« Does Separate, But Equal Yield Better Academic Outcomes? | Main | There He Goes... »

July 06, 2010

Unintended Consequences 102

This seems unbearably sad:

Her daughter, Johanna, could easily help her with these tasks. In fact, Mrs. van Breda asked Johanna, who also cleans houses, if she would like to help in place of the state worker. It's better that the money benefit her family, after all. But Johanna said no: Why bother helping her mother when the government will do it?

When she developed arthritis, the state sent around someone to change the handles on all her doors and the taps on her faucets. In a less "compassionate" society, measured very narrowly by how much the government does, her sons-in-law or grandsons would swing by and take care of that sort of thing. But there is no need, and so they do not - and they would not.

Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the Netherlands' "compassionate" social policy, with its preference for state provision, has made individual Dutch people less compassionate. A 2006 international study of charitable giving found that the supposedly less compassionate Americans individually gave 1.67 percent of the country's gross domestic product to charity. The Dutch gave just 0.45 percent, and the more moderate Canadians and British gave 0.72 percent and 0.73 percent respectively. Mrs. van Breda's expatriate son, Pieter, who lives in New York, notes that people have become personally unmindful of the needy as a result of these social-welfare policies. Personal relations are colder, he says, more businesslike, even within families.

The Dutch government serves Johanna's mother because it serves everyone, securing a minimal standard of living for all to enjoy. Through an array of birth-to-death social services that are either free of charge or subsidized according one's income, the state redistributes income widely. There is no reason for anyone in the Netherlands to be without a suitable home, to cut short his or her education anytime before senility or even to give any thought to feeding and clothing one's children. The Dutch have decided that a good society is a compassionate society, and so people should provide for one another's dignity and basic quality of life ... but only through the state. People needn't actually have anything to do with one another directly.

Most of us, when we count the things that truly make us happy, would rank personal connections - even with all the inconvenience and annoyance they sometimes entail - at the top of the list and possessions near the bottom. There are some things the State was never meant to do for us.

Caring for each other is one of those things.

Posted by Cassandra at July 6, 2010 12:16 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


"But Johanna said no: Why bother helping her mother when the government will do it? "
OMG! Such loathsome individuals.

My Neanderthal heart hopes the despicable spawn experience the same tender, loving, attentive devotion from their loved ones in their times of need.

Posted by: bthun at July 6, 2010 01:05 PM

Reminds me of that horrific
August in France when all the elderly died while their kids were on vacation.

Regular workers paradise.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 6, 2010 01:11 PM

According to the Left, there is no foreseeable limit to govt power or its intrusion into our lives. Prepare to be assimilated into The Collective. Resistance is futile.

Posted by: a former european at July 6, 2010 01:28 PM

In a state that "takes care" of everyone, people now have a vested interest in seeing that there are fewer and fewer people around who require the state's care.

If a Lib starts to argue otherwise, ask him which he'd rather be -- a dog or cat that was a family pet or one that was in an animal shelter facing budget cuts...

Posted by: BillT at July 6, 2010 02:46 PM

But Johanna said no: Why bother helping her mother when the government will do it?

This flabbergasts me.

Posted by: airforcewife at July 6, 2010 07:23 PM

There will be a special place in hell for people like this...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 6, 2010 09:25 PM

Recently I was discussing the Kitty Genovese story regarding helping your neighbor and keeping an eye on each other. Every once in awhile we hear a story where people don't want to get involved in the problems of others with predictable outcomes. Interesting how these uninvolved people change their tune when they are the one in distress.

Concerning the second ammendment, it is telling that we can get a pizza delivered in most cases quicker than a police response to a 911 call for assistance. Priorities you understand. That is why I incorporated the Pay It Forward mentality picked up by the Insurance Company Liberty Mutual. I notice R. Lee Ermey shilling for GEICO as only a Marine DI can do playing a Psychologist to a whiny metrosexual on his couch.

Leading by example gets the point across one situation at a time. Get involved because it is better to help one person in need than ignore everyone taking the coward's way out. Capt. Sullenberger stood up when it counted the most and saved the people in his charge. Taking responsibility is it's own reward.

Posted by: vet66 at July 6, 2010 09:55 PM

Look at the Amish. They don't pay in to the SS system because they take care of their elderly. I was so blessed to have siblings who took care of our elderly parents until they passed away. My dad was an exception; he had Alzheimer's and needed assisted living, but he was not abandoned. We visited, called, sent letters, 'rescued' him for away days, and he only had to stay there for less than five months.

When Teri Schiavo was being starved, there was a lesbian who said she wanted a fundamental Christian to worry about her. Indeed. I say that not because I think only Christians are compassionate, but it seemed that at that time, they were the majority of the protestors. I think others care, but are afraid of being lumped with a group that has been mocked and ridiculed for their lack of progressive action.

Posted by: Cricket at July 6, 2010 10:08 PM

My Neanderthal heart hopes the despicable spawn experience the same tender, loving, attentive devotion from their loved ones in their times of need.

Assuming they have any children to do it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 7, 2010 02:02 AM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 7, 2010 02:03 AM

...it is telling that we can get a pizza delivered in most cases quicker than a police response to a 911 call for assistance.

Back in the late '80s, a silent alarm in our armory's weapons vault went off. The police came to my house, explained what the problem was, drove me to the armory and then waited *outside* -- with pistols drawn -- while I went *inside*.


Posted by: BillT at July 7, 2010 11:10 AM

BillT: apparently the liability policy purchased for the officers by their union precludes them from taking unnecessary risks in the performance of their duties. I'm glad they didn't shoot you when you emerged from the armory. At the least they could have put you on point covering your "6".

I'd be honored to go in with you.

Posted by: vet66 at July 7, 2010 12:03 PM

Would have appreciated the company, vet66 -- the previous time the alarm went off, it was triggered by a guy who ripped a section of chain link fence off the posts without using wirecutters...

Posted by: BillT at July 7, 2010 12:39 PM

Police unions stipulate that they and they alone get to decide who gets "protection".

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 7, 2010 07:33 PM

Course, if you want some of their services, got pay up. Like any protection racket.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 7, 2010 07:34 PM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)