Saturday, August 22, 2009

I once scavenged; thus, my society should abandon the project of feeding its hungry.

From MaxRedline a conservative blogger I have enjoyed reading for months, this moral tale comes in response to "a discussion involving public schools offering free meals year 'round."

Judge for yourself, readers, based on the merits of the writing. But first, a caveat from the author:
If you're a leftist, you may as well move on now, because I'm going to explain exactly why compassion is not necessarily good. This will cause your head to explode, so in the interest of your personal safety, you should leave.
Are you still in, readers?
My parents were out here for a visit a few years ago, and one of Dad's observations was that Oregon has so much food, growing everywhere - even in the urban areas - that it would be almost impossible to go hungry during the summer months. He was right.

Unless you're absolutely a sloth, you really can't go hungry. Nuts and berries grow in almost every neighborhood in which I've lived or visited. To supplement, there are edible native plants in abundance, as well as - in the urban areas - food distribution centers.

The only way someone can go hungry here is if they sit on their fat ass and demand that others bring stuff to them.

Sure, and you may have to get hands dirty by picking nuts and fruits, by participating in one of the many gleaning programs, or otherwise working to feed yourself and your kin, if any. But forty+ years ago, finding myself out of work for a time and with few actual possessions such as telephone or tv, I lived in Forest Park for a couple of months - a mere jaunt to downtown Portland.

It involved a bit of work, as I had to fabricate a small shelter - but it was well-camoed and actually had quite a spectacular view from the entrance. I harvested quite a number of edible native plants and obtained water from a nearby spring. Perhaps the greatest amount of work involved digging a privy; difficult to do with but small tools and hands.

Of course, as the economy improved I was able to secure work, leave the park, and build things up. I now live in a house, complete with mortgage, in Portland's West Hills.

Nothing was given to me. I worked for everything, however meager it may have seemed at the time.

And if I can do it, surely then others can as well.

I'm not advocating that everybody move into the park and start digging privies and setting snares, but there are far more private social services in play now than there were 40 years ago. The one factor that remains is this: you have to be willing to do at least some work.

"Free" meals served year-round at schools simply undermines the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility; supplanting them with a "somebody owes me" mentality.
Please discuss


kevin maier said...

a disproportionate number of the This Guys advancing arguments built upon this logic find themselves into my classrooms. it's tough living in the land where everyone digs their own privies, i guess, but hell, i've got a freezer full of fish and game, and there are effing berries growing outside my back door, so what the eff do I care?

gabbagabbahey said...

he sounds like he'd be right at home in an 1840s Irish famine workhouse. although the alternative scavenging opportunities were sometimes limited to nettle soup.

I presume he refuses to eat any food grown through agricultural subsidies from the government, either. only healthy Randian products grown entirely through free-market processes.

and there's the obvious fact that children are not usually expected to fend for themselves and find their own food, in any society.

plus, I don't know the laws (or, specifically, the geography) in Oregon, but living in public parks or scavenging food in them is hardly completely legal, is it? I mean, there have to be laws against walkers accidentally stepping into snares or privies, right?

dave3544 said...

The only problem here is that you'd be creating a whole generation of freegans. I think that would be worse than...well just about anything.

ash said...

yeah, what's up with these elementary school kids refusing to forage for/hunt/cook their own food? next you'll be telling me they don't build their own shelter, either!

dr said...

We make my nephews and nieces eat their pet rabits right after the 4-H fair every spring. It's a life lesson, sure enough.