How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Different perspectives

Liberals and conservatives have a completely different perspective of weltanschauung – a comprehensive view or personal philosophy of human life and the universe. They would be worlds apart on how they view a recent incident and court decision that came to my attention.

I recently saw a video on Facebook that showed a shopper confronting a group of shoppers he saw buying groceries with EBT cards, then taking cash out of their pockets to purchase lottery tickets. The onlooker aggressively confronted the trio and an obscene verbal confrontation ensued.

The confronted shoppers were indignant. They took the view that the accuser was butting into their business and one of them used the f-word repeatedly to tell the accuser to mind his own business. The accuser contends it is his business "because I work for a living and I pay taxes."

The accuser then walks over to the group's shopping cart and searches through the bag and removes a steak and indicates "You know what?" Steak is for f-- -- - taxpayers." I suspect that there would probably be a consensus across the political spectrum that he was totally out of line at this point. But if the accuser had confronted the shoppers in a more civil manner and avoided the obscene language, conservatives and liberals might have a very different take on what occurred.

I think many conservatives would argue that more Americans need to speak up when they see folks ripping off the system and that the accuser was "doing the right thing" by confronting welfare recipients about their adoption of an irresponsible lifestyle of dependency. They would argue that able-bodied young folks should not be on welfare. They should be working. Welfare is not an entitlement and should be reserved for those who are unable to work because of age, disability, or because they are in a dire situation due to no fault of their own.

Most conservatives would view the behavior not as an aberration. In the same way many conservatives view those on welfare buying "luxury items" such as lobster, prime steak with their EBT card as commonplace, although research indicates it is the exception to the rule.

Liberals, on the other hand, would point out that the accuser made many false assumptions about folks on welfare and that the vast majority of them struggle mightily to make ends meet. They would indicate that just because someone takes a shot at winning the lottery doesn't make them irresponsible. They would note that it's probably one of the very few legal ways that poor folks have any chance of escaping poverty. While the chances of winning the lottery are infinitesimal, it is at least a longshot at getting out of their dire straits.

Liberals would go further and point out that if we are really concerned about folks ripping off the system, then we should go after oil companies and some farmers who are getting enormous government subsidies; which is basically a form of corporate welfare. They would also point out that the food stamp program has one of the lowest rates of abuse of among federal programs.

Liberals and conservatives would also have very different views regarding a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy. The court ruled that a food thief, a young homeless man who bought a bag of breadsticks from a supermarket but slipped a small sausage and some cheese in his pocket was not a criminal. They said, "The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the merchandise theft took place proved that he took possession of that small amount of food in face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of necessity." The court ruled that because the man stole a minimal amount of food only out of need, that he "doesn't have to be punished at all."

Many conservatives would be livid with this decision, which affirms that the right to survival prevails over the right to property. They would point out that many of the homeless are unwilling to work and that not punishing a thief is a very slippery precedent. They would argue that the decision could encourage others to steal. They would also note that if every homeless person were allowed to take $4.50 worth of food each day that the cost would be astronomical and furthermore who would absorb that cost?

On the flip side many liberals would see the court ruling as an act of humanity that is required at a time when poverty and hunger is rapidly growing throughout the world. They would argue that we have an obligation to treat all of our citizens with dignity and acknowledge the linkage between the state of necessity and poverty. Just as most liberals believe that people have a right to basic health insurance they also would affirm they also have a right not to starve to death.

I'd love to hear Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's views about folks on welfare purchasing lottery tickets and Italy's court ruling which says that the right to survive trumps property rights.