Sunday, August 10, 2008

Are the Poor Oppressed In America

I want to share a disagreement with a respected peer about the nature of poverty. There are poor in the United States. However, our poor are not on a par with the poverty of India, Haiti or Latin America.

The question of how and why people remain poor is more complex than presented in the classic Communist guise of oppression. Moreover, the communist term includes group rights a concept that is by its nature totalitarian and unamerican. Yet this disagreement is with someone who really should no better. This person and I both want a better country and he is not a communist like Renagade Eye looking to create divisions.

The poor are poor for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is lack of educational and vocational skills. If one drops out of high school the options are very limited.
Realistic job training is an important part of combating poverty. Many of the poor suffer from issues ranging to poor life skills to deep psychological trauma. The life skills areas are often things that can be fixed at community level. There are some poor who suffer from severe mental illness. An example of this was "Billie Bogs" who
the ACLU sued and prevented her treatments for political reasons. Bogs ended up on the same street corner after the ACLU no longer needed her.

Classic liberalism notes that the causes of poverty are as varied as the poor themselves. The group rights Marxist mode attempts to add oppression for sheer political opportunism. Who oppresses the homeless person on the heating vent?

In response to this question we do hear about some rude Civil servants. Rude civil servants are no more oppressive than rude staff anywhere else. Those civil servants do not work for the poor they work for the tax payer. They are charged with enforcing
endless laws and procedures. There is also a lot of benefit fraud and they must be vigilant. The reality is that even the most dedicated civil servant can be sued for no reason. I have witnessed several of these frivolous lawsuits against dedicated professionals.

There are responsible groups that aid the poor every day. They do so for religious or humanitarian reasons without the Marxist political opportunism. In fact the historical record shows a direct line between applications of Marxism and human misery. There is a difference between flowery words, political opportunism and reality.

The social justice model is more similar to the Muslim concept of Zhakat which is mistranslated as charity. Charity is something that is voluntary, unlike zhakat. Under the social justice model land was stolen from farmers in Zimbabwe and the result was starvation. Were the poor helped by this theft? We can witness the shortages in Venezuela.

Moreover, who decided that the property rights of businessmen and farmers could be violated by imperial fiat. This social justice model looks more akin to classic feudalism than America.

The poor have serious needs, but the last thing they need is to have an army of political opportunists acting in their name.

21 comments:

nanc said...

um, excuse me - when was the last time you saw a truly poor thin person? with all the food programs, most of them are the size of a small car. they get section 8 housing, food stamps, medical care, free drugs/pharms, can go months without paying their power bills, and the list goes on.

as far as i'm concerned, it is the taxpayer who is oppressed having to pay for MANY of their lazyarse ways!

this strikes such a nerve with me, beak - as i see pastors, priests and preachers sitting on their golden thrones, travelling first class and they've rescinded their charity cases to the government.

pist.

Justin said...

Beak,

I am never amazed at how when some one uses a term such as oppression or social justice you can always some how link it to some sinister communist marxist plot.

Group rights as you call it is not in conflict with individual rights. Where would you be or where would we all be if some group had not taken it on themselves to pull off a "Reveloution" to get themselves as a group what they called rights. Not everyone in this country agreed with them at the time but they as a group fought to be liberated from what they saw as oppression. Sometimes a group has to fight to have the same individual rights that you and I have. Would the Blacks have the rights to walk into many restaraunts, ride in the front of buses or even vote had they not chosen to fight as a group a system that denied them those rights? Do you deny that those conditions existed?

Yeah folks I'm the one who challenged Beak on his assessment that the poor are not oppressed. What Beak fails to understand is that oppression is not just being shackled in chains or ruled over by a oppressive government. Oppression comes from the feelig of being trapped in a system such as poverty that to many there seems no way out of.

Now Beak your readers should know that this whole thing started over a discussion between you and myself regarding Radical Fundementalism.
You were upset that I did not nor have I yet mentioned Radical Liberal Religion which in due time I will cover those. I was writing about Radical Fundementalist Churches and preachers who falsely teach prosperity religion, that teach that Adam was G-d incarnate, or teach that those who disagree with them when they come to power will be given a chance to repent or they will simply not be heard from again. However, you chose to come back to your blog and write that I was attacking Christianity which was a False Hood that I did not appreciate. I was in no way attacking Christians or Christianity. I was writing about False Christianity that has lost its way and has become the vehicle for the generation of untold millions in capital with out accountability. I was writing about False Christianity that teaches and preaches feel good philosophies and that you will get rich by making them rich. I was writing about people and churches who have fallen into these false precepts and forgotten their first true love and their charge in the world. Now if you cannot separate what is being said when you see the word "Radical" and you think it is a attack on all of Christianity then so be it. How many of your readers support Rick Warren and the Emergent Churches? How many of your readers support the Prosperity teachings of the Radical Churches and television ministeries?

