There’s a meme among conservatives that people on public assistance are worthless and should be left to struggle on their own. More often than not, there is a component of racism involved but the main jist of it is that the poor are barely human and not worth helping. Rush Limbaugh, a fount of human compassion if ever there was one, made the following comparison:
“The animals must learn to fend for themselves if they are to survive and thrive. When you feed animals, they become dependent and no longer function as nature intends.”
What a guy! So if you lost your job because of Wall Street’s depredations, you shouldn’t ask for any help because that’s just the government trying to keep you dependent. And what, precisely, is the alternative? Let your children go hungry because that’s what “nature intends?” Just going out and finding a job isn’t an option for most because there are still five applicants for every job opening.
Here’s the audio:
This has been going on since Ronald Reagan made up the myth of the mobs of “Welfare Queens” stealing taxpayer money and living the high life. Being on public assistance is now greeted with suspicion and disdain by conservatives. Unless, of course, they are on it themselves. That’s OK because they “earned” it while those
black Hispanic black other people are lazy and shiftless (I did say there was usually a racial component).
The right has spent decades turning the hearts of citizens into a cold, barren place where words like “empathy” and “compassion” are rejected in favor of “self-interest” and “I got mine, screw you.” The reason for this is not hard to understand at all. Conservatives despise the idea of people pooling their resources to accomplish great things like safety and stability for all. It’s hard to make a profit when the people own their country and government. By seducing the weak and greedy with a philosophy of “me, me, me” we are left vulnerable to corporations that only seek to exploit the public.
The greatest trick the GOP ever pulled was convincing “Christian” conservatives that Jesus loves them even as they despise the poor that Jesus spent his life championing.
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