MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

April 2, 2009

At What Price Being My Brother's Keeper? (or, Being Pulled Down By a Drowning Man)

In recent years more and more we are being told that it is the responsibility, even obligation, of "the rich" (which is being ever more defined down, currently standing at a mere $75,000 per year) to care for and give more to the poor and those less fortunate. More over, so we are told, it's government's job to make "the rich" care for the poor even if it hurts "the rich"! The philosophy being that even a cut in standards to "the rich" is still more than whatever the poor have.
I'm not going to debate rich vs. poor. That is yet another topic well beaten up in other people's blogs (and usually wrong too).

he purpose of this article is simple:

At what price do want to help the poor?


Just how fair is it hurt Peter so that Paul may have more?


The rest of this article refers to a modern classic (of sci-fi) book and movies. If you haven't read the book or seen the movies based on it the following will be a spoiler. You've been warned!
While this is a re-occurring topic of philosophic and political discussion, a shot-in-the-arm came to me recently as I was watching the BBC mini-series "Triffids". The 6 part mini-series is based on the book "The Day of the Triffids" in 1951 by the British science fiction author John Wyndham and was later made into the classic horror movie "The Day of The Triffids" along with several other movie and made-for-TV movies. However, the BBC mini-series was much more accurate to the original book.

Like all good writings, the book (and the BBC mini-series) is less the monsters and the events, and more about the people and the characters reactions to the events that are thrust upon them. The reader/watcher is given some basic information about the Triffids and a couple of possible explanations for the events but the focus is on how the people have to coupe with the collapse of society and all hordes of survivors.

Specifically, the story ties into this article in that according to the story the vast majority (95%+) of the world's population goes blind literally over night, allegedly due to seeing the light from an unusual comet or as in the first movie it was a meteor shower. (I say "allegedly" because near the end of the story the idea that perhaps it was some kind of super secret satellite weapon that malfunctioned is also proposed as a reason for the mass blindness.) The precious few who still can see are suddenly faced with a moral dilemma: Stay in the cities and towns and try to somehow care for the throngs of panic stricken blind people who can't do a thing for themselves or help their own survival in any way, or, abandon the blind in favor of their own survival (and ultimately the survival of humanity and civilization)?

Throughout the story the characters we follow again and again come face to face with this issue. Sometimes it is individual blind people who try to capture the seeing and hold them as virtual slaves for their own use. Other times it's do-gooders who capture and force the seeing to care for troops of the blind even to the point of shackling the seeing to the blind! Then there are the religiously pious who see it as their job to care for the blind when it is quiet clear even their own survival is in doubt. And there is the ever present danger of para-military groups and rouge military/police trying to organize feudal-like communes with the seeing forced to supervise vast bands of the blind in hopeless labor endeavors.

I highly recommend the book and the BBS mini-series to all my readers!

But it is this underlying theme of taking by force the talents and means of the few (in this case the seeing, in our society taxation of the wealth and fruits of labor of "the rich") in order to help the poor and yet the poor are still poor with no end in sight (and no pun intended to the story).

If taking "the rich" to give to the poor was the answer then with the literal trillions of dollars$$$ spent in welfare and food stamps and public assistance in housing, education, drug treatment, counseling etc. over the last 40 years then we would be living in Utopia by now.

But we're not!

So, how much do you impede and even hurting those who are working and succeeding in order to try (because it obviously isn't working) to help those who aren't?

Would it be fair for a race runner far out in the lead, maybe on a record pace, to slow down to let the rest of the racers catch up?
Would it be fair for a sports team far out in the lead in their league/division/whatever to be forced to give up their star players so others can have the chance to do well that season?
Would it be fair to take someone's house, force them to live in an apartment, so that someone with no room at all over their head has one?
How far are you willing to handicap yourself and your family so that others can maybe have something?

It is absurd to think that all people will move forward at the same pace and same level.It is absurd to think that if someone is further a head than someone else that person "owes" something to the other who isn't as far along.

When people advance so does the society.

A society can not advance, grow and prosper when those who are advancing are forced to stop and give up their advancement in order to give it others.

Lowering the top never raises the bottom.

MasterPo says: If you enjoyed this article make sure to subscribe in a reader (one of the last good free things in life!)

No comments: