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Landon Sunrich
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Do human beings have a fundamental right to food, water, and shelter? Discuss.
 
Adam Klaus
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Probably not.

Humans can make decisions that exceed their environments, then who owes them water? It's a nice hypothetical, but I dont see how the laws of nature guarantee any being, any thing.

 
John Polk
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Nature gives humans the right to be born, and the right to die.

Nature also provides more than enough food and water for any human to survive.
The materials to build shelter are also provided.

Societies, however, expect each individual to somehow earn those necessities if they want to participate within that society.
There is no 'free lunch'.

Long before mankind had bows & arrows, fishing poles, (or cash), they had figured out how to obtain these necessities. The food is still out there for any hunter/gatherers that want to go back to that primitive life. For those of us that prefer to be a part of a society, there are prices we need to pay to obtain these goods. Society owes us nothing - we owe society for providing a richer lifestyle for us.

 
Dale Hodgins
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The problem with entitlements is that for one group to be provided for, another group must be enslaved. My definition of enslavement is for someone to be compelled to provide goods or services to others. I'm enslaved by those on welfare or collecting state financed pensions. I don't consider school taxes and road maintenance etc. to be enslaving. The transfer of wealth to individuals is my beef.

I accept that we will always have some with serious disabilities and that they should be cared for. I reject the idea that reaching a certain age is an accomplishment worth reward. We need to save during our productive years, so that we can be comfortable in old age. I don't value most of what my parent's and grandparent's generation created in the public space. Each generation does what it needs to or wants to do. We don't owe anything to people based on their age. My parent's generation lived through some of the best economic times in history. The majority of those who didn't smoke and drink away their money and health, are doing just fine without my help. There is no reason why I should work to provide for those who have failed personally or economically.
 
wayne stephen
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Are we asking : Do humans have a right to produce their own food , build their own shelters , and have access to clean water sources ? Or , are we asking if humans have a fundamental right to have others provide food , water , shelter to them ?
 
Amedean Messan
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Dale Hodgins wrote:The problem with entitlements is that for one group to be provided for, another group must be enslaved. My definition of enslavement is for someone to be compelled to provide goods or services to others. I'm enslaved by those on welfare or collecting state financed pensions..... There is no reason why I should work to provide for those who have failed personally or economically.


From my perspective the right to any property is also an entitlement. That is why every country has a military or police force to subsidize the constant natural relation of makers and takers. Fundamentally, given how complex our society is I can easily say every person here is benefiting at the expense of a complete stranger wielding a weapon. I call this system freedom welfare.


 
John Polk
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If you can read - thank a teacher.
If you can read English - thank a soldier.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I think it could be argued that most American's have benefited economically from various violent international escapades. I doubt that many people within the tropics have benefited whether the bullets were from their own countrymen or a foreign power.

I think the last time American soldiers were deployed in a mission that really had to do with defending the U.S. from invasion was during WW2.

When I was 18, I worked for an old German special forces guy who was Russian born and spent the war destroying Russian infrastructure. He showed me dozens of scars from machine gun holes, to frost bite damage to a big piece of meat that was folded back from a mortar blast. Still, he felt that the war had been the greatest time of his life and he missed it. He was an alcoholic. A different sort of guy. I don't believe that Jakob's actions benefited anyone. He received a small pension for it.
 
Amedean Messan
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I think it could be argued that most American's have benefited economically from various violent international escapades. I doubt that many people within the tropics have benefited whether the bullets were from their own countrymen or a foreign power.

I think the last time American soldiers were deployed in a mission that really had to do with defending the U.S. from invasion was during WW2.

When I was 18, I worked for an old German special forces guy who was Russian born and spent the war destroying Russian infrastructure. He showed me dozens of scars from machine gun holes, to frost bite damage to a big piece of meat that was folded back from a mortar blast. Still, he felt that the war had been the greatest time of his life and he missed it. He was an alcoholic. A different sort of guy. I don't believe that Jakob's actions benefited anyone. He received a small pension for it.


You have some views I have a hard time agreeing with. In particular, security, protection and justice are entitlements I do not take lightly. I can understand why it is not as tangible to others given that I suspect a good lack of these things would create the appreciation to fill the deficit.
 
