Over the last few weeks I’ve bookmarked a number of alarming articles on how the government is actively recruiting people to sign up for food stamps (read the articles here, here and here.). This attempt to sign more people up for government assistance is not just targeting those who are truly in desperate need; it’s crossing the boundaries into the middle class and deliberately blurring the “stigma” of accepting government assistance.
“Millions of low-income people are not accessing the nutrition benefits for which they qualify,” notes a USDA flyer addressing “myths” about government assistance. “To be effective, it is important that our national and local outreach efforts counter myths about SNAP among those who think they are not eligible or have beliefs that discourage them from enrolling.” [Emphasis added.]
Yes, the USDA is directing their efforts toward people whose beliefs include pride, resourcefulness, independence, self-sufficiency, responsibility and maturity. These qualities used to mean that people would only sink to government assistance if they were on the brink of starvation. And it used to be that people would far rather seek assistance from their family or their local church or charity before going to the feds.
Remember when it was a shameful thing to accept government aid? Because of that stigma of shame, people worked hard and harder to provide for their families, even if it meant eating beans and rice (a highly nutritious and inexpensive combination, by the way). It was only when they were in the direst of situations that, heads ducked in humiliation, they applied for food stamps. That shame made them do whatever it took to get OFF government assistance as quickly as possible.
Now government dependency is celebrated and encouraged through parties and other social events. “Hey Mabel, come on! We’re going to a welfare party!” What’s next? Fiestas? Hoe-downs? They’re like Tupperware parties, but the government is selling poverty.
And it’s working. According to Caroline Mayin The Daily Caller, “In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today one out of every seven receives the benefit.”
“The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable,” noted CNSNews.com, “rather than giving people the tools that will help them escape poverty.”
Now bear with me as I change subjects for a moment.
As evinced by last week’s column, our family has been going through a “Star Trek” binge lately. Recently, we borrowed DVDs of the original series from some friends. Some of you fellow nerds may remember the comic episode “I, Mudd” in which Capt. Kirk and his crew find themselves held captive on a planet ruled by the rascally Harry Mudd. Mudd in turn is being held by a population of androids who are “programmed to serve.” He wants to escape, but the androids won’t let him because their programming requires them to serve somebody, anybody. So Mudd arranges to steal the starship Enterprise and make his escape by providing the androids with additional humans in his place. The Enterprise crew quickly falls sway to the seductive luxury and easy living provided by the androids.
But Kirk sees through the glamour and observes that a gilded cage is still a cage. His job is to convince his crew that a cage, however gilded, is not in their best interests. Here are some relevant passages from the episode’s script (Norman and Alice are androids):
KIRK: Is that the way you’re going to do it, Mudd? Hit my people at their weakest point?
NORMAN: We only wish to make you happy and comfortable, Captain. … Your species is self-destructive. You need our help.
KIRK: We prefer to help ourselves. We make mistakes, but we’re human. And maybe that’s the word that best explains us.
ALICE 471: We are programmed to serve. We shall serve you to your best interests to make you happy.
NORMAN: We cannot allow any race as greedy and corruptible as yours to have free run of the galaxy.
SPOCK: I’m curious, Norman. Just how do you intend to stop them?
NORMAN: We shall serve them. Their kind will be eager to accept our service. Soon they will become completely dependent upon us.
ALICE 99: Their aggressive and acquisitive instincts will be under our control.
NORMAN: We shall … take care of them.
KIRK: The whole galaxy controlled by your kind?
NORMAN: Yes, Captain. And we shall serve them and you will be happy … and controlled.
As corny as the original “Star Trek” series may be, you must admit it was pretty darned prescient in many respects. We don’t have androids here on Earth, but we have the government. The government is programmed to “serve” us. Americans are becoming eager to accept that service. Soon we will become completely dependent on it. The government will take care of us. We will be happy. And controlled.
It’s one thing to offer a “safety net” of government assistance (and putting aside any arguments about its constitutionality) to desperate people. It’s a whole different thing to deliberately entice and seduce people into signing up for that gilded cage of safety, regardless of whether they need or want it. Pride and self-respect are no longer admired or envied. Instead (the feds tell us) it’s a chuckleto be on food stamps. Everyone on food stamps is happy. And controlled.
Can’t you SEE this? Or are you blind?
Far too many progressives are unable to understand how this gilded cage of dependency undermines our society, especially for the poor. “By claiming compassion and providing comfort in being poor,” noted one commenter, “there are now generations of Americans who have not developed the drive or confidence to succeed on their own. It is not compassionate, but a debilitating and cruel thing to do to another human being.”
Let’s face it, this nation will never live long or prosper unless and until we cut the head off the medusa of free goodies offered by a government who believes we’re too stupid to feed ourselves. Folks, this has to stop.
One of the first ways to do this is to refuse government assistance in any form. A nation of stubbornly independent people won’t vote for a bigger plantation to house more slaves.
It’s time to escape the progressive androids who use “service” as a means for control. If we don’t, our name may well be Mudd.