Distorted “Compassion” Destroys Society, by Laura Hollis
Thousands of years of civilizations (of all kinds) have demonstrated that a society must have certain foundations in order for people to generally thrive and prosper. Human life must be valued. Property rights must be respected. The nuclear family – father, mother and children – must be protected. People should – for the most part – keep their promises, including paying their debts. Laws and the legal system must respect, enforce and protect these structures.
America is dismantling the foundations of our society as fast as our pandering politicians can find ways, and if we continue, we will Collapse.
One of the most common and damaging justifications for our dissolution is a distorted definition of “compassion,” and the evidence of the damage this does is everywhere.
The exploding homeless population in our cities is a perfect example. Michael Shellenberger, a former Democratic activist-turned-best-selling author (and recent candidate for governor of California), has written extensively about the mistakes his state made that turned a problem into a crisis. Virtually all are textbook examples of misguided “compassion”: arguments that poverty is a “social construct”; Abolition of compulsory accommodation and compulsory treatment for the severely mentally ill; creating “injection zones” where drug users can “safely” inject (Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed that legislation just this week); Insisting on luxury shelters for the homeless rather than meager safe shelters.
The list goes on and on, and California is suffering terribly. The homeless population in Los Angeles County is now in the tens of thousands, and third world diseases are rampant in the areas where homeless camps are located. San Francisco is notorious for used needles and piles of human excrement on the streets. It shouldn’t need to be pointed out that letting people live, sleep, poop, shoot, convulse and die on the streets is not “compassionate”. Nor is it true that Californians should endure this in the cities where they live and work.
Another misguided effort by California based on “compassion” is Proposition 47, a law passed in 2020 that reduced theft under $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor. In practice (given the volume of cases prosecutors have to handle) this has turned into a license to steal. Thieves commit “smash-and-grab” crimes with impunity, knowing they will not even be identified, let alone prosecuted. Worse, they can steal $950 from store to store to store (amounts are not aggregated), and thief “flash mobs” are regularly caught on video. Every single thief is practically “free” to steal nearly $1,000 worth of inventory.
The consequences are catastrophic for property owners, who cannot stop the thieves themselves or count on prosecution. Citizens who own stolen businesses are helpless and angry at what has been labeled “scam work”; Voters were told cost savings from reduced prison sentences would go to treatment for mental illness and drug addiction.
You’d think other states would learn from California’s woes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Oregon decriminalized drug use in 2020. Camps of homeless people and drug addicts — many of whom also suffer from serious mental illnesses — have moved to some of Portland’s most popular neighborhoods, causing real estate values to plummet. Townsfolk are in turmoil because of dirt, crime, and disease.
In 2019, New York abolished bail for most crimes. Activists who pushed for the laws to be changed defend them, saying bail “punishes poverty”. But those being punished now are the innocent victims of criminals who, within hours of being arrested, are back on the streets – and committing crimes again in a string of high-profile cases.
Now President Joe Biden has jumped into the action, issuing an executive order that will “forgive” $10,000 in debt for people who have taken out student loans. This, too, is sold to Americans as a “compassionate” response to those in debt.
One question is whether the president has the constitutional authority to change treaties by order of the executive branch. (I contend he doesn’t.) But it’s not just about the President unilaterally changing the terms of the loan agreements between lenders and borrowers; Biden’s action would transfer the repayment obligations to people who never signed those contracts. Because it’s not like the $10,000 won’t be repaid. Instead, these sums are now being repaid Taxpayer. With only about a third of Americans going to college, this means that the majority of the taxes required to pay off these loans are borne by Americans, who, on average, earn significantly less than the people who took out the loans.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a proponent of this type of student loan “forgiveness,” was confronted two years ago by an angry voter who said he had saved money to pay for his daughter’s college education and asked if he would get his money off the back. “Of course not,” Warren sniffed.
“So,” he replied, “are you going to pay for people who didn’t save money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”
That’s an accurate — albeit earthy — way of summing it up. No one forced anyone to take out student loans. But the government will now force Other to pay those obligations. Even those who have borrowed money to pay for college and have repaid their own debts will be forced to repay the debts of others.
When politicians use the word “compassion” to describe their policies, it is certain that those who need real help will not get it. And everyone else – except for politicians, of course – gets screwed.
To learn more about Laura Hollis and read contributions from other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: imagination1 at Pixabay