Protecting One from Oneself

I’ve had many people say to me that some people should not be allowed to reproduce. And while sometimes I’d agree with some of the reasoning, I recognize the slippery slope this line of thought would lead to. Generally speaking, this idea has been presented to me as stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce. And it’s usually presented by, for the most part, intelligent people. That being said, are we really to put into the hands of a few people the right to define stupid? This is where the slippery slope begins, is it not?

I am a liberal. I’m not ashamed of that fact. It is something I see as the way I should be. And yes, I do consider some people stupid for seeing things the way they do. I’m not trying to be insulting, I’m just lamenting on the fact that its human nature to make judgment calls on some things and that when one does, they’re often perceived as arrogant. Yes, I own that. However, I also see the flipside of that very ideal. I have a distant relative by marriage who thinks I’m an idiot because of how I see the world. In turn, I see her as an idiot because she doesn’t see things the way I do. Maybe neither of us is wrong, but maybe both of us are. I have another friend I’ve referenced in my commentary before who just thinks I’m naïve and don’t see the real world. I also see him the same way.

I find that the more educated one gets, the more they see other people differently. They tend to see a person’s reaction to any given topic as “I use to see it that way too, but now that I’ve experienced things, I see it differently”. Personally, I feel the need in these instances to share my experiences and education with that person but they are often not receptive. I find that lack of receptiveness frustrating because by nature, I’m open minded. But my friend thinks I’m close minded because I refuse to back step on what I’ve learned in order to “see things his way”. I don’t see this as close minded because I was there before and once we learn different, we never go back to what we believed before. We grow and evolve with knowledge. I find it unacceptable to devolve.

That being said, the more some people are educated, the more they think they know what is best for not only themselves but for their loved ones and yes, even strangers. But they often make these assumptions on their own perceptions of other people, and not on what the circumstances those people face are. I’m not saying all well educated people are arrogant and of the mind that anyone less educated is just ignorant, just that some are incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. They are unable to imagine a world that is different from the way they perceive it. And if anyone tries to educate them on that alternate view, they see them as the same. They discount the fact that everyone perceives the world in a way that’s based on their experiences. And once you go through those experiences, you cannot unlearn what you learned from them.

Take me and my friend for instance. I lived in what some would call a ghetto for a few years; a neighborhood where gunshots could be heard at night on most weekends and occasionally during the day and on weekdays. I saw all kinds of struggles that I’d have never seen in any of the neighborhoods I grew up in. My friend, on the other hand has never lived in that kind of circumstances. Therefore, he believes in the idea that there are welfare queens and people that get rich off the system. Having seen it for myself, I know that it’s nearly impossible. I realize that these well put together people who use food stamps are usually doing much of their ‘maintenance’ themselves. They purchase their well-manicured nails at the dollar store and put them on themselves. They do each other’s hair. They buy their name brand clothing at the Goodwill and clean it up themselves. Either that or they have someone in the drug trade taking care of them which also does happen. A man three levels up from a street dealer will make sure his lady has a decent phone and always has service so he can reach her when he wishes but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t really qualify for welfare. It just means he wants to make sure he can reach her. Keep in mind that he may have three other ladies so he likely isn’t paying rent for all of them. They still need the help to put food on the table as well. Just because they have a smart phone doesn’t mean they’re cheating the system. My friend assumes this is exactly what it means.

I’m not saying this is the story for all of them. There could be any number of reasons they don’t look like they qualify for help but do. And it’s not predominantly black people either. There are a lot more white families that qualify and get help than most people that haven’t seen it realize. And all the other races and ethnic groups also have members who need help and qualify for it. The point is, you don’t have to LOOK poor for it to be a fact. And we can’t assume that the reason they got to the point of needing help was because they’re lazy. Most of those who qualify hate the fact that they do and they search for jobs that pay enough to support their families. Anyone who has looked for a job knows those that pay well enough to support a family are few and far between. This is also something I’ve seen for myself.

So when we go allowing lawmakers to make laws that take our freedom to make our own decisions and put them in the hands of others, thereby removing freedoms from the average citizen, we are allowing decisions that affect the lives of others to be made by people that do not know all the facts. Do we really want to do that? My friend thinks I am naïve because I don’t believe in the welfare queen myth. I certainly wouldn’t want him or his peers deciding whether or not I am smart enough to reproduce. For the record, I am college educated and he is not. But I doubt being educated would change his view, because it didn’t change his father’s view. He, also, has never lived in a ghetto. And HE is WELL educated. Hell, look at George W. Bush. He has a college degree and look what his decisions did to our country.

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