concieved those children she and her fiance were still employed and they COULD afford them — something that the people who berate single mothers on food stamps, welfare, etc., don’t seem to take into account.

    All that said, I think people are misinterpreting the point of her article. I don’t think she’s trying say that being forced to drive a used Mercedes is the end of the world; she’s simply pointing out that it is possible for hard-working, respectable, well-educated, middle class people to find themselves in a situation where they need the very benefits they scorn others for taking.

  • And no, I DON’T think this article is at all funny or “hilarious.” I suppose having lost a job in the journalism field myself and having to get by on half the income I had before for two years afterward, kind of takes the humor out of it.

  • Now, after watching the After Hours clip I am way more ticked off by THEIR smugness and judgmental attitude than I am by Cunha’s! They do make some valid points — for example, why is she thanking Obama, rather than her family, friends and neighbors, for the help she received? — but them accusing her of being judgmental is, in my opinion, a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  • How did he afford a Benz on a journalist’s salary? That’s a vehicle for real-estate developers and senior corporate executives who’ve got a megawad of spare cash sloshing around. And what’s the point of owning one? A car needs to be reliable enough in your climate to get you from point A to point B. If you want something handsome to own, go to a convention, buy a 1931 Packard, and teach yourself to repair it.

  • Keep the Mercedes–it probably runs well, and go get a job at Wal-Mart. I know a professional to lost his job, who (although he didn’t have a Mercedes) went to work at Wal-Mart. Alternatively, keep the Mercedes and move to North Dakota and work in the oil fields.

  • “they probably didn’t have enough spare cash to buy a used car without borrowing money”

    I represent the major dealership in my town. They routinely will swap used low end cars for high end used cars with a cash payment to the seller in addition to the low end car. The low end cars have a one year warranty. This isn’t rocket science and I am constantly surprised in my practice that more people can’t think up fairly simple stratagems like this on their own to get cash and cut expenses.

  • “Assuming that anyone was willing to hire him outside of his field.”

    Unless he is a drunk or a druggie, I could have found him a job in 60 days. He would not have liked the job I would have found for him no doubt, but he would have been employed and been able to use his own funds to support his family rather than relying on the largesse of Uncle Sucker.

  • “Elaine Krewer on Saturday, July 12, A.D. 2014 at 10:12am (Edit) And no, I DON’T think this article is at all funny or “hilarious.””

    Tastes will vary Elaine. I think it takes a heart of stone not to laugh at this over educated twit with a sense of entitlement a mile high. My Dad didn’t finish high school and my mom had a high school degree, and both of them would have preferred to eat ground glass than rely upon government assistance. No doubt Ms. Cunha and her spouse would have looked down their noses at the blue collar jobs held by my parents, so infinitely more respectable to be the recipients of handouts.

  • They should have been able to find some sort of work without resorting to welfare.
    One was a TV producer and the other was a journalist. They should have been able to find something, be it a manager at Dunkin Donuts or work the floor at Home Depot or some similar work. Were they willing to move?

    This couple sounds like they were lifelong East Coast residents who think the world ends on the other side of I-95 and they weren’t about to sully themselves by moving west.

  • I lost a fairly well paying job in the journalism field in 2004. At the time my husband was the stay at home parent homeschooling our daughter, but he found a part time job immediately, and we hastily enrolled our daughter in public school, while I looked for other employment. Out of the same old-fashioned sense of shame that your parents’ generation, and mine, had — “we’d rather starve than take a government handout” — I jumped on the first job that was offered to me, despite the fact that it paid only half of what I was earning before, and paid LESS than what I was getting in unemployment compensation.

    In retrospect, I believe that might have been a mistake, since hastily taking on that job and its attendant expenses (e.g. a long commute) left us even worse off financially (even though we sold our home and moved to a new city) and caused us to incur debt that took years to pay off. If I had it to do over again I would have held out longer and kept looking for something better, instead of letting my pride get in the way too quickly. I should add that I never applied for food stamps or TANF even though we probably could have qualified for them — again, because I didn’t feel we really needed them and didn’t want to live off the government dole more than we already were.

    Yes, I understand that we do not want to encourage people to spend their whole lives on the government dole, but is one really morally obligated to give up or refuse benefits for which one has LEGALLY qualified (whether or not the benefit programs in question are too generous or unsustainable is an issue that government officials and voters have to determine) in order to take any job at all, even if it leaves your family in a bigger financial hole than before?

