We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
David Thompson disputes Geras and Bauman on socialist assumptions. A quote:
I doubt anyone here disapproves of social safety nets of some kind, or resents help being offered to people in distress and positions of severe misfortune. The question is how much help is to be offered and on what basis. But given the role of individual judgment in how a person’s life plays out, questions necessarily follow. Lots of questions. How, one wonders, does a community “insure” its individual members against all manner of “misfortune”? How are people to be insulated from, and compensated for, what are often consequences of their own choices and priorities? How much control is to be exerted and how many freedoms curtailed - including the freedoms of those suffering misfortune? What, exactly, are the intimate practicalities of this vision?
Yes, we certainly are in favor of social nets - but as nets, not as things which are to be an approved way of life except for the most disabled. Due to human nature, socialism only works half-well within familes, where there is a combination of authority and love bonds. Even kibbutzes fall apart over money and effort issues. Whole thoughtful piece here.
Good link. Thanks. At the risk of being dismissed as a loathsome Puritan, I think some consideration of sin, repentance, forgiveness, making amends, and altruism should also be considered.
Also, having had to feed myself without a trust fund to support my former altruistic profession serving the "underclass", I believe strongly that assistance should go only to children, the elderly, and extremely mentally or physically disabled people of working age. If you are willing to work, you can always find something to put bread on the table. I think concepts castigated as Horribly Victorian like the "deserving poor" and "able-bodied" should be revived.
Just one personal note: I am the lone survivor of a large family iall of whom have succumbed to death, become totallly disabled or been forcibly committed for insanity in the last year. Beyond being grateful to God for sparing me, I have struggled to pull some meaning and lessons out of this famly trauma to give my children some hope and guidance for their own lives. What I repeat is something you may perhaps label dreary Puritanism: the virtues of persistence, hard work, self-denial, keeping one's commitments, sobriety, resisting temptation, moderation in all things, staying married, staying employed, etc. I tell them that Life is not fair, but don't you dare be moochers, and don't dare be slackers and if you work and meet your family responsibilities and help people in your community, you can live with yourself and know that you have tried to be faithful to your God. My point is that the dreary Puritan virtues may not be sexy, and are certainly not all there is to life. I learn from all of you who so ceaselessly so extol freedom as your chief value. But when thinking about the ills of the underclass and those needing help, one must include the moral and spiritual.
"I think concepts castigated as Horribly Victorian like the "deserving poor" and "able-bodied" should be revived."
Of course. Every hates a lazy moocher. And everyone has lazy wishes to be one.
However, at Maggie's Farm, we place liberty at the top of the secular-moral pile. Live free or die. Freedom trumps material comforts. My ancestors did not pursue anything, politically, but freedom. And they screwed up plenty enough in their own lives, I suppose, with the usual human farmer flaws - alcohol, atheism, crankiness, foolishness, etc - and blamed no one and asked nobody for nothing. They left me no trust fund, that's for sure, except for the family name on a bunch of MA and CT towns - and tombstones.
Wish they had left me something, but I am nevertheless a relatively happy fellow.