Saturday, January 25, 2014

Can We Stop with the Short Sighted "Good" Ideas?

Every now and again I see people saying things that's just asking for someone to kick them.

For example, the idea of random drug testing for beneficiaries.

Doesn't sound all that bad right? A few months ago I came across a TED talk that had me worried. In it, it was stated that there are 2 states within the United States that don't allow voting if you've been within the prison system.

Why did this have me worried? Because it does a couple of things. It implies that once you've been in the prison system, you no longer have a voice. You aren't a person anymore. You don't have your views represented.

But the clip got worse. If you look at the population of non-whites in prison in comparison to the ratio of non-whites to whites in general population, you start to see something really wrong. There's a tendency to target the poor.

In other words, while the laws apply to everyone, in practise it's quite different.

Back to beneficiaries, what would the effect be from random drug testing?

We would be telling beneficiaries that we don't trust them. Given the effects of long term multi-generation state dependency, this is the opposite of what people need to get out of their situation.

We would be creating a situation with an "us" and a "them". They are no longer people. They are beneficiaries.

We would be targeting laws toward certain people. We know that there are people in all parts of society who do drugs. There's a pretty good chance that you, at the very least, have tried it.

But it's illegal to do so! In this country at least. So why would we want people targeted and getting into trouble for a law for which A LOT of us have broken? Should people be targeted by virtue of being poor?

Basically, it's not about drugs at all. It's a way of creating an "us" and a "them". It's a way of getting votes. It's a dumb arse reactionary policy that no one in their right mind would want to do.

Basically, I would love for this kind of politics to be taken out behind a shed and shot. Let people know why this sort of crap is an amazingly bad idea and talk about net effects of such discrimination.

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