After forty years of life on this planet here is what I’ve learned about poverty.
The situation: Person A is poor. Person B is not.
Liberals never waver from the belief that the poverty of Person A is attributable directly and solely to the actions of someone else, the other person, Person B. In plainer words, Person B is the reason Person A is poor—always and without exemption. I have many, many liberal friends and I can tell you in all the decades I’ve known them and their families, I have never once—not once—ever heard one of them say “it is his own fault he doesn’t have more” with regard to money (economic status). However, they never acquit the same person for any other shortcoming: his health, intelligence, martial arts prowess, creativity, happiness, his marriage—no, no. All those are his fault and fall under his mental auspices, personal ambition and desires… but never money. That is always someone else’s fault. As if money were some magic, unattainable fairy dust that no one has any power to gain.
Conversely, Conservatives realize that whereas this can be and is true on occasion (Person B is responsible for Person A being poor, a situation that should be immediately addressed), there is an equal chance that Person A is the reason Person A is poor—bad behavior, lack of ambition, pathological envy or laziness, self-destructive addictions and limiting tendencies. Even the most rock-ribbed Conservative (and I should know, I come from four generations of them) is eager to feed the poor, help the less fortunate, lend a helping hand in time of trouble, offer jobs, pay fair wages, and hire anyone who needs help regardless of race, ethnicity or even qualification—I’ve seen my parents and my extended family do this for literally my entire life. My father builds home for the poor, has for thirty-five years. But it is always done with the express intent of permanently improving the lives of others. The Conservative does not believe in enslaving the poor by subsidizing their mere existence, but by empowering the less fortunate to succeed and achieve on their terms, not anyone else’s, and to find whatever balance best meets their mental, emotional, and volitional needs. Some people want to be rich but guess what, some people don’t.
I have met the legitimately poor and helpless—the handicapped and mentally disabled, the gravely and terminally ill, the orphans, the widows, the abandoned, and I am proud to tell you the great efforts I, my family, many of my friends (conservative, liberal and whatever lies between), and the charities we support have taken to help them: food, money, clothes, time, construction, medication, employment, education, all of it—it’s worth it! But I have also met people who are cruel, conniving, thieving, addicted, callous, utterly envious, arrogant, elitist and racist who have created a toxic sphere of spite and poverty around them and their family not because they didn’t have options or opportunities, but because they are self-centered, abusive, ungenerous and cold.
Poverty is sometimes the absence of money and the things it can buy. Poverty is just as frequently the absence of a good heart, balanced mind, eagerness, and hard-working spirit.
You can fix the first condition with money. The second condition requires something far more valuable than printed paper or gold coins, and if you try to solve it with those instruments all you will end up with is well-financed monsters.
This is true for nations (the Middle East) and it is true for people.
This is the complex and equally simple truth of poverty.