Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Atlas and the Animals

South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Andre Bauer recently said of those receiving public aid:
My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better.
Bauer's comments are disgusting. He reduces humans to the level of animals--devoid of volition and moved solely by physical urges. Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. takes offense and responds in an equally disgusting manner, by urging America's poor to act like animals:

Who, then, speaks for the poor? Who raises a voice when they are scapegoated and marginalized? Who cries out when they are abused by police and failed by schools? Who takes a stand when they are exploited by employers and turned away by hospitals?

As near as I can tell, no one does.

Unfortunately, poor people have never learned to think of and conduct themselves as a voting bloc; historically, they have proved too readily divisible, usually by race.
To Pitts the solution to any alleged problem is collectivism. He does not see individuals, but only groups, and specifically, economic and racial groups. Any alleged wrongs must be addressed through political power, which ultimately means using the coercive power of government to dictate or restrict the actions of others.

There are only two methods for dealing with others: reason or force. One can present the facts that support one's position, or one can resort to wielding a club. One can treat others as human beings by appealing to their rational faculty, or one can treat others as animals by resorting to brute force. One can respect the moral right of each individual to act according to his own judgment, or one can negate that judgment by compelling certain behavior.

While Bauer argues that those on public assistance are no different from stray animals, Pitts argues that they should act like wild animals and force other individuals to alleviate their suffering:
It takes some helluva psychology to get two men stuck in the same leaking boat to fight each other. You'd think their priority would be to come together, if only long enough to bail water. But the moneyed interests in this country have somehow been able to con the poor into doing just that, fighting tooth and nail when they ought to be standing shoulder to shoulder.
Embracing the Marxist theory of class struggle, Pitts urges the poor to rise up against the "moneyed interests". If the poor want better schools and free health care, then they should seize the reins of power and vote themselves such values. Pitts counts on the productive to tolerate such injustice; he expects that the the productive will be willing to be enslaved.

Pitts concludes by warning that "[s]ometimes stray animals bite." What he and his ilk don't realize is that sometimes Atlas shrugs.

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