It seems to me the US government may be guilty of selective application. You know, that’s where you apply great truths selectively in situations which most benefit a particular agenda. A dear friend pointed out a couple of comments made by the government, as follows: “The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals’ because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.”
Amazingly, there are scores of people who take great pride in the fact that we are feeding more and more people and increasing that number rapidly. And yet the Park Service warns us against the harmful effects of feeding the animals. Now before you begin your tirade proclaiming my intent to let the poor and defenseless starve, don’t. I am just as compassionate as my neighbor. Just think about this for a moment.
Since we are animals too, should it not hold true that humans can develop the same type of dependency as other animals, when it becomes easier to receive a food handout than to work for it? Is it not within the realm of possibility that the human animal could possibly grow dependent and cease to take care of themselves? We cite Pavlov’s dogs to explain the human tendency to form habits. It just appears to me the Park Service has run a much grander experiment with feeding the animals. Should we not draw some conclusions from their experience?
The last time I checked my biology handbook, humans are still part of the animal kingdom. We are just as impressionable as the animals roaming our wilderness areas. When food is scarce and difficult to come by, bears and other animals leave the protective canopy of the forest and venture into suburbia looking for food. They have discovered that we, the human animal, are easy picking. We toss our unwanted leftovers in receptacles which we conveniently store outside, that is if we don’t just throw our half-eaten hamburger and fries on the ground. Sometimes, out of curiosity and amusement humans hand-feed the hungry animals, ignoring the signs admonishing us to do otherwise. The animals, by the way, have learned it is much easier to receive this handout than to hunt for food in the forest. And perhaps they realize that we as humans have a disdain of being told what to do and will usually ignore any and all signs of admonition.
Our welfare system is a necessary system. It must never be abandoned. We must have some sort of provision to assist those who are truly needy. Let’s face it; sometimes people just need help. However, we do a disservice to those we are helping when we promise unending support from the cradle to the grave. How can they be expected to stand on their own if they are not given the incentive or the opportunity to do so? It seems only reasonable to expect someone who is promised to be fed for month after month to wait until there are no more months before they attempt to stand on their own.
And, we have a government that is bent on extending the feeding period to infinity, if left unchecked. Are we not enablers? In the guise of compassion, do we not deepen the dependency and helplessness of those in need—not to mention those who are intent on abusing the system? How is what our government does any different from what a drug dealer does to the junkies they supply? How will our actions under the guise of compassion and generosity ever break the habits of poverty, when we righteously ignore the signs which read, “Please, Do Not Feed the Animals!”
Two-hundred-and-thirty-six years ago our government declared our independence. It was a novel idea that men should have the right and the opportunity to be whatever they could make of themselves. Truly we have discovered that equality is difficult to define. Even in the best systems we have discovered that some men were born more equal than others. However, we have been working under the framework of the guidelines established by our founding fathers to continually refine that right of equality. However, nowhere in our Declaration of Independence or the Constitution does it encourage the right of dependency of one individual on another. No Sir, it is independence which is the foundation of our government. Without casting judgment on any people, class, or ideology, the statement by the Park Service, “Please, Do Not Feed the Animals” may possibly be much more responsible than the ever expanding influence of the food stamp program.