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Old April 28 2013, 07:12 PM   #327
stj
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Political conservatives believe that poverty is a just reward. Systemic action to alleviate poverty is intrinsically unjust, an immoral attempt to undo the verdicts of the market/God (no functional difference here.) Worse, taxes or any other perceived burden are aggravated injustice, punishing the virtuous in this vain attempt. And any attempt to systemically abolish poverty is a hubristic attempt to create utopia. Wealth and poverty are the only just and moral compulsions to labor. Everything else is by definition evil, like liberalism, socialism, communism, etc.

In practice, most philanthropy focuses intensely on moral reformation of its clients even to the point where it causes negative consquences. For instance, poorhouses were deliberately designed to be oppressive. The refusal to grant aid to households with unemployed husbands allegedly played a role in breaking up families in the Sixties, though I don't know how significant it was. Private philanthropists very commonly exercise prejudices in the choice of their objects of charity, then demand subservience as the unacknowledged price. Dickens was pretty accurate about philanthrophists.
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