So Much for Compassionate Conservatism: The Hunger Edition

Leave it to conservatives to actually conduct the War on Christmas (Got Scrooge?). I give you National Review editor Kate O'Beirne on the problem of hunger (italics mine):

O'BEIRNE: And then the title of our gathering is so crucial; "Less of Washington and More of Ourselves". The federal school lunch program and now breakfast program and I guess in Washington DC, dinner program are pretty close to being sacred cows... broad bipartisan support. And if we're going to ask more of ourselves, my question is what poor excuse for a parent can't rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana? I just don't get why millions of school children qualify for school breakfasts unless we have a major wide spread problem with child neglect.

You know, I mean if that's how many parents are incapable of pulling together a bowl of cereal and a banana, then we have problems that are way bigger than... that problem can't be solved with a school breakfast, because we have parents who are just criminally... ah... criminally negligent with respect to raising children.

And yet, that's the kind of program that has huge bipartisan support with very little thought about why we're now feeding children. Talk about a fundamental parental responsibility. In what sense can we begin asking the "more of ourselves" piece to go with this less government?

This is a vile self-rationalization for letting people suffer (one of the hallmarks of being a Very Serious Person is the intellectual gymnastics to justify the suffering or killing of other people--nice use of a college education, that). As I've discussed before, this happens because parents can't afford to buy food, O Klueless Kate:

Sherita Parks went shopping in a corner store in Frankford the other day with her too-thin daughter, Joe-anna, 2....

"I only wanted to spend a dollar today, so this is a lot," Parks said. "But she'll eat a slice of cheese for a meal."

On the walk home, Joe-anna, who weighs 20 pounds but should be 26 or more, dawdled on the dirty sidewalks of Torresdale Avenue until Parks pulled her into the tidy, small house owned by Joe-anna's father, Parks' boyfriend.

Parks regarded her daughter with anxiety. "She doesn't have enough food, and it affects her brain. She can only say 'Mommy' and 'Daddy.' She can't even tell me when she's hungry," said Parks, an unemployed nurse's aide and former part-time model who devours Patricia Cornwell mysteries.

"There's just not enough food in the house, and now she has developmental delay....

Joe-anna has failure to thrive, meaning she has low weight for her age, caused in part by not getting enough food. Drexel University's Grow Clinic tries to treat the condition, which is underdiagnosed and still being studied by doctors. The clinic, at St. Christopher's, was founded by Chilton.

"Failure to thrive has impacted Joe-anna's language development," said Hans Kersten, the quiet, lanky pediatrician who heads the clinic. "And food insecurity is an important factor in her failure to thrive. We feel she's not getting enough calories."

There are no jobs, and those that are available don't pay enough. That's why we need food stamps. Something is very broken inside Mrs. O'Beirne.

Friends don't let friends act like O'Beirne: if you live in Boston, help these people help the hungry. If you live elsewhere, here's a list of organizations that can help.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it would probably upset O'Beirne.


More like this

Compassionate conservatives are rarer than sasquatch.

Rob: I wouldn't say that. There's a lot of compassionate conservatives these days. We call them "democrats".

These assholes simply don't understand poverty. They literally cannot conceive that anyone could be so poor as to be unable to afford to feed their family.

Shorter: "Let them eat cake."

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 10 Dec 2010 #permalink

And if children ARE being neglected by their parents (which sadly some are), why would you deny them food on top of that? Isn't that the least we can do for them? Or do they somehow "deserve" to go hungry just because they have shitty parents?

I keep saying that conservatives are Social Darwinist. Some of them do understand poverty, but they just do not care. I think most actually get pleasure from watching people suffer. If we were in Nazi Germany the conservatives would be the ones running the gas chambers, doing the torture and having a good time while at it. I just found a good article on ScienceDaily about the difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives literally do not have the ability to be influenced by some social cues. It is an interesting article.

Thanks so much. I live in the Boston area and have been looking for a good secular food donation program. Now that I have their information I can start donating year-round.

By Lynxreign (not verified) on 10 Dec 2010 #permalink

I heard on TV that the USA has more people on food stamps than are enrolled in college. I have known college students who were also on food stamps, so there is some overlap between the two categories. Remember that food stamps are an agricultural subsidy. Do you think there would be food stamps if that were not the case?

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 10 Dec 2010 #permalink

I worked at a large grocery store in a âmixed incomeâ neighborhood for 7 years throughout highschool and college and the type of garbage people bought with their Link cards was a joke! Lots of preprocessed junk, chips, cookies, soda (rarely did I see a gallon of milk) ⦠rarely was their fresh fruit or vegetables and we had a great produce department.

I say if you cant feed em, dont breed em.

Right On Jayz!! and if you do breed, fuck 'em. Make sure they (the children) never have a real chance. Keep em poor and malnourished, do NOT provide any decent education and then when (if) they grow up and have kids you can yell at the grandkids to get off your lawn and back into the gutter. If they were stupid enough to be born, then they deserve it.

BTW do you know what confirmation bias is? Im not saying you were/are suffering from it, but based on your closing statement I think its a good bet.

