Underlore

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Conditional compassion isn’t compassion.

“The race of mankind would perish did they cease to aid each other. We cannot exist without mutual help. All therefore that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-men; and no one who has the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.” ~Walter Scott

Update:
Considering merging these documents.
http://underlore.com/islanders/

So someone whom I’m marginally acquainted with posted the following to her corporate owned information stealing free speech memory hole.

Basically it’s yet another one of these welfare queen rants.

Let’s ignore for a moment that even the original story was complete lies: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/10/14/welfare-queen-myth-must-die/
And let’s overlook for the moment that we spend WAY more on corporate welfare than human compassion welfare: http://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-welfare-statistics-vs-social-welfare-statistics/

I have seen so many people posting complaining about the Welfare system.

No actually you haven’t. You’ve seen the ignorant talking points originally delivered by corporate sock puppets traded around. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_%28Internet%29

This is a really hot topic for many of my friends and family, and I am seeing posts for both sides of the argument.

Black and white thinking. There are more than two sides.

Here is what I have to say: It is not the programs themselves that are corrupt; it is the way they are being implemented. Gov assistance is a VOLUNTARY program offered to those who are having a hard time making it financially, going through rough times, need a little boost to get themselves above water. They need to:

I’m disgusted by the implication that its perfectly ok to ask of every man woman and child labor as a price of living. I may have been born a slave but that doesn’t make slavery right. And be advised that’s exactly what all such sentiments boil down to. The only difference between forcing everyone to work under threat of starvation/humiliation and slavery is that under your system you can blame the slaves and sleep at night.

“A) Mandate drug screening to join the program.”

The drug war is completely immoral. You might as well openly deny aid to homosexuals or people who like pop music. http://www.leap.cc/ Also I don’t do drugs primarily because they don’t work as I would like and I can’t afford them, but thanks for perpetuating the myth that all drug users are worthless sub-humans whom it’s perfectly ok to starve. Why don’t you lay off of poor people with health problems and go educate yourself about CEO bonus spending and cocaine use? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1645089/

“B ) Make “in office” visits necessary every month”

1. Way to waste program money on administration fees. 2. You really think punishing poor people is going to cure poverty? You think I don’t want to be off all hand outs? You’re a fool if you think getting a job is a function of will. So what was the housing bubble in your mind? Billions of people just suddenly being lazy? Your ignorance is profound and is a disturbingly typical example of why we should probably be rethinking democracy. You are part of a whole massive set of people who don’t have the time or the inclination or the ability to educate themselves about policy parameters and contexts sufficient to make wise and ethical decisions.

“even if just to drop off financial reports monthly; “

Luddite much? Why not require such reports to be delivered in ancient greek on clay tablets, and while you’re at it written in blood? Clearly the point is just to harass the poor on the premise that being poor is a function of being lazy and not whipped hard enough.

“and make mandatory random urine analysis every three months, which will be given on any one of those three visits during that time period. Should a drug urine screen come back positive for any illegal narcotic, the person automatically disqualifies for all current and future assistance unless they agree to and complete rehab.”

Why not do this for smoking as well? Why not require a complete home search for contraband of any sort? Why not require a complete waiver of all protected civil liberties? Your obvious hatred of drug users is not sufficient justification for random abandonment of constitutional protections.

In short why not simply make poverty illegal? Then you can throw them in jail and control every facet of their lives, take their vote, and make them work for free. That’s the end of the logic chain. And it’s already happening.

http://www.alternet.org/world/151732/21st-century_slaves%3A_how_corporations_exploit_prison_labor/?page=entire
http://www.salon.com/2012/04/19/21st_century_chain_gangs/

“C) Employment and Education incentives – If you are otherwise physically and mentally capable of working or attending school, you should be required to do so if participating in the program. “

Firstly, the system for proving who can and can’t work because of your fear of sharing with someone who might not be suffering as much as you, to profit your 1% masters, is already bloated and exploitative. All you do every time you set up such caveat systems is reward liars and punish everyone else while enriching and empowering lawyers. The more of a byzantine nightmare you create for applicants the more necessary and successful you make red tape experts. Secondly even if the system was perfect who gets to decide what counts as what?

