You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 6, 2013.

I have little time for Christians calling for a redistribution of wealth as a ‘Christlike’ principle. Charity is commonly practised among various world faiths to greater or lesser extents, to the poor and to strangers.

Charity, on its own, does not imply salvation unto eternal life.

As for our own faith, Christ told the Rich Man to give up his possessions which were becoming idolatrous to him. When the Rich Man in his supposed piety could not give these up, Christ left him to his own devices.

St Paul called for charity, but often in contexts meant for fellow church members, not the general populace. He also said that those who do not work shall not eat.

Since the early 1970s, Western welfare systems have become a way of life for some families, in certain cases, spanning three generations as far back as the 1980s.

The taxes — legislated ‘charity’ — on the part of the wealthy are subsidising many, including those who work at low- to medium-paying jobs. The middle classes in North America and Europe are continuously squeezed for more money at every turn.

More and more people are taking from society without putting anything back in — e.g. the famous 47% from the 2012 elections. The knock-on effect is that other services — insurance premiums — go up, too. Again, the middle classes feel this most acutely. Furthermore, how many elderly have had to budget between food and fuel during winter months? This penury has been going on in Britain since the 1990s.

Meanwhile, we read countless newspaper reports of families on the dole who are taking — sometimes scamming the system — and biting the hand that feeds them.

The latest example cited is the Tsarnaev family of the Boston Bombings on April 15, 2013. On April 29, the Boston Herald reported:

The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.

“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has handed 500 pages of documents concerning the Tsaraev family to the state’s House Audit and Oversight Committee. They will be working with the welfare — ‘transitional assistance’ — authorities to investigate further.

HotAir’s Allahpundit asked how this involuntary and mandatory public generosity (those words are mine) could lead to such violence and hatred (emphases mine):

The Tsarnaevs are an interesting mix of mundane social pathologies associated with being poor and bigger ideological pathologies that most poor people never harbor. Allegedly, both mama and papa Tsarnaev were shoplifters. Dzhokhar dealt drugs for spending money, some of which may or may not have been put towards bomb manufacture. Tamerlan received welfare up until 2012, the same year he took off to do God knows what in Russia and long after he and mom supposedly had that phone call in 2011 about “jihad.” Instapundit linked this interesting Mickey Kaus piece from 2001 about a terrorism/welfare connection in Europe in which ethnic antagonism causes resentment among immigrants and welfare gives them free time to explore ideology, but I don’t know how much that applies to the Tsarnaevs. Dzhokhar, at least, seemed reasonably well integrated at school; “ethnic antagonism” from the public generally was probably less of a factor for them than for European Muslims because they’re white, although the anecdote in the update here suggests there may be more to it than meets the eye. And further muddying the waters of causation is the apparent fact that Tamerlan was simply a bad seed, especially towards women. What happens when you throw a radical, domineering personality into an already bad mix?

The Mickey Kaus piece from Slate in 2001 to which Allahpundit refers is useful. This has all happened before. Excerpts follow, more at the link. Emphases in the original:

Here are some suspected terrorists in the news:

  • Zacarias Moussaoui, the French North African charged with conspiracy in connection with the 9/11 attack, became an Islamic radical living in London “while drawing welfare benefits and studying economics,” Newsday reports.
  • Ahmed Ressam, the member of Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group who was arrested crossing the U.S. border with bombs designed to blow up L.A.’s airport, moved to Canada in 1994 where he “survived on welfare payments” and petty crime, according to terrorism expert Peter Bergen.
  • Metin Kaplan, who heads a German radical Islamist sect suspected of attempting to fly a plane into the Ataturk mausoleum in Turkey, “claimed social [welfare] benefits in Cologne for many years until 2m Deutschmarks ($1.2m) in cash was found in his flat,” reports the BBC.
  • Abu Qatada, the cleric who taught Moussaoui and is accused of having links to al-Qaida agents in six countries, avoided extradition to Jordan on terrorism charges by settling in England, where “[l]ike many other London-based Arab dissidents, [he] has received regular welfare checks from the British government—and government subsidized housing,” according to the Washington Post. Abu Qatada’s welfare payments were stopped when it was discovered he controlled a secret bank account containing approximately $270,000.

Kaus says that welfare is a way of keeping people isolated in poorer suburbs and cities. I’ll get to a few perspectives on that below. He says that work is a much better way of encouraging people to integrate:

Without government subsidies, they would have to overcome the prejudice against them and integrate into the mainstream working culture. Work, in this sense, is anti-terrorist medicine. (And if you work all day, there’s less time to dream up ways and reasons to kill infidels.)

Of course, this is not restricted to Muslim terrorists. Riots and wildings seem to have burst out of nowhere over the past few years in England, the United States and France. The most recent wilding was in Chicago’s main shopping district on Holy Saturday this year involving 500 youths and only 28 arrests. France’s trains are the target of immigrant youths attacking ticket inspectors and robbing passengers. England had a harrowing several days of riots in August 2011.

