Sunday, March 20, 2016

About That Change In Tone

... between that blog post on touching the infinity of God and the one raging about the cultural decay that's led to Sanders, Clinton and Trump.

When I worked at Catholic Charities food resource center, we gave out food to people who didn't have enough. As in not enough to eat and no money to buy it. Many of those were elderly. Some days we turned people away as we could only serve so many in a day. We tried not to, but there's only so much you can do.

Detroit went bankrupt while I worked there. Elderly pensioners ended up with smaller pensions. Permanently. I wondered what it would be like to work in their Catholic Charities food resource center. They must have been utterly overwhelmed. They probably still are.

The Detroit bankruptcy was deliberate. Bankruptcy is simple mathematics and everyone involved in the budgeting process could see it coming a mile away. There was time to make changes and they chose not to do so. It was an act of intentional cruelty by people who had the personal resources to avoid the consequences of their decisions. They knew that elderly people would go hungry, but that didn't matter to them. They acted like big shots and threw around the last scraps of cash so everyone knew how "compassionate" they were.

Substitute children for elderly and destroying traditional morality for bankruptcy above and you get the same thing for our cultural elites.

So, for those of working to help the poor, the two sides of the coin are compassion for the victims and anger at the perpetrators. Sometimes that leads to incongruity on a blog.

They did what their progressive elites asked them to do - they got more involved in the political process.
Fat lot of good it did them.


Foxfier said...

It was an act of intentional cruelty by people who had the personal resources to avoid the consequences of their decisions.

I think I agree with what you mean, but I can't agree with the strict meaning of this-- they weren't deliberately choosing cruelty.

That is the result, and they reasonably must have known that it was going to result, but they wanted to do something else more than they wanted to avoid that result.

Most likely, as you say, they just did not care about the harm it would cause. (That's called "Callous disregard," I think.)

I only point this out-- no, really, I am working on not arguing just to be precise-- because it's really easy for people to excuse themselves because they're not going "Oh, I will do this, because it has a cruel result!"

One of the most important things my grandfather did, that I never realized until decades after he was dead, was to talk about how the Nazis he guarded after WWII were...just guys. Just normal kids. None of the guys he was around had a malicious motive, and one was an amazing artist who would trade his work for things to share with the other guys.
But they were freaking uniform wearing, weapon packing Nazis. If even one in ten had taken the Ratzinger route of resistance-that-doesn't-get-your-family-killed, it would've fallen apart.
This is big, because I notice a lot of people dehumanize the Nazis-- like "Nazi" is a different species.

Mostly Nothing said...

Our church is collecting food for the Christian cupboard. Locally, 1 in 14 are going hungry. And this is in a pretty affluent suburb of St Paul. The pastors are having a contest. One can, one vote. The pastor with the most votes displays his/her talent to the congregation. Our head pastor, Jon sang some show tunes last year. Including great rendition of "let it go". He's got girls of the age...

I think I must agree with Foxfier, beurocrats and politicians don't do thing to be cruel. They avoid doing things that would be unpopular (and there by lose them votes or power) until it's too late, and then end up doing whatever it takes to minimize the damage to themselves.

Foxfier said...

Trying to make you feel a little better, Mostly Nothing.....
Our local St. Vincent d'Paul has a lot of the same folks serving at multiple openings.

They instituted a requirement for proof of residence in the area of the parish, because they noticed that some of the same faces were getting a weeks' worth of food at a multiple foodbanks-- we still need food donations, but apparently they use to get stripped to the bare walls before, and now that's not the case.

Heard the same from a lady who was helping at the not-associated-with-a-church food program in my home valley-- she recognized several people, and then started noticing that some of the kids they brought with them as "their kids" were with multiple adults.

There are DEFINITELY hungry people who need food, but some slight reassurance-- the statistics lie.

That's before things like a family I know that is at least as comfortable as we are who get free food-- I know because they give me the unused baby food. It's not because they need it, it's because it's available.
And then there was the really embarrassing year where someone took over the get-food-for-the-needy Thanksgiving drive, and sent a box home with my husband. We got about half of the stuff we'd donated back.
(All of that went back to the donation boxes, and made me wonder if there's a huge cycle of stuff that gets handed out, picked over and then donated back minus what people wanted.)

Ilíon said...

I grew up among "the poor" -- I am confident that I could come out the "winner" in swapping "We were so poor that ..." stories with you and most of your readers.

And I say, BS!

"The poor" can always find money for cigarettes and alcohol (and these days pot). These days, "the poor" can always find money for cell phones -- $50 or $100 a month, it doesn't phase them.

Take that exemplar of poverty so belovéd of the "liberals" (and, no doubt, of you) of the poor old lady who is reduced to eating cat food. Why does no one ever notice that cat food costs more that human food?!

Almost every one of "the poor" is "poor" because he *chooses* to live that way -- and most of your works of compassion to help "the poor" are nothing more than those famous good intentions paving a certain well-trod road.

Foxfier said...

That would be the 'white underclass.'

There is, believe it or not, a difference between that and what use to be called 'the deserving poor.'

A big difference is that the deserving poor would generally rather go hungry than take a handout-- Terry Pratchett chose that as his background for Captain Vimes, with the thumbnail sketch of "the tables may be bare but the doorstep was so clean you could eat from it."

It's kind of like the way that Some People thought it was a great idea to roll widows, divorced mothers and never-married mothers into one sub-group, or the dang near useless statistics that treat all religious belief as identical, or grouping "raising awareness" charities the same as the "actually do something specific" charities.

K T Cat said...

Foxie, you know I love you, but I'm going to disagree. If I know I'm going to take a pay cut, but I keep spending as if I'm not, I know for a fact that my family is going to suffer because I'll run up bills that I know we'll never be able to pay. If you consistently spend beyond your means, you are deliberately screwing over those who depend on you.

K T Cat said...

Ilion and Foxie, I know the type. The wheelers and dealers who were scamming us. It never bothered me and I found it kind of funny - scamming people out of things that it would take me 5-10 minutes of work to earn. On the other hand, there were the real hard luck cases. People with IQs of about 85. Elderly people who'd never had any decent financial advice. Guys just out of prison. Terrified, unmoored girls fleeing abuse. Their needs were honest.

Still, Detroit and the other bankruptcies are a different thing entirely. If you were a pensioner of one of those places, you could have done everything right and then one day wake up to find your pension slashed and yourself too old to go back to work and take care of yourself. Think of those folks and take logarithms to get what happens in a national currency crisis which is where Japan and Europe are heading, deliberately.

Foxfier said...

*grin* Given the way that folks in this house tend to express disagreement, I got zero trouble with agreed facts and different conclusions.

(Since the average age is about 13, and the median is...four? Not as bad as it sounds. Unless you're including the pain of the Only Son howling, with tears rolling down his face, because you gave him a cookie.)