    Also, selling off certain assets like a reliable car in order to exhaust the proceeds before resorting to government assistance can be counterproductive. For example, what if you need the car to get to work or to job interviews? Is giving it up in favor of a “beater” that breaks down constantly and leaves you stranded with no way to fix it (Ms. Cunha drove her husband’s Mercedes to the WIC office ONLY because her Honda would not start that day) really going to help you get off the dole quicker?

    The same applies to people who insist that food stamp recipients should not have internet access or cellphones — OK, I agree they don’t need the latest version of every smartphone, but there are quite a few jobs for which one can ONLY apply online and which expect you to be reachable at all times. I just don’t see the wisdom or virtue in selling off a FULLY PAID FOR asset that could legitimately be used in a job search or to perform the duties of a job that could be offered. Even if Ms. Cunha and her husband were a bit too picky about maintaining the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed, and even if her embarrassment at driving to the welfare office in a Mercedes was appropriate, I still think there was nothing wrong with letting them keep it.

  • Penquins Fan,
    Many poor work and are still living in shelters. I saw one lady on tv who had three children, three bottom rung jobs, and she and the children lived in a shelter. Often they are in cities wherein low cost housing is taken quickly by their poor competitors and that leaves shelters or rents designed for the middle class jobs.
    Here is a lady working two jobs and still in a shelter which is a form of welfare:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  • “Yes, I understand that we do not want to encourage people to spend their whole lives on the government dole, but is one really morally obligated to give up or refuse benefits for which one has LEGALLY qualified (whether or not the benefit programs in question are too generous or unsustainable is an issue that government officials and voters have to determine) in order to take any job at all, even if it leaves your family in a bigger financial hole than before?”

    For many reasons I think any type of honest work Elaine is better than relying on government assistance, not least of which is the impact it has on a person’s self respect. If it has zero impact on a person’s self respect than the self respect has already vanished. This of course does not apply to people who through no fault of their own are unable to work, or are in a catastrophic situation, like a child having liver cancer, where some form of government help cannot be avoided. However, these type of situations are the exception and not the rule for the vast majority of people currently taking the myriad of government benefits available today for simply existing.

  • Another detail that seems to have been overlooked is that Ms. Cunha did NOT sign up for “food stamps” or SNAP; she enrolled in WIC, a different program that is open only to pregnant, postpartum and nursing mothers and to children under age 5 who must prove, among other things, that they would be in danger of being malnourished without it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIC

  • True Elaine, although I think it is a distinction without a difference. Of course I assume that she is the one who chose to entitle her post:

    “This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps”,

    so I assume she must not think there is much, if any, difference either.

  • Also — and I promise to shut up after this — if you look at pictures of a 2003 Mercedes Kompressor online, it looks like a run of the mill mid-size sedan that would not be out of place in any middle-class suburban garage. Not flashy or ostentatious.

  • The problem isn’t the Benz. It’s that unlimited government (interfering in markets causing misallocations of economic resources; crony-corporate welfare; excess regulations; high taxes) has destroyed millions of middle class families.

  • Bill,

    I know that there are working poor – poor people who take any job they can get and still don’t have enough. My paternal grandparents found themselves in such situations, although they never had to live in shelters. One of the gentlemen who took care of my dad when he was in a respiratory rehabilitative clinic was just such a man. He was a wonderful person, drove a 30 year old car and came to my dad’s funeral.

    My point is that a journalist and a TV producer could have found other work. I stand by that.

  • Elaine-
    that you missed some considerations when you chose an offer to take doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea to find work ASAP, it means you need to pay attention to those considerations. Part of why I’m a house-wife is that it would make no economic sense to do otherwise.
    .
    This woman is whining about people asking why she’s driving a car with a high value and taking other people’s money, when a quick check of KBB contrasting the expensive car (I don’t care what it looks like, I’m looking at the trade-in value) is half again as much as a similar Kia.
    Dang straight people feel “entitled to share” when they are funding your life style.

  • I should note, I told KBB to check the trade-in value for the most basic Mercedes, and the sale value of the Kia; had it do a “standard equip” for both and copied the automatically guessed mileage to the Kia.