I must say you do a wonderful job of cloaking a subject by comparing it to the poor in India or the poor in Hati or Latin America. Am I talking about the poor in those countries. No, Im talking about people in our own back yard. In America Beak. Am I calling for giving them uncontrolled subsidies? No, but, as a people and a Nation we need to develop and work on a system that will give many of them a hand up not a hand out Beak.
That my friend is not Socialism, Marxism or Communisim. That is addressing and correcting a problem that does exist in this country.

There are many that no matter what the system they cannot be or in some cases they refuse to be helped but we need a system that can and will help. No one is calling for the re-distribution of wealth or property. Did I ever call for this? No, I did not.

As to the rude public servants. Did I ever say there were not rude people in the private sector? Nope. Why? Because we were talking about a totally different situation. I was talking about a social worker who basely humilates a mother in front of her children and others in the office. We can talk the private sector later. The public servants attitude had nothing to do with upholding any laws or regulations what so ever. I know you dont like it when I say there are public servants out there that are only there for the money and the benefits. But, truth is there are they have no concern about the people they are supposed to help. Yeah Beak, I have seen racial discrimination perpetrated by these public servants.

The simple fact is Beak there are those who feel oppressed by being locked into a system that there seems no way out of. And when the word opperssed is used it is not in your definitions. The fact is the Church, the Government and you and I as human beings have a charge to help those less fortunate than us. By help Beak let me be very clear so you dont go off with your socialist agenda again, I mean assisting them in getting out of the situation they are in. Does that mean everyone will be pulled up? No it does not. Does it mean we will end poverty? No, it does not.
But, does that mean as a socioety we should just throw up our hands and walk off? No it doesnt.

Your ideas on education and job training are very honorable however, having worked in those programs in the Government I can speak first hand as to how it is weighed down in bureaucratic mumbo jumbo and it winds up helping very few people. The majority of people who need this help also need help with an income to support their families and believe me Beak I know and have seen first hand how hard it is for some to get that kind of help. Its easy to say well, they need to get a job or a education but, where are they going to get the assistance to do that if we do not have a Social Program that offers them that help.

Your solution is when you see someone use a word you dont like like Social Program or you find a sinister code in you label it and their proposal to be Socialistic, Communistic, or Marxist. Well it is not that black and white sorry.

beakerkin said...

Justin

Lets start this in sections

The fact that a person feels they are oppressed does not make it so. Hospitals are filled with people who have all types of complexes that have no basis in reality.

Assuming your statement about this particular social worker is true. This is a case of poor customer service. Why is the person in front
of this civil servant? Are you going to blame the doctor for opressing the patient next when he has cancer?

A person gets bad customer service in the DMV. This person may be inconvenienced and annoyed but not
oppressed.

beakerkin said...

A serious look at poverty shows people with a variety of problems.
Mental illness, lack of vocational or social skills, medical issues and substance abuse. These are the real issues of the homeless not oppression.

Lets go back to the civil rights era.There were a series of unjust laws that political pressure changed. One should read statements by communists in the Venona Project. Communists were fairly racist and looked to exploit the situation.

However, the legacy of changing that injustice was the imposition of more injustice via quotas. The notion that certain people get favorable treatment due to race is also unAmerican. We have moved from overt bigotry in one direction to a
more subtle form in another.

beakerkin said...

Group rights are a totalitarian concept as is the talk of oppression.
America is based upon individual liberties. The abuses of the liberties that you speak of were real but the solution was ensuring this individual liberty was extended to all. Unfortunately, we merely ended up imposing new discrimination the other way with more group rights.

The talk of oppression is classic communism. Communism starts with the notion of dividing people into
classes. Of course the more divided
classes we have the greater their
need for the all knowing sons of Marx to act as Gods representatives
on earth. The only thing the sons of Marx have done is to multiply whatever misery existed before. Zimbabwe was a dreadful place but add a touch of Marx and voila you have hell on earth.

