Posted by The Happy Tutor
(Adapted from a comment here by Klaus.)
The figure of the aid recipient occupies the same place in the ideology of Ordered Liberty as the Jew does in anti-Semitism; i.e., the aid recipient is not the cause or structure of social antagonism, but fills in the gap created by the ideological contradictions that cause the social antagonism - the contradictions that prevent the proponents of Ordered Liberty from realizing the harmonious totality of their social vision: the conception of liberty and order as "complementary" values in whose mutual absence liberty becomes license and order becomes oppression.
The problem is that the law which provides the organizing principle of Ordered Liberty relies on its own transgression for its strength - it sustains, not eliminates "license." License is displaced from the bottom to the top, from law follower or law breaker to law maker, from recipient of aid to the one who gives or denies voluntarily, at whim or in accordance with an economic theory. That is why, for instance, the conservative can delight in knavery and coldness, because real purpose of the law is to define an environment in which order can be transgressed, providing enjoyment - for instance, the delight in the wicked cruelty of proposing that we "stop the aid, now!", which is, in practical effect, a call to murder. Order is for chumps. Liberty is for those who with Colson conduct dirty tricks in the name of power and get religion in order to get more power once out of prison.
The aid recipient is merely a stand-in who provides the target area for this primordial release. The complement of order is license, and license is given the name, in this case, "voluntary aid." The wealthy business person whose coffers have been stuffed with tax breaks, sweetheart deals with politicians, and regulatory rollbacks can enjoy the sweet pleasure of considering aid applications, and dividing them into worthy and unworthy, deserving and undeserving, by his own lights, risen to the status of a god who gives and takes away life itself, by granting or denying money needed for necessities, medication, or health care. The poor only exist to serve as the mask of this antagonism, the scapegoat in the play in which order encounters the travesty of its foundational instabilities. For the theory supporting this the wealthy business owner is happy to pay a think tank thinker, or a whole coven of them. To see them dance attendance is part of his pleasure, fine minds dancing attendance on his vices and calling them virtues - transformed by the market into the good of all, more or less, give or take a few pariahs.
When the poor man kisses the wealthy man's hand, and falls to his knees to thank the master for allowing him and his family to live, the system comes full circle, a closed whole, with ordered liberty for the slave and freedom for the master. For this the think tank thinkers "blow their posterior trumpets," as Pope said, ushering in another age of Dullness and Dark Night.