Cheaper to Kill Them?

Wednesday, July 10, AD 2013

Punishment

 

 

Hattip to Guy Benson at Hot Air.  An argument that has been part of the pro-abort playbook since Roe is that abortion reduces welfare costs:

The CBO has also concluded that aborting babies at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy saves money for the government-run federal-state Medicaid system. The CBO made these determinations when doing its official “Cost Estimate” of a federal bill that would prohibit abortions at 20 weeks or later into pregnancy (except in cases of reported rape, incest against a minor or to save the life of the mother).  “Because the costs of about 40 percent of all births are paid for by the Medicaid program, CBO estimates that federal spending for Medicaid will rise to the extent that enacting H.R. 1797 results in additional births and deliveries relative to current law,” says CBO. “H.R. 1790 would result in increased spending for Medicaid,” says CBO. “Since a portion of Medicaid is paid for by state governments, CBO estimates that state spending on the program would increase by about $170 million over the 2014-2023 period.

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14 Responses to Cheaper to Kill Them?

  • Of course, that is only looking at one side of the ledger. How many of those aborted babies would have also become taxpayers, consumers and producers?

  • Good point c matt. Abortion proponents tend of course to have a very negative view of the human condition, and so they will resolutely avert their eyes from the possible good that the slain children could have accomplished.

  • c matt, so true. One day recently, the women I work with were being rather critical of my children and the number of my grandchildren. I was tired of hearing it so I said, “My grandchildren will be paying for your social security.” (number 16 will be born in February.) Haven’t heard about it since–at least to my face :).

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  • c matt, Two of the biggest examples of choosing life over abortion and the rewards it reaps are Steve Jobs and Dave Thomas. Both adopted and created very successful and large companies employing thousands… who pay taxes too.

  • Just to be clear (so far it seems everyone understood my point well), even if it were cheaper, that would in no way justify it. I don’t want anyone assuming I would only look at this issue from a material perspective – I just wanted to directly address the inaccurate assumption made by the “cheaper to kill” advocates.

  • Abortion – and contraception – are putting our societies on a path to poverty. All societies up till the present one recognised that our wealth – familial and societal – is in our children. Going back to Abraham and beyond, a man’s wealth and stature was gauged by his sons and daughters.
    Our secular society has become so vacuous and self centred that they do not look far enough forward to ask the question embodied in c.matt’s comment.

  • Abortion-and contraception-are rejection of fatherhood, especially the Fatherhood of God. Women who believe in the first lies uttered in Eden are victims of a “control” mentality: control of life from its beginning to its end. With that said, it is very hard for them to trust in a loving Father who knows their every breath. Not only women, but men, too, suffer from this affliction. How can we turn back? One of my pet beliefs is to have children. A “large” family sets a good example for others on many levels. From last Sunday’s gospel: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few: so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest…”

  • Following the fall of China to the Communists, Hong Kong was flooded with hundreds of thousands of refugees. A UN official declared that it could only survive through massive Western aid and the resettlement of refugees elsewhere and the British grimly entitled the lead chapter in their annual Hong Kong yearbook, “A Problem of People.” In 1954, the government estimated the “carrying capacity” of the colony as 1.4 million people.

    In 2002, with a population of 7 million, Hong Kong was one of the most dynamic economies in Asia. As a local businessman explained, people have two hands, but only one mouth.

  • Amen, Don: “The flight from consequences, duty and responsibilities…. that can ennoble ourselves and our civilization, is a widespread reaction today …. we are bankrupt, morally and fiscally, as a nation…”

    God help us. The lack of love… narcissism, lack of empathy, utilitarian approach to life; people are commodities. The people rebel against what-?
    The sense of honor is lacking but people are filled with angry pride. Given everything they need, appetites satiated, they become neurotic demanders. People dive into revolution for it’s own sake… not thinking or caring of consequences, because consequences are THEN, this revolution that so thrills the self is NOW

  • c matt says:
    Wednesday, July 10, 2013 A.D. at 2:08pm (Edit)
    Just to be clear (so far it seems everyone understood my point well), even if it were cheaper, that would in no way justify it. I don’t want anyone assuming I would only look at this issue from a material perspective – I just wanted to directly address the inaccurate assumption made by the “cheaper to kill” advocates.

