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I’m trying to figure this welfare thing out. It isn’t easy. Be patient while I try to wrap my mind around it.

As I understand it, welfare was supposed to help people who were down on their luck. It pretty much made sense to me. If a guy got fired from his job through no fault of his own, and got evicted, and he was living with his wife and kids and his dog on a pile of furniture on a street corner, and losing weight, and it looked like rain, I reckon that giving him a hand was the decent thing to do. Nobody wants to live with a wet dog. Pooches are fine, but they’re better dry.

And if a fellow got his legs cut off in the coal mine, or even if he paralyzed himself falling off a bar stool, OK, I can see coming up with workman’s comp to keep him eating more or less regular. If a meteor or a tree branch or a Russian-designed satellite fell on his head and put an end to him, I can see looking after his wife and kids. A civilized society, if we had one, would take care of the lame, halt, crippled, and crazy. I’m for it.

But there’s welfare and there’s welfare. Paying to raise somebody else’s illegitimate kids, which they’ve got no business having in the first place, is a Whole Nuther Thing. I may be getting tired of it.

I may be getting real tired of it. So may a lot of folk. Maybe it’s time somebody said something about it.

The lobotomy box keeps showing all these unmarried women in the cities, some of them as old as fifteen, who have about eight kids each, by twenty-seven fathers, one of whom they might be able to pick out of a lineup. Unless there were two people in the lineup. Then either miscreant would be a good guess.

As best I can tell, we’re now expected to think this casual reproductive incontinence is a good idea. Yep. It isn’t gross irresponsibility and uselessness. It’s an Alternative Life Style.

Not long ago on the one-eyed monster there was a girl of nineteen, I think it was, who had just had her second set of, so help me, illegitimate triplets. Holy Hannah, I thought, that gal is more productive than the North Korean economy. The television announceress was all smiles, and thought the whole thing was just heartwarming, and heroic. She even gave an address so that I could contribute diapers if I wanted to.

What I wanted to contribute was Norplant for the mother and a wood chipper to put the announceress in. Talk about a recipe for success: A teenager with a fifth-grade education, probably an IQ of 85 on a warm day, and no diapers. That’ll work, I thought. Then I decided to write Leavenworth, and tell them to start on the addition.

I’m paying for these kids. So are you. I don’t get it.

Ever watch those glutinous talk-show ladies, like Oprah and Jerry Springer? They seem to regard pregnancy as being inevitable, like love handles or gravitation. It just happens. Maybe you get it from brushing up against somebody on a bus. The thing to do is bear up under it with good cheer and outside funding.

Well, I don’t know. When I was a kid, lots of girls got through high school without two sets of triplets. There were some who didn’t even have one set. I guess they stayed off buses. If they could refrain from getting pregnant, so can others. Others ought to.

When I say this, I get told I’m heartless, blaming the victim, uncompassionate, insensitive, prejudiced, and all the other things that, given the circumstances, actually make pretty good sense. (Where I come from, there’s a difference between holding a prejudice and coming to a conclusion, but never mind.)

And when the victim’s to blame, I say go right ahead and blame the rascal. If I drive like a damn fool, and run into a tree, and get bunged up, who are folks supposed to blame? Mahatma Gandhi?

Now, it could be that my understanding of compassion is a mite weak. I guess I didn’t go to school long enough. But when I go downtown, where you can watch a five-year-old girl trying desperately to take care of her smaller brothers, because Mommy is zoned-out with her dirtball boyfriend of the afternoon–well, if encouraging that is compassion, I’ll pass.

For yet more compassion and sensitivity, try backwoods Florida, where the crackers live in swampy clearings in old decomposing trailers with rusty washing machines in the yard, and watch what actually happens to children born out of wedlock. Nothing good, I promise. Hookworm mostly, and illiteracy, and trouble with the cops, and an early acquaintance, even in the backwoods, with the Urban Three Rs–rape, robbery, and redistribution.

This is compassion? In some places, they’d call it child abuse.

Now, feminists will say, over the cell phone in the Mercedes, that we ought to punish the fathers of these litters. Fine with me. And we do, typically for assault and drug sales. The problem is that the broods aren’t accidents. The girls want babies. They can always find a donor.

(Stray thought: Know those gun buy-back programs, that let you turn in old useless guns to the police for enough money to buy a really good one? Let’s offer two hundred bucks for getting a vasectomy.)

Anyway, maybe what we need is morals. Plain, simple, boring old morals. Maybe there is a reason for them.


I know, I know. I’m a dangerous right-wing sociological aberration, and probably have a plastic statue of Mussolini on my dashboard. I guess I’ll never learn to be progressive. But I figure if you can’t take care of children, don’t have them. If you don’t have a husband and an income, you can’t take care of them. If you have them anyway, the kids ought to go to decent families and the mother ought to go to jail. The father, like as not, will be there already.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Welfare 
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