All you are doing is creating a set of rules designed to punish people who you disagree with. Your caveats are cultural and I’ve heard all these arguments before from trickle down minions and obsessively greedy 1%ers. Why not implement mandatory sterilization of people you consider to be drains on society while you’re at it? It’s ultimately the same action.

“Even if you were a coal miner who got laid off, you can still learn how to flip burgers.”

That’s demeaning and simplistic. Have you never heard of wage slavery? Do you have any concept of cost of living? And since you people love to arbitrarily select certain demographics and more worthy of human rights let’s just imagine your imaginary coal worker has a child (a precious pretty little white girl, obviously or else you wouldn’t care) and now his choice is breaking even with 3 minimum wage jobs and literally never seeing his child and still being poor or being poor and getting to be there every second for his daughter?

The only way “your” (because they might as well have been handed to you by a right wing think tank) opinions would be remotely fair is of you applied them to the top as well. No trust funds, no inherited wealth, no aristocracy. Get that accomplished before you attack the poor and the weak. Otherwise you’re just peddling a double standard Horatio Alger mythology on behalf of the 1% and if I wanted to read that shit I’d watch fox news.

“There is a nitch (sic) for everyone in this economy, “

Wow. The level of ignorance there is staggering (and I don’t mean the basic english fail.) You honestly think all unemployment is a matter of choice… The level of control you think you have over your life is amazing. I know where you live and I know what you do. Though it is irrelevant as my reply is aimed generally I would simply ask why you aren’t a millionaire? I mean if it’s possible for the Koch brothers to work up ten of thousands of millions, why can’t you work up 2? Are you that lazy? Or is it maybe not that simple. I suppose we haven’t cured cancer yet because science is just lazy too right? Again, I guess the housing bubble was just billions of people being lazy all of the sudden.

You fundamentally misunderstand society. This is why people study it, it’s not easy or simple. You no more understand society just by living in it than you understand neurology just by having a brain.

“we just have to realize that no job is demeaning””

What planet do you live on? https://encrypted.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=most+demeaning+jobs And again wage slavery. Look into it. You make a whole pile of disgusting and incorrect assumptions. Not least of which is your faith in the notion that no job is futile or unethical.

If your only standard of ethics is legality then what’s your problem with culture? Clearly everything wallstreet did to implode the economy and everything the 1% does to us is ethical and legal judging from the complete lack of arrests. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-scam-wall-street-learned-from-the-mafia-20120620

” … not having a job, not striving to make a better life than what you have been dealt for your family is what is demeaning.”

By better you mean richer of course. Bank account zeroes are an indication of personal merit? Clearly you have no understanding of wealth distribution on planet earth.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/03/334156/top-five-wealthiest-one-percent/?mobile=nc
http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

If you think it’s ok to pay a person minimum wage then you must think that the Koch brothers actually work as hard as several billion people. Really?

http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/koch-cash-american-income-decreased-billionaires-brothers-wealth-skyrocketed

“We need to quit looking at our labor force (restaurant workers, public service workers, janitors, etc) with disgust and disrespect. “

But that’s the natural consequence of your assertions. If the poor are there by laziness then the bottom rung are only slightly infinitesimally less lazy, if hard work can ultimately lead to billions. Clearly there are at the bottom of the ladder because they are lazy or drug users etc. All the stuff you hate about poor people only ever so slightly less-so. If they weren’t so lazy they’d be making billions, that’s the logical consequence of all your arguments.

“If you or someone within the home who is capable of doing so goes without a job or education for more than 60 days, you lose all benefits for a period of no less than 6 mo for the first offense, 2nd offense for 1 year, 3rd offense disqualifies any home you reside in for future assistance.”

Firstly, education does not equal income. It actually equals debt.
http://nplusonemag.com/bad-education

Secondly, again with the whip to cure poverty. I actually respect the 1%ers more than you at this point, at least they are honest about their loathing of the poor. You’re just looking for excuses not to share. Simple as that.