Social Justice itself is a communist concept. I am an American
and as such am entitled to individual rights. You may try as you like to reinvent and package a lousy idea. However, to claim that this concept is not based in Marx is false.

Beamish said...

Exactly, Beak.

Knock someone's brains out onto the pavement with a sledgehammer and I bet 10 to 1 odds less people will give a damn if it's Joe Schmoe's brains on the pavement or Bill Gates' brains. Brains is brains. Death is very egalitarian in that respect.

In fact, the quickest way to make everyone equal is to kill them all.

And so we're faced with the age-old problem of getting people to agree with the idea that everyone needs to die.

To dissent from the idea that everyone needs to be put to death is ultimately to become a conservative. Otherwise, you're stuck with the socially inept / retarded and leftist manner of thinking behind every fucked up system devised by mankind from Hindu caste systems to communist class warfare hierarchies (forgive the redundancy.)

Conservatives are born with the idea of working towards whatever goal the individual sets for himself, no matter what default circumstances are given at the starting point. Dirt poor broke ass mofos have risen beyond their circumstances to become captains of sucessful industries or financial empires. But, it isn't necessary to achieve "king of the world" status, I'm not saying that at all. The most sucessful people in the world, irregardless of socio-economic status, enjoys what he does for a living, and laughs that he's being paid for it. Happiness comes in so many price ranges that economic status is ultimately only suitable for odious comparisons.

At the other end of the scale, the leftist end, the political pole that attracts idiots like shit attracts maggots, you find people that are incapable of happiness because they were "born" in a world where their self-inflicted sense of hopelessness is "justified "by unseen forces that "ripped them off" centuries before their own ancestors were born.

One of the many reasons why I refuse to entertain the absurd notion that a leftist could possibly be capable of rational thought is because a leftist's ultimate default position is that "someone owes him" something for the mere fact that his daddy forgot to wear a condom.

Leftists should be ridiculed as the perpetual failures they choose to be.

People do not choose to become leftists. You are a leftist until your mind develops beyond the diaper-shitting stage.

Beamish said...

Just a note to Justin here:

The fact is the Church, the Government and you and I as human beings have a charge to help those less fortunate than us.

Huh? God has provided mankind with plenty of insects to eat. Does he have to bring them to the "less fortunate" on a plate as well, or is it too much to ask to have them round up insects themselves?

The Pagan Temple said...

A lot of the problem with the poor is due to an oppressive tax system.

Why tax pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies? They just turn around and pass that tax onto the consumer, ergo the price of pharmaceuticals and insurance goes up-and up and up and up.

Eliminate the tax on the condition that these companies keep prices down to a reasonable level and promote fair policies and the problem is solved to a great extent.

When they take advantage of people by price gouging, then it's time for a little "social justice". Fine them and arrest them.

You can apply the same rule with energy companies. Why tax them? Just establish rules for doing business and insist these rules are adhered to.

Implement this along with some kind of flat tax or national sales tax and the economy would grow by leaps and bounds.

There will always be problems and there will always be some degree of poverty, but it will be much less than now, low enough in fact a social service safety net apparatus will not be a dire burden on the taxpayers.

The main problem with implementing common sense solutions is the simple fact that unfair tax burdens aren't meant so much to uplift the poor or solve social problems, it's meant mainly to limit private acquisition of wealth. It's based on class envy and resentment, but it's main purpose is to consolidate power among these special interest groups.

Steve Harkonnen said...

I see a lot of people using food stamps and begging on the roads looking for work for food. You're right about lack of vocational skills for some of them - but I think it's more of a lack of confidence.

Once someone loses their confidence and feel they are inferior, it's all over and they're hitting the streets.

Jungle Mom said...

I can see that many of you have never seen true oppression nor poverty!

Jungle Mom said...

Oh! And I meant to add a hello from Paraguay, where we have real poor people that, you know, DIE from starvation.

beakerkin said...

Junglemom

The poor in America do not starve. There are a plethora or resources.
Poverty in the USA is a product of many other factors, but oppression.

Third world poverty is another story.
However, as your friends in Venezuela
are aware a touch of Marx makes these
problems worse.

Jungle Mom said...

Food inflation in Venezuela is 40% this year.

