The $50 lesson

A good friend of mine (who happens to be a conservative republican) send this email to all his friends, wisely using bcc for the recipients:

The $50 Lesson

I recently asked my friends' little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up.

She said she wanted to be President of the United States .

Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there.

So I asked her, "If you were President, what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.."

Her parents beamed.

"Wow...what a worthy goal," I told her.

"But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that.

You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my driveway, and I'll pay you $50.

Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

...............Her parents still aren't speaking to me................

And here is my reply:

I like you (a lot actually) and I appreciate what you are trying to say here, but I find myself painfully conflicted and I wish to respond in a way that is meant to get the conflict off my chest and also to try to help you understand my position, and how I see the world. E.g. My version of the truth. I hope you will not take offence, as none is meant and that you will simply see my reply here as a friendly challenge.

Although I generally agree with the idea of the post, I see two logical fallacies, to which I would enjoy hearing your reply:

1. This assumes the homeless person is capable of performing the work. Besides the mental health issues that could easily prevent the average (long term) homeless person from knowing /how/ to do the work, there are issues of physical strength and logistics which could also stand in the way. The most obvious of these is how does the homeless person get to the work place?

2. You also assume that anyone would be willing to employ a homeless person even if they could possibly do the work. Frankly, that is the fallacy I find most annoying about this. One the one hand, republicans will say "oh, the homeless should just work to earn a living" when in reality, those same republicans would NEVER hire a homeless person to do any work... no work at all... period. Ever.

So let me challenge you to answer those two fallacies to the same list of people to whom you sent this first email, and further, let me challenge you to hire a homeless person to do ANY work AT ALL!

Until you have risen to either of those challenges, I call hypocrite.

Remember, your real friends are the ones who will, hopefully politely, tell you when they think you are wrong. I could just forget about it, or ask you to simply not send me republican based emails, but I enjoy debate, and I like to try to bring everyone, myself included, to a middle ground.

I hope you don’t mind that.

1 comment:

Big Al said...

For sure, there are people who are not capable of working, however, the incentive to not work doesn't help. I wish I could find the link to the story, but last year, Lation USA ran a great story about an immigration activist who went to a welfare office and tried to recruit people receiving welfare benefits to work in the farm fields with the "undocumented" workers. Out of talking to hundreds of people, only 2 showed up, and neither of them lasted a full day. This is a multi-dimensional story. The point was to show what impact there might be to the economy if we completely stopped illegal immigration, but raises other issues as well.