It is OK to not care for the poorer classes i.e.: emotionally, financially, etc.
Debate Rounds (3)
Everywhere, on all forms of media, I see articles and banners and rallies and --well you get it-- about why I should give more money and time to those who do not have what I do. If I don't? Well, then I am one crappy person. Never mind that I am a jolly good fellow, or that I like to feed the ducks at the park, I am a down right rotten person for not giving that beggar a dollar, or complaining that an extra $0.50 is taken out of my phone bill to give poor people phones and so on.
I would like to debate the fact that it is not my, or any persons, responsibility to care for any other outside of their sphere of family/friends (in this specific case: poorer class people), in any way, and that people who share this belief should not be demonized or beaten down by society.
Have at you!
I am a social democrat and as such this idea goes against the very core of my opinions, but i have yet to be truly challanged in this belief, as most of my friends agree, i will be debating quite a bit from the idea that evolution did happen. If you do not agree i'll try to avoid these arguments.
This is my first debate on this site, as i saw it was for you as well.
In my opinion the reason humanity has come so very far is the fact that we cooperate even outside these "closer circles", otherwise we would be stuck in the packs that other animals are in, and the scientific progress we have made would not have been possible without the cooperation of large parts of the race.
I"d like to reiterate that this debate is not about whether you should or should not care for the poor but whether it is OK to not care "in any form i.e.: financial, emotional, moral, etc. -- and that you should not be demonized for your stance. Also, I am from the USA so my argument is framed with that in mind.
To keep a tight leash on this debate I will focus my points on two key principles that deal directly with my topic: morality and evolution (because you mentioned it).
1.Morality: You are responsible for your own, not others. You have no *obligation* to others.
2.Evolution: Survival of the fittest.
Society in general operates as a herd mentality. We see it everywhere in terms of race, sex, age and any type of group or "herd" that can form. Yet most of these groups do not draw the same amount of heat that economic groups (poor, middle class, upper, rich, etc.) can draw when related to perceived principles of dealings within and between said groups. For example, Pizza Hut now accepts EBT (food stamps), a program that is supposed to go towards feeding a family that cannot feed themselves. As a taxpayer program, should this program be used for luxuries such as pizza and candies or just staple foods such as milk and eggs? If you even ask this question, or one similar, you are considered morally bankrupt because many people will view it harshly if you limit people and what they eat. I came across an article written by Lucy Mangan titled "If you don"t understand how people fall into poverty, you"re probably a sociopath,"(1) and this quote from the article sums it up nicely;
"If you are genuinely unable to apply your imagination and extend your empathy far enough " and you don"t have to do it all at once; little by little will suffice, but you must get there " then you are a sociopath, and we should all be protected from your actions."
Taking my stance further, it is not every individual"s responsibility to care for every other individual nor should any individual be forced to care for another nor be ridiculed for any lack of care.
Evolution has many definitions that basically boils down to "a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state."(2) At its core, evolution is about survival of the fittest or the best traits and characteristics of one generation passed on to the next. Humans have messed with this process. People who have genetic issues or who develop in negative ways are lifted up, cared for and pass on their traits and characteristics to the next creating a cycle. This can also be seen in the poorer classes. A child raised in a poor household is less likely to succeed than one raised in a middle class or rich household. You could say, "well then, if we raise that family out of poverty then they will create their own cycle of success and fulfillment," and I would say that was wrong. As David Brooks stated in his article, "in 2013 the federal government spent nearly $14,000 per poor person."(3) For a family of three the poverty line was $19,530 in 2013.(4) My point? The poorer classes are not just poor due to lack of resources but because of their own mentality and state. It is not my responsibility to care for them when their predecessors are the ones who set them up for failure. If you cannot care for your own then you should not produce more of your own.
I look forward to your response.