    On one hand, I can see responding as if “how expensive are these folks?” may play into the idea that we should look at folks economically; on the other– it’s such a crazy stupid thing to see each life as only a cost that it should be pointed out that it’s not true.

  • I guess people are rebelling against the sickness and sadness and feeling of meaninglessness But they still want to race the philosophies that brought us the sickness, sadness and meaninglessness
    The rebellion is blind

  • “Abortion-and contraception-are rejection of fatherhood, especially the Fatherhood of God. ”
    Roe v. Wade rejected any claim a father had for his constitutional posterity, who, father and son, have an endowed unalienable right to life. The rejection of the Fatherhood of God in the creation of the human soul, in eternal life for the human being, in the will to live for the newly conceived and in peace on earth for men of good will is the rendering of love, and the imposition of atheism. The newly conceived, morally and legally innocent soul endowed with sovereign personhood from the first moment of existence is the standard of Justice for our nation and for all humanity. Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. (Suarez)

The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency

Wednesday, August 29, AD 2012

A couple of days ago I was listening to a radio show on Sirius. The hosts were playing audio of a woman who had spent six hours waiting in line at the welfare office. The woman did not sound particularly old, and she had six kids.

There were several disconcerting elements to the story. The fact that this woman waited so long highlights the inefficiencies of government bureaucracies. More importantly, it was clear that this woman not only depended on the welfare checks to get by, the attitude expressed in the soundbite revealed how deeply she felt entitled to the government benefits.

No one should begrudge those who truly need government assistance. I know nothing of this woman’s history, so I won’t comment on her situation specifically. But I was saddened as I listened to this woman speak, and I thought of how welfare has turned many people into truly helpless individuals – not because they are so by nature, but because that is what the welfare state does to people.

The radio hosts who played this story have what can be described as a libertarian bent, and they decried the welfare state’s tendency to breed dependency. Yet I couldn’t help but laugh at their willful blindness, for they are certainly the types who would mock social conservatives. So many libertarians, or socially liberal and economically conservative individuals, fail to appreciate the nexus between social and economic issues. The breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state. More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families. Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.

Yet libertarians are not the only ones who fail to connect economic and social issues. Looking at it from a different perspective, those who consider themselves socially conservative but who advocate enhanced government intervention in economic affairs do not see how the welfare state itself leads to the breakdown of the family. The welfare state has practically displaced the family in many situations, fostering the sense of independence from family life. The family hasn’t been wholly displaced as the primary means of financial support, but many people have been brought up to expect that the government will be there to bail them out of poor life choices. Therefore, just as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.

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22 Responses to The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency

  • “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    John Adams

  • Evil people cannot be free. Their embrace of the seven deadly sins forges their chains.

  • [J]ust as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle…
    –Paul Zummo

    The welfare came first. And that has made all the difference.

    More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families.

    Shame on all who misuse the phrase “single mothers” in order to cloak females who choose to put baby-making before marriage. And what she’s doing outside of marriage isn’t making a family, it’s making a brood. Or a primate troop. But no way is what she has a ‘family’.

    <blockquoteIt is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.

    Those who invert initial cause (welfare) and effect (social breakdown) also “perpetuate that cycle.”

  • “what she’s doing outside of marriage isn’t making a family, it’s making a brood. Or a primate troop.”

    So it’s OK to call her children “primates” after they’re born but not OK to call them “fetuses” before they’re born? I get your point, and I agree that women should not be wilfully having children outside of marriage, but that sounds a bit too much like something a pro-abort would say.

    As I’ve written before, the question of whether the welfare state or family breakdown came first is a chicken-and-egg type of question. Personally I think family breakdown, or more precisely the sexual revolution, came before the welfare state, but the welfare state continues to feed off of it and perpetuate it.

    However, there are other factors besides family breakdown that are contributing to dependence upon government, such as the high cost of college education, the need for both parents in two-parent families to work outside the home, and the fact that many people have to move away from their families of origin to find work, leaving them with no one to turn to in time of crisis.

