Monday, August 27, 2007

More Brilliant Logic ...

From Alderman wannabe Richard Evans...more compassionate conservatism.

Instead of actually postulating solutions to things, we find our erstwhile candidate for Alderman yapping in the classic language of "individual responsibility" - which so often translates into the basic mantra that poverty is the fault of the poor.

Why yes, people should live within their means, and earn as they are able to. In a perfect world, it would all balance out just fine. Sadly, our world is somewhat less than perfect.

Homeless people on our streets are there for a plethora of reasons, not all of them obvious or well managed. Our society does a poor job at best of dealing with people who suffer from mental illness (an all too common problem among the homeless), nor do we manage to examine and deal with the social cycles that perpetuate the grinding poverty of life on the streets.

Whether you are talking about drug addicts, schizophrenia or other issues that are often part and parcel of the "street scene", it is simplistic to claim that they are all the result of "poor choices" and shrug them off.

When we are talking about housing, it is foolish to assume in Calgary's marketplace that "the market will provide". It's rapidly reaching a point where the cost of housing is far beyond the means of many, (Try surviving in this city on less than $30K or so a year...) while wages in many jobs have remained at the levels they were at in the late '90s.

Poverty is a cycle, and part of a complex picture called society. It is facile and unrealistic to simply attribute the social problems that many experience to "poor choices" or "irresponsibility".

What is the price of not dealing effectively with the problems and causes of poverty? Increased crime and violence as those at the bottom of the economic ladder seek to find ways out of their situations. Remember, for many of those people, they have nothing more to lose. If they suffer additionally from mental illness of some sort, their reasoning may be severely impaired as well.

Personal responsibility is fine and dandy - a good place for most of us to start, but it does little to deal with those who have fallen through the cracks and now struggle to survive. We need people on Council who are willing and able to consider constructive approaches to these issues, not simply blaming the people who find themselves in dire straits for their situation.

2 comments:

Niles said...

Maybe Evans believes in "The Secret". The magical thinking movement topping the charts right now with the mantra that you just need to think rightful thoughts and your positive vibrations will engage the "Law of Attraction" (as immutable as the law of gravity y'know) and suck all sorts of loveliness (wealth, health, wealth) instantly in to your life.

The flip side to that of course, and it is an admitted part of "The Secret", is that if you are poor, ill, or wiped out by natural disaster, your own lack of positive thinking caused these things to happen to you. You didn't wish hard enough, you lazy feeb.

Sounds very much like the attitude of socons out there.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!