Don’t Feed the Strays

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina has committed a bit of a gaffe in sharing what he was taught about charity:

My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.

Eric Falkenstein adds some not-so-folksy wisdom:

One could nuance that, by saying ‘The most melancholy of human reflections, perhaps, is that on the whole, it is a question whether the benevolence of mankind does more good or harm (Walter Bagehot). Or that ‘The poor don’t need money or pity, they need temperance, diligence, thrift and other bourgeois virtues’. Or that ‘The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools’ (Herbert Spenser). Same idea.

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