Is A Man a Man?

Globe of Flags of NationsIs a man and man, possessed of and by a similar nature and drives to his fellows, irrespective of his race, ethnicity, or creed? Are all peoples essential equal at a fundamental level in that they all have similar aspirations and have both base and sublime desires that resemble those of all other peoples?

Many Americans claim to believe that the answer to all these questions is yes, all men are equal.

Indeed, answer is contained within the single most quoted line from our Declaration of Independence and has been used many times as a rationale for changing our nation’s laws.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

The very wording of this declaration, combined with what we know of the Founding Fathers’ theologies and philosophies, sets forth the inherent equality of all of Man as a matter of Natural Law.

But, if this is case, one would be forced to accept the bad along with good. Whether it is merely people’s belief that all men are inherently equal or a fact of Natural Law that they are, in fact, equal in both propensity for nobility and for ignominy then one should expect roughly similar results and responses any stimulus that is applied to a group people, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or creed.

That being the case, why do so many people in America believe that “domestic aid” programs will achieve any better results than the bulk of both private (NGO) and governmental foreign aid programs have achieved in the many decades of their existence?

Foreign Aid Failure

Truly, if the aim of aid was and is to better the lot in life of its recipients, then the trillions of dollars Americans have given in aid to the impoverished of countless nations has been largely a failure. With the fewest of exceptions it has not achieved that goal. It may have kept a great many from dying but it has not let them live, but merely to exist dependent upon the largess of Americans.

Does anyone reading this post have an example of a circumstance when foreign aid has had a long-term positive effect that resulted in the recipients no longer needing the aid?

In some cases, such as AIDS relief in Uganda, foreign aid actually made things far worse. Foreign aid, focused on treatment instead of prevention and containment has actually ended up killing more people than would have died without it.

Domestic Corollary

There are, of course, obvious direct corollaries between foreign aid and domestic social programs, both in methodology and in efficacy. This stands to reason; people in America who are interested in such things have found a singular premise and formula for providing aid to the poor, and have applied it to both foreign and domestic targets.

Welfare, Medicaid, SCHIP, WIC, Food Stamps, and a plethora of other “Social Programs” are essentially domestic variations of the same programs we deploy as part of foreign aid. They are all based solely upon keeping people alive and do not make provisions for actually improving the recipients’ situation.

American Exceptionalism

Do people truly believe that our domestic aid programs will have  different and better outcomes than our foreign aid programs have had? Wouldn’t such a belief just be an example of the philosophy of American Exceptionalism – something which so many of the people who favor the continuance of these programs describe as self-serving, jingoistic, and based upon a myth?

Aside from some thought or belief that America’s poor are somehow different and better than the poor of other countries, how can people expect subsistence aid to have any long-term positive effect and remediation of the recipients’ situations when it has failed to do  so in other  countries time after time?

Conclusion & Opinion

I’m left with having to choose between two disparate conclusions – either the proponents and supporters of America’s various subsidies for the poor base their support on something other than actually improving the lives and situations of those poor, or the proponents and supporters of America’s various subsidies for the poor believe in American Exceptionalism and, therefor, do not believe that a man is man and that all men were created equal.

Related Reading:

The Tea Dragon Society
Nationalism (Oxford Readers)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!
Reforming Foreign Aid: Reinvent the World Bank: Lessons in Global Poverty Alleviation from 40 years of adventures (and misadventures) in International Development
Society: The Basics (14th Edition)

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3 Responses to “Is A Man a Man?”

  1. Charles Sifers Says:

    Wow! So much to comment on here, but I’ll stick to what I believe to be the central issue.

    We are all called to help our fellow man, but sometimes we are not wise enough to know how best to do that.

    Clearly, government is the worst possible avenue to effect social change, with few exceptions.

    The failure of government intervention however, only really shows the inadequacy of this particular mode of action.

    We all fail. No one is immune.

    We all need a hand up from time to time. This does not mean that we are less than the one that gives us that hand, only that it is our turn.

  2. jonolan Says:

    Charles,

    Believe or not, I wasn’t commenting on the lending aid to our fellow men, but in the oddness of the manner of supposed aid given, the results it’s proven to give, and people’s seeming belief that was has failed elsewhere will succeed in America.

    But…People can become less – or rather be lessened – from receiving aid when that aid becomes a dependency and provides no reasonable hope of returning to self-reliance and independence.

  3. Feeding The Monkeys | Reflections From a Murky Pond Says:

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