I realized that quip to describe the phenomenon where someone of the opposite sex looks attractive from a distance, but less so the closer you get to them, also applies to the poor and needy.
Deserving from afar, far from deserving?
I’ve noticed that the folks who tend to be strong advocates for the generic needy (the needy from afar), become less so the closer they get to specific needy people and to their own wallets.
I, again, recall a conversation with a friend who owned a car lot. He was a strong advocate for the deserving and faceless “minimum wage worker,”, because they were powerless against employers. But, apparently the car salesmen on his lot weren’t deserving of that treatment since he treated them as contractors so he wouldn’t have to be locked into paying them minimum wage.
Health insurance is another example. The faceless uninsured was used to garner support for Obamacare because everyone ‘deserves access to health care’. But, put faces on some of the uninsured and look at some of the choices they’ve made — like paying for an expensive cell phone plan, instead of buying insurance — and the ‘deserving’ moniker starts to make less sense.
This exposes a good tactic to use in conversations with people who have the ‘deserving from a far, but far from deserving’ affliction. First, put some faces on those who they think are deserving.
Their next argument will be that those are only a few abusers or outliers and ‘that should be fixed, but doesn’t take away from the vast majority of the other (faceless) deserving.’
To which, a good response is, “How do you know? Are you guessing?”