Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A I started to title this post "Why aren't we all one color?" or perhaps "White Man's Burden." It would get attention, I'm sure. What I am referring to here, though, runs deeper than race or color. The idea behind "white man's burden" was that whites felt (or feel) superior to non-whites and tried to civilize them. This concept was carried out by militaries and missionaries to Africa, southeast Asia, and parts in between. My problem with it, though, as I still see it today is simple: treating anyone as if they are too stupid to accomplish a task for themselves denies the opportunity to grow and learn.

Sadly, many of the philosophies I see in socialism are based on the idea that some people are incapable of helping themselves. The fastest way to make them incapable, though, is to do it for them. As I have reflected on the book my wife and I have been reading, I see so many truisms that relate to my own philosophy of life. I believe that people, barring extreme handicap, tend to be capable of providing for themselves. I have seen the blind, deaf, and dumb work quite proficiently. I have seen those in wheel chairs, with down syndrome, and those without limbs outwork those with no such infirmity. I have also seen people with capable minds and bodies claim they couldn't work and instead take assistance from others. What I generally see in that latter case is someone dejected, who looks and acts like someone with no self esteem or sense of self worth. Is that person truly being lifted up by the aid being given him? I say no.

I see many of the philosophies of "helping the less fortunate" as "I am better than these fools." I am glad to help those who are down on their luck. I do not see the accompanying need to treat them as incapable of eventually helping themselves. I would much rather "teach a man to fish" than bring him his daily bread for eternity. How much better would our world be if we quit looking at those who don't have something with pity (i.e., from a perspective of superiority) and focused instead of what they do have, what they can do, and how we can all move forward with their skills and ours working together.

Rodney King's phrase, "Can't we all just get along?" comes to mind. Perhaps a better version might be: can't we all just be brothers and sisters in the human family and work together? Can't we quit trying to look out for others' needs as if they are children and instead help them meet those needs themselves?

Oh, wait... I quit talking politics here. Forget I said anything.

-- Robert

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