  • First, please don’t blame Libertarianism for the break down of the family and other problems of the welfare state. You want to preserve marriage then get marriage out of the marriage business. It is a Sacrament and not something the State should be involved in or regulate any more than Holy Orders or Extreme Unction – it should be the sole purview of the Church. Marriage has become weakened over the past 500 years because we have allowed the State to define, regulate and administer marriage. Any State strong enough to define marriage as a relationship between a “man and a woman” is also strong enough to define marriage as a relationship between a “man and man”, “woman and cat”, “man and woman and woman”. If left to various denominations you may still get those that allow “marriages” in the above combinations but I won’t be legally compelled to recognize it as a marriage. Get the State out of the Marriage business. (But then fine Catholic lawyers who make money off of divorce would loose a large source of income.)

    Secondly, Ms. Krewer, sexual promiscuity, illegitimacy, drug abuse have always been with us. If you listen to Protestants licentiousness has always been a major characteristic of Catholic countries and cultures. Legal prohibitions and restraints on drugs, alcohol, prostitution are extremely recent innovations, i.e. the last 100 years. Look at their success! No, when you subsidize something you get more of it. When you give immigrants rights to government entitlements you get more immigration (legal or otherwise). If you subsidize woman who have children outside of a traditional family – then you will get more women having children outside of a traditional family.

    Finally, Mr. Zummo, when you have people who make their living inside the beltway working for lobbying organizations you end up with people (even allegedly conservative individuals) with a vested interest in a Government which is dedicated to the regulation of every aspect of our existence.

  • I agree with much of the above but I do not agree that it is a “fact that many people have to move away from their families of origin to find work, leaving them with no one to turn to in time of crisis.”

    It is not a “fact,” it is a choice. It is similar to putting off marriage until one’s career is “established.” It has no more validity than that.

    Having to “strike out on our own” and establish a “nuclear” (or, “nucular” if you will. Dear God I miss GW.) family… “the two of us against the world” – is a zero sum gain for most people. We do it for careers that leave us no better off financially, no more satisfied with our lives than if we had stayed at home, and, usually, considerably poorer for those lost family connections.

    My wife and I have had numerous opportunities to advance our careers that would have required our leaving home. However, having her parents only an half an hour away and mine five blocks from our home has been a tremendous blessing. It has allowed us to maintain perspective and family life. It allows my wife and I to have time alone, knowing the children are well cared for. Most importantly, it maintains continuity between the generations, enriching our lives through constant interaction between three generations and across an extended family of parents, grand-parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

    We are blessed and not everyone benefits from living in close proximity to their families but I suspect many more would than do and that most who move away for their careers gave up far more than they gained.

  • That should be “get the State out of the marriage business”.

  • “You want to preserve marriage then get the state out of the marriage business.”

    I can presume then Mr. Tiden that you are not an attorney and represent people fighting over custody of kids and property after a marriage goes south? “Get the state out of the marriage business” may make a great libertarian bumper sticker, but as long as there are divorces, inheritances, adoptions, etc, in short as long as humans remain humans, the state will be in the “marriage business”.

  • “Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.”

    Correct. In fact, I would call all of them libertines.

    However, many Libertarians, few if none of which are libertines, see no contradiction in allowing the consequences of immoral behavior, allowed by lax cultural mores, to play themsleves out with no molly-coddling “assistance” from taxpayer-funded (read: extorted) government agencies.

    The consequences of drug use, sexual irresponsibility and profligate sloth, etc. are self-evident. The promotion of those behaviors comes not from Libertarians, but from State-sponsored “protections” against those natural consequences. Remove those protections, and the examples thus provided would soon do quite an efficient job of discouraging those behaviors, libertines be damned.

    “Sink or swim” does not equal “It’s OK to pee in the pool.”

  • When Bill Clinton popularized that tidy little phrase “it’s the economy, stupid” people applauded that clear -spoken delineation of what’s wrong, and what seems a sticky mass of overlapping and knotted thread.
    But let’s don’t take that (“economy”) to mean Just Job Numbers. The economy turns on mutual respect, dignity and love, despite earnest beliefs otherwise/with efforts to separate moral precepts and government.

    In Christian writings “economy” is seen in the overview; in the connectedness of all the parts; in how all things work together… not Necessarily in a financial sense but indicating God’s plan, providence, and also Order.

    In the bible the word in Greek mean something like household management. Anyone who has had a part in managing a household ( the famous “kitchen table” conversations ) knows that love and mutual respect can carry people through.

