Friday, June 11, 2004




"When a geographically defined population suffers from poor conditions, those of this population will be at a severe disadvantage. They will unlikely 'succeed.' It cannot be considered their fault, and so the basic arguement that it is simply their responsibility to correct the situation fails."

Why does a geographically defined population suffer from poor conditions? Are those conditions incidental or created? What conditions cause it to be considred poor? When you say 'they' do you mean all of them will unlikely succeed? If so, why wouldn't they? Doesn't historical evidence say otherwise, i.e., Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Ronald Reagan, George Washington Carver, etc..? All started off poor and living in poor conditions, whether socially poor, or economically poor or both. In most cases both, yet managed to rise to acheive great successes. Another question, why could it not be their fault?

"This brings up questions of what exactly responsibility is. Surely it cannot mean that each person acts purely for themselves, for this would destroy the concept of law, and leave unattended all prevention of crime. If responsibility is to be a relevant factor it must be applied correctly."

Then how would you apply responsiblity "correctly"? First, how do you define responsibility? You told us what it doens't mean but not what it does mean. How would the concept of law be destroyed if people acted "purely for themselves"?

The American Heritage® Dictionary (of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)
Defines responsibility as...

The state, quality, or fact of being responsible.
Something for which one is responsible; a duty, obligation, or burden.

and again...

1. The state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable, as for a trust, debt, or obligation. 2. That for which anyone is responsible or accountable; as, the resonsibilities of power. 3. Ability to answer in payment; means of paying.

it continues...

n 1: the social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force: "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr [syn: duty, obligation] 2: the proper sphere or extent of your activities; "it was his province to take care of himself" [syn: province] 3: ability or necessity to answer for or be responsible for one's conduct; "he holds a position of great responsibility"; "young children on a farm are often given responsibilities" [syn: responsibleness] [ant: irresponsibility, irresponsibility]
The American Heritage Dictionary

"Is there reason to believe that people be judged by what they may produce?"

Even Jesus stated that you will know deceivers by their fruit, or what they produce. Yet I would contend that to mean judging one's character and not establishing their worth as a person in our society. Therefore, no, there is no reason to believe that people be judged by what they produce, for this very notion is counterintuitive to the very premise of our Constitution, of all men being created "equal". It is a Biblical or Christian ideology that gives way to this notion of all human life being sacred and valued regardless of what is produced by that life, for this is what compels the Saints of God to preach the Gospel of peace to all men, good, bad, ugly, poor, rich or otherwise. For life is a gift given by God.

"I would say that it is not. Ability of production is an arbitrary variable. Being such that originates with life, it would leave a perfect quality of injustice in society in general. The same may be applied to what apsect of people prevents them from improving their situation in life."

We obviously agree on the premise of not judging people's worth based on what they produce, for this in itself is a communist notion. I would disagree with you though that the same logic be applied when speaking of what prevents people from improving their situation. This very question has many variables and receiving help from state sanctioned programs, or even from neighbors is only a small portion, it has to be. It would be dangerous indeed to suggest that those who are at the bottom of the heap, so to speak, are there because no one will help them, and that the concept of personal responsibility has no major bearing on their situation.

"You said, "foolishness IS geographical, it can appear everywhere and all are capable of committing it." Perhaps I should explain what I meant by 'foolishness is geographical.' I intended to communicate that it describes a situation in which a large population in a specific geographical area deliberately and through no fault of others are harming their own life. This cannot be true, for it violates the principle of human nature that people act with regard to their inclination towards a better life. There must therefore be a geographic variable that is defining poor conditions, which ought to be corrected."

Based on what you stated, do you mean to suggest that when a man decides to rob a bank that he is not acting on his own will but is merely responding to his social conditions or state of being? How do you explain Hitler, Stalin, David Duke, or any other "villain" that has existed in this world? Were they merely responding to their environments and working towards a "better life"? The ideology you infer is a dangerous one indeed, for it is the very seeds of thinking that sprouted communism, socialism, and ultimately racism. It is an evolutionary notion that generates such a premise. It is this misunderstanding of human nature that has allowed this world to have such a reckless and inhumane justice system, that allows offenders of minor crimes to get extreme sentences. We are all built with the ability to discern right from wrong and make a choice from that discernment.

Your notion or premise is flawed here. You assume that people have a natural inclination for a "better" life and state that people wouldn't possibly choose to be poor. I would agree that there are few who would willingly or knowingly choose poverty over wealth, yet you fail to understand that this is not at the crux of our discussion. The truth is that poverty is a result of certain choices made that in its initial and immediate form, would not necessarily allow one to deduce that poverty will occur if no further thought is given as to the reprocussions of that choice. Yet when a person makes these decisions they prove to have detrimental outcomes due to a lack of serious thought, planning, and character to deal with adversity. Case in point, when a person chooses to do drugs as a result of whatever circumstances in their life at that time, there will be obvious consequences to that choice, which , in time, could lead to poverty, yet that person still chooses to do drugs, either without weighing the consequences or merely ignoring them for the immediate gratification. Or when someone loses their job due to layoffs,and allows that event to take a negative toll on their outlook and mental state leading to depression, anger, resentment, lathargy and therefore causes this person to make choices that, for all intents and purposes are unwise. This leads to poverty as well. Therefore my point is simply that while poverty is an issue to be reckoned with in and of itself, it is in many cases, if not the majority of cases, merely a symptom of a greater problem that exists within individuals who find themselves cuaght up in its grasp. As I stated earlier, there are many examples of individuals who, inspite of all of the adversity and setbacks in their lives, managed to succeed in life and overcame poverty. So while it may be unfortunate to be born into a situation of poverty, and that is not your fault, being in that situation is not an excuse to remain in that state of being. Ultimately, the choice lies with the individual as to whether or not he/she is willing to do what it may take to get out of that situation.

Only when we undestand that the human condition is naturally sinful and is kept in check through the fostering of goodness in the form of teaching our youth the value of work, responsibility, frugality, chastity, and that ultimately there is a such thing as moral absulutes that stem from God almighty Himself, can we have a true and accurate depiction of where poverty comes from, how it is perpetuated and how to aleviate it. To this end, I continue to contend that much of the suffering that takes place among the poor, especially among the Black poor is due to a lack of moral character that stems from within, rather than forces from without.

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