Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This is infuriating. I have some sympathy for those who don't want the government to give to charity for us (i.e. welfare) because that is a responsibility we should not delegate to others, much less to a bureaucracy. But for government to actively prevent people from feeding the poor is just abominable. Via Ann Althouse.


Ron said...

You are right this is a terrible city ordinance. Is it bad enough that civil disobedience is necessary? Perhaps. I think one has to distinguish between laws that are truly unjust and those that one merely disagrees with. A law that one disagrees with should be opposed in town meetings and at the voting booth. Patently unjust laws like the old Jim Crow laws should be disobeyed.

The chant is something I very much disagree with. Food is a right? I didn't know we had the right to enslave the farmer, the distributor and the grocery store to get food. Why does any entity have 'rights?' What does that mean, anyway? I ask this not to be a pure skeptic but to help shed light on something that really bothers me about political discourse in that people love to assert that they have new 'rights.' I tend to suspect that rights are theologically connected and only make sense ultimately in that context.

I'll get off the soapbox now.

Jim S. said...

Yeah, I almost commented on the chant and the nature of rights, but I thought the arrest of people feeding the homeless was much more offensive.

I tend to think of rights negatively: to say someone has a right to X means that people have the right not to have X taken from them. So to say people have a right to food would mean that they have a right to not have their food taken from them. Food is something we can, at least theoretically, provide for ourselves. But when we start talking about rights to things we can't provide for ouselves, we are essentially saying we have a right to other people's labor. I call foul on that.