Friday, September 4, 2009

A rational discussion? No news there

The Real Town Hall Story - Washington Post

Why do conservatives love casting the first stone (and the second, and the third...)?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but U.S. conservatives (and a dismaying number of saner Americans) seem to be the only people in the developed world who feel determined to subject individuals to a behaviorological and characterological review worthy of a proctologist before deeming them worthy of collective assistance, however basic or badly needed. It's hard to imagine it even occurring to a British or French or Canadian citizen to ask, "Yes, but does this person remind me of me? Are they a 'winner,' a paragon of some culturally popular virtue? Or have they made mistakes that I want to believe I would never make?" before granting them a life-saving medical procedure or a needed meal? Should a person's salary or bank account be the measure of his value, of whether he deserves humane treatment? What does it mean to be a "productive" member of society -- or to "deserve" humane treatment? Are you deemed productive, and thus worthy of society's beneficence, only if you bring home a big paycheck? What if you only make minimum wage? Is it then OK to let you starve to death or die of disease if you're unable to provide yourself with everything you need? Is that inability literally a fatal flaw?

Well, if that's what you think, I hope you're very financially secure. The "welfare queen" is back, and the category has been expanded to include not just the darker skinned and the deeply poor, but also the working class. That's right, a blue collar makes you a "leech" and a "loser," too, to be subjected to the same scorn, indifference, and deprivation as the rest of society's unwanted.

The Return of the Welfare Queen - Salon

We Need A Public Pet Option - Salon