Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today I was reading an editorial in The Daily Tar Heal, the student newspaper for UNC-CH. On the last page where they have the editorials there was one there that I found rather odd. It was, as far as I could tell, written in all seriousness. The editorial dealt with a proposed city ordinance in Chapel Hill that would make panhandling illegal. It is already illegal in certain locations within the city but this would make a city wide ban on panhandling.

After presenting the situation in the opening paragraphs the editorial came to the point and explained why they (the editorial staff) was opposed to such a measure. After pointing out that the ordinance would be difficult to enforce (so would a noise ordinance but they have those too) and ineffective (see difficult to enforce) they come to the crux of the matter as to why they are opposed to it, because it "infringes upon individual freedoms"....wait...WHAT? I barely know how to respond to that, but wait there's more!

From the subtitle of the editorial there is some clarification, "Proposed Chapel Hill anti-panhandling ordinance would be ineffective and degrading". So in other words it is a fundamental right for people to beg on the street and denying them that right would be "degrading". This to say, if homeless people want to beg then we should not infringe on their "individual freedoms" because doing so, and preventing them from begging would be "degrading" and "dehumanizing". So we should keep them on the street and encourage them to beg so that they can maintain their dignity and their humanity! Does anyone see a problem with this?!?

I don't think I could adequately write a proper response to this horrific debasement of reason and logic, if those terms could even be applied to that editorial. To be fair, in the rest of the editorial they make a case and they have a semblance of a valid argument, but that's like my saying a dinner was great, except for the main dish, when the main dish was a cow pie.

No comments: