Re: Commentary, Jonathan Kraut, April 19.
Jonathan Kraut, like most liberal activists, offers fantastic solutions to things like poverty, homelessness, and a slew of issues that plague human civilization — “fantastic”, as in the stuff of “fantasies.”
Take the manner in which he addresses homelessness (April 19): He follows the prescribed process: identify problem, hint at the cause(s), and speak of money (taxing the rest of us until the issue is resolved). Although he takes a slightly different approach by using words like “effective” and “efficient,” he is still talking about it from the standpoint that an elected official can actually operate in such a way notwithstanding the fact that in one of his previous columns he implied that efficiency and effectiveness were not possible. He criticizes politicians for going in circles while doing it himself by submitting columns for which I criticized him — and The Signal — for trying to meet some “liberal quota” in one of my letters.
The main problem with the vast majority of these liberal activists is that they speak of the “human condition,” and its ensuing “symptoms,” as if it were a problem that could be solved when in reality it can’t. Poverty and homelessness are not solvable problems, so I wish they would stop identifying them as such. Poverty and homelessness are natural conditions that come part and parcel with what we have come to call civilization. They have been permanent features since times of antiquity, and even Jesus declared as much.
In reading either Matthew 26:11 or John 2:8, the reader is told they (the homeless) “will always be with us,” and that the best we can do for them is to help them survive the day in the form of “handouts.” This has been done for centuries by entities such as churches and other charitable organizations, and the first “welfare state” was introduced by Imperial Germany in 1889, but poverty and homelessness (just as Jesus said) are still with us. I myself once imagined a system where personal income would be taxed at the rate of 100% (yeah, no paycheck) and the state would in turn provide for everyone’s needs. It sort of mirrored Kraut’s statement of “collection and redistribution” but on a more absolute scale.
Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, one of my main gripes with people in general is their incessant habit of complaining about things that cannot be fixed, whether out of genuine inability or outright refusal. Kraut finally asks, “How much tax would we need to spend if programs to remedy homelessness were effective and efficient?” That’s a colossal “What if,” Mr. Kraut. What would life be like if we had six legs, antennae growing out of our heads, and lived to serve the queen of our hive?
I have an alternate question: What would it take for us to accept the fact that the “symptoms” of our “condition” are an unintended but unavoidable consequence of civilization itself and cannot be treated successfully any more that we can turn ourselves into insects, and that we should thus relieve the government (as well as our wasted tax dollars) of such an impossible task. I furthermore suggest that we unburden ourselves of the need to feel guilt whenever we behold human misery because we have wrongly convinced ourselves that we are somehow the cause.
Call me selfish and callous, but I know that it can be done successfully because I am already there.