December 07, 2004

You never miss the water until the well runs dry

Contrast is one of the phenomenon’s that gives humans the ability to appreciate things in life. The absence of contrast often lead to humans taking things for granted. There is an old saying ; “You never miss the water until the well runs dry”. Hence, the appreciation for drinking water is heightened once life is contrasted with the absence there of.

America has had a giving social assistance program for so long, following the ravages of the great depression, that people have taken its benefit and need for granted. Over time, people lost the ability to contrast what this nation was like and would be like if not for the progressive social policies implemented to help the poor and disadvantaged. People now assume that the programs were bad ideas with the cost outweighing the benefits and incubating the conditions that it seeks to eliminate, instead of being to the "net" good.

The attempt to treat the poor is akin to taking a certain medication for so long that the person begins to think that her or she is healthy enough to live without it, because he or she is tired of the side effects. Such a person might stop taking the medication, eliminating the side effects, but then eventually falling victim to the disease's return, which the medication had kept at bay. At that point in time, the reality and contrast becomes clear again, thus compelling the person to appreciate the benefits of the medication once the more serious symptoms returned.

There are those in our society who want to eliminate the medication for poverty and disadvantage, due to the nagging side effects on this society. They seem to believe that hunger, malnutrition, death and other symptoms of abject poverty have been cured and that continued social medication is only causing addiction and dependencies as side effects. There is no contrast, after years of successfully treating abject poverty in America, that allow the human nature of some to see the benefit and appreciation of the medication that created the well being that exist…so they want to get ride of it.

A key prerequisite of any Endeavour or goal is the proper management of expectations. When dealing with social issues, one should never expect one size to fit all. It is unrealistic to believe that aid to the poor will not create some dependencies. It is unrealistic to believe that cutting aid to the poor will not increase human suffering, particularly among children and women. These are the binary options for our society, only because these are the cheapest options. No approach or a cookie cutter approach are the least expensive to implement. The best and most expensive (you get what you pay for) approach is the approach of tailoring aid to the specific needs, with oversight and incentives to not create dependencies and addiction on the aid. Thus, human suffering is reduced as well as dependencies.

The best approach will never be implemented going forward due to a combination of greed, racism and the political conduit to exercise those aims. There are people who believe in small government, to no small degree, because they do not want more disposable income and they have an aversion to their tax dollars going to help poor people that they believe are lazy and do not want to help themselves. This image of the poor manifest more acutely when their image of the poor or recipients of aid are black, as theorized in a recent Harvard study that compared why Europeans are more generous to the poor than are Americans.

To properly aid and teach the poor how to fish and hence become productive and competitive in society a massive commitment of funds, much greater than what has been spent in past efforts. However, given the crisis in social security and it’s under funding, the budget deficit, the infinite war on terrorism, the trade deficit and the rise of China as an economic threat to our standard of living, increasing social spending to adequate levels to promote the general welfare will not happen.

Affirmative Action and the inability of some to contrast “before” and “after”, also have people calling for the end of this program. The fallacious assumption behind this is that the disease of white racism has been cured and that this society now offers an “even” playing field, if not for Affirmative Action, which gives a racial advantage to blacks over whites in society. Moreover, people argue that the program rewards mediocrity in blacks and helps to explain why so many blacks underperforms, due to not having to be as good as whites when AA subsidizes the difference.

The Preamble to the constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


These are the stated goals of our union, but in a government of the people, for the people and by the people, the people must enumerate these acts before the government can carry them out. Thus, if “the people”, in plurality, decide against these goals, “the people” can usurp the principles and goals that supposedly makes this nation great and separates from others morally.

4 Comments:

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Scott said...

You shouldn't combien aid to the poor with affirmative action.

AA is a program for upper class blacks, and women and other new minorities like gays and disabled, and has lost its point.

Aid to the poor should be looked at differently. And its only a fraction of the AID to the rich, mortgage deductions, IRA's farm subsidies, Airline bailouts etc...

None of the programs are essential like water. So I find you analogy and post weak.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

"None of the programs are essential like water" Spoken like a person who never been in the situation to need them...thus he takes their value for granted...which simply makes my point.

AA is simply an example of something that has brought great benefit over time...but people now dismiss its benefit and impact upon black progress over the last 30 years.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

Scott misses the point because he wants to debate the relevancy of the programs spoken about versus dealing with the principle that states “You never miss the water until the well runs dry”. Let’s just say for the sake of this discussion that AA only help upper class Black men and women, how would its removal affect those that benefit from it? Remember we are arguing a principle here and not the relevancy of the programs. If any one thing is working to the benefit of a particular group, then surely its removal will have an adverse effect on that group. Its removal without the removal of that which made it necessary will only mean the reason it was needed will become our reality once again. To make it plain, removing programs that were the medicine for an illness without the illness being cured will only lead to the sickness spreading again. This is what Noah has stated. Negro-Con for some strange reason believe the sickness of white supremacy and white privilege has been cured, but I can assure you; while you are fighting with white supremacist to end programs that were put in place to curtail the effects of white supremacy and white privilege, it is your grand children that will have to live with the reality that this sickness was not cured and the medicine to keep it at bay is still needed but because of your actions, the medicine will be difficult to acquire

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger The Discontented said...

Good post. I think it is interesting that the arguments made about the individual merits of minority students entering college under affirmative action programs often ignores the clear empirical evidence of high levels of merit amongst these students. Furthermore, if these people would take a realistic look at college admissions, they would realize that all colleges do a holistic overview of each candidate, ensuring that racial category is not the only thing considered. Furthermore, many conservatives are commenting on this issue without understanding the recent supreme court doctrine on the issue, which notes that most colleges, such as the University of Michigan Law school, have a holistic overview of each candidate, ensuring that they are not simply selecting tokens, at some level. Keep strong your critical eye. Look forward to future posts.

 

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