Adam Klaus
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I think it could be argued that most American's have benefited economically from various violent international escapades. I doubt that many people within the tropics have benefited whether the bullets were from their own countrymen or a foreign power.

I think the last time American soldiers were deployed in a mission that really had to do with defending the U.S. from invasion was during WW2.

When I was 18, I worked for an old German special forces guy who was Russian born and spent the war destroying Russian infrastructure. He showed me dozens of scars from machine gun holes, to frost bite damage to a big piece of meat that was folded back from a mortar blast. Still, he felt that the war had been the greatest time of his life and he missed it. He was an alcoholic. A different sort of guy. I don't believe that Jakob's actions benefited anyone. He received a small pension for it.


I for one don't have a hard time agreeing with that sentiment Dale. There is some deep Hemmingway in your short tale.

There is such a level of derangement in the way Americans believe that having an international colonial army is somehow tied to the security of the homeland. It's just simple colonialism; and you are right, our nation has not been under external threat in well over a half century, manufactured crisises and blatent lies aside.
 
Amedean Messan
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....and you are right, our nation has not been under external threat in well over a half century, manufactured crisises and blatent lies aside.


September 11 2001 is still fresh in my memory. A comparison worth mentioning:

Pearl Harbor - 3,649 killed
September 11 - 2,977 killed

I can completely understand a person not living in the U.S. to overlook this history but it is more remorseful for me to see evidence of how American citizens may understand their iPhones more than the significance of this day.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Whoa boy... It's amazing how quickly this discussion has morphed - lots being said here. I'll try to get in it an bring it back around to the original topic
.
First I would argue that indeed America has benefited broadly from foreign interventions which while perhaps being in line with our 'national interests' have had nothing to do with our 'national safety' and when I say America I'm talking about Canada here too - as well as much of the western established world which have benefited from a trade system and line of supply kept viable by militarism. I personally feel Europe's security and their social growth based upon not needing large security forces for instance are more or less a direct result of having that nitch filled by us and our massive presence in Germany.

Asmedean - I think you bring up a very good point - What is rule of law if not an entitlement? I had just turned 15 and was on beginning High School on 9/11/01 and watching the largest buildings in lower manhattan (where half of my family lives) blow away as dust was an experience too shocking to ever forget. In fact I would say it was a large shaping factor for me. However I am not sure whether we draw the same conclusions and lessons from these tragic events or not. I personally, see its proximity to the most highly contested (and many would say stolen) election in recent history, the massive insider stock trading, and the involvement of many vested interest from the energy and defense sector (as well as many authors of the Project for the New American Century) as reason to wonder if perhaps like pearl harbor there was some foreknowledge and complicity in the events of the day. Certainly it elicited the sad truth that our actions elsewhere have consequences and that they are often not in keeping with the best interest of those people. This causes anger and resentment. And people who have little left but anger and resentment are prone to lash out. In fact the flip side to relying on strangers with a gun to keep you safe abroad is almost always and inevitably seen at home. I for instance am facing the very likely possibility of being forced from my place of birth and the only home I have ever know by a stranger with a gun. Funny how the wheel does turn.

Now I think Wayne really got to the heart of the issue. and I quote without the []ing. "Are we asking : Do humans have a right to produce their own food , build their own shelters , and have access to clean water sources ? Or , are we asking if humans have a fundamental right to have others provide food , water , shelter to them ?"


This is certainly a valid distinction. I would say that no-one has the 'right*' to have others provide for them. But do we have a social obligation, for the good of society as a whole, too? Hungry people are after all prone to desperate acts. Is there a practical argument to be made here? Further "Do humans have the right to produce their own food and have access to clean water" What say y'all to this? And, in keeping with this militarism concept What about in areas (I won't bring up 'nations' or this discussion could get really wild) where people have been more or less systematical denied this right by foreign intervention (often over centuries) Is there an obligation there. Ie in a country like Mali or the Ivory Coast, where virtually all of the Agricultural land has been handed over to plantation sugar, tobacco, or coco plantations?


