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Giving refrigerators to Eskimos

You ever try to sell refrigerators to Eskimos?

They say it’s a tough assignment.

But what if you gave them away? Would that be any easier? Would it make any more sense?

Pity poor Tim Taylor. That is essentially his job. It’s a good thing he doesn’t work on commission. He’s got a straight salary position giving away refrigerators to Eskimos. Well, not exactly giving away refrigerators to Eskimos, but close.

His job is to try to give away food stamps to people who don’t want them, don’t need them and, in fact, have strong moral objections to accepting them even if they thought they would help.

Taylor, of course, works for the government.

Specifically, his job is to try to find ways to distribute food stamps to an Amish community in Ohio’s Geauga County.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter recognized, “He might as well be trying to sell them cars.”

Only in America, I guess.

Taylor remains under orders to try to seduce the Amish into dependency on government. His job is to persuade them to take accept money from outside the community, money, the Amish understand, that has been forcibly taken from others – stolen, in other words.

Most Americans would have no problem accepting money from the government as some sort of entitlement. They would say, “If I don’t take it, someone else will.” They would find all kinds of ways to justify it morally. Others wouldn’t even concern themselves with rationalizations. “The money is being handed to you – don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

But think about the moral bankruptcy of a system that desperately seeks to entrap an independent people into dependency. I mean, even if you believe in food stamps and other wealth redistribution programs, shouldn’t government’s primary job be trying to get people off the dole?

Of course, as you can imagine, it’s not the idea of the Geauga County bureaucrats to continue to chase down Amish buggies with applications for food stamps. It is the brainstorm of the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services to lift what it sees as dismal participation rates in the Amish communities.

Instead of looking at the Amish community as a success story and public assistance as a necessary evil, these Ohio state officials look at self-sufficiency, independence and a good work ethic as diseases that need treatment.

Taylor calls the mandate a waste of tax dollars, time and resources: “No matter how much we do, the Amish won’t sign up. It’s not something they endorse.”

But Jeanne Carroll, deputy director of the state’s Office of Family Stability, insists the offer must continue to be made.

“We can’t assume they don’t want the benefits,” Carroll said. “Frankly, they may.”

The state requires the counties to lift participation rates. They see communities not accepting food stamps as failure. They’ve got it exactly backwards, of course. So, poor Taylor plans to resort to small-scale advertising campaigns – maybe billboards – to reach the Amish. He’s also going to suggest they use the food stamps to buy seeds and plants for gardens.

Nevertheless, it’s still artificial support from outside the community – a no-no for the Amish, and, once I believe, for most Americans. Amish still cherish community. Neighbors help neighbors.

What a concept!

You mean people really don’t need the government to help them? You mean there are really self-sufficient communities in 21st century America? You mean it’s possible to live a good life without national health care? Do they know about this in Washington?

Just think of all the money we could save if local communities and churches looked after those less fortunate – the widows and orphans and the infirm.

Of course it would mean many in government “services” would lose their jobs. Maybe that’s why they keep trying to lure more people on the dole.

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