Poverty Camp column plus rebuttal

Poverty Camp column plus rebuttal - "Poverty...

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"Poverty Camp" Shows Leftist Emphasis on Feelings over Impact by: Michael Medved    Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Why would any well-meaning citizen deride the widely-acclaimed “Poverty Camp” program in Ceres, California that allows privileged American teenagers to experience some of the hardship and destitution of the developing world? On my radio show today I made dismissive comments about this enterprise in order to expand on the same point featured in yesterday’s blog (about the recent SUICIDE FOR PEACE by a lefty activist in Chicago): that contemporary liberalism often exalts feelings above results, intentions above impact. While conservatives will try to measure a private action or public initiative based on the way it affects other people or changes the world at large, leftists emphasize the sincerity or emotion that motivated the behavior – regardless of its consequences broader, long-term consequences. . “Poverty Camp” takes teens and pre-teens from middle class and upper middle class backgrounds and gives them an immersion experience in a sort of Third World Disneyland. By chance, the kids are assigned to try to survive for a weekend in an African round house, a Cambodian bamboo shack on stilts, a Latin American urban slum, or an Appalachian cabin. The least fortunate campers are those who are designated “refugees” with no assigned home, no food rations, no possessions – forced to seek shelter and nourishment by imploring for mercy from the others. The food is meager and the means of preparation are primitive – in order to convey the sense of developing nation authenticity. The aim of the program is to underscore our absurdly privileged status in the United States, and to inspire young people to feel compassion and comprehension regarding the plight of the wretched of the earth. That’s a worthy goal, but the weekend experience itself does nothing – absolutely nothing – to improve the lives of suffering masses. Instead of using precious resources to provide a memorable “slumming it” experience for pampered punks, that money could go directly to unfortunates in Africa, Asia, Latin America, even Appalachia (though equating America’s poor to the impoverished billions of the Third World is a misleading obscenity). Even better, parents who want their kids to come into contact with poverty and suffering could actually encourage those children to volunteer at homeless shelters, feeding programs, battered women homes, senior citizen centers, day care centers, you name it. With no shortage of hurting and hopeless human beings (especially worthy of sympathetic attention in Christmas
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Poverty Camp column plus rebuttal - "Poverty...

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