“D) If a pregnancy occurs while the participants are currently receiving assistance, they will be disqualified for assistance immediately and indefinitely. “

Again, just throw them in jail for being poor in the first place then you can punish them and control them all you want which is what your entire rant is about. I mean if we’re going to arbitrarily make bad decisions justification for stripping away human rights, why not own it and go all out?

“We know what birth control is. If you are already so financially hard up that you are asking for assistance, then it is your responsibility to practice safe sex and prevent bringing other life into this world under these circumstances.”

Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with rape and before you say they get a pass, are you really going to start making rape kits and pelvic exams part of the food stamp application process? You’re just not thinking your excuses for greed through.

“E) Regulate abortion – Again, we are adults and we understand birth control. Using abortions as a form of birth control is wrong, no matter if you are pro-life of pro-choice.”

Why not regulate church attendance also? I’m pro-choice and I’m also well read on human development. I see no more problem with early abortion than I do with clipping a hang nail. And since I’m sure you’ll dismiss my position on sexist grounds because I wasn’t born with a vagina I’m quite sure I can find you some women who share my position on this topic. Just say when.

“The procedure is time consuming, expensive, and damaging to the mother’s body. “

Uhh no. Sometimes it’s a pill. Besides, even if it were, so what? None of that gives you or the government the right to probe and control them, nor does it ethically justify your arbitrarily conditional compassion.

“It affects the entire scope of people who are involved with the pregnancy, from the mother and father to the grandparents and other children.”

So what? That’s true of every decision a person can make virtually. Besides if you feel no unconditional responsibility towards the poor why should anyone else feel anything specific? If you have the right to set terms then so should they, or is it different because they are your terms? If so, why? Obviously it’s not objectivity. You’re in effect asking for emperor powers. You’re arbitrarily suggesting policy be made that matches your personal desires. If power is all you want then you’re Obviously just lazy for not already having it. Or again are things not that simple?

“In cases of rape and medical complications, there should be no question at all; It is the woman’s choice.”

Your sexism is staggering. Firstly, again, prove rape occurred or more impossibly prove it didn’t occur. You might as well overturn roe v wade for the level of delay in procedures this is causing. You’re like a right wing zealot proposing a 9 month waiting limit on abortions. Secondly, I didn’t know human females reproduced parthenogenetically, I thought a male was required. Oh right, they don’t count, even though the woman can have them literally raped by the government ultimately if they don’t mail big enough checks.

You sound like these loathsome people: https://encrypted.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=Right+wing+war+on+women

“However, if repeat abortions continue to occur simply because women do not want to be responsible for their bodies, that is a travesty and should not be funded by the American public. Allow an abortion during the initial processing of an application if the participant chooses that route, require birth control measures to be used following that. If there is further pregnancy during participation, they will be disqualified immediately, unless the pregnancy was a result of rape and legal action must be taken in order to continue participation.”

You should look into the drug war, clearly you think just making stuff illegal makes it not happen. You also seem to think legal questions are automatically easy. You remind me of nancy grace with your obvious assumption of judicial and criminal clairvoyance.

http://www.innocenceproject.org/ <—

F) After gross income is allocated, the current system then decides qualification prior to applying deductions – This is ridiculous. These financial burdens that are qualified deductions post gross income still exist. If the program sees them as qualifying financial burdens post gross, then they should be deducted from gross prior to qualification for the program.

Heh. Gross means before adjustments. Net is what you get after adjustments. Besides what do you care? All you are doing is nitpicking conditions for compassion. Just pretend they are drug users or something, you’ll feel better. After all these are all just lazy people we’re talking about right? If some people fall through the cracks well darn, thems the breaks, they should just work harder. Right?

“G) Transportation deductions should be made available for anyone in the house who works or attends school and needs to travel to do so.”

Why should the government subsidize gas stations and user car places for lazy poor people? If no job is demeaning and its juts a function of determination then they should be able to find a job within walking distance and save up for a car and if gas is too expensive well just get a different job or a better job or another job. It’s just that simple right?