Finally I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge my high school English teacher who volunteer to the US Marine Corp as a Combat Medic during Vietnam despite being fundamentally opposed to the war. One of the finest men I have ever know.


*when I refer to rights I am referring to that which is universally agreed upon and aspired to by humanity - not nature. You can argue with nature. Nature does what it wills and no law of man will change that.
 
Adam Klaus
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Landon Sunrich wrote:
Asmedean - I think you bring up a very good point - What is rule of law if not an entitlement? I had just turned 15 and was on beginning High School on 9/11/01 and watching the largest buildings in lower manhattan (where half of my family lives) blow away as dust was an experience too shocking to ever forget. In fact I would say it was a large shaping factor for me. However I am not sure whether we draw the same conclusions and lessons from these tragic events or not. I personally, see its proximity to the most highly contested (and many would say stolen) election in recent history, the massive insider stock trading, and the involvement of many vested interest from the energy and defense sector (as well as many authors of the Project for the New American Century) as reason to wonder if perhaps like pearl harbor there was some foreknowledge and complicity in the events of the day.


Thanks for your articulation Landon, well said. Much more diplomatic than I myself know how to be.

 
Matu Collins
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Rights are given by some authority, who built the foundation that the fundamental rights rest on?

Nature gives us rights to the laws of physics... anything else?

Human communities can choose to give each other these rights. That's not fundamental though.
 
Robert Ray
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I see a drastic differentiation of entitlement and right. In my opinion a healthy society sees that there is a need for assisstance to some degree for those less fortunate, the unemployed, sick, elderly at some point might need a helping hand, an entitlement.
I don't think it should be a way of life for those healthy enough to contribute. As unpleasant as it is there are those that take advantage of a system that needs better control and that is not to just identify the person in need but for example medical professionals that accept or bill identified monies, that are to help, fraudulently.
Having been in the military and having seen first hand how a large population can be controlled by the denial of access to water or food I can assure you that there is no word that can possibly describe the helplessness when you are there to help and you just don't have enough. I personally find casual remarks by those who have never been in that type of situation sad indeed. Hungry and thirsty people can do horrible things and it's not because they are bad it's because they want to live. Unfortunately some areas of the world are ill equipped to protect their own. If you have been involved in humanitarian efforts overseas you have probably seen abuses of how food is distributed as I have. I don't have an answer. I don't see how we can continue to attempt to police everywhere. Yes I think the Military has provided some great humanitarian efforts that could not have occured without men who sometime carry guns, and the Phillipine typhoon seems to be the most recent.
Having gone into law enforcement after the military and I think I can safely say that probably more than 80% was nothing that a playground teacher couldn't have done more effectively than I. But there are people who abuse societal norms. Abuse of a spouse, abuse of a child, rape. There is no one else to call after you have been sent there. A professional metered response is required and I can assure you that it was not always an easy task. Frustration is again a word not strong enough after you have been involved in diffusing a violent or abusive situation and you return to the same location and find the same abused child or spouse. Being the first one there required me to remove the offender and protect the offended to the next level of what society has determined is right and just. It's not the responder who protects the weak after they have diffused the situation it is the community that has a responsibility to determine what will protect the weak from the abuser. No professional law enforcement officer will remove you from your home without some societal accepted justification. Should that occur and the justification is determined to be inadequate in the US you have recourse.
So no I don't think those three items on your short list are rights but are things a healthy community should have accessible to those that contribute to it or when they were healthy/employed contributed to it. So whether that is money through taxes or communal work, or some other accepted community input if you don't like using money as a method of measuring contributions.
I'd prefer we left the military and police out of the discussion and rather discuss how to insure and provide access to water food and shelter.

 
wayne stephen
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Abbie Hoffman and Thomas jefferson are two of my heroes . If not for the way they lived then for what they said :

"You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."

"Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them." - Abbie Hoffman

"I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence"

"With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens,—A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. " - Thomas Jefferson

I say that a society can give away what it chooses . Where it goes wrong is in impeding those who achieve and create new and evolved methodologies . Charitable giving is one thing . Supporting mediocrity and impeding excellence is another .







 
Robert Ray
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I would agree that the earth belongs to each generation and add that my generation should pass it on in a better condition than I recieved it.
 
Amedean Messan
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Robert Ray wrote: .....I'd prefer we left the military and police out of the discussion and rather discuss how to insure and provide access to water food and shelter.


Hello Robert, it was my input that brought the military into the discussion. I did this to counter the "I, me, mine, myself" that typically accompanies entitlement discussions. Having the perspective of a person who also served in the military, as I imagine any other military or law enforcement personnel would agree is that security is an entitlement with currency paid in lives. Naturally, protection is a very tangible subject for us and more than others we are reminded of its costs. In countries like our own, this entitlement of property, the foundation to building a future is easy to take for granted because it that has long been well established.

When a person raises the formal question "why should I have to pay for someone else's well being", I answer the question with a similar question only changing the currency. My intent was to illustrate the mutual benefit of community and also to communicate that we are all takers and beneficiaries from the work of other people. To think otherwise in my opinion would be self-idolatry.
 
Robert Ray
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I know not, am I my brother's keeper?
I think we all should be concerned with our community.
I think that secure food and water access are important.
Let's change the security of food to protection from man to an animal that is destroying your crop. In your currency of life is an animal and man equal on the exchange rate? A pit bull attacks a child, do you pull the trigger? I have a garden along a road and travelers eat from my orchard how much can they have? Do I have any entitlement to protect my efforts?
This isn't an easy discussion that needs to be muddied by bringing in military or law enforcement into it at the start. How does a community insure access to food, water and shelter? How is it paid for? Who has access? How much access? What is done to secure access? What is done to prevent abuse to access. Then we finally get to enforcement of the rules established by the community for access.
 
Amedean Messan
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Robert Ray wrote:
.....This isn't an easy discussion that needs to be muddied by bringing in military or law enforcement into it at the start.....


Your opinion is heard and considered. I do not see this discussion muddied by mentioning the oldest and arguably most fundamental entitlement in human history to put arguments into perspective.
 
Jessica Gorton
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Maybe nature doesn't owe us anything (we're actually way in debt to her, no?), but what do we owe one another? I would say that until each person on the planet has enough to eat, clean water to drink, and someplace warm and dry to lay down at the end of the day, we are failing. To speak of those who "won't" work or better themselves or any other code for "you're a slacker and I'm not" is to ignore the great inequalities at work in the world that keep so many ignorant, unhealthy and poor. Do we not have a responsibility to those who haven't had the benefits in this life that we have had? And, as permaculturists, do we think that we can make the world a sustainable place without helping those whose situation has precluded them from making their lives healthy and whole?

There always seems to be this attitude when it comes to welfare - that those on the dole are lazy jerks sucking on the teat of other people's hard work. And I'm not going to claim that there are those who would rather collect a check than work. But I think that says more about the sickness of our society than it does about those people, personally. We don't teach people how to work, or how to take pride in themselves. Instead, we offer soul-sucking and dirty jobs with no opportunities to better themselves, and tell them they should feel lucky they have that - while showing them pictures and advertisements of a luxurious life they'll never get to have, lived by people that don't seem very deserving, frankly. Most people with no real education don't know that there are other paths than the crappy one they've been told is their lot - unless they win the lottery, of course. And let's not even get started on what we should do with people with severe mental illness who end up living on the streets.

I have been blessed by birth and circumstance to enjoy a good education, and never have had to worry that I might not eat three square meals a day. The color of my skin and my "good breeding" allow me access to a strata that the vast majority will never reach. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I somehow deserve the things I have, and I'm trying to be conscious enough to know that everyone deserves at least enough to live. Nature might be harsh, but people don't have to be.
 
Robert Ray
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Where does the change start if not in your own community? How much of ourselves do we give to others? I have three square meals a day could I live on two? Our community bands togerther and provides the basic three. Do we then begin or have a responsibility to provide for the neighboring community or does our commitment to them lie in educating them how to accomplish what we have done?
There are a million reasons why people don't have security of the three. How are you going to address access. Should they have access , we know the problem now how do we solve it?
 
