The Lure Of The Mommy State

A YouTube video of a woman who has 15 children and does not feel like looking after them is doing rounds on Facebook.  She claims that someone else should really take the responsibility of taking care of her brats. Unlike the street bum who slyly asks for a cent, she thinks that she deserves to get it good and hard. Many libertarians are pointing out some facts: She grew up poor, with the implicit notion that the “Mommy state” has always been there, and will always be there to feed and clothe not just her, but also the long line of babies behind her. She is black, and the state has kept her poor. It all makes them feel terrible for her and her welfare babies, as most libertarians who would rather party and play poker than feel for her.

The response it elicited from the libertarian community was amusing. Someone drew up a feasible business plan: “In a libertarian society this would be easily dealt with. Since prostitution would be legal, it would be the perfect job for her to support her mob of children!” Someone else had a more ingenious one: “Her husband was a drug dealer. Now, she can be a baby dealer!  They should force her to sell some of those kids to willing rich families, and with that money she could care for the rest. Hey, Mrs. 15 kids has found her niche in the market!” Many were suddenly reminded of the iron fist of the paternal state: “Two words: Mandatory sterilization.” Social Darwinists were even more honest: “So now that they are here, and she obviously can’t take care of them. What should we do? I say let them all starve to death. It is what would happen if natural biological processes were to be at work. It feels bad to be her kids, but I don’t feel bad. She should. She is the one who brought them to the world to starve.” The rest turned their face: “Pathetic. That lady is disgusting”

My position is rather complicated than black and white. Quick points: 1) I sympathize more with welfare mothers than oldies on welfare, but it doesn’t entitle anyone to breed like rabbits. 2) The state is bad. 3) Given the fact that many feel terrible for her, I have mixed feelings about even private charity. 4) I feel really bad for her children and think that they need help. They have a pretty raw deal, and it is none of their fault. But, I doubt whether their trajectory would be any different, as adult promiscuity is largely innate. 5) It is obvious to me that we are not obliged to help strangers. But, it is hard to convince me that it is entirely the fault of blacks that they are behind and remain so. Likewise, in India, tribals who form 9% of the population are the victims of 40% of the land acquisitions. So, in reality, things are more complicated than they are in ‘Atlas Shrugged’. It is also disturbing that the fact that she is black is part of reason she angers many. To sum it all up, I can only paraphrase the great Murray Rothbard: “Left-liberals might try to evade the truth by charging that this is the old conservative tack of “blaming the victim.” They’re wrong. No one is blaming the babies. “

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