Stealing to Survive – A Grave Sin in Conservatism

I knew a man who was homeless for a while. Of course he needed food, so he told me that he would go into corner markets, grab a sandwich or whatever and walk out the door, announcing to the stunned clerk, “Hi, I am homeless and really hungry. I am going to steal this, ok? Bye.” He said almost all the shopkeepers just let him steal the item, and in some places, he did it over and over, and the clerks never cared. Surely a conservative thinks this man belongs in jail.

I know another man who became disabled and unable to work. He applied for disability but was waiting to get on. In the meantime, he had no income. He had a bunch of credit cards, and he started running them all up just enough every month to survive. At the same time, he stopped making payments on his cards. He was able to do this for a while somehow, and I think he borrowed $3-4,000 this way. He kept transferring money from one card to another and then running up the new card.

After a while, they all cut him off and started demanding payment. He told them that he was not working and had no money. They got mad, but he blew them off. Then they sent him to collections agencies, and those pestered him for many months.

Finally he filed for bankruptcy to wipe out $13,000, mostly in credit card debt. He told one bankruptcy attorney what he had done and the man excoriated him in the lawyer’s office.

“You stole money! You are a thief! I cannot work with you. Bye.”

Never mind the absurdity of an attorney criticizing anyone on moral grounds. This attorney probably made $150,000/year, if not a lot more. Here was a man making $150,000/year excoriating a man for stealing so he could survive. I certainly do not begrudge a man who steals so he can survive, especially from a large bank, which probably deserves to get ripped off anyway. At any rate, they can afford the lost money more than the man running up the card.

And there is conservatism. You have no right to steal, even to survive. However, when it comes to business, to conservatives, business = theft. That’s called “the free market.” The biggest and best thieves of all are praised for their “ruthlessness” at stealing money with a pen.

After all, a man can steal a lot more money with a pen than with a knife.


Filed under Capitalism, Conservatism, Economics, Ethics, Philosophy, Political Science

12 responses to “Stealing to Survive – A Grave Sin in Conservatism

  1. Pingback: Conservatism Is Pessimistic, Hopeless and Ugly at Its Core | Beyond Highbrow - Robert Lindsay

  2. Emily Becke

    The problem I have with people who steal to survive, and dont acknowledge their need for God and look to being their own provider, is that they nourish their bodies in order to commit more crime. They get strength from the food they steal in order to do MORE evil.

  3. Actually Pretty Funny

    So America doesn’t have charity of social service to give food to the homeless?

  4. Stary Wylk

    There are two things the lawyer objected to:
    He stole without getting rich.
    He plainly didn’t have the money to pay the lawyer.

  5. Actually Pretty Funny

    Robert, you didn’t answer me about whether that bread snatcher had gone to a social kitchen before stealing. I personally think he’s a criminal.

    • There are no social kitchens in the US. There are missions, but they are run by private religious groups. We don’t have state food handouts for the homeless because that would be Communist, so you would have to hate that too. The US is your rightwing anti-Communist dream state my friend. When you are homeless, you are SOL. There’s no way to get food, shelter, clothes, nothing. It’s even hard to get medical care, mostly because you can’t see a way to get to the hospital.

      You can get food at the mission if you enroll there but you have to live at the mission to get food. He was at a mission or two for a while, but the threw him out. He was mentally ill at the time, so it figures they would throw him out. The missions are run by religious maniacs, and they have all sort of crazy rules. No smoking, no drinking, even outside. I believe he was caught drinking outside at night a couple of times. Plus when they throw you out, you are banned from that mission.

      Homeless people dumpster dive for a reason. If I was to go homeless, there would be no way for me to get food other than to go to the mission, but it’s a pretty long ways from here. The way I see it is most homeless people don’t seem to have any way to get food.

      • Actually Pretty Funny

        Well, my friend, let me tell you this: If you are hungry, you would have to kill for food. That’s what Communists taught me. And seriously, that guy WAS DRINKING when there was a rule not to drink? That was his fault. Think that in Communism there isn’t such rule?
        It’s the same everywhere, deal with it. Rules are there for a reason.
        Btw, there is free medicare, in Communism, for mentally ill guys like him. They will give him aspirines to cure his madness. And of course, it’s good for guys like him so they will brag about free medicaid for the poors.
        No joke, seriously!

        • Actually Pretty Funny

          Let me clarify this: There are social kitchens in Communism, but
          1/ They don’t dare to claim that the States own those kitchens. It will give the people ideas about how a State should function. In fact, they have people control all those kitchens.
          2/ The kitchens have all those rules too.
          3/ Our poors, being Communists, are more prone to violence than your poors. I mean they will kill for food(people at the bakery) if needed. And when they(we) kill they won’t kill only one.
          4/ Far, too.

      • TRASH

        I once befriended a homeless woman who sold cocaine on the street to survive and she told me that homeless shelters were as dangerous as jail or more so. She said it was better to live in the street and go to jail occasionally than to check into a shelter in L.A.

      • TRASH

        It is better to be a criminal in America, you will get preferential treatment in the sense that you go from prison-where there is a free room and food-to halfway houses and job placement through parole officers.

        Law-abiding and fell on hard times…you’re screwed.

        I’ve heard that homeless shelters can be dangerous places.

  6. Malla

    “Never mind the absurdity of an attorney criticizing anyone on moral grounds. This attorney probably made $150,000/year, if not a lot more. Here was a man making $150,000/year excoriating a man for stealing so he could survive.”
    Robert you are brilliant. Most corrupt lawyers are thieves and bandits too but they are part of the system (a smarter criminal) while the common criminal is against the system. In my opinion, people have the right to steal to survive, like breaking into a store during a flood to steal canoes, ropes, torches, canned food and water purification systems. But people do not have the right to break into a store during a flood to steal television sets, the latest Nike shoes and lipsticks. There is a difference here.

  7. Actually Pretty Funny

    A mother recently killed one of her children, and caught red handed while trying to strangle her other child. She explained that she intended to commit suicide for being too poor.
    In another instance, there is a widely rumour recently circulating around that several generals, the minister of defense included, have hidden several billion dollars each. No press says anything about that anyway.
    You see, Robert, you and I have a huge value dissonance. In Socialism, our poors know their place, they also commit suicide if needed. So the idea of “fixing” a mentally ill drunkard by beating him into line is not strange to me.

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