The Fields of Athenry

I think that Irish Potato famine is a perfect example of why we need some form of governemnt welfare. In that situation you had people who absolutely could not do anything other than live a hand-to-mouth existance who were hopeless in the face of a natural disaster that they could niether have predicted nor avoided. I would say that society has a moral responsibility to ensure the survival of it's most at risk members and that is is therefore the duty of the others to sacrifice.

This arguments answers the objectivist claim that self-reliance is the pinnacle of human achievement and that efforts to have others support you are inherently immoral.

It cannot answer the argument that society as a whole has no need nor duty to its weaker members but I deny that that is a true society.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the farmers couldn't diversify. Why? Because the local government demanded potatoes.

lucky said...

Obviously, the causes of the Famine are much more complicated and complex than that: the compounding of arcane Irish inheritance laws which subdivided land into ever-smaller tracts with each successive generation; the arrogance, disinterest--and in many cases outright hostility--of the British Empire toward its "foreign" subjects; and the lack of any kind of rent control, which permitted land lords to ratchet up rents at will, forcing people off the land and into a pathetic nomadic existence.

Welfare, rent control and forward-looking foodbase-diversification policies are all within the mandate of any progressive government.

Children's Songs said...

Irish American Vernacular English

very interesting