Individuality and Social Safety Nets are not Enemies!
There is a pervasive cultural attitude, especially in rural and Republican-dominated states, that fosters the belief that social safety nets deny individuality. That those same people follow leaders easily and move and vote in lockstep is infuriating and amusing, but also a topic for another time. In this article, I want to explore a bit on how social safety nets would actually enable individuals to a far greater degree than not having them.
Firstly, I do want to state outright that our current system of safety nets is (at best) poorly designed and often punitive rather than rehabilitative or helpful. I am of the opinion that this is by design, but this too is something for another time. Save to say that I will contrast it to some extent, because the current welfare system is often what the militant individualist grouthink points to.
But first, let’s look to the basics and the ideal of the basics.
Social safety nets should be designed in such a way as to benefit everyone. This should be a given, but it is not. In the United States, it benefits almost no one, being rather a trap to maintain a caste system. However, this is not how it should be, and it would be both less cumbersome and more useful to make it universal, or at least guaranteed. I’ve written numerous articles on the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI), and also Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI). Both are viable public welfare options. I will also die on the hill that a nation cannot consider itself civilized if it does not have universal health insurance. Taxes are theft if they do not benefit the public.
This article is aimed primarily at the United States of America. The principles can be applied anywhere, but the USA has the biggest problems. Not because we are poor as a nation, but because our wealth disparity is so acute between the top and the bottom. I’ll not go into a great deal of detail on how and why we got here. Not that these histories are unimportant, but because fixing the past is impossible.
We need to rethink our lives. As a nation. There should not be such a thing as poverty in the richest nation on earth. This is not a failure of policy, it’s a failure of an entire…