Quote [64] – Society, Dignity & Social Security

We must turn the power and resources of our private enterprise system to the underdeveloped nation within our midst.  This should be done by bringing into the ghettos themselves productive and profitable private industry – creating dignified jobs, not welfare handouts, for the men and youth who now languish in idleness. Make gentle the life of this world
The jobs have fled to the suburbs, or have been replaced by machines, or have moved beyond the reach of those with limited education and skills …

The fact is, if  we want to change these conditions – those of us here in this room, those of us who are in the establishment, whether it be business, or labour, or government – we must act.  The fact is that we can act.  And the fact is also that we are not acting.

Make gentle the life of this world
Our society – all our values, our views of each other, and our own self-esteem; the contribution we can make to ourselves, our families, and the community around us – all these things are built on the work we do.  But too many of the inhabitants of these areas are without the purpose, the satisfaction, or the dignity that we find in our work. Make gentle the life of this world
And there are others: on the back roads of Mississippi, where thousands of children slowly starve their lives away, their minds damaged beyond repair by the age of four or five; in the camps of the migrant workers, a half million nomads virtually unprotected by collective bargaining or social security, minimum wage or workmen’s compensation, exposed to the caprice of fate and the cruelty of their fellow man alike; and on Indian reservations where the unemployment rate is 80 percent, and where suicide is not a philosopher’s question but the leading cause of death among young people. Make gentle the life of this world
And the effects of the shortage of meaningful employment are reinforced by a welfare structure which is frequently destructive both of individuals and of the community in which they live.

More basically, welfare itself had done much to divide our people, to alienate us one from the other.  Partly this separation comes from the understandable resentment of the taxpayer, helplessly watching your welfare rolls and your property tax rise.  But there is greater resentment among the poor, the recipient s of our charity.  Some of it  comes from the brutality of the welfare system itself: from the prying bureaucrat, an all powerful administrator deciding at his desk who is deserving

Make gentle the life of this world

 

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