EDITORíS DESK: Which philosophy deserves a home?
For a few weeks now, I have been part of an e-mail forum in which multiple folks share views on issues related to the homeless. What makes the forum educational is
that it includes comments from some of the most thoughtful and hardest-working people involved in the matter in Colorado Springs.
Another interesting aspect is how the many entries crystallize the two main philosophies on the subject. Those in turn are readily translatable into divergent views on the world in general. One is basically the humanitarian position, which is that as long as people are indigent, the rest of us have a duty to help them - with no right to put demands on their freedom to live as they choose. (Adherents to this view, incidentally, can safely be described as those who opposed the city no-camping ordinance; they were outraged that the city would be so uncompassionate as to impose demands on those at the bottom of the economic ladder.) The other view is that people able to improve their status in life not only should start doing so (as a duty to themselves and society, in essence), but also they have the freedom to improve to as high a level as they want. Moreover, individuals showing such initiative will encourage others to help them. The rebuttal to humanitarians is that unconditional hand-outs only "enable" lazy, parasitical lifestyles.
Now, I don't claim to be the shiniest plate in the cupboard, but we have a story elsewhere this week touching on veterans from World War II's "greatest generation." Which of these two philosophies do you suppose gave them the grit to fight through the horrors of the battlefield? And for those who wonder what happened to that grit and why our current generation is known by the demeaning "X" - instead of the "even greater" generation - which philosophy do you suppose led to that drop-off?