(Thanks to the Rude Pundit for this one)
Prager posits that it’s impossible that people are so poor that they can’t afford food for their kids for breakfast, an ignorance so deep, abiding, elitist, and disturbing that it’s impossible to take anything else he says seriously. He writes, “[A]ny home that cannot provide its child with breakfast demands a visit from child protective services.”…. Who’s gonna pay for the hundreds of thousands of extra visits by child protective services? The state. Seriously, conservatives, you gotta leave some things alone. You gotta be willing at some point to walk…away from your most ludicrous, reductive attempts to justify your government-hating, hypocritical ideology. Do you understand how ridiculous you sound when you say shit like “the Left has damaged children and families through free school breakfasts”? Who are you talking to? Which cruel yahoos are you appealing to?
There are those among us who view virtually any sort of charitable activity as borderline socialism, slowly but surely destroying the fabric of our country by creating a dependent class. That this heartless, inhuman world view is almost too absurd for words almost goes without saying. The cruelty inherent in such a cold, black view of the world is truly stunning. Enter Dennis Prager, a self-appointed expert on child hunger and all manner of other moral issues. Never being one to let facts get in the way of some truly satisfying self-righteous moral outrage, Prager is adept at cherry-picking facts and misinterpreting them to fit whatever his preconceived notion of the moment happens to be.
In this case, Prager has his panties in a wad over the Los Angeles Unified School District’s “Food for Thought” free breakfast program, which is being discontinued. The immorality of feeding children aside, Prager is all atwitter over not being able to understand the need for such a program.
First, the program was created to solve a problem that does not exist.
It is inconceivable that there are five, let alone 200,000 or the projected 450,000, homes in Los Angeles that cannot afford breakfast for their child. A nutritious breakfast can be had for less than a dollar. For examples, go to the website “webMD” which lists five “Breakfast Ideas for a Buck.”
Second, it both enables and encourages irresponsible, uninterested, and incompetent parenting. Given how inexpensive breakfast can be (not to mention the myriad public and private programs that provide food for poor households), any home that cannot provide its child with breakfast demands a visit from child protective services. Any parent who cannot give a child breakfast is not too poor; he or she is too incapable of being, or too irresponsible to be, a competent parent.
Third, even where decent parents are involved, free breakfasts at school weaken the parent-child bond. Hundreds of thousands of parents who are able, and happy, to provide their child with breakfast have accepted the offer — because anything free is too enticing for an increasing number of Americans….
And fourth, the free breakfast profoundly weakens young people’s character. When you grow up learning to depend on the state, you will almost inevitably — even understandably — assume that the state will take care of you. And you will grow up also assuming — as do Europeans, who give far less to charity than Americans for this very reason — that the state will take care of your fellow citizens, including your own children.
While it may be “inconceivable” to Prager that there are 200,000 children whose parents cannot afford breakfast, he provides only his gut reaction to refute the number. No facts, no research- just Dennis Prager’s twitchy moral compass. Not exactly the sort of thing a prudent person would base public policy on, right??
And then there’s the “irresponsible parenting” and “handouts destroy character” tirades. I don’t know what the numbers are when it comes to family income in the LAUSD area, but it’s possible that affording food is an issue. Prager cites nothing to support his argument save for his own prejudice. As for the “handouts destroy character” canard, it’s true that when administered improperly, a program can miss its target. It’s an imperfect system, but the social contract is neither measurable nor concrete. It’s a concept, and when looking out for children becomes “profoundly weakens young people’s character,” you have to know you’re dealing with someone who’s never missed a meal in his privileged life.
OK, so cue the self-righteous smug arrogance:
Virtually everything the Left touches is either immediately or eventually harmful. The free-breakfast program is only one, albeit a particularly dramatic, example.
Why, then, do progressives advocate it? Because it meets three essential characteristics of the left wing: It strengthens the state; it has governmental authority replace parental authority; and, perhaps most important, it makes progressives feel good about themselves. The overriding concern of the Left is not whether a program does good. It is whether it feels good.
Prager hasn’t offered a single quantifiable fact…and yet he’s holding forth on how everything the Left touches turns to crap? Unless his argument is that he’s an arrogant, unrepentant ass, all he’s offered is insult, innuendo, and cheap, careless talking points. Then again, that’s generally all Prager has to offer…on ANY subject.
Don’t even get me started on all the things Conservatives have screwed up (the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the hunt for Osama bin-laden, preventing 9.11, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum). As a member of a political party that’s largely a collection of moral misfits, Prager certainly has an unjustifiably high opinion of the Conservative track record.