The Corner

re: Stigmas

Several responses to my post from this morning on food stamps and social stigmas:

E-mail #1:

Your blog today lamenting the diminished stigma to accepting food stamps struck me as callous and not as thoughtful as I know you to be.  Obviously, the vast majority of new food stamp recipients would rather be working and buying their own food.  Most are not voluntarily unemployed people and need no additional shame to get them back on the job once that job is available to them again.   Would you have cruised the bread lines during the Great Depression shouting “Get a Job!” ?   Your post today makes one wonder.

E-mail #2:

You are certainly correct about the culture of “permanent poverty” where no shame attaches to anyone on the dole these days.  I am a Public Defender in Missouri and I deal with the indigent everyday.  However, I must say that over the past year or so, I have seen many new clients who used to work but are now unable to find employment.

The number of available low skilled jobs appear to have significantly declined over the past year.  While I join you in your lament about the loss of the work ethic, I would bet that the numbers you cite are perhaps a sign of the worsening economy as well as the lessening of the stigma usually attached to such things.

Me: Obviously there are hardship cases, especially nowadays. We should show compassion for those who are down on their luck. Good people can be put in tough positions through no fault of their own. At the same time, I fear for the day when no stigma attaches itself to the acceptance of government handouts.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

Most Popular


Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More