“The way the current system is operating; there are too many ways for too many participants to take advantage of the system.”

By your arbitrary subjective standards, of course.

“The system was built to help support those who could not support themselves, and the American people cried out to have it help those who needed to get a leg up in life. “

You have not one iota of an idea about the origins of safety nets.

http://vimeo.com/20861423 For some glimmer of an idea.

“Unfortunately, it was implemented in a manner which simply encourages stagnation.”

You clearly also don’t understand civics. The systems as they exist today bear almost no resemblance to what they once were.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-wall-street-killed-financial-reform-20120510 (To understand what happens to legislation the rich don’t like.)

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/a-rare-look-at-why-the-government-wont-fight-wall-street-20120918

“Lets change the Welfare system into something that we can be proud of, something that encourages people to become active and positive members of society, encourages employment and education, and encourages families to do things for themselves.”

http://underlore.com/islanders/
http://underlore.com/real-personal-responsibility/

You’re thinking hopelessly small scale.

“The ones who will not try are the ones who should suffer from these programs, not the ones who are busting the butts doing everything they can to stay afloat.”

Who are you to judge suffering? What about the rich born into wealth whose “jobs” they basically bought that require no work?

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/libertarians-and-conservatives-must.html

“Until you have been there, you have no right to judge.”

Wow and the irony meter explodes. You should absolutely take your own advice.

“If you do not like the way the system currently works, come up with and lobby for reform of the programs themselves. “

You can’t even name your state reps without Google, don’t lecture us about civics. Clearly you think corruption is a myth. Newsflash: lobbying and politics generally requires staggering amounts of money. But what if the very injustice you’d lobby against are what strips you of the money needed to fight them? Just work harder right? You’re so soul crushingly naive.

“Cutting the funding completely does not help America … it helps the fascists, the banks, the big oil, the media … it helps those who are rich get richer off the backs of the American public.”

And that is absolutely what you are doing. The poor are not the problem. You clearly have no idea how much they rob from us.


You want a real solution?

http://underlore.com/one-possible-solution/

Update: Naturally the kind of person who hold these odious positions refuses to publicly step up and claim them in the face of my replies, having barred me from posting a link to the essay in the proper context, but it did earn me a private email. To which I am replying publicly despite their objections as their identity will remain uncompromised.

Begin reply: Since I didn’t (and won’t) reveal your identity or indeed even get a chance to leave a link to my post on your rant I’m making your reply and my reply public anyway. Feel free not to respond further. Indeed if you’re unwilling to stand up and own your desire to whip the poor with the lash of starvation and withholding medical care (something we don’t even do to convicted murderers I might add) I see no reason why we should speak more anyway. Your response doesn’t contain a single evidence backed refutation of any of my counter assertions.

“I really wish you would have taken half a second to step away from your anger and have a conversation with me.”

Unlike you my anger goes along side my position, it doesn’t determine it. The facts speak for themselves as linked above, my emotional reaction is secondary to my appraisal of those facts. You simply haven’t had the time to do the amount of reading on these subjects I have, but that doesn’t stop you from assuming you’re infallible does it.

I on the other had change my opinion to suit the facts all the time, its just that after decades of doing this consciously I’ve got a pretty well defended worldview. But as I distance myself in terms of education from my peers so to do my position shift away from the ignorantly popular. Average people barely know Germany was the bad guy in ww2, so how can I expect them to already know who edward bernays is?

“I ever meant to offend.”

The hell. You decided to pick on the most disenfranchised social strata outside of prison. You made the economic equivalent of the statement “well she was asking for it.” You took blaming the victim to a lethal extreme in effect advocating death by starvation as punishment for having a shred of pride or bad luck.

Your lack of knowledge on a wide variety of relevant social factors renders you completely unqualified to even comment, let alone take the ego stroking tough-love road. You couldn’t have demonstrated a more profound ignorance had you in all seriousness uttered “let them eat cake.” Whenever possible you should take the position most easy to back out of by default. It’s like the death penalty. I’m opposed because it can’t be undone. Your proposed policies are callous and lethal and you openly refuse to subject the premises of those policies to critical review. That’s intellectually dishonest and ethically suspect to put it mildly.

