The hardest evidence to evaluate critically is the evidence that supports your own point of view. If you think that welfare recipients are “gaming the system”, then you’ll probably swallow this bit of tripe without a second thought. It fits perfectly into what you already believe, and what you want to believe. Don’t feel bad…it’s human nature. Changing your worldview is hard.
Left-leaning individuals are guilty of selective credulity as well. I know I’m more likely to believe a “fact” that is embarrassing to the likes of John Boehner or Rush Limbaugh. But I try to view everything through the lens of skepticism – even ideas that reinforce my beliefs. If a meme is full of baloney, no matter how much it makes me laugh, I avoid passing it on.
I wish it were the same everywhere. Clearly the person who shared this meme showed almost no skepticism at all. It reeks of whopper-ness. Let’s start with the fact that there are no names at all, and the only location given in the story is the street on which the alleged theft took place. I challenge you to locate ten stories from authentic newspapers that are as bereft of details as this one. Journalists specialize in details, so it isn’t very realistic to assume that somebody would let this story slip by with so few specifics.
There are also no details about how the theft occurred. According to the report, the victim’s doors were locked, but there’s no mention of broken windows or picked locks. Was the victim mistaken in her belief that she had secured her car? There’s a glaring logical hole in the story that could be filled with a single sentence – even a subordinate clause – but the author has bizarrely chosen to omit it. Why?
I will tell you why (as if you haven’t already figured it out, astute reader): it’s because none of this ever happened. There was no automobile break-in. There was no $400 purse or $200 wallet. There was no money. There were no food stamps. The story is a complete prevarication, a falsehood, a distortion, a fib, a lie. The author’s legs must surely be covered with severe burns, for his pants are on fire.
The only reason this bit of nonsense exists is because, in the author’s mind, it makes welfare recipients look like lazy dishonest moochers. As I’ve said before, if you’re particularly uncompassionate, even contemptuous, toward the suffering of others, then you will stop at nothing – not even outright lying – to make them look bad. And if you didn’t create this fiction, but you’re still hateful enough to pass it on without a sliver of skepticism or remorse…well, you’re not much better than the person who created it in the first place, in my book.
And, just to be sure I’ve covered all my bases, I will pretend – just for a minute – that there’s a grain of truth to this story. Maybe there was a woman whose expensive purse and wallet were stolen, along with her large amount of cash and her food stamps. (I’m surprised the author didn’t bother to tell us how expensive her car was.) So what? Maybe the woman had recently lost her job and divorced, leaving her to care for her young children alone and without a steady income. Maybe she had bought the purse and wallet during better times. Maybe the $800 represented every penny she had. Maybe she had withdrawn it all from the bank in order to buy her kids medicine, clothing, and shelter while she desperately looked for work in a harsh economy. There are a thousand maybes – mitigating factors that portray the woman as anything other than a good-for-nothing drain on the system – but you’ll never hear the author mention any of them, for three reasons:
- The maybes detract from the author’s portrayal of food stamp recipients,
- the story is completely false anyway, and
- the author is an ass.