You start your piece off with some great questions about how the money spent on the poor is allowed be spent on luxuries like pizza by them. And continue by saying that questions like this make people consider you "morally bankrupt". When i read this was the response you got i was quite shocked, and even more when i read the first article you linked ("If you don"t understand how people fall into poverty, you"re probably a sociopath,"?!)(1) (I'm starting to realise we are not diometricly opposed on this issue) I don't really have much against these types of questions, they are important. But, there is a big difference between limiting food stamps to staple foods. And canceling them all together (which "not caring for them" would entail) But i do not condone cencure of opposing opinions.
Then you go on to make arguments i agree with a whole lot less.
You compare survival of the fittest, to thival of the richest. The numbers that you presented about the 14,000$ spent per poor person is correct, as is the poverty line, 19,530$ or a family of three. But it is important to remember, that that is the poverty line in a country where 14k$ is spent on every poor person, and is as such adjusted to work with that mind set, "this family of three is earning less than 19,530$ per year combined, and each person get's the benefits of 14,000$ spent every year (this money is not given to them in cash, but spent in such a way as it benefits them) , therefore they are still living in poverty". The fact is that in the US today, there are people working 3 shifts per day, yet still live under the poverty line (2) If they can live in a country which spend 14k$ per year on them, yet still be forced to work themselves to Death, what would happen if the country did not spend this money? would they work themselves to death AND starve?
To your closing statements.
"It is not my responsibility to care for them when their predecessors are the ones who set them up for failure."
With this i don't agree at all, what someones predecessors did or didn't do should be irrelevant to how we treat them, they had no hand in that, and thus, it should not affect them negatively.
and ofcource the always controversial "If you cannot care for your own then you should not produce more of your own."
I can't honestly disagree with this statement, i'm too libertarian to think that it should be required by law, but common sense commands you to wait until you can sustain a family to start one. But can you honestly say that One poor choice should doom you to live in poverty for the rest of life?
I am also glad to see that we do share some opinions while still differing on others, this shows that we can find a middle ground while still retaining our beliefs and debating this topic rationally.
In regards to the food stamp issue I do believe that some assistance during abnormally difficult times such as: injury, acts of God, death, and so on, warrant some assistance. My focus is on those who remain poor outside of conditions such as these and that it is about survival and not comfort i.e.: pizza over milk. Because we both agree that people should not be demonized for their individuals morals regarding this issue I will focus on the main points we have a disagreement on:
1.My statements regarding "survival of the fittest."
2.The familial cycle of the poor staying poor.
1- In my statement when, I mentioned survival of the fittest, I was not comparing that to the richest. I was comparing that to success in general. It is proven that people who succeed will more often than not have children who succeed and so forth. Not necessarily rich. I fully understand that the $14,000 that is disbursed, in whatever form, does not go to every person exactly nor does it go in the form of cash. However, I will address the article you referenced from nydailynews.com (1) in regards to your points and that should fully develop my point on this matter. I will deliver this segment in a point format to keep it organized:
1.Ms. Fernandes passing cannot be pinned on her overworking
a."succumbed to a deadly combination of carbon monoxide and fumes from an overturned gas container that she kept in her 2001 Kia Sportage, cops say." (1)
2.Ms. Fernandes lived in New Jersey which one of the most expensive places to live in the USA.
a."Rent is exceptionally high, with the median monthly rent at $1,800." (2)
b.Poverty wage is at $5.00 per hour while the Minimum wage is $8.25. (3)
Now, lest go back to that $14,000 number; even if that entire sum was not given to a person in say Ms. Fernandes's position they would still find some relief in the form of cuts, credits, food stamps, etc. This additional help, on top of Ms. Fernandes's salary, would be more than enough to support her even in a place as expensive as New Jersey. Why do I bring this up? She should not need to work so many shifts just to live there, which leads me to believe there may be other extenuating circumstances affecting her living conditions. This is true for most of the poor. Why:
"researchers note that many people over many years have studied the behavior of poor people in attempting to understand why most don't take steps to pull themselves out of their situation. Quite often, instead of saving and planning for the future, for example, those living in poverty spend all the money they do have on less than necessary items and then borrow money from high interest lenders..." (4)
Is this mine or any other persons fault? No, it is their own and they suffer from their own actions.
2- Now my comment that you disagree with: "It is not my responsibility to care for them when their predecessors are the ones who set them up for failure." This comment takes into account the points I made where people who should not have children, for whatever reason i.e.: health, financial, mental, etc., have them creating a cycle of dependency. Is it that child"s fault? No, it isn't, but it is also not my fault. If there needs to be assistance in these types of scenarios then remove the child(ren) and block the responsible parties from any further assistance and simply shift that assistance to the child(ren).
You asked me, "But can you honestly say that One poor choice should doom you to live in poverty for the rest of life?" Unfortunately, poverty --as noted in the above reference (4) -- does not stem from simply "one mistake."
I will start of by admitting that the tragic story of Maria Fernandes was a poor example as she did have enough potential to take more high paying jobs, but no extenuating circumstances outside of her own stubbornness not to work in an office caused her to be forced to work that number of shifts. So a person without the education to take an office job would in fact have to work like Maria to sustain themselves in NJ. And even though poverty wage currently is at 5$/h (as you stated), the arbitrarity of that number becomes obvious when you look at the number which is accord to me a whole lot more important, the "living wage" is currently set at 12.51$ for one adult. which does mean that someone working full time with minimum wage (8.25$) would not earn enough money to sustain themselves, with or without children.
In your second point you correctly point out that poorer people often make "poor" (pun certainly not intended) economical decisions, but you forget to point out that this is a symptom of being poor and not that poor people are poor because of making these decisions, but they instead make these decisions because they are poor.
"The researchers say their experiments indicate that living in poverty is itself enough to cause people to make decisions that would seem contrary to those looking in from the outside. Because of that, they say, programs to assist the poor should focus on ways of extracting people from their environments and then providing assistance, rather than offering assistance that serves only to allow those living in such conditions to maintain their way of life.(1)"
As you can see, this is not their fault either, as any of us would make the same poor decisions in their situation, because a simple change in wealth is enough to shift our entire focus from the long term to the very short term. I'm afraid to say that you appear to have misrepresented the research and tests presented in the article.
You then propose a very interesting idea about people not able to sustain children still getting them; "If there needs to be assistance in these types of scenarios then remove the child(ren) and block the responsible parties from any further assistance and simply shift that assistance to the child(ren)."
I'm sure many of my fellow left wing friends are getting really angry reading that comment. But i can't find any arguments against it, i am as you might see not very liberal. I think the idea has some merit and should really be explored further in a separate debate. And at this point i must point out that you now have started making arguments like "This additional help, on top of Ms. Fernandes's salary, would be more than enough to support her even in a place as expensive as New Jersey." and "block the responsible parties from any further assistance and simply shift that assistance to the child(ren)". I point this out only to show that you are falling bock to showing some people that don't deserve help or should be able to manage with it. Showing that you are having problems justifying the complete lack of help for the lower classes.
So in conclusion: In my opinion it is okay not to care about the "lower classes" emotionally, but i do not agree that it is okay in the society that we have today not to care for them financially, as the poorer people need our help and have the same potential as the rest of us, if we give them the same possibility to peruse their dreams.
The reason i think that we will never agree about this subject is because we both come from different ideologies, and because of that we see all articles we read from a different perspective. You (appear) to see this issue from a libertarian(?) ideology. Whereas i base my political opinions on the motto "Make as many people as possible, have as good of a time as possible" that of course commands me to try to help as many people as possible.
This can be shown by the example of an anti-immigration advocate and a a pro-immigration advocate reading an article titled "immigrants commit more crimes" anti will think "we shouldn't let them in" and pro will think "we need to rework our integration program" (i am not comparing you to either of these people, just making an example).
I hope you have enjoyed this debate as much as me, i'll be sure to add you to my friend list. I think we both did pretty good for our first debate.
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