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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If birth control and government intervention didn't work then...?

These words from Day express some of the message I was trying to convey in an earlier post.

"For the first week I have been covering the government migrant camps from Yuba City, north of San Francisco, down the valley. There are thirteen of these and they house three thousand families. If you count five to an average family, that takes care of fifteen thousand people. But the estimate is that there are three hundred thousand migrant workers in the state. The season of peak labor, when 250,000 are used, lasts only five months, and the rest of the time only 50,000 are needed, according to the findings of the governor’s reemployment commission. From this it will be seen that the problem of the rural proletariat is most acute in this state, although it is present all through the country.
I must say that my first view of the government camps made me anything but happy. The pressed steel structures, each costing $195, quite aside from the concrete base, making one-room shelters for the entire family, are anything but adequate. They are hot in Summer and cold and draughty in Winter and the rain gets in. In one camp I saw how the campers used the yellow corn meal and flour to sprinkle around the edge of the room to take up the leak so that the water would not form pools under the beds. Mother, father and children all sleep in one room, and through statistics show that the average family is between four and five, there are many large families of six to eight children. Margaret Sanger has sent her agents around, and there are birth control clinics at every camp. ...
Here there is room for personal responsibility, for the "Christ’s room" in every house and on every ranch that the early Father’s talked of, instead of leaving everything to the government, which in spite of all they have done that is good, still think in terms of corporation farming and birth control clinics for the rural proletariat."
Disgraceful Plight Of Migrant Workers On California Farms
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, May 1940, 1, 2.

Fast forward to 2006.
Tons of migrant workers in the country? And they're having lots of kids? What about our jobs? We'd better step in with some tough government programs and maybe introduce those crazy Catholic Mexicans to our more civilized birth control methods...oh wait...
To review: Birth control does NOT, I repeat, does NOT help or empower poor people.