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Re: What would you do if the government cut off your

Posted by alexandra_k on March 20, 2014, at 0:47:31

In reply to Re: What would you do if the government cut off your sleepygirl2, posted by LostBoyinNC45 on March 15, 2014, at 13:57:50

> I wish the government would cut off ALL welfare entitlements. And that includes all foreign aid as well. Disability? if thats the way God made you, you were destined to die young. Its natural selection, keeping people alive artificially is cruel.

People haven't been able to 'go it alone' for hundreds of thousands of years. Not since fire... Agriculture... We have become increasingly dependent on our tools... And on specialist expertise / division of labor. Do you honestly think that very many people in this world could survive alone all Robinson Crusoe (and of course he has social benefits by being taught certain cognitive skills including language and basic mathematics).

Everyone is dependent on their society. Did you build the roads yourself? Do you produce your own electricity? Did you design and manufacture your own computer? Make up the whole World Wide Web all by your lonesome? Of course not.

Consider moths. Some of them are grey and every now and then nature throws up a black one. The environment is such that the grey ones blend into the trunks of the trees they perch upon. They are camouflaged from predation and they tend to do alright. The black ones tend to get eaten, however, because they are easily spotted.

Consider what is best for moths. You might think that the population as a whole would be better off if the 'mutant' or 'dysfunctional' or 'disabled' or 'impaired' black ones were eaten. If they were assisted... By being spray painted grey, for instance (at great cost) then they would only go on to produce others of similar kind... There would be more black ones over time... The population of moths as a whole would be worse off than if it had just let those first few black ones die off. Naturally.

But is this true?

Consider an environmental change. Consider the industrial revolution. Consider the soot being churned out of factories that coats the trees. Now the environment is such that the black moths are appropriately camouflaged and the grey ones aren't doing so well anymore. The species of moth as a whole is best off for: Having preserved diversity. Why? Because diversity protects against environmental shift.

Humans have radically altered our environment in a very short space of time. Think how radically we have altered it since... The birth of agriculture. How many generations has it been? Not enough for much in the way of genetic shift... We have gone from small hunter-gatherer bands (where it is probably easier to detect free-riding from inability)... To the large scale societies that we have today... Where the social benefits are determined by... People who don't have much in the way of first hand knowledge of the actual situation that many of the people are in.

> Only the strong, the smart and the healthy should be allowed to survive. If a person is disabled and they can survive homeless, they are still surviving.

I don't know why you think that. And I don't know why you think that those three things would go together, or anything like that. Seems to me that often the strongest really aren't the smartest. Often the smartest really aren't the healthiest. Etc.

Fortunately... The division of labor allows people to specialise. Some specialists aren't appropriately compensated by society yet (e.g., there is still a lot of 'women's work' that is typically unpaid yet crucial - like homemaking and childcare and nursing the elderly / invalid / young / sick). Perhaps you should have just been left to die when you were a helpless infant? Of course not!

We also have this notion of... Flourishing. Happiness.

People have... Compassion. Empathy. Foresight. Apparently. Natural selection doesn't have foresight... You have all kinds of fitness traps... Bullies win in the short term. But society would be undermined (you wouldn't have your roads etc) if co-operation / co-ordination hadn't prevailed...


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poster:alexandra_k thread:1061619
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/poli/20140225/msgs/1062800.html