I don’t have to earn the right to survive from you or any of your 1% masters, and you’re damn lucky cooler heads prevail because the average employed American can’t imagine a bread line, let alone a food riot.

If your toxic views were to be given official weight this country would eventually see cannibalism as north korea now occasionally sees and you should be aware that it is the ones you start starving first that are the most dangerous. You are simply unprepared for the reality of the consequences of your reptilian disregard for your fellows.

“You have made you views on the post known to your followers.”

And that’s all its about for you isn’t. Making a decree. Well as my readers know I’m open to debate on these issues always. If you can call me out please do so. If you’re unprepared for public debate you should keep your public mouth shut. I have to all the time.

You can really tell the utter non-status critical thinking has in our society. I have mastered a socially worthless skill outside of the hard sciences. So typical, unless I’m helping contribute to the next iPhone no one cares about logical consistency and critical thinking as a conscious skill.

Perhaps it behooves further thought that you’re unwilling to critically re-examine your views despite mountains of opposing evidence.

“I am always willing to accept constructive criticism, listen to other points of view, be better educated on topics, etc.”

Untrue, you say that as if it’s a disclaimer with all the lack of meaning that implies. It’s baby kissing. Your unwillingness to step up proves otherwise.

“The post was more about trying to find a compromise.”

There is no compromise with psychopaths and they are whose positions you’re espousing. As I said, you might as well be reading from a heritage foundation brochure.

The right wing has been dragging the overton window to the right for decades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation

Compromise is a absurd position to take when your opponent is intentionally exploiting it. Where do you think the right wing finds these people like Akins, Grace, and O’reilly, and why would it give them a microphone? Because the nuttier they are the saner the slightly not so far right wing looks in contrast and that’s why we ended up with a black democratic reformer president who actually is in favor of NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions and bank bailouts.

“Never mind the fact that if they were ever to mandate drug screening, the first thing they would have to do is legalize marijuana.”

That doesn’t follow at all. The more entrenched this idea that drug use is bad (never mind that somehow zoloft and nicotine don’t count) the harder it is for drug reform advocates. Your position of conditional aid contingent on drug tests is disgustingly familiar. You would probably not believe the loathsomeness of the camp you’ve just put up tent in. But that’s a whole other debate, as I linked above, LEAP.cc.

“I do not have a hatred for drug users, but anything done in excess to the point where it hurts people you love is not good.”

And doing something “not good” justifies starving them to death or denying them medical care. You remind me of that guy that said (who’s name I can’t dig up right this second) spending money on aids victims is a waste because they are going to die anyway.

Waste it may be but that’s not the god damned point. Compassion isn’t supposed to be conditional on return on investment.

“Some people need direction in their lives to help overcome those burdens.”

Funny how people saying that are always talking about other people over whom they think they should have authority.

We both know I’m smarter than you. I absolutely could plan your life better than you could by every objective measure. But I don’t have that right. Your choices aren’t wastes to be corrected, they are simply yours and my responsibility to you as a fellow human being and fellow citizen aren’t contingent on you doing that smarter people think is best. Freedom is the freedom to be a fuck up.


“you did not even bother to address this concern to me personally”

Because it doesn’t matter. You made the statements publicly. Silly me I assumed you meant what you said. Do you stand by them or not? Frankly I don’t care what one person thinks I’m writing for millions, though I’m the first to admit I’m completely ignored. Wasted life though that may be at least my positions are 100% ethical to the very best of my knowledge and I’ve given and invited ample opportunity for correction.

This isn’t like icecream preference, it doesn’t boil down to opinion. You’re making policy suggestions and enforcement requests. If you want that kind of power you assume an elevated level of responsibility. Put simply its not about you personally which is while I’m perfectly fine keeping your identity a secret.

