A poverty of thought

Here are some questions I would like answered about this begging bylaw business.

Isn’t poverty the cause of begging? So why not just ban poverty? If we make it illegal to be poor, surely people who might be tempted to enjoy the poverty lifestyle and all it offers (sickness, depression, misery, and every rubbish bin offering a potential banquet!) will make better choices.

Why are all these right-wing council candidates so down on begging anyway? I keep hearing from our friends on the right how much money a person can make from begging. But if that’s the case, why ban it? Don’t right-wingers believe in free enterprise any more? Shouldn’t they be pushing to deregulate the begging industry?

Why should we care if some beggars are making good money and not paying any tax? Isn’t that what half the elites in this country do already?

And what about charity collectors? Aren’t they begging too? Should we ban the SPCA from holding its annual collection? Or are cats and dogs more important than the homeless people living on our streets?

Discussions about moving beggars out of CBDs seem to be motivated in part by concerns about what tourists might think when they visit our cities. So we’re openly saying that we’d like to actively conceal from our visitors the true state of our country and its economy, in order to paint an utterly false picture about how successful we are as a nation? Do I have this right? Isn’t that a bit dishonest?

And do we really think an overseas visitor would be shocked to see a beggar? I imagine they would get much more of a shock if they tried to swim in one of our “100 Pure” rivers.

If being confronted by the squalor, misery and hopelessness of our poor really does offend your sensibilities, could this simply mean that you are an awful person?

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Scott Yorke is a self-confessed left leaning lawyer, who runs a column called Imperator Fish as a hobby.