Are liberals trying to prove conservatives right?

June 17, 2024 by Joshua
in Addiction, Leadership

Last week I posted about Why many litterers are entitled and one way the most entitled justify littering. People, including poor and homeless people, justify littering and try to stop me from cleaning up litter. They say other people are paid to do it, so it’s okay and right to leave plastic cups and food containers on the ground, then walk way.

The result: on pleasant days, my neighborhood looks like this:

This pattern fuels arguments to limit government, a generally conservative view. My neighborhood votes heavily democratic. Here Is the 2020 presidential vote:

Give people something free and they’ll take it for granted and feel entitled

I’m not trying to criticize. I want to motivate people to change culture. The predominant culture where I live tolerates and promotes pollution. I want to change it. I don’t think people see it.

Government and local business improvement districts cleaning up litter for people is leading them to take the service for granted. They feel entitled to drop their trash where they feel like it. A park covered in litter is worse for everyone, including themselves, but they behave in ways that hurt themselves to enjoy the labor of someone else cleaning up after them.

It’s tempting to say, “they’re poor and homeless. Some are sick. Cut them slack. They aren’t privileged like you and you don’t know what it’s like for them.”

Their behavior hurts other people and wildlife. Their waste isn’t benign. It’s poisonous. What people do that affects only themselves is their business, but hurting others involves others. Should I cut them slack if they mug me? Would you cut them slack if they mugged you, even if they’re poor, homeless, and sick and need money? Why would hurting someone far away, where their plastic ultimately washes ashore, or in their future, where their plastic ends up in their bloodstreams, matter less than you?

Besides, many polluters and litterers aren’t poor. NYU students and other secure, comfortable people leave garbage around too. Also, all the restaurants and stores that sell things needlessly packaged are part of the process. Restaurants and cafes have learned they save costs of washing dishes when the government takes responsibility for clearing their mess.

We’re treating workers like servants and acting entitled ourselves. Is government not motivating us to pollute more? Are we not all paying higher taxes for a dirtier, sicker environment?

I almost never see anyone eating an apple or homemade food from containers they bring home. It seems the heart of liberal democratic America is trying to prove that government help doesn’t help, at least regarding the environment.

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