Let Me Be

An inspiring essay in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Both individuals and society are diminished when conditioned to look to the government to fill in the gaps. Think about it. Rather than responding to a need, (e.g. impoverished children or elderly) by asking how we as individuals can help, we now reflexively ask, "What programs are available so that I do not need to be responsible?"

Take one step back, and the implications are even worse. When we are working to help a specific individual with a face and a name, we are inclined to be empathetic and generous, giving more than we usually had anticipated earlier that day. When we pay our taxes, what is our attitude? Is it one of generosity?

Of course not. Most of us busily consult our tax book, our colleagues and often professionals to find out how to pay as little as possible. It is not that we don't know how government charity is funded -- but reducing benevolence into an anonymous redistribution of wealth does not encourage generosity. I am able, willing and do invest my time, skills and resources in local organizations assisting those in need. I believe that these investments bring far greater returns than submitting my resources to a large governmental body that may or may not address these tasks. Leave me to administer my resources, and let me be.

Not so inspiring, however, is the response the article received from readers:

It's remarkable that someone on your staff actually believed this column deserved to appear in a major metropolitan daily newspaper. I have read far more insightful columns in the UW Daily. Maybe even in the Bellevue High School Barque. "Let me BE?" This might look profound in an angst-filled personal diary, but I have no idea, in practice, what the hell it means or what the hell she's asking for.

She is asking to be left alone, free to pursue her own ends, whatever those ends might be. Why is that so difficult for some people to understand?

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Wow, Micha. Those responses

Wow, Micha. Those responses really were tripe. F*cking swine.

I was particularly amused by

I was particularly amused by this reader's point of view, via the second link in the post:

"I want my government to reflect my values by working to solve the systemic causes of homelessness and alienation, as only government truly can." (bold added)

Ugh.

One more note on the Letters

One more note on the Letters to the Editor:

Under the subheading, Youngs Willing to Take Tax Support for her College Degree, the letter goes on to say the following:

"...I was surprised to read that she is completing her studies at the University of Washington School of Law. Didn't I pay taxes for that? Couldn't Youngs find a private law school to prepare herself to enter one of our society's higher-paying professions?"

This is a common rebuttal to those who criticize public funds, yet use the goods/services partially paid by public funds. But hasn't Youngs, Youngs' parents, and perhaps even Youngs' grandparents also "paid taxes for that"? It would make sense that she might as well utilize something she's been forced to subsidize, and will be subsidizing through her entire adult life provided she remain in Washington. So I fail to see the 'Gotcha!' there.

This is Washington S.S.R.,

This is Washington S.S.R., people. What shocked me is that the initial letter was even printed by the P.I. in the first place.

"as only gov't truly

"as only gov't truly can"?!?!?!?!?!?! bwahahahahahaha i'm dying. is there some one who really said that, or is it made up for fun? i can barely believe theres someone that stupid if it isn't.why do they believe shit like that and not in the easter bunny?