  • I just re-read, and see that I wasn’t very clear. To re-phrase: Clinton was identifying the problem to be addressed as the “economy.” I say, the economy is more than that whole ball of knotted problem, more than just as economic indicators, and let’s address cultural underpinnings of what makes it all work.
    I have heard people say that abortion, for instance, is not an economic issue. I say that it is, and I would like more national talk about that.

  • I could not agree more!

    We don’t hear enough about people being “industrious” about how they apply themselves… about risk-taking and earning rewards. I think there are a lot of people out there doing all kinds of cool things but the image that is presented is that of a stagnant and dying people, fighting for scraps from the government’s table.

    Hard work is a virtue that is essential to our national well-being, to the broader “economy” that you are talking about. It isn’t anomalous but it sure is made out to be.

    One of the reasons I love country music is that it talks about things that aren’t mentioned in the rest of popular culture: hard work, God, patriotism, duty, etc. We hear enough about the mean streets and licentious lives. Country music provides a safe harbor for the America that I love.

  • WK, I have two problems with that. First, the consequences of bad actions don’t just fall on those who commit them, but on their family and neighbors as well. Secondly, there’s got to be some finite government role in steering people toward better behavior and helping those who stumble. God created us as societal beings, not just as individuals or families. There is a role for government in supporting the common good. I don’t see much in the writings of libertarians that acknowledges it.

    Are we anywhere near the proper balance between individual, family, community, and government? Of course not. But libertarians would be more persuasive if they could argue for what the right balance is. I can’t think of libertarianism as anything more than a critique until it does.

  • Donald Mc Cleary: I agree with your assessment of marriage and the state. I must think on the rest.

  • Anzlyne: ” In the bible the word in Greek mean something like household management. Anyone who has had a part in managing a household ( the famous “kitchen table” conversations ) knows that love and mutual respect can carry people through.”

    Love and mutual respect is called good will.

  • Don:

    People who are not married (sacramentally or otherwise) fight over the custody of kids, inheritances and property everyday, and the courts have jurisdiction over those disputes. Likewise, people who are not married adopt children.

    People enter into legal agreements all the time in which they share real and personal property and enter into agreements giving each other the right to act on their behalf, i.e. powers of attorney. It has always been the argument of those opposing Gay Marriage that these legal tools are available to gay couples; therefore, gay marriage is not needed.

    I just carry this one step further and say heterosexual couples can enter into the same type of legal civil contracts – again with or without marriage – and the courts (if necessary) can administer and oversee the division of assets if the parties wish to dissolve the partnership (just as they can for business partnerships); and, if there are children the courts can determine custody just as they presently do for unmarried couples.

    Let’s just keep the State’s hands off the “sacramental contract” of marriage and the definition of marriage. Don’t worry small town lawyers will still be able to make money off of broken relationships!

  • Chas, the state is involved in marriage because it is the building block of society. Calling marriage something else does not alter that reality. Additionally I think the explosion of shack up or hook up relationships have been devastating to society and usually detrimental to the children produced by such transient “unions”. Weakening marriage by passing it off as no different than any other type of partnership is completely wrongheaded. As for the homosexual aspect of this, “marriage equality” is simply pretextual. The goal of most homosexual activists is for society to give a big stamp of approval to what they do in their bedrooms. Playing semantic games with marriage will do nothing to alter that goal.

  • There is no liberty without virtue. The Founding Fathers knew it, and many of the Austrian school philosophers also understand it. This is how “paleo-libertarianism” came about and is the school of thought I most identify with.

    The whole “keep the state out of marriage” line sounds appealing at first, I must admit. The problem is that the radical homosexuals and the radical left in general will never cease their attempts to force the issue upon the state. A federal definition of marriage, therefore, appears necessary to protect the institution from total disintegration.

    I don’t only support this for moral reasons, but for the reasons Paul and Don have brought up as well. Marriage is one of the most important predictors of household income and poverty status. People who get married are far less likely to become dependent upon government programs. A society of married people with religious values will do more to eradicate the practical arguments made by leftists than all of the liberty rhetoric we could ever produce.

    At this point there is no greater act of rebellion against the established order than to marry, have kids, and take them all to Church every Sunday.

  • “At this point there is no greater act of rebellion against the established order than to marry, have kids, and take them all to Church every Sunday.”

    Tragically true.

  • Thanks for the great discussion. I would have commented but spent much of the day in a feverish haze.

