Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back-to-School Welfare Cheques

Welfare cheques issued in British Columbia for the month of August contained a bonus for people with children in school full time. A note was included at the bottom of each cheque:

"This cheque includes the school start-up supplement. This supplement is $84 for each child aged 5-11 years and $116 for each child aged 12-18 years."

The cheques were issued by the BC Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance at the end of July.


dag said...

No need to look far away for philobarbarism, it's right here in the form of sentimentalist infantalization.

Too stupid, to worthless, too whatever to take care of your own children? Not to worry, the minders will do it for you, giving you someone else's money in the form a of a welfare cheque. What a deal!

But then, look far away, if only to see what happens when you can see yourself in a distant mirror:

All this has been said before, most trenchantly by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner. His 1983 Tears of the White Man dissected this Western pathology. One of the best chapters, called "Pity, or, The Gushing of the Ghoulish West," is filled with devastating insights into the moral and intellectual offenses of sentimental Third-Worldism. One important point he makes is how the media-stoked obsession with African suffering is dehumanizing, reducing these complex humans to nothing but their misery: "The image we see, therefore, is both a copy and a model of reality. It reflects real events that are presented as the prototypes of all events. This is a double deception, because the camera denies that life 'over there' is anything but a long cry of the oppressed. With regard to our far-off brothers, it means that happiness is a pathological symptom. . . . Man in the Third World is either a victim or a warrior, is caught in a logic of martyrdom or warfare, and has no right to exist except as a rebel or as one repressed" (from the translation of William R. Beer, The Free Press, 1986, 78).

The result is that suffering Africans are flattened, diminished, reduced to animal-like suffering, mere objects for our pleasurable pity and compassion — and our own superiority. "Because they are obliged to live off our gifts — what we have thrown away — they themselves assume the status of trash. . . . Our disdain for the Southern hemisphere is increased as soon as it is encapsulated and summed up in terms of its poverty. The people of these countries will forever be the targets of our generosity, and will not be revealed to us except by their abasement." Thus the peoples of the Third World "are nothing but an immense army of subhumans, the emanation of an abstract and reassuring idea: Indigenous people are indigent people. In other words, pity becomes a form of hatred when it is the only basis for the image we have of the far-off 'other'" (79-80, emphases in original).

Anyone who thinks they win by getting a few hundred bucks of someone else's money is fooling themself.

reliable sources said...


“reducing these complex humans to nothing but their misery”

You make me think of my mother telling us to eat what’s on our plate, “People in India are starving.”

Until recently when I learned of all the high tech workers in India, I couldn’t think of people there as anything but hopeless, hapless, and helpless. That’s the way the minders on the Downtown Eastside encourage the poor to view themselves.

dag said...

I recall King Theoden from The Lord of the Rings. He was the enfeebled old fool who couldn't walk on his own, could hardly speak, and had to be waited on by Grima Wormtongue, the secret agent of Saruman the White, evil sorcerer. Well, as it turns out, as soon as Grima Wormtongue gets the boot, it truly turns out that Theoden can make it on his own just nicely, and that he also manages to do one of the great tasks in the long story of Middle Earth. He'd been sitting in the Carnegie Centre for ages listening to the poisoned lies of the povertarian Wormtongue to the point he was a finished wreck.

What happened to Wormtongue when he had to make it in the marketplace of men rather than living off the state's largess? He crawled to the next state for his position and ended up a nobody, which he was to begin with and had become more of as he lived and worked his bile into the system.

Povertarians are all worm-tongued fools in my opinion. That's just me. Maybe those sitting in the basement of a building at the heart of skidroad listening to professional parasites tell them how helpless they are and how they are victims are just the ticket.