seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

Food Stamps, Guns, Illegal Downloads, and the TSA

filkerdave posted a link to a story of someone whose life was saved by food stamps.

This led me to repost the link on Facebook, with a sort of stream-of-consciousness/flow of ideas preamble that became a discussion linking together all of the concepts above and more. I'm reposting it in its entirety here, but the TL;DR summary is: all of them are the focus of actions that punish the majority for the damage done by a very small number, and result in a large number of people viewing that majority as criminals/lesser citizens... with security and law enforcement being one of the primary professions infected with this view, since all the new laws get dumped on them to enforce.

This is the story of someone who ended up on food stamps, and is alive because of it.

This is the face, or one of the faces, of most people on food stamps. Most of them are people trying to get by, who don't need to be looked down on by someone because, horrors, they decided to use some of that to get some fun food rather than another box of rice and beans.

I know a lot of people who are, or have been, on food stamps.

Sure. There's some people out there who game the system and get stuff they don't deserve. It's a very small fraction, probably no more than 1-2%. And you know what? I don't care, any more than I care about the fact that a small percentage of my readers only get pirate copies.

There are *ALWAYS* free riders. There are *ALWAYS* people who will find a way to get stuff out of your system that they don't deserve.

That's *real life*.

We shouldn't punish those who AREN'T gaming the system because some small number DO.

Instead, we should accept that part of the price of being civilized is that (A) we do have some responsibility for each other, that costs all of us a little bit, and (B) that there will always be a few parasites that will get carried, and that those who AREN'T parasites shouldn't be treated as if they are.

The arguments about all the activities that will stop welfare abuse, food stamp abuse, etc., ? They're *exactly the same arguments* that justify the additional NSA scrutiny, those intrusive searches at the airport, and so on.

They are designed on the principle that preventing a small number of assholes from doing something is worth abusing, marginalizing, and reducing to a group of suspects a much larger group of people. The current TSA security behavior ASSUMES all of us are potential terrorists, and treats us that way. The NSA justifies any intrusion on the small chance that any random call MIGHT tip them off to some terrible plot. Drug testing (BOTH for corporations and for welfare, etc.) assumes that anyone coming for a job or assistance might be a druggie, and thus justifies testing everyone (despite the fact that the cost of the TESTING is vastly higher than the cost of just letting the occasional druggie through).

It's basically the same logic that the MPAA/RIAA use for their increasingly draconic DRM and download prosecution schemes; ALL their potential customers are also, probably, criminals, and can't be trusted.

You know what? I don't like being treated as a criminal, as a liar, and a potential fraud at **ANY** level. And ALL of these programs -- ones liked by one side or another -- are actually doing the exact same thing.

It's a determination to try to do away with some perceived problem that allows itself to justify ANY action -- even the oppression, demonization, or outright criminalization of the vast majority -- if it can, possibly, achieve the goal.

It's all really the same thing, and it's as repulsive in the form of "freeloaders taking our hard earned dollars" as it is in the form of "We can't trust you with your music so we encrypt it", "we can't trust you with guns so we'll restrict them or outlaw them", or "we can't trust you not to hurt people on the plane, so you can't carry anything that we don't like".

In the end, it means the lawmakers -- and their enforcers -- see ALL OF US as the dangerous lower class, because the very laws and customs encourage them to see us that way.

And worst of all? They encourage *US* to see *EACH OTHER* that way.
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