Unemployment is Unimportant Only if People are Merely Animals

As it turns out, the unemployment rates are awful in this country, especially for the black community. Leftists look at the stats and it doesn’t seem like they care that much. And I think I understand why.

Leftists have a basically materialist perspective on human existence, which is heavily influenced by evolutionary anthropology and biological determinism. They believe that as long as you can survive, you shouldn’t care that much if your life counts for anything. According to leftists, the human animal’s apex of ambition is survival. So if you can siphon a living off of the people who do have jobs, you should be perfectly satisfied and fulfilled even if you don’t have a job. That might be true if humans were merely animals. Problem is, we’re not.

Take your dog, for instance. He is basically happy if he has food, shelter, and sex. Creature comforts. He doesn’t need a purpose or a calling. He would gladly laze around doing nothing all day. This is why “work like a dog” has always struck me as an odd cliché. You mean you laze about all day doing nothing? Sounds like torture.

But who am I kidding? It really does sound like torture to me. I can’t imagine how horrible I would feel if I had nothing productive to do. The idea of being jobless and without vocation terrifies me. Not because I wouldn’t be taken care of. I have an extremely generous family and church support system that would provide for me and my family far better than the civil government ever could—if I needed it. Poverty does not terrify me, but I’m terrified of the indignity of idleness. I’m itching to get back to work after only a few days of vacation. Chronic unemployment would sap my will to keep living.

Because we’re not just animals. There are things necessary to the human life beyond survival. That is the real failure of the welfare system: It provides bread, but it removes the incentive to find purpose.

I would argue that, for humans, purpose is more important than bread in almost all cases. If you look at what welfare has actually done in communities, you can’t successfully argue it has done very much good. Societies largely dependent on welfare have higher depression, higher family dissolution, and higher crime. Welfare is not a viable alternative to employment. Leftists would get that if they actually believed welfare recipients were anything more than animals.