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yes i think it is a birthright for people to have a place to be, land to forage and/or grow food on.... with the materials to build shelter provided by the earth, as well as access to water, as all of these things were provided freely to us, undeserving or not, by our lovely planet earth.
but not to OWN these things exclusively, and not to do whatever we want with these freely given gifts. no one should be entitled to exploit the earth, its resources and inhabitants whether human or non human, regardless of how many deeds, and green pieces of paper they have.

and to be clear, i am not talking about all the luxury stuff, suburban neighborhoods with mcmansions, unnecessary plastic junk, gadgets, services given to people, etc. just about simple places of sanctuary, food and the ability to have access to land to grow food and forage, an a place to be and build a shelter.

I also think it is BIRTHRIGHT to have sovereignty, and free agency to make real time decisions about ones life, regardless of green pieces of paper which atm entitle one to those things to a certain degree. most all of us have had this birthright taken from us, and even if it seems less important than the above more practical things, it is one of the worst things that this should be given to all, but have been taken from us, by US, mostly by long dead white men.

John Polk wrote:Nature gives humans the right to be born, and the right to die.

Nature also provides more than enough food and water for any human to survive.
The materials to build shelter are also provided.

Societies, however, expect each individual to somehow earn those necessities if they want to participate within that society.
There is no 'free lunch'.

Long before mankind had bows & arrows, fishing poles, (or cash), they had figured out how to obtain these necessities. The food is still out there for any hunter/gatherers that want to go back to that primitive life. For those of us that prefer to be a part of a society, there are prices we need to pay to obtain these goods. Society owes us nothing - we owe society for providing a richer lifestyle for us.


things being as they are, there is really not enough food/land out there (which isnt locked down due to ownership) for those who want to opt out of society and return to primitive lifeways. i wish there was, there should be, but there just isnt at this moment of the whirl.

in spite of this, this has been my goal, regardless of it being nearly impossible, i still keep trying. i have no interest really in participating in what i see as a sick society hell bent on exploitation and oppression. i would like to participate in the creation of new memes and new ways of a new kind of society, but as it is there is not much support for those who want to swim against the mainstream here.

i feel that i could provide for my own needs of obtaining food/shelter and get along with a lot of making do with nothing, if i were able to claim what i feel is my birthright, a place to be, land that i could use to build on and grow food and forage. actually because of how difficult it is, its sort of amazing i have somehow managed to do so as much as i have, building shelters and growing food, foraging, making things and doing without.....as i am still alive somehow! and with very little access to little green pieces of paper, using only my skills and my art to survive, living off grid and far off the beaten path.

not many are as brave and stupid as i am though to attempt such. as an artist, a "starving artist who isnt starving because of her greenthumbs", as someone who is horribly undervalued by society with its backwards values, i feel i have been given a raw deal. my skills took years and years to hone, expensive higher education, and not to mention raw talent and a certain quizzical way of seeing and perceiving the world that makes one a born artist. i tend to think of it as being somewhat like being born retarded, artists are born that way, we just cant help it and just cant do something else and get with the program. there is very little value placed on our work, though imo it is one of the highest aspirations a human could have, and a great value is given by the artists of the world which is mostly unpaid.

i can agree that nature has provided to ALL of us way more than enough for us to have the basic necessities, originally, but now thats its all been STOLEN, bought and sold again and again, this is not the case. there is no good option outside of gathering huge amounts of green pieces of paper (usually done by being more exploitive than the next person) to be able to have those basic BIRTHRIGHTS restored. and the land has been so far knocked out of balance by exploitation and distorted forms of private property, so that in many places there is nothing to forage. i disagree that there is an option to decide you dont want what society shoves down your throat.

it could be brought back into balance, it could be made into the kind of situation where people could live off the "fat of the land" and choose to opt out of society, if the people who wrongly think they are entitled to exploiting land due to deeds, green pieces of paper and other made up and ENFORCED illusions, werent stealing and hoarding what should be all of ours, and not being used in ways which are of benefit to all.

so the kind of entitlement that freaks me out the most is the kind that one can buy, wrongly, and then do whatever one wants to do with it because of distorted private property "rights"......even when its against the best interests of the greater community/world.


