The sorriest casualty of modern social activism is the wholesale numbing of the noble sentiments of compassion and charity that used to attend to the misfortunes of the down-and-out. Every time the sick, the homeless, the unemployed immigrant, the single mother and every other trademarked victim of tax-funded social agencies with decorated offices, junketing budgets and public relations managers is trotted out in the media as a hostage for more government funding and regulation, I am less inclined to negotiate for their release. And I doubt that I'm alone. It's not compassion fatigue, it's political fatigue, and it's too bad… I still drop coins into the palms of those whose faces I can see unmediated by mass advocacy campaigns, but as plastic manufactured tokens and the necessary accoutrements of politically-oriented movements and institutions I am indifferent.
As a Canadian, I would be much more reassured if Minister Finley and the Conservatives stopped patronizing these professional political agencies as though they were unloved stepchildren from a previous marriage whom the government is reluctant to disavow but who keep demanding support payments, and more as the charitably-inclined organizations they claim to be. Never minding of course that government manipulation of housing, rental and employment markets is responsible for the greatest part of homelessness in this country during the last quarter century, one doesn't really expect the general sort of economic understanding that would abstain from demanding more of the kind from government from the graduates of social sciences and humanities who eagerly settle for the non-productivity of professional activism. But if they really wanted us to believe their claims to benevolence and charity, would they stoop to this kind of hyperbolic extortion method?
A London MP yesterday accused a federal minister of "reneging" on promised funding for local housing initiatives to help the homeless. New Democrat housing critic Irene Mathyssen also demanded Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and social development, restore the funding "immediately."
Would a voluntary charity ever dream of coming to your door and telling you that "people will die" if you don't hand over your twenty bucks?
The head of the London Homeless Coalition says "people will die" over the harsh winter if the agencies don't get the funding that was to carry some programs for the homeless through to April.
Cross posted to Dust my Broom