The food stamp program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They proudly report that they distribute free meals and food stamps to over 46 million people on an annual basis,Meanwhile, the National Park Service, run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘please do not feed the animals.’ Their stated reason for this policy being that … “The animals will grow dependent on the handouts, and then they will never learn to take care of themselves,This concludes today’s lesson. Any questions?”
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that people, even hungry people who are down on their luck, are in no way analogous to wild animals. However, the further away we move as a country from treating poor, hungry people with dignity and respect, the easier it will become for politicians, think tanks and the press to establish a narrative that very heavily insinuates that poor people are mindless idiots, incapable of foresight and of responsibly spending emergency food money.
This narrative, if established, will lead to further unnecessary expansion of the state, especially in health and social services, as poor people – instead of being given emergency cash grants or interest-free crisis loans – will instead be herded through multiple taxpayer-funded or subsidised agencies and forced to jump through degrading and humiliating hoops all for a bag of heavily processed simple carbohydrates, tinned fruit swimming in syrup and cheap meat of often unverifiable origin.
Make no mistake, the current public face of foodbank assistance is one of cheery goodwill (Big Society bollocks) but if the public accepts this poor substitute for actual emergency food money, a substitute that denies the recipient the right to make their own choices – and instead forces food that middle and upper class people would rather die than eat themselves onto struggling members of the working class – it’s only a matter of time before this sort of mindless yet absolutely poisonous rhetoric makes its way across to our shores and is espoused by supposedly respectable political commentators and media outlets.