Dale Hodgins wrote:The problem with entitlements is that for one group to be provided for, another group must be enslaved. My definition of enslavement is for someone to be compelled to provide goods or services to others.


this is not true, imo, but a commonly held idea.
there are ways to get what one needs and not exploit and enslave others, and not enslave or exploit the earth.
actually it is possible to get what one needs, bare necessities of land/food or place to grow and forage/shelter/water, while actually adding more abundance to other people and the earth, making it better in the process.
not only is it possible, its not that hard to figure out, seems obvious to me, how to go about creating more abundance than what one needs, especially when we pull together and pool our skills and time.

it is not a win/lose game, but must be a win/win/win game- the way the universe really works contrary to commonly held idea.
however this is a very different thing than a suburban neighborhood and fancy houses with all the trimmings and unnecessary junk, on demand services and gadgets, cheap services and products, etc. that excessive, wasteful, first world lifestyle is only possible due to exploitation of third world people being exploited, and major exploitation of the earth's resources
 
Robert Ray
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How do we get there?
 
John Elliott
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Should I wade into a politicized, philosophical argument? Eh, why not.

I would observe that entitlements are the result of having civilization. A domesticated (civilized) cat is entitled to food and a warm place to sleep, feral cats, they're on their own.

Each civilization has it in their power to determine how much they can ask of the individual citizen and how much that citizen will get in return. In the United States, you're not entitled to food and shelter. Drinking water is free pretty much anywhere you go, but for food and shelter, you are on your own (with a few programs out there that give limited help). In some other countries where I have lived, food and shelter are an entitlement, and some minimum level is guaranteed. Most of the people in those societies want to have more than just the minimum that is provided, so they work to get it. Oh, there are a few alcoholics that trade in their food for more booze, but not very many.

For those that think any entitlement is too much, I would ask "just how civilized are you"?
 
Robert Ray
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There is a cost associated with an entitlement in the US taxes and fees are supposed to cover them. If not taxes and fees how do you see entitlements being funded.
 
wayne stephen
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I have become in my later years a "classic liberal " as opposed to the modern definition . When I was younger I always voted left of center but never for a democrat . I have never considered voting for a republican . I do believe that we are granted certain rights by nature - Life , Liberty , and the Pursuit of Happiness - not by human authority . Human authority can only impede or enforce those rights . One or the other . That being said , I also believe that natural rights are shackled with risks . Nature has no respect for human dominion and seems to want to kill us just as soon as feed us { Kali Ma , anyone ? }. But the writers and philosophers who wrote and inspired the constitution and it's moral heart { The Declaration of Independence } warned us that sacrificing liberty for security was welcoming death to freedom :

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy
James Madison

{I am distinguishing between rights such as free speech and entitlements such as food stamps }

I'm not a total fanatic . The social safety net is where the libertarian philosophy has not gained my complete trust . However , if you take risks in life - such as smoking or having children when you can't afford them - why should the community at large bear the burden of your mistakes . I have a heart for those born ill or injured by accidents etc . If you make yourself sick or choose the wrong career path should you be held to bear the consequences of your choices . Natural living is risky . I don't believe General Motors or Bank of America are too big to fail . Neither are people - no pun intended .
 
R Scott
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You owe the world a living...

 
Robert Ray
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Yep, that says it all.
 
wayne stephen
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Before we focus primarily on social programs like food stamps , HUD , Meidicaid , etc. let's not forget entitlements provided to the corporate / capital side of the equation . It's not just precarious social trends like single parenthood which are being artificially propped up by public funding . Business , Agriculture , Banking , Oil , Coal , Science , all feel entitled to the communal teat . It's a two party system . Two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner !
 
Robert Ray
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So true. But small businesses are also saddled with providing for entitlements. For the last two quarters of 2013 I have been assessed an increase in unemployment liability due to the current state of the economy and those that have been unable to find work. Business has been relatively static no significant increase, I've had no new hires, yet I have had an increase in operating costs that wasn't there a year before.
 
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