Dependency is freedom

In response to Drone Strikes Okay, Drug Testing Welfare Recipients, Not So Much:

Great point on the dichotomy of the drone strike vs. drug testing welfare recipients, Jerome.  I imagine an Obama apologist would say the severity of the terror threat justifies relaxing the “reasonable suspicion” threshhold (which is quite a bit different from what they would have said in, say, 2006) and terrorism is a more serious threat than welfare abuse (which, given the current state of the public fisc, is debatable over the long term – not to minimize the threat of terrorism.)

The evolution from charity, to welfare, to entitlement is all about removing the sense of shame and obligation from these benefits.  “Shame” is a peculiar and misunderstood concept in today’s culture; in this sense, doesn’t have to mean “you’re a horrible person” browbeating, just the sense that residence in the social safety net should be as temporary as possible; it’s not someplace anyone is supposed to be.  To put it in other terms: when I was young and could rely on my parents to help me out in need, I nevertheless felt a significant sense of shame if I went unemployed for more than a couple of weeks.  I found that feeling extremely useful as motivation.  (And I’ll admit the first week of unemployment was a wonderland of sloth and self-indulgence.  Hey, I was a kid once!)

Shame and obligation are the forces that help private charities, particularly religious ones, gently but firmly turn peoples’ lives around.  Those forces have been steamed right out of the modern welfare state, to the point where we have this utterly absurd situation.  Governor Scott is absolutely correct: putting drug addicts on the dole is enabling their self-destruction, and the destruction of any children they might have.  But apparently we can’t even ask for a blood test from the dependency class, because that would interfere with the Left’s quest to relieve its clients from material concerns so they can be “free.”  

And I notice nobody on the Left is much concerned about “probable cause” to seize assets from those of us who are expected to pay for this system, particularly those who commit the unpardonable crime of excessive success.

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