Watching as someone else builds you a new house that someone else paid for in the expression of your societal RIGHT to decent and affordable housing. The government has let an RFP 'on your behalf' for your care and feeding. They do the planning, financing and construction of your residence. All that is left for you to do is to move in and put your feet up on the coffee table (which you have rented).
As part of expressing your need and preference to have quality and affordable housing you express this value by seeking to maximize the organic contribution to this effort by insisting that 'your people' take part in the planning and construction of these new residences. You insist that any tenant allowed to live within pay a certain rate that is commensurate with THEIR valuation of this resource and not just some arbitrary percentage that they can afford based on their current income. Instead the demand is flipped around "if you indeed value this quality standard of living....you make note of how important it is for you to develop labor skills in kind that a 'consumer of labor' is willing to pay for".
What is the key distinction between these two scenarios? In my view it is all a matter of the assumed equality or inferiority of the resident who stands as the beneficiary of these government service. I have said plenty of times before - there are some advocates who are fighting for the "receipt of" a certain benefit more than they are conscious of the importance of the process by which a certain standard of living is achieved. They are quite happy that their constituent's stomachs are full of fish that was handed to them. These advocates are able to sit back with pride and make note that indeed they have done God's work on behalf of his children.
For me as I take a step back and analyze the entire impact of such a system of advocacy it is clear that some of the key problems that plague us today as a community are amplified because so many of our leaders and our people are more interested in the "receipt of benefit" rather than having this benefit expressed upon our own backs. In fact some believe that it is indignant to expect the "victim" to contribute to his own salvation when in fact it was society that has trampled over him so. To them this is true for the 99 year old Black woman who actually lived through "Jim Crow" and the Black baby born to the world just yesterday for indeed his trajectory down the path that is laced with oppression has already been set for him by them. This is inescapable for the acceptance of this notion is central to the advocate's agenda.
I was in my home town of Philly, West Philly to be exact about 5 months ago. As I drove to my original neighborhood at 61st and Jefferson I witnessed about 3 young boys sitting on the stairs shooting the breeze. I used to do this with my friends when I was there age so I understood fully. I could not help but notice what did change in the old neighborhood, however. For every sidewalk and front garden (a little patch of dirt about 12' x 15') that was well kept there was 2 that was unraked, trash strewn and in need of some manual intervention. Where as when I was on the block we made a wad of money shoveling snow for our neighbors today the demand is equally as strong for these young men to make money by tending to the cleanliness of the community. Instead they were seemingly aloof to the general conditions that were around them. For me as an outsider with more worldly experience, having lived in different areas I saw this as evidence of unemployed minds. The very process of raising the standard of cleanliness in this specific community also directs the activities of those who are within and also provides some measure of economic velocity. At the end of the day the tenant or landlord seeking to express their value for the clean state of their property will pay these young boys money in exchange. Is there a better way to prime the pump than by expecting the people themselves to show their value for their environment?
Sadly much of the advocacy that takes place on behalf of these young boys in Philly and elsewhere is focused upon having external forces to express THEIR valuation of these people's lives by directing resources toward them (raining resources upon the unwashed) so that the society can express that indeed they are equal beings just as other groups are seen in the society. As their theory goes - if society shows that it is inclusive and accommodating then the bitterness of being "left outside" on the margins of society will be overcome. These young boys will then be motivated to try to fit in with this greater society.
OK buddy. If you say so.
In truth it is the reverse that has proven to be the more effective path toward prosperity. In having an ORGANIC set of expectations from the people by having them express their own self worth by starting with their community-mates, the property that they have control over and their schools the PROCESS and POLICIES that are in place to bring this to fruition will condition these formerly "unwashed masses" into a more fruitful conclusion. Don't get me wrong - there is indeed "conditioning" going on in the first example. The people are indoctrinated into having some external force to take up their cause and they follow. For me it is the sight of the aftereffects that show if and when individuals with a different set of policy priorities step into office and cut these programs. As a Black community we tend to damn those who change the POLICIES rather than to ask the more fundamental question - "Should we be outsources so much of the important elements of our local communities to the government which changes hands on occasion in the first place!?!?!". To look at the tepid results from these programs and then claim injury upon their loss of funding speaks to the need to evaluate all of these programs from the stand point of COMPREHENSIVENESS and ENDURANCE. They fail both of these AND the test of ORGANICISM. "Not your money thus you don't have ultimate control over what is done with it".
Let me now address the next commonly heard claim. "Yes it is OUR MONEY!! I paid TAXES and now I demand services!". To this I say - your actions are not consistent with a person who has given more resources out and been short changed in the benefit received back. In fact there are ample examples of how when there is a net negative in receipts the people will seek to STOP SENDING THEIR MONEY out of their domain of control and instead have it remain within their boundary. Thus clearly the average person who makes this statement instead have the expectations that they will pay "according to their means" but receive back "according to their needs". I beg anyone to argue any other logical foundation for their actions?
The importance of measuring the "organicism" of a solution cannot be taken for granted. It is the key distinction between having a perplexing problem of today remain that way for future generations or having implemented more effective processes upon the people and thus encultrating a new set of thoughts and actions which diminish this as a problem over time.
I repeat my view that those who are most able to identify the damage done with the loss of our culture during the time when our "self determination" was stolen from us are not necessarily the most qualified to REESTABLISH a functional culture where organicism, comprehensiveness, endurance and effectiveness of the solutions that are proposed is considered. In fact they are more likely to reconstruct a culture of DEPENDENCY. This must be rejected.