Friday, January 19, 2007

On the Poor

Recently, there have been a large number of stories concerning the neglect of children. The public has responded by voicing resentment and horror - first horror, and then (more strongly it seems to me) resentment at the fact that the parents who neglect their children are using our tax-dollars to support themselves and thus we thus, unwillingly, facilitate continued neglect. *1

The solution to all these problems? Sterilize the poor women, who are probably also *stupid* poor women (this is not my correlation), so that they can't have children and fob our money off of us. These sentiments are echoed in at least one news source (albiet, in a rather veiled manner): "There's just some kind of a lack of awareness of the size of your family versus your income, your ability to live," Hannan said.*2

Chesterton addressed something along these lines in What's Wrong with the World - this isn't directly pertinent, as cases of neglect are, many times, cases of willful neglect (though there may be a variety of circumstances - the usurious landlord - which may absolve one from cases of alleged neglect), but what Chesterton said may be broadly applied.

The solution is not to sterilize the poor women - but to spread God's love and not to kill the offspring or to stem the number of children born. You don't attack the symptom, you attack the disease.

I'm rather afraid I got into a heated debate with one of the organizers of a local Catholic young-adult's group. He proposed that better sexual education would lead to less children born to the poor people who were ignorant and whose offspring were prone to be wild and dangerous. I countered that this was not the proper solution - sexual education does not magically solve problems but exacerbates them by encouraging promiscuity and less respect for the dignity of the other (though I did not phrase it so eloquently during the actual speech). He asked me what my solution was. I replied that we should do good, help others, here and now in the ways we could, love them, show them God's love - and voting, of course, in line with what the Church teaches. The man asked me what good that would do when the problems of this world were spread over such a great area. What good could one person do?

Well, what's the point if doing and being good don't DO anything? What good couldn't it do? The saints moved mountains and while I may be no saint, I can follow their example. Referring to Chesterton again - God told St. Francis to build His Church. An by gum, St. Francis built it with his own hands, "stone by stone." He did what he could, because God willed that he should do so, and because Francis willed that it should be so. If God wills that good may come, and man cooperates, then good cannot but come and the world cannot but be affected if only a little in our terms.

Despite trying to get on the mailing list, twice, for this young-adult group, I um. Didn't get on it. Somehow.

Source:
1. http://obscurestore.typepad.com/obscure_store_and_reading/2007/01/toddler_in_diap.html#comments
2. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061226/lf_nm/usa_poverty_newyork_dc

(I don't directly link, because I don't want this to be tracked back and have a flame-war established with people from the first link.)

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