Cynicism and social benefits

As I’ve made clear a time or two I’m pretty much a liberal. As a consequence I support a lot of social benefits solely on the ‘good for mankind’ basis. I’d like to take a moment here to justify the benefits on a more cynical basis.

“Everyone knows” that the hoi polloi are no good. They’re lazy and shiftless, tending toward thievery and thuggery. We know this because the standard argument is that if given benefits they’ll not become productive citizens.

That being the case I’d like to pass along the wisdom of a warden for whom I worked for a while. He was explaining to the local citizenry why the budgets for the recreation – gym and courtyard and library – were so large.

‘We can pay to let them working out in the gym or playing games or read or we can pay to deal with escapes and murders and riots. Inmates will keep busy with something.’

We can pay to help support them in public or we can pay all the expenses of crime, riots, and prisons. If you won’t do it for their good, do it for your own.

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