Tonight, continuing the non-introspective streak for an unprecedented two in a row, I will be discussing two interesting items from the news in order to warm up for tomorrow’s regular Friday science jag.
It does me a lot of good to
get over myself get away from myself for a few days and let my introspective muscles rest for a while. Too much of that, and you lose all sense of perspective and proportion, and that is literally the worst thing in the world.
Well, enough introductory palaver. Time to get on with the news items!
First one : I just love the word “palaver”.
But coming in a close second….
Catholicism Remembers Compassion
I have a lot of problems with the Catholic church. Things like protecting pederast priests, living in golden palaces filled with priceless works of art while billions starve, and worst of all, their entirely nonsensical and extremely counterproductive opposition to contraception are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I cannot decide whether they are a net force of good in the world, or evil. There are just too many variables.
And complicating the issue even further is when a story like this one about the Vatican condemning the Paul Ryan budget in the USA comes along and shows that despite their appearance of unrelenting and hopelessly antique and backwards evil, the Vatican does do a decent thing now and then.
Here is a clip :
“Affordable housing programs have not been protected in various budget and deficit agreements, and as a result many families are at further risk of being pushed into poverty,” said one letter, written by the Rev. Stephen Blaire, the bishop of Stockton, Calif. “We urge you to draw a circle of protection around the programs that serve ‘the least among us.’ ”
And that is exactly why I can never entirely condemn the Catholic church. Not just because they do this sort of thing (in this case, via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) but because they seem to be the only one of the large Christian sects which remembers Christ’s actual teachings about helping the poor and being compassionate.
At the very least, they remember to pay lip service to it. Eric Ryan claims to be Catholic and that his Catholic faith “informed” his budget, but it would seem the Church does not agree. All reports say that is a distinctly cold hearted budget, which ignores the true financial score in favour of just cutting all the things social conservatives do not like regardless of how much that will save versus how much misery it will cause.
It is good that the Catholic Church seems to at least faintly remember that Christ said to sell all you own and give it to the poor, and that nobody who calls themselves any kind of Christian can possibly spew hatred of the poor when their Savior, the one their entire religion is supposedly about, taught them to love their neighbor and give of themselves freely.
And even to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. You know, taxes?
Making Homelessness Illegal
And speaking of massive right wing abuse of the poor, how about the laws passed in Hungary recently making it illegal to be homeless?
That is the effect, anyhow. Technically, the set of laws in question merely make it a crime to habitually reside in a public place or to store belongings there. And we all know that without laws like these, everybody would do that all the time, right?
Wrong. This is the result of a concentrated two year campaign to make homelessness illegal, presumably driven by the kind of people who, out of sheer moral laziness, think homeless people, like all poor people, are just lazy, and could change their position in life any time they wanted to do so.
That is a classic response from the morally bankrupt who will gladly believe absolutely anything that gets them out of having to care about someone who is not themselves. They are doing well, so the world must be fair, and they got where they are via the prime empty virtue of our modern world, hard work (funny how many supposed rugged individualists still want a pant on the head and a dog treat for being good little worker drones), ergo anyone not doing as well must not be working hard to the exact degree they are less successful.
Ergo, homeless people must be the laziest people in the world. Anything else would mean caring! And even worse… maybe actually doing something, or… the worst thing of all… SHARING.
And sharing means you have less stuff, and if you have less stuff you are more poor, and if you are more poor that means you lose social status in the incredibly minutely competitive world of the middle class, and losing social status is, to middle class people, worse than death.
So clearly, this sort of thing is reprehensible. But to me, the irony of it all is that the next result is clearly just going to be a lot of homeless people into jail, where they will be inside where it is warm and out of the elements, and getting three meals a day plus free medical care, and guards to protect them from other prisoners somewhat….
… in other words, it will improve their lives immensely by turning all prisons into really, really expensive homeless shelters.
So apparently, these people would prefer to spend far more money (homeless shelters are way cheaper than prisons) in order to satisfy their puny punitive reptile brains that they are cracking down on the problem, rather than risk seeming even faintly compassionate (higher brain functions pain them so) by just increasing the number of homeless shelter beds and thus solving the problem more cheaply, more humanely, and more practically.
Well, that is all the rant I have in me tonight. I had forgotten how exhausting it can be to have opinions. No wonder I got out of the habit.