Whoa. Occasionally we get through to people, even if only partially:
"This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire."
@Nicholas D Kristof, this is because you leftists have had poverty wrong all along. Poverty is the state of nature. In our nation, poverty is not victimhood. Poverty is not a state you are kept in by a feudal lord. Poverty is, merely, the lack of wealth-producing and wealth-building activity. To create and build wealth, certain values are required: industriousness, foresight, independence, integrity, honesty, the ability to consider the values of other so that you can deal with them by trade, and above all: rationality, the ability to solve problems, because solving problems is what creates value.
All humans are born into poverty. We are all born with no ideas, with no wealth, without even the ability to walk. We have to learn everything we need to survive and thrive. It's all about having the right *ideas*. Poverty is not others failing you - systemic poverty is YOU failing you. Most people in America learn the values needed to escape poverty. We benefit from the experience of our parents, learn from their mistakes. Even those born to parents who don't know what they're doing, they have the capacity to learn the ideas necessary to escape their plight - as many do.
But what you liberals try to teach them is it's not your fault, ideas don't matter, all ideas and all culture are the same, you suffer because some evil rich guy is putting the screws to you, that this is what keeps you down, that there is nothing you can do to help yourself, so here, have some of this other guy's money. This is what passes for "compassion" from liberals, this attack on the very souls of the poor, undercutting their humanity, their reason, by teaching them that their reason is impotent and that they are helpless victims.
If you liberals truly care about the plight of the poor and not merely your own power or your own self-righteousness, you will help figure out how to teach "the poor" the values that matter, the ideas, principles and morality that will lead them out of poverty on their own two feet.
To do that will require that YOU put aside your erroneous beliefs in moral relativism, in victimhood, and in using government force to mold people and to take other's money for your cause. Because these three ideas which are the core of your philosophy are WRONG and are what creates the sickening dependency and rot you talk about in your article.
Government force fixes nothing, it merely redistributes the pain and suffering from your bad ideas to others. Preaching victimhood causes you to believe all your problems are from an external source and to never question your own values, to never consider that your own ideas may be the cause of your misery. And moral relativism - not all ideas are equal. Ideas are true or false, are moral, by comparison to reality, to the facts of human existence, to the truths of human nature.
Of course, the admission of error by Kristof here is undercut by his smear at "profit". What the parents in this article are doing is not profiting, it is looting. But I'll take what I can get.