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You get to make choices in life, no matter where you are or what your situation.

Let's say there's been a rash of home invasions in a town, a criminal gang ripping people off, holding them at gun point, that sort of thing. Would you say that society shouldn't increase police protection because this is ultimately about the victims making good choices? What if the victims complain that the criminals need to brought to justice? Maybe the victims should be dusting for fingerprints, collecting evidence and investigating leads themselves, trying to recover their property themselves. If they can't, this just shows that they lack good morals and strong character traits like hard work and determination.

This is wrong because it doesn't matter whether you're a hard worker, you have the unconditional right to police protection and justice. We don't say that some groups of people are excluded from those rights because they haven't earned them - those are part of human dignity and you get them for free.

The argument that society ought to address poverty is argument about justice, that the suffering endured by the poor is a violation of their basic human dignity. When one of us is deprived of justice, all of us are deprived of justice, and the question of whether they can make choices to change their situation or whether they are morally worthy is irrelevant to this argument. The counter-argument is either that human dignity doesn't exist, or that the horrors and suffering endured by the majority of humanity so that a few can enjoy luxury doesn't constitute a deprivation of human dignity and justice.




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