“This is not the least of one of man’s shames.” Hugo is talking about enslavement of woman by men in the form of prostitution. He describes the evil of someone who takes advantage of grace, feebleness, beauty, and maternity. And it is not only men, but those aged and hardened women themselves who enslave their young daughters. We have seen it, widespread in our own country. My wife and I have viewed into the lives of many poorer families. It is the children who are in true poverty because they are often preyed upon for their resources.

And our system here in America has reached a terrible equilibrium of slavery. Money is distributed totally outside of relationship. The checks arrive in the mail, and the welfare rolls grow. As each family learns to find the government coffers in program after program, the children learn the system. No parent helps them through the difficult times in life, teaching them to take responsibility and initiative. The communities indeed have the people and systems and unique ideas to handle the care for their own poor, but the hold of absolute and centralized power from Washington D. C. grows, entraining more and more lives in its wake. Money is channeled out of families and communities to be filtered through the hands of the centralized machine and some is sent back through the mail as monthly checks, after being sterilized from relationships of community.

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