The Fifth Column(ist): Welfare edition
Notes and musings from a conservative living and working in New York City: Ted Cruz, capital punishment, the welfare state, and more
A final note on CPAC; Rand and Rubio are the names on everyone’s lips right now, but if you ask me the real star of CPAC and the future of the movement is Ted Cruz. The messages Rand and Rubio expressed, respectively, were of course popular but at times seemed contradictory. Cruz’s message, however, effectively synthesized his colleagues’ visions of maximum American leadership and maximum domestic liberty, and he did a better job of conveying it than either Rand or Rubio did theirs.
Saw this video of Chris Christie speaking to a kindergarten class from Stone Harbor. About three minutes in Christie mentions FLOTUS. The reaction from the children is disconcerting to say the least. Maybe I’m overacting, but it’s the kind of ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ I’d expect at mention of The Queen. It was even a bigger response than he got when he mentioned the President. Way to go mainstream media.
Had a very interesting debate with a couple of friends about the death penalty last night. The three of us had differing opinions on the matter though, surprise surprise; I was the only one in favor of capital punishment.
An agreement was impossible from the start – I believe in a somewhat-contractual theory of society and government and that you surrender your right to life if you take it from an innocent person; they do not.
What really surprised me, however, was the faith they had in the concept of prison. The Benthamite monstrosities that are modern prisons do nothing but teach evildoers how to be better at doing evil, ensure that many who might be redeemed aren’t (by putting them in the company of those beyond saving), and subject all to a horribly corrupt environment which appears to operate mainly on murder, rape, and bribery. No, prisons were invented originally to house debtors and they should have remained so.
You can divide the entire prison population into three categories: those who shouldn’t be there because what they did should have resulted in death (murderers, rapists, child molesters); those who shouldn’t be there because what they did should have resulted in a truly civilized punishment such as a fine, or community service bordering on indentured servitude, or even banishment (all types of theft, fraud, etc); and those who shouldn’t be there because what they did shouldn’t be a crime in the first place (all drug using, most drug dealing, bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, etc).
Some of you in the UK may have seen this lovely lady defending her right to spend her welfare on alcohol, cigarettes, and shopping. This illustrates the central, two-fold problem with our welfare system: we give people entirely too much money, and we’ve been giving people entirely too much money for so long that they think they deserve it.
Look, I’m all for a safety net, but it must be a net – a rough, uncomfortable, coarse net – not a down-stuffed, cashmere-covered pillow. If one is on welfare, one should receive just enough money to pay one’s bills, eat three times a day, and afford bus or tube fare in order to look for work. If one has kids, additional funds should be supplied for their meals and transportation to and from school. That. Is. It. No shopping, no cigarettes, no beer.
We have crossed the line of tolerating those who cannot earn a living to encouraging them not to.
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