Mon Oct 13 2014 1:39 pm
As long as restaurants are required, by law, to provide toilet facilities for their customers, and cities are required, by law, to process the sewage that comes from those facilities, nations that benefit from highly competitive economies that, by their nature, create those who lose and suffer, must be held accountable for mitigating such suffering, to whatever degree the wealth they enjoy permits.
We have long been wealthy enough as a nation to use the crumbs that fall from our table to meet this moral obligation. All the components needed can be sourced by tapping the second-use market or from materials destined to be dumped. Further, advances in solar energy capture make a growing portion of the energy needed for such a system potentially free.
The federal bill that would oblige government, at every level, to collaborate in creating and maintaining this safety net would guarantee every individual under jurisdiction the following:
- a safe place to sleep,
- adequate sanitation facilities,
- provision for washing one's clothes (by hand, at minimum),
- an adequate diet,
- potable water,
- publicly-owned telephone and internet access,
- adequate lighting and heat.
The resources to do this are well within reach, but the moral fiber and will required to actualize it will have to be developed if we are justifiably able to lay claim to being a truly advanced nation. Part of that process will require laying aside the tendency to look down on people we consider to be losers, ne'er-do-wells, reprobates and social outcasts, and just be thankful that we don't share their lot in life. The state of Utah has shown this open-handed approach to be much more cost-effective in getting people back on their feet than assistance provided on a more conditional basis. It is well known that people who have been helped get back on their feet are generally more likely to help others get back on their feet than those who have never suffered similarly. The best way to heal society is to ensure that those who have the most acute subjective knowledge of the problem are put in the best position to becoming part of the solution. I call this lateral social assistance, as opposed to hierarchical.
This bill of a right to housing should be the cornerstone of a new approach to all matters of housing, including rental housing, that spin off from it.
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