Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Condemning others for what you yourself do

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It’s very tempting to condemn others for something while excusing ourselves for the same thing—because we understand fully our own reasons, but feel free to impute base motives to other people. I mentioned before that this often happens in the case of abortion: some person opposes abortion over and over, and then a family member (a wife or a daughter, typically) becomes pregnant and the family agrees that, in this case, an abortion is fully warranted. Not a problem unless the abortion opponent has managed to make abortion illegal.

Here’s a wonderful example from the upsurge in food-stamp use and more and more people find that they cannot find any job that pays enough to support themselves. Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff have a lengthy article in the NY Times on the increase in the use of food stamps.

Jill, at the blog Feministe, points out those who continue to condemn food-stamp users while they themselves are also using food stamps: their own reasons are perfectly good, of course, unlike those shiftless other people. It’s interesting but also sad to see the degree to which some people always see themselves apart from (and better than) their fellows.

Her post begins:

This article on increasing rates of reliance on food stamps illustrates pretty clearly the right-wing mentality when it comes to social programs — any sort of government aid is a hand-out to the lazy until I need it. Then it’s still a hand-out to the lazy, just not for me.

While Mr. Dawson, the electrician, has kept his job, the drive to distant work sites has doubled his gas bill, food prices rose sharply last year and his health insurance premiums have soared. His monthly expenses have risen by about $400, and the elimination of overtime has cost him $200 a month. Food stamps help fill the gap.

Like many new beneficiaries here, Mr. Dawson argues that people often abuse the program and is quick to say he is different. While some people “choose not to get married, just so they can apply for benefits,” he is a married, churchgoing man who works and owns his home. While “some people put piles of steaks in their carts,” he will not use the government’s money for luxuries like coffee or soda. “To me, that’s just morally wrong,” he said.

He has noticed crowds of midnight shoppers once a month when benefits get renewed. While policy analysts, spotting similar crowds nationwide, have called them a sign of increased hunger, he sees idleness. “Generally, if you’re up at that hour and not working, what are you into?” he said.

I don’t know, sir — but since you’re there too, why don’t you tell us?

Almost as precious is the suggestion that food stamps should come with work requirements, akin to cash welfare benefits: …

Continue reading. And thanks to Jack in Amsterdam for the pointer.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2009 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Daily life

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