Monday, December 22, 2008


"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), inaugural address, January 20, 1961

I think this is a quotation to remember every time we feel resentment towards schemes helping the poor with our tax money. If every part of society is not well off, none of us are going to be really well off. Everyone should have at least basic needs met. It's like  body. If one organ is not well, the whole body feels the pain. You have two options, either treat the organ or amputate it. Amputations do not work all the time. Even when they work, they result in permanent loss. So, it is better to take care of the whole body.

I do not believe late president Kennedy meant that we should simply dole out hand-outs to poor. It should be need based. If there are people in the society who just do not want to work, it is a different matter. We will have to understand what is wrong in our social set up which has created such people in the first place. Nobody becomes a liability to society just like that. It is probably the circumstances that made them like that. So, we have to address the root cause. May be it is lack of education or something else.

Humans can only survive as a symbiotic group. There are no other ways. Everyone has to be able to live with their basic needs met. Only then some of us can be well off compared to others.

We can even take this one step further. How about animals? If number of animals we have around is not controlled, they will be on our streets. We see this in developing countries. Innumerable dogs, cats and cattle are left to tend to themselves. They create so much problems on the urban infrastructure that they can bring a city to halt. We have to control their numbers in the first place. At least we have an option to put them to sleep without much pain. Although it pricks our heart to do so, we at least have an option. But, better option is to control their number is in the first place by neutering them in the first place.


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