    As I’ve written before, the question of whether the welfare state or family breakdown came first is a chicken-and-egg type of question. Personally I think family breakdown, or more precisely the sexual revolution, came before the welfare state, but the welfare state continues to feed off of it and perpetuate it.

    This more or less sums up how I feel. I would say, though, that the advent of the welfare state unleashed the worst aspects of the sexual revolution. So while I think we saw fractures in the family before the Great Society, it was one of the prime forces if not the prime force in speeding up the process of societal decay.

    All right, now I am off to see if I can stay awake to at least watch Clint speak.

  • The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency:
    It seems that the aid, which was a bright spot for families in financial trouble before the 60’s revolution of sex and drugs as recreation, has become the dark side for those here and now; as the partiers denied existence of God and virtue and tradition, they paved a way of life with nothing but material benefits for half the people to look to for underpinning their lives. A poverty worse than material, and driven to the edge by this admin.
    Insane Vocabulary: baby daddy, baby mamma, flash mob, occupier, war on women, legalizing infanticide, are you in, …

    Lack of Manners: Waiting room at Dr. Ofc.: Baby daddy on cell to reception 6 feet away busily demanding more supervisors to cancel the 30 min. wait as atrocious, then arrogantly gathering mamma, baby in carriage, infant in carrier and toddler in quest of a better dr. leaving a wake of elderly and youngsters observing without pity. Healthcare benefits on demand.
    Elder teen boy at Soc. Security Ofc. stopping by for a check to take him to a hotel and restaurants due to spat at home until his regular check comes.
    Teen mom sneering at her substitute teacher for low pay, advising same to have babies for money and a nice place and sire, who can make as much in an hour on the street.

    Voodoo Math: Doubling national debt for benefit of political backers, but not the ‘poor’ political backers, who are set up for betrayal by Obama’s lack of economy. Their only hope is Paul Ryan’s budget and Mitt Romney’s encompassing capability to lead them from total darkness of the edge they are on now.

    Division of citizens by acrimony and mocking: After attacking their religious conscience and causing an angry reaction, belittling them as bigots and racists and only excepting Islam for fear.

    Waste of time, money, and hopes. A government not working. Agenda of fund raising.

    Allowing people freedom of religion is the restart button, if only people wake up to see good and evil. Meanwhile, I hope people see that Romney and Ryan are there now wanting to work for the return of good to their lives.

2 Responses to Should We Just Have "Assistance"?

  • 1. Being in the social service game a long time, sorry to say that most of D-C’s rhetoric is a song that’s been sung many times before. Since about 1933 in fact. Most states struggling with budgets were those along FDR’s whistle stop tour- PA, NY, Cali, etc. They’re the ones who have been ramping up services steadily since that point. Now perhaps a breaking point.
    2. What is justice? What is fairness? Most of the world’s population exists on $2 a day. By their standards, even our poorest are living large. Plasma teevee for me, but not for thee? We can argue this stuff into eternity.
    3. Also remember- all those job training requirement programs enforced by the Feds, installed between 1987 and 1996, have been wiped out by the Porkapalooza Bill. Now, technically, there is no reason for these folks to turn off Judge Hatchett, get off the couch, and search for a job.
    4. Which means the Dems never liked those ideas in the first place. Coming from places like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Slick Willie was forced to sign off on many of these reforms in 1996 because the GOP had the upper hand on Capitol Hill. Now the Pubs are back on their heels. Thus our Apostle of Hope and Change wiped them out with one stroke of the crayon.
    5. Because it is useful to our political ruling class- mostly Dems but some GOPers too- to keep a certain segment of the population sedated and out of the mainstream productivity game. Means lockstep votes. Oh- kinda like what happened on November 5.
    6. But I am keeping my wandering eye on this Chicago Tea Party movement. Created in a mid-day rant by CNBC’s Phil Santelli on the plan to bail out people who can’t pay for their mortgages. As in are the honest folks who make the minimum every month just a bunch of suckers. Numerous protesters in that spirit have greeted our Apostle in his clumsy visits to shore up the masses. Most of whom are already bought off by state and federal payments, the choir for whom he is preaching.
    7. In my more paranoid moments, I have wondered if the current reality was exactly what FDR and LBJ had in mind in creating and expanding these welfare programs.