Most of these youngsters (!) are living off the taxpayer then have the ignominy to demand more from them through crime.

This is an intractable problem.

I’m not really interested in talking about the reasons behind it; we all (should) know what they are. I’ve discussed Marxism, the Frankfurt School, class struggle, the Fabians, Antonio Gramsci, Cloward-Piven Theory, maintaining voting blocs, materialism and so on.

This is a call, for what it’s worth, for welfare reform.

Reform could take decades, because there are too many who have an interest in maintaining what has become a cancerous status quo of state benefits. There are more than the recipients involved.

Inspiration Boost has a graphic of Benjamin Franklin along with his thoughts on the welfare state as he saw it first-hand in the 18th century:

Benjamin Franklin on poverty Inspiration Boost Benjamin-Franklin-Famous-Quotes

Ace at Ace of Spades explored this, taking into account the terrorism and unrest which welfare seems to breed (language alert in the comments, emphases mine):

I think there’s a sociological reason at play too. People will find something in their lives that gives them meaning.

For many people, work does give their lives meaning. Few like work, but most understand the accomplishment of standing on one’s own feet and providing for oneself (and one’s family).

The welfare state may put food in one’s mouth, but it does so at the expense at stripping a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and meaning from the recipient. And that void will be filled by something else. While people do not require meaning, as a strict biological matter, as they require food, water, air, and shelter, they do crave it– it’s probably on the level, as far as centrality to one’s being, as sex.

I knew an Episcopalian rector who often discussed the meaning that people sensed about their lives. He believed that our searches in life — in addition to salvation, of course — should involve one for meaning: meaningful relationships and meaningful work which help to identify most fully who we are.

Some of Ace’s readers said that the Tsarnaevs’ money wasn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. Yet, a few others wondered just how many Tsarnaevs there are in America and the rest of the West. Reforming welfare would save money which seems increasingly poorly spent. Our societies see no return from it.

They discussed what welfare really means in reality. Sure, we say that it should be ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, but when three generations have made a lifestyle of sucking at the public teat, that’s hardly the case.

Ace’s readers posited that welfare today is protection money — although riots, wildings and terrorism seem to have put paid to that notion.

A few readers were affronted by their supermarket experiences. They searched for bargains and brandished discount coupons. Their shopping trolleys had minced beef when others had cuts of prime steak. One shopper in the juice aisle took advantage of an own-brand BOGOF; she says she saw a woman nearby put an expensive name brand of juice into her own trolley. Ace’s reader gently called the woman’s attention to the BOGOF. The other woman flashed her EBT (electronic benefits card) and said, ‘That means nothing to me’. 

This is theft, friends. Ace’s readers are financing this woman as well as the prime steak purchaser.  Yet, the EBT cardholders feel no compunction to live modestly. Hmm.

There is also the notion that welfare, for some, is a form of reparations.

And, for others, it is a form of jizya — a Muslim concept of extorting or taking money from non-Muslims. Ace’s reader Hepcat posted this news story from February 2013 involving the radical preacher Anjem Choudary. Emphases in the original from The Sun, except for those in violet:

SCROUNGING hate preacher Anjem Choudary has told fanatics to copy him by going on benefits — urging: “Claim your Jihad Seeker’s Allowance.”

He cruelly ridiculed non-Muslims who held down 9-to-5 jobs all their lives and said sponging off them made plotting holy war easier.

The Sun secretly filmed him over three meetings also saying leaders such as David Cameron and Barack Obama should be KILLED, grinning as he branded the Queen “ugly” and predicting a “tsunami” of Islamic immigrants would sweep Europe.

Father-of-four Choudary, who has praised terrorist outrages, pockets more than £25,000 a year in benefits — £8,000 more than the take-home pay of some soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He laughed as he told supporters:

“You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.

“And at the end of their life they realise their pension isn’t going to pay out anything, the mortgage isn’t going to pay out anything.

“Basically they are going to lose everything, commit suicide. What kind of a life is that, honestly. That is the life of kuffar (non-believer)” …

“Democracy, freedom, secularism, the parliament, all the MPs and the Presidents, all the kuffar’s ideas, everything the people worship, we have to believe that they are bad and we have got to reject them.

“Reject them with our tongue. Reject them with our heart. In our heart have hatred towards them.”

The French have a solution for the Abu Qatadas of this world. I do not know if this will continue under Hollande, but Chirac and Sarkozy followed the policy of deporting radicals first — then sifting through evidence and hearing appeals later. The Sun reports that that between 2001 and 2010, France deported 129 suspected Islamic extremists. During that same period, the UK deported only nine.

So, if a few reading this post still think there should be more wealth redistribution, they’re welcome to it. Only please don’t comment here. Your reasoning and your votes are part of the reason we’re in the state we find ourselves today.

It’s hard to pray for those who hate us and rob us, but, somehow, we must find a way. We must also pray for wisdom — in ourselves and others — to help us overcome this oppressive reality.


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