What the hell are you talking about? If you cant afford to have kids, then DONâT! Use a condom, get on the pill, get your ass down to the clinic or give it up for adoption. If you have kids you cant take care of, buck and do what you have to but stop reaching into my pocket to subsidize your mistakes.

Be generous with your own damn money. I for one am tired of paying for other peopleâs problems ⦠from Wall Street all the way to main street.

JayZ @ 11:

If you cant afford to have kids

And if this is because you've lost your job, well, modest proposals on how to remedy such a problem actually predate this country!

JayZ Im talking about your asinine viewpoint. I know let's solve the drug addiction with a tagline. How about "Just Say No?" There problem solved. On to homelessness, hmmm tricky. How about "Get a Job?" That should work as well as "If you can't feed 'em, dont breed 'em.

I agree with you Jayz though. Im tired of paying for other people too, like the roads you drive on (but not me), the infrastructure to pay for your electricity and internet connection (again not me), the military to defend your right to be an obtuse jerk (actually mine too, we spend way to much money on the military).

Hmm, how to solve the problem of me disagreeing? I know "If you don't love it, leave it!" wOOT problem solved!!!

Um, Jayz, you realize, right, that the reason we have the school lunch program in that United States is because during WW2, so many men were not physically qualified to be drafted because of childhood malnutrition that the guvmint realized that they needed to feed kids so they could grow up to be strong soldiers. So they started the school lunch program. It wasn't us wild-eyed crazy liberals that just think it is a moral imperative not to let poor kids starve to death. Nope, it was the DOD, wanting recruits.…

JayZ just called hungry children a "problem" (as in, somebody else's) and a "mistake".

They are people, dear. Grow a heart. We're still a pretty rich country and we can afford to feed them. Welfare accounts for about .1% of the budget, srsly.

the rest of the story. yes, there are always two sides to every story. indeed there are many people who cannot afford to give their children a good breakfast. I am one of 10 children and some of my siblings are excellent parents but poor. On the other hand my older daughter was dating a guy who had a child with a welfare mother (3 kids, all different fathers, collecting child support from all 3 and yet couldn't get her butt out of bed to feed them because she was in the bars til 2 AM. And these kinds of mothers are not rare. So lets try to pick problems apart instead of just making blanket statements.

I have long since concluded that those who claim to be conservatives actually only care for themselves. They are, primarily, rich and will do anything to maintain their positions of privilege. I suspect that they view the world as a zero-sum game and are doing everything in their considerable power to maximize their share. This is a very rich (still) country and we can easily afford to feed, clothe and house everyone here. That we don't is political, not economic.

On December 24, 2010 - Christmas Eve to be precise - we Progressives are planning a violent, nationwide, revolutionary uprising against Christmas.

[Cue the jingle bells]

'Twas the night before Christmas and all 'round the place
Them Liberals was planin' to attack us with mace
The children were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of Rand Paul stomped on their heads

And Mama with her Demerol, and I with my booze
Had just settled down for a long winter's snooze
When out on the rooftop there rose such a ruckus
I sprang from my bead to see

A whole gang of Liberals, all armed to the teeth
Were doing rude things to our poor Christmas wreath
They spoke not a word but were vile, and we shook
As they ripped up our copy of Ms. Palin's book

They poured gas on our presents and set them aflame
And to our stuffed Santa they did just the same
And I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sitey
"Happy Kringle to all - AND GO SCREW YOURSELF, WHITEY!"

But seriously folks, have a blessed and happy Christmas/Holiday season. Whatever you wish to call it, it doesn't hurt me. It doesn't hurt you. I suspect it doesn't hurt God either.

Tom Degan

Nichole, Lorax, I think you've missed the point, at least the point that I've been able to pick out of it, which is that if contraception were widely available there would be less kids getting the kind of abuse they do.

I do think the view of 'why should I pay for other people's stupidity' is just as justified, in this case, as the fact that 'just say no' and 'get a job' aren't enough to solve the problem.

By Katharine (not verified) on 11 Dec 2010 #permalink

@ JayZ, Katherine

The people who are already paying for this are the children. They're the ones being punished for their parent's mistakes and misfortunes. Taking away school lunches will only make that worse. But it will save a few dollars on our taxes, so that must make it ok!

I guess we'll just have to let them starve or steal.

(Really, if people think poverty is abuse, why aren't they calling CPS on all of these parents and offering to foster the kids? Oh, right, it's not actually about the kids, it's about people saying, "I've got mine, so eff everyone else." People who don't want to pay for the priviledges they have recieved by being in a first-world country with existing infrastructure that allows them the lifestyle they enjoy.)

Spare me.

P.S. JayZ, I guess you've never heard of "green bombs"? People who live paycheck to paycheck buy non-perishables and processed foods rather than veggies because veggies go bad if they can't work them into a meal within the week. If you don't have the luxury of planning meals or a set work schedule, then they're a waste of money. Whereas that bag of Cheetos will last for months after opened. And it doesn't take an extra 30 minutes you don't have the energy for after a 12 hour shift to prepare.

tl;dr: Priviledged people have the priviledge of ignoring their priviledge. And they can judge everyone else for not sharing it or submitting to non-priviledge in a saintly manner.