In an era of gutted safety nets and robust social media, more poor and struggling people are turning to e-begging or private fundraising sites like GoFundMe to make ends meet, to pay for medical bills, or to recover from natural disaster. What should be the responsibility of the government has been dumped at the feet of the poor, and the poor in turn have asked their family and friends for help.
Getting such help is encouraged by both charities and government agencies. Applications for assistance are often followed by interviews where the agency representative will ask the applicant questions like, Have you asked friends and family for assistance? Can someone loan you the money? and What about people you know? If they can get everyone with loved ones to borrow, they can preserve limited funds for those without.
Cultural attitudes of disdain toward poor people, especially poor blacks and poor single mothers, are negative and nasty. Slut-shaming, racism, misogyny, ableism, and of course classism pepper the discourse. Social Darwinists come out of the woodwork to opine over which people aren’t fit to survive and why it would be a mercy to sterilize them all. Disdain for impoverished people has been associated with affection for eugenics since the origin of the word.
There are some people who hate kindness, even when it costs them nothing. Of course they oppose social welfare programs funded by taxes. But they go further. These are the people who comment on individual fundraising campaigns for individuals with hardship “Get a job!” Fundraising, e-begging, or even reader sponsored blogging are all targets of their rage.
And it baffles me. Private fundraisers are voluntary. Begging, on the street or online, means only getting money from those willing to give. There is no exploitation in a request that can freely be denied. Yet such requests which cost them nothing, even if made to someone else and not to them, inspire anger.
This ire betrays the truth. Their stance is not one of limited government or low taxes; they simply hate poor people. The thought of someone they so despise being well housed, well clothed, and well fed infuriates them. It is not self-preservation and their own personal wealth that concerns them, but the outrageous and intolerable existence of those they would like to watch die.