The Merry Widow said...

There is also a poverty mindset that needs to be eliminated.
And part of that mindset is the idea that it's someone else's fault, and is accompanied by bitterness and anger.
Sometimes it maybe "someone's" fault...but the culture of poverty has tenacious tentacles, it crushes initiative, it encourages sloth and dependency, it denigrates education, it trashes it's environment and surroundings...it has a huge component of, "I don't care, because...".
Which is why I prefer to do my charity one-on-one, because if you are involved with the person or family, you can help change the "stinkin' thinkin'" that is prevelant.
You have to get into the trenches and get sweaty and dirty, but 1 person or family changed, has a ripple effect.
1 person can change, maybe not a society, but 1 family, which may change an apartment building, which may change a block, which may change a neighborhood!
Segregating the poor into tenements has NEVER worked, it just concentrates the misery, and makes it harder to have hope.

tmw

devon said...

Beak evidently you haven't been to the getto's in new york or anwhere arround the ozark's needless to say the applachian's where there are alot of poorand needy. have you ever really gotten outside your eliment and seen what goes on in the real world or do you go about your daily business never looking past the next street

beakerkin said...

Devon

Actually I have spent plenty of time in the poor sections of NYC, NJ and VT. In some ways the poor are worse off in Vermont.

The poor visit my office each and every day. The poor have needs that are unique as the human experience itself.

While the poor have varied needs
they are not oppressed in any description whatsoever. Most of the oppression talk is political opportunism. If you want to help the poor focus on needs and individuals.

Lost in the words bandied back and forth is the respect I have for Justin and yourself. I still have the same respect I always had, even if he is 100% wrong about this.

nanc said...

devon - i live in the heart of the ozarks - have yet to see a starving person - as a matter of fact, most are extremely overweight - those who appear to be starving are crankwhores and such - it is by choice they appear to be hungry.

if you know hungry people, please direct them to angelfood ministries - they will be able to purchase quality and affordable food. more importantly, they'll feel better about it if they're buying it for themselves.

btw - what are you feeling so guilty about that you're worried about hungry people - usually this is but a mask for something below the surface? just curious - something i'm not given to normally. it seems you're projecting...correct me if i'm wrong. please.

beakerkin said...

Devon

I still have the same respect for Justin even as he grows more shrill and bellicose. I do not tend to take such matters seriously. Ironically, there are those among us who express similar sentiments about Justin to those he wrote about me.

I understand the part about being loyal to a friend as well. Unfortunately, I do stand behind the comments. I wish they were said
out of anger, but it is not the case.

Roen said...

Beak,

If the poor are treated badly in America then what about the working families? Only about 50% of people in the US who are able to work actually do. The other 50% however become poor and live off of food stamps and spend any money they can scrape up on luxuries such as laptops and video games. I myself know a young girl who's father is unemployed and lives in his mothers house when he is over the age og 40 and lives off of food stamps yet he sends HER to the grocery store to get him candy and sada with the food stamps or a few dollars from the girls grandmother, he also makes her watch over her three younger siblings every day all day. The girl claims she has seen him smoking weed too. Now exactly who is treated unfairly when working families pay taxes that go to the poor pathetic people like him. In my family the mother and father have always worked. Not just one of them and we have always had to live in bad neighbor hoods and never got luxuries like phones. We never lived on food stamps and we always kept our heads held high so WHO is the one being oppressed?

beakerkin said...

Roen

I wish I were not as familiar with the plight of the working poor. Yes there is abuse and fraud in the program.

The poor frequently get there by poor lifestyle choices. A bad economy has not helped either.

Anonymous said...

Most people comments are ridiculous, and discriminatory towards poor people in America. Poor people are stupid, mentally, ill or drug addicts right or educationally and vocally inferior? Poor people are crack addicts-if they are poor how can these afford crack? Please drugs are expensive habit on continual basis. So argument is flawed here as it is likely one became poor by this expensive habit. At this point a poor person who has this issue would only be able to sporadically indulge in this habit. Poor people are mentally ill excuse not always true; maybe one in five are ill. Poor people are lazy; not always true again some have little access to decent employment or laid off. Poor people in America starve or freeze to death in America. Poor people are dumb; not so, there many intelligent articulate poor as well who have innovative ideas w/out means to implement them. The primary issue is access to services bringing lasting changes.