Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things that are on my mind today

 

Last night I saw Mist, the new Stephen King movie. It was ok. The plot narrowed in on a few key themes that were repeated throughout the movie- regret, guilt, death, fear, and base instincts of mankind. The movie ends with a sense of hopelessness and regret. I think there were also some subtle digs against the current White House administration and the war in Iraq but that could just be my own bias talking. He also picked on religion as well. Overall the story kept me riveted and the movie was fear inspiring without being too gruesome (still not safe for the little kids of course).

One of the things on my mind today is the famous expression "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger". This is a quote of Friedrich Nietzsche. Do you think this sentiment is actually true? Do you think there is scriptural support for such an assertion or is it a case where man's accepted wisdom is off kilter from scriptural realities?

Another thing on my mind is an article I read in the Washington Post yesterday. It was written by a powerful man who chartered a large food bank. His assertion was that by feeding the poor, private charities are doing more harm than good to society. Instead of investing time and money into the never-ending problem of daily hunger among the poor, advocates should instead be channeling that money and effort 100% into harassing and lobbying the federal government for social reforms such as minimum wage increases, education system improvements and universal healthcare which (the author believes) will end poverty and therefore hunger permanently. He goes on to say that the band-aid treatment of actually helping the poor meet their daily needs for sustenance masks the true depth of the problem because we don't see people actually starving. If we *did* see people actually starving then as a nation we would be outraged and the federal government would be forced to act.

I have so many problems with his point of view it is hard to know where to begin. First, there is the faulty assumption that the federal government (or any man-made entity) can eliminate poverty. That completely unbiblical and history demonstrates it to be a fallacy as well. Even with full daily handouts there will be some who are unable or unwilling to manage resources properly and they will drop right back into poverty, spending every cent of income before it can be counted. Second, letting your own countrymen starve to prove a point- even an important political point-is unethical. Third, the preference for federal govt. intervention over private intervention is irrational. It's one thing to argue we must have federal social programs to step in when private charity cannot finish the job alone. Its another thing entirely to champion federal charity at the expense of private charity.  Espousing that viewpoint leads the community to speculate as to your motives. If its *really* about charity and helping others than so long as people are being helped what is it to you whether it is private charities helping people instead of the federal government? Unless of course you have some other motivations for wanting the federal government to step in. Perhaps you simultaneously want to punish or control the wealthy?

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