“Rather, you have taken it upon yourself to rant openly, throw personal attacks at me, and openly misconstrue many of my statements. “

You disabled my ability to even post a link to this essay in the context of a reply. And I obviously didn’t leave it verbatim there as a comment. My attacks where personal are contingent on your atrociously unethical position. I’m not saying these idea are wrong because you suck, I’m saying you suck because you hold these ideas. That’s not Ad Hominem, it’s a value statement after the fact.

“You do not know anything about the life I lived to become the person I am. “

I don’t have to. I know what you said. You were very clear and fairly articulate.

“You do not know the roads I have traveled to get me to this destination. “

I know more about you than you may think but the reason I haven’t had to demonstrate that is because you are irrelevant personally. My attack is on your position and the consequences of it and your subsequent refusal to defend or retract it. And remember I didn’t ask for it, I found it, you went out of your way to rant about it. That also tells me things. Again if you don’t want a reply, don’t speak publicly. And if you comments were aimed only at friends among whom I am no longer then realize that this too is your choice. You even began your rant making it clear that you knew there might be a price.

“You never bothered to take into consideration the possibility that this post came from a place of compassion for those who are in true need of help when the Republican party is attacking their human rights”

I’m aware of the ethical context. But your caveat makes my blood boil. Your arrogant (and I know a little something about arrogance, ask anyone 🙂 ) implication that you can define “true need” better than those begging for it is 99% of the problem. You have no idea the scope of the problem or the difficulty of implementing your solutions. As I said above your ignorance is staggering, and that in itself isn’t a problem. Do I walk around making fun of people for being less intelligent than me just because I can? No, the problem is you coupled your ignorance with a desire for power and you hypothetically used that power to starve poor people. (And don’t tell me that’s not what you said because what else happens in your conditional compassion society when everyone thinks they are just lazy and refuses to feed them?) You’re like these heartless islander libertarians that think all charity is waste. Sure you’d give it to some people, but not others and that’s the problem.

I can at least respect the islanders because at least they aren’t being arbitrary. Their position unworkable and callous as it is is at least consistent.

“Why did you feel the need to pick the original post apart and leave out half of it”

What I didn’t comment on was either covered by replies I made or these in no need or reply. Again, I’m attacking ideas, not people. That people are sometimes defined by their ideas is a cross over problem that can’t be solved. Sometimes you can’t get the egg out of the cake.

“It would have been much more productive to provide insight and concern for my view than to attack me on your blog.”

I haven’t even named you. It would take detective work to figure out who you are. And honestly that’s on you because again you made your comments publicly. I’m not attacking you personally at all, I’m again attacking your idea and making value judgments based on the fact that you hold them.

Retract them and I’ll have no more problem. I’m not in to vengeance. (So many are so lucky in this regard.)

” I admit I have much to learn about much.”

Then wait until you are supremely confident before you start sentence people and dismissing the suffering of others or err on the side of compassion. You want to know how strongly I’ve embraced my own ignorance? I don’t even believe in prison. You know what happens in a society with no prison? No innocent people in prison. This is why I an revolted by torture of any stripe. You can’t undo hurting someone or killing them. I do everything in my power to avoid hurting people. Including for example not helping to give people cancer and heart attacks by as you so casually put it “flipping a burger.”

” If you ever feel it in your heart to try and have a civil conversation where you can address me respectfully…”

I appreciate the best that statement has to offer but you’re not interested in facts, you want pomp and circumstance. Sometimes the truth itself is rude. If you want civility don’t make inflammatory statements. Again, I’m not attacking you personally, just your ideas and the consequences of them, also, again, you knew there would be a price. Disclaimers aren’t enough. You can’t un-ring the bell.

Friendship unlike compassion is perfectly workable conditionally. We do it all the time. One of my conditions is the willingness to own a position.

For the record I am in favor of a negative income tax and or a social credit system.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Negative_income_tax
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

We’re the sentient top of the food chain and every citizen deserves a baseline share of national profit, not just what they can beg away from the rich. We’re all a family. And members of my family that would proudly starve or sicken others in the family need to be stripped of power to implement that broken will, if not isolated outright. It’s kind of like having a crazy uncle. Respect his human rights but keep him away from the kids too.

Updated: May 12, 2015 — 8:45 pm

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