July 06, 2005

Poverty is as poverty does.

Blog-Daughter Sarah the Penguin at Because we have thumbs, has an interesting post about poverty and the jobless in general, and I thought I'd put my two-cents worth in here. I'll quote the specific statements I'm referencing, as her post is quite lengthy.

The beginning of her post is in reference to another discussion she was having about Obesity in the Armed Forces. There's a few points that I'd like to respond to in that section of the discussion as well. A commenter of her's (Edith) responded to it thusly:

Have you ever thought that soldiers, and Americans in general, might be overeating because they were compensating for not getting enough of some other satisfying stimulus, like, oh let's say, sex? Or, maybe, praise?

Do something useful, like inventing fat free french fries or sugar free
catsup. Or come up with the perfect recipe for an eternally satisfying

Sarah retorted with:

Am I to assume that drinking/drug abuse, gambling, domestic violence and sexual abuse shouldn't be condemned either? Making an excuse for destructive behavior contributes more to the problem than it does to the solution.

We don't need fat free french fries or sugar free ketchup. We need people with the courage to face their own demons head on.
If I were to invent a type of cocaine that didn't have adverse health effects, would I be a part of the solution?
Human beings have emotional needs that must be met in order for them to thrive. Often people don't take steps to get what they need because they are worried about rejection.

As I see it (Please be sure to place these words in front of everything I say here. This is my opinion, but it does NOT invalidate yours.), each of these ladies is looking at the situation from opposite sides. Sarah is focusing on the Cause, and Edith is focusing on the Effect. Sarah recognizes the needs of people, and wants to eliminate the need for the crutches, or at least to encourage people to stand up to their shortcomings, and find a way past it. Edith is looking to make the "Destructive Behaviour" less destructive.

Equating "Eating too much" with "Drinking/Drug Abuse" may seem like a bit of a leap into different realms, but really it's not. These are both behaviors that humans have, and both have the same cause (for the most part. Thyroid issues being the exception.). They are crutches that people use to get through their daily lives. The destructiveness of the crutch does not make it more or less of one, it just is a crutch.

In order to eliminate the Cause of the problem, you'd have to determine a single thing that would solve all the problems that people have (thyroid included), and eliminating the Effect is no good either. If you could invent something that dives the same effect as cocaine, but doesn't have the adverse side-effects, that'd be great...But there would still be the "Real Thing". The "Real Thing" would also wind up being cheaper than its replacement (The market would make it so), so there would be an insurgence of even cheaper harmful stuff, that the people would avail themselves of.

It's a Lose-Lose proposition. You Can't solve everyone's problems, you can only focus on your own. If you can't handle it, there are always crutches available.

On to the Poverty Issue.

Susie argues that poverty is all about personal responsibility. I disagree on the grounds that "it takes money to make money". I agree that some people live on handouts because it is easier than working for a living. But that does not mean that everyone who wants a job can get one. It doesn't mean that there is a level playing field out there.

I'm more inclined to Susie's point of view here than Sarah's. It's my contention that the majority (75% or more) of the people (In America) who are listed as impoverished, are that way because they choose to be. No house, no mortgage, no automobile, no license fee's, free food when you're somewhere close to a soup kitchen, alway's mobile as long as your feet still work, and no identity other than the one you create that day. Sounds to me liike the epitome of freedom. They don't HAVE anything, but they don't WANT for anything either.

I'll continue down the list, just as soon as I'm sober enough to make a valid point. I Promise.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at July 6, 2005 08:47 PM | TrackBack

I think these points are just fine. Keep drinking!

Posted by: Sissy at July 6, 2005 09:43 PM

No need to worry about that! :^)

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at July 7, 2005 06:15 PM

Oh, bless you for worrying. BTW, that email address works :-)

Posted by: Sally and Alex at July 7, 2005 07:47 PM

I know, I know. I shoulda emailed. I'm just glad you all are okay. :^)

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at July 7, 2005 07:53 PM

Everyone's got roadblocks to achieving their dreams. The only question is whether you let them stop you, or you find a way over/under/around/through them.

Attitude is everything.

Posted by: Harvey at July 9, 2005 01:38 PM
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