Carlo's Corner: Obviously, the most virtuous thing to do is create more poor

June 13, 2014
The true function of the poor is to give the rich a chance to develop their virtue.

Social services minister Kevin Andrews has defended the Coalition government's attacks on welfare — including proposals to deny jobless under-30s any payment at all for six months — on the grounds that “too much intervention” denies citizens the opportunity to achieve something for themselves.

Which is true. I mean, if you keep pampering youth unable to find work with the ability to afford food, how will they ever find the drive to learn how to nick Kevin Andrews' car? Or the initiative to achieve the necessary skills to get round his home security system to empty his house of anything valuable so they can pay rent?

But, as Andrews points out, it is not just those in need of assistance who lose out when the government gives them assistance. No, by helping those in need, the minister says the government cruelly denies wealthy citizens the chance to prove their “virtue” via charity.

“The act of giving,” said Andrews, “becomes a professional activity and indeed a function of the state rather than an act of charity and love directed towards our fellow human beings.”

Finally, a political leader with the vision and courage to spell out the true function of the poor — to give the rich a chance to develop their virtue! And absolutely fair enough if you think it through. How on Earth could any society prove its virtue if it looked after the poor?

This is a unique approach to poverty and misery that sees these things not as terrible blights on society, or even unavoidable evils, but rather a glorious opportunity for moral advancement.

No wonder the Abbott government is working so hard to create more suffering. It might look like they are being heartless pricks, but actually, the greater the poverty, the greater the opportunity for virtuous acts.

So really, the truly heartless thing, as the proudly Christian Andrews teaches us, would be to eradicate poverty and, in doing so, create an immoral, sinful world without hunger or suffering.

By such standards, this is a deeply moral government, with the June 6 Age reporting: “More than half a million young people could need emergency assistance — including food packages — as a direct result of an Abbott government change which welfare groups have warned will lead to 'catastrophe'.”

Wow, a catastrophe! Just imagine the opportunities to develop virtue this will offer up! Really, sometimes I think these Liberals just give too much, you know? Someone should tell them there really is such a thing as being too kind.

[Carlo Sands will be performing along with others at Green Left Weekly's Abbottalypse Now! comedy fundraiser in Sydney on Sat. August 23. You can book here.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.