If you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you’re well aware that I don’t believe anyone is entitled to special treatment. In fact, if I’m getting something I haven’t earned, I often don’t like it. Getting something for nothing diminishes the value of the something. Also, it’s a little insulting. It’s as if the person extending that charity to me is saying that I’m just not capable of doing things for myself.
Now, to be clear, this doesn’t include things like presents to a family member or friend. You can say that, in a way, you’re earning those gifts by the value you provide to the gift giver. The person giving you a gift obviously values the relationship you’re a part of, enough to provide you with that gift. It’s not literally something for nothing. Do you give gifts to people you hate and can gain nothing from?
In Canada and the US, and possibly other places around the world, the native population is treated as children by the government. By supporting them with unearned money and housing, it’s making the statement that the government believes these people would be incapable of doing this on their own. This, in turn, perpetuates negative stereotypes among the general population.
I personally feel a great deal of sadness when I consider the horrific things the invaders of this continent did to it’s native inhabitants upon arrival, but what is even worse, to me, is how this demeaning and destructive behaviour has never stopped. It didn’t end with a single generation. The government has dragged out the torture for centuries.
Imagine that, from the day you were born, to the day you died, you never had a single responsibility. Personally, to have that now is an appealing thought. I wouldn’t stop working, personally, because I love what I do, but having no pressure to work would be nice. That’s not what we’re talking about here though. We’re talking about, from birth, never having any pressure to do anything to provide for yourself. What kind of life would that create?
Let’s say this was you. You never want for anything, so you never have to work. You never have to gain an education, develop a skill, or get a job, or do anything that would be otherwise a natural requirement for survival. You get to live of the efforts of someone else forever. How could you be blamed for acting irresponsibly, if your irresponsible actions have no consequences? Money means nothing to you, because it just comes without any effort, therefore the goods you purchase with this money have no real value to you. You would be living moment to moment, without the natural incentive to pursue long term goals.
When you don’t have to work for what you’re given, corruption becomes natural. It’s commonplace to read about corruption on native reserves among tribal leaders. They receive the money from the government to distribute among the tribe members. The only way they’ve been trained to earn money, is by taking it from the government, so naturally, they’d be inclined to try to maximize their profits by keeping as much as they can, and giving away as little as they can. It’s not easy to condemn someone for their actions, when it’s almost guaranteed that those actions would happen as a response to external stimulus – aka government handouts. The stereotypical behaviour displayed by many natives is, in my opinion, absolutely, 100% understandable, considering how they’ve been treated.
Let’s take this time to clarify that I do not think all natives have succumb to the existing pressure to behave in the ways I’ve pointed out above. I have an extreme respect for the vast numbers of those who somehow, against all odds, managed to see the situation they were in, and get into a better one. I can’t imagine that would be easy to do, but I can imagine not having any regrets once done. Living on the reserves is an easy answer, that the government has told you is perfectly acceptable. I honestly can’t say enough about how much wisdom those individuals are showing.
Remember, I don’t care about what anyone’s contribution to “society” is. These individuals are bound by nobody to get a job or make great scientific breakthroughs, or anything of that nature. Those would all be welcome, and would add value to the free market, but they are just as entitled to do absolutely nothing, provided they do not act as a burden on an unwilling participant.
Society is just a collection of individuals. Your actions are affecting individuals, and by abstracting these people as “society”, it only makes it easier to rationalize acting negatively to those individuals. To say that the native population is society’s problem, is to say that every one of us is being blamed, personally, for the actions of a few, generations ago, and we are somehow responsible for the compensation of the native individuals of the current generation, to which we have also done no wrong.
The government’s cruelty to the native population needs to end. I would love to see citizens and businesses work to educate current and future generations of natives about the value of their life, and the joy the pursuit of happiness itself can bring. There is profit in this action, for all involved.
I am so lucky that I was not born into the same situation as those on a reserve. I don’t know if I’d have had the courage and wisdom to get out.