Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale


From a discussion over at odanu's journal:
"But I'm not responsible for your starvation". No, actually, you're not, but the inequities in the system that allowed you to get the advantages of a middle class existance while others are locked tightly into a cycle of uneasy housing and scarce food is partly responsible. And you are part of that system, as you did not make your life in a vacuum. And your place in that system is due in part to the existance of those at the bottom.
Edited to add: The problem, though, is that people tend to get veeeery bent-out-of-shape when you point this out. This happens for a variety of reasons--maybe they're not as successful as they'd like to be within the system that they've devoted their lives to. Maybe they derive comfort from seeing the situations of the people on the bottom as results of their own bad choices rather than inherent inequity. (And this isn't a malicious comfort--I think for most, it's not so much a "Screw 'em, let 'em rot" thing as a "They failed, but *I* won't! It can't happen to me! I made the *right* choices!" thing.) Maybe it is difficult--as it is for so many people--for them to see that their own situations aren't very analogous to others'; that what worked for their own success won't necessarily work for someone else's.

No matter the reason, though, the very suggestion that "society, not the individual, is broken" is met with a lot of moral outrage against it. And I should like the reader to consider some things:

Where does the idea that "If bad things happen, it's your own damn fault" come from?
Why is there such a cultural signifier that someone who says "Blame society!" is naive, a whiner, deluded by propaganda, or actively seeking to evade punishment for his own misdeeds?

When you internalize the idea "If I'm poor, it's my fault for making bad choices", who benefits?
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