Consider for a moment the homeless. Especially consider any one of the estimated 107,000 (0.035% of US population) chronically homeless within the borders of America.
Homeless, Hungry, Sick, and Tired – He Has No one
Why are this small number of people chronically living on the streets? The answer to that question may have greater importance for society than for these individuals.
At 0.035% of the American problem, the chronically homeless are hardly a national emergency and often get lost in the noise of homeless statistics.
Were this small number of people cast out by society? Did their communities decide that they were not worthy of being part of the social web that provides protection and support in times of need?
If these individuals’ communities have cast them out and refused them aid, then this is a matter of little importance. Communities have both the right and duty to shun those who are, for one or more reasons, both not of the body of that community and a detriment or danger to it.
Did these people turn their backs on their communities and are now paying the price for iconoclasty?
If and when this is the case, it seems that an ethical society, setting a priority on personal liberty, must abide by those individuals’ choices and allow them to survive or fail on their own and by their own devices.
On the bright side, there’s no sign that this is due to some form of community breakdown. The numbers of chronically homeless are not rising as a percentage of the American population and the overall number of homeless rises as falls along a small range in patterns that do not seem to match the overall rise and fall of the economy.