The video below exposes abuses of the Food Stamp program. It illustrates the seemingly “good life” being lived by a California beach bum enjoying Food Stamps. He uses his Food Stamp card to buy lobster.
The video is intended to stir up an emotional response, but it doesn’t disturb me. In this particular case, Food Stamps seem wrong and stupid. But, on the other hand, the Food Stamps are only giving this guy $200 a month. I don’t see the sense in freaking out over $200 a month to some small-time hustler while our politicians are each ripping us off for tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even million of dollars per year. I don’t see the sense in criticizing the Food Stamp program while our government ships our industries and jobs overseas under the guise of “Global Free Trade”.
But I am disturbed by the beach bum’s arrogance. He has no real job. He has no real means of support other than government handouts and easy credit. He laughs, he smirks, and celebrates his “good life” without seeming to understand his destination. He’s 29 years old. He’s going nowhere. Within a couple of years, the surfing may be over and so might his life. Can this guy be taught to work at all, let alone work hard? What will he do when the gravy train comes to the end of the line?
He thinks he’s “gettin’ over”. He might be right. But I think he’s killing himself.
There’s something about being a dependent–a consumer–that seems conducive to suicide. Suicide by drugs, suicide by alcohol, suicide by promiscuity or even suicide by taking too many risks.
Look at the African-American community. Lots of welfare; but also lots of drugs, promiscuity, crime and even murder. I can’t help wondering if welfare may be conducive to self-destruction.
But why focus only on Blacks? I’ll bet that half the country–including Blacks, Browns and Whites–is to some degree dependent on government welfare or subsidies to survive. If my notions about the need to be independently capable of supporting yourself are roughly correct, what will the future hold for a nation that’s half-dependent on government support?
I don’t doubt that some people can live quite comfortably as parasites, consumers and dependents. Youth seems most conducive to a consumer mentality.
But, as we age, I think that most of us have to “do something” that at least supports the illusion of personal worth. It’s not enough to merely “live”; most of us must have lives that at least seem to have meaning and value. Thus, we’re predisposed to live “independently”; to find that sense of self-worth that may be necessary to our survival. Not everyone dies who has a low sense of self-worth, but I suspect that the absence of self-esteem is a common cause for diminished life-expectancy.
So I see the guy in this video and he makes me wince. He might still save himself, but for now–behind the grin, the girls and the surf–I doubt that he’ll live to be 40. Despite his claim to be enjoying “another day in paradise,” I see a “dead man walkin'”–and he doesn’t seem to have a clue. His “paradise” is a nicely-tended graveyard.
His story is “fascinating” (attractive and repulsive) because: 1) he may be killing himself; and 2) he’s grinnin’ all the while. He’s using the surf the way some people use “crack”. It’s not a place to go so much as a place to hide.