Is poverty a moral failing...

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Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:29 pm

...and if so, for and/of whom?
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by pErvinalia » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:35 pm

Yes. It's a failing of the poor person. If only there were more morally upstanding people like Paris Hilton in the world.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Svartalf » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:05 pm

No it's not, it takes those crazy protos with their theology that affluence is a mark of divine favor to believe such a crazy thing.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Strontium Dog » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:50 pm

Surely poverty is the natural state of things for everyone, can small amounts of poverty be described as a failing?
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by cronus » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:59 pm

The Interweb, Death and Taxes are the three great equalisers. :coffee:
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:13 pm

To start with, 'poverty' is a pretty nebulous term. One can think of it as a lack of resources (i.e. a lack of money, clothing, housing, food, etc) and one can think of it as a lack of opportunity or access to resources (to money, clothing, housing, food etc). In general terms though it clearly represents the deprivation of necessary goods, either of the personal or social kind, or both. The topic title and first post speak to the nature of that deprivation, to its cause; and to responsibility and where it lies.

For many Victorians for example, the hardships of poverty were simply the wages of sin. Being poor was a signifier of an absence of more than just money, It was a state of being emblematic of an absence of moral standards or courage, a state borne from the victory of hedonistic desire over the innate virtues of self-control and denial, the victory of base urges over rational thinking, the victory of Satan over God even. The poor were poor because they lived for the short- rather than the long-term, they frittered what little incomes they had on gin and fleshly pleasures, they remained dirty, unfed, ill-mannered, and educationally impoverished because they lacked the personal fortitude to 'better' themselves and their situations; the poor succumbed to vice and paid the price of their lack of ambition and moral resilience.

In this there was an obvious accompanying attitude that spoke to the higher moral standards and courage emblematic of wealth, and of (if not wealth exactly but at least) an absence of poverty as signifying a state of virtue which carried its own rewards, of wealth being the 'just deserts' of a good and virtuous life. I feel these kinds of attitudes, typically exemplified by notions of poverty as a moral failing, still have some common currency today.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by cronus » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:56 pm

Poverty is caused by drinking. :read:
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by laklak » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:03 pm

There's some truth to that, I am feeling rather poorly this morning due to overconsumption of wine yesterday.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Svartalf » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:09 pm

Crumple wrote:Poverty is caused by drinking. :read:
drinking is not a moral failure, it's caused by a natural need called 'thirst'.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Hermit » Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:16 am

The glorification of wealth in Christian societies began with Protestantism, particularly among Calvinists and Puritans. People were supposed to accumulate wealth not in order to wallow in it, but to use it for righteous purposes, like in order to help the poor. The more of that an individual did, the more virtuous he was considered to be. Conversely, a poor person was not virtuous on grounds of neglecting to do God's work. The Protestant view regarding wealth is of course bullshit. It involves the time-honoured tradition of cherry picking. Among the chosen cherries was Matthew 25:14-29. Among the rejected ones Matthew 6: 24, 19:21 and 19:24.

In time the objective for accumulating wealth - as a tool to help the poor - was forgotten, but the ideas that wealthy people were godly people and poor people were neglectful, were not. Add to that the rise of individualism that developed from Protestantism, and you have the perfect recipe for admiring rich people and despising the poor on a personal as well as a social level.

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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Seth » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:35 am

Poverty is not necessarily a moral failing. Some people choose poverty and choose to exist by their own devices or depend upon the (voluntary) charity of others.

Poverty only becomes a moral failing when the person uses poverty as an excuse to demand largess from the public treasury, which is to say demands that other people labor to support her and uses the force inherent in government to extract that support without consent.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:03 am

Seth wrote:Poverty is not necessarily a moral failing. Some people choose poverty and choose to exist by their own devices or depend upon the (voluntary) charity of others.

Poverty only becomes a moral failing when the person uses poverty as an excuse to demand largess from the public treasury, which is to say demands that other people labor to support her and uses the force inherent in government to extract that support without consent.
Must each individual co-member of society consent to the government offering assistance, on their behalf, to those in dire need? What do you consider to be the moral status of those who find themselves in a state of poverty which they did not choose for themselves?
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Seth » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:31 am

Brian Peacock wrote:
Seth wrote:Poverty is not necessarily a moral failing. Some people choose poverty and choose to exist by their own devices or depend upon the (voluntary) charity of others.

Poverty only becomes a moral failing when the person uses poverty as an excuse to demand largess from the public treasury, which is to say demands that other people labor to support her and uses the force inherent in government to extract that support without consent.
Must each individual co-member of society consent to the government offering assistance, on their behalf, to those in dire need? What do you consider to be the moral status of those who find themselves in a state of poverty which they did not choose for themselves?
Yes, of course. Redistributive taxation, which specifically includes taking money (fruits of labor) from one person in order to give it to another person without the express consent of the person it's taken from is absolutely immoral. It is government's duty and obligation to advocate for, solicit and collect VOLUNTARY donations to help the poor, not coerce what it decides the poor need from others.

You see, government is biased to serve the interests of the idle dependent class because in doing so it can secure their votes to keep government in power. Therefore it is immoral for government to exercise its power of coercion on behalf of the dependent class because not only is it an immoral conflict of interest but it will inevitably end up coercing more from the productive class than the dependent class actually needs to survive because the dependent class, particularly when it becomes quite large, will always demand more and more largess from government coffers.

You see, "government" isn't some independent creature or entity, it IS the people, so when the dependent class are permitted to vote, they inevitably vote themselves ever-more largess from the public purse. But the "public purse" isn't an independent entity either, it's nothing more than the wallets of those who actually work and earn money from whom government agents take whatever amount the government (which is to say the dependent class) demands in order to meet their desires. Thus there is an inherent conflict of interest in allowing the dependent class to vote, which means that to prevent the dependent class from robbing the productive class all funding must be voluntary on the part of the productive class.

The only fair and rational way to fund social services and benefits is through voluntary contributions from taxpayers, and the way to get those contributions is for government to show potential donors why it is in their rational self-interest to contribute to such efforts. Thus, government's role should be that of a funds solicitor and should focus its efforts on demonstrating to the productive class why a small voluntary donation on the part of individuals will create a large benefit to society and a benefit to the individual donors.

If the donation cannot be shown to provide tangible, real benefits to both society as a whole and to the individual donors, then why on earth should the donation be made? Funding dependent-class-beholden bureaucrats out to secure votes is NOT a rational justification for coercing funds from unwilling donors. It's immoral.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Sean Hayden » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:45 am

If you don't like it, leave. There's got to be a successful libertarian utopia somewhere. The US isn't one and never will be.
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Re: Is poverty a moral failing...

Post by Animavore » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:39 am

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