For me, determining where people were on the political scale was a matter of how they felt about the poor. At one end we had “people are poor because they are lazy”. At the other end we had “there are a host of circumstances that can lead to and perpetuate poverty that are beyond the hands of the poor”.
I have recently been looking at it in somewhat different way. I am now considering a sliding scale of “Us” vs “Them”. This might be a ‘subtle’ point. Some might consider it ‘Trivial’. (this is why I keep most of my ideas to myself).
I imagine that for some people there is a very small group of “Us” and a large group of “Them”. Accepted behavior for dealing with “Us” is very different than dealing with “Them”. Consider the phrase “F*ck them”.
It’s ok to cheat them, to lie to them and to let them suffer and die.
At the other end of the scale are people who have a very inclusive group of “Us”. But consider how much that can vary. “Us” could be everybody in the United States, It could be everybody in the world. It could include all the animals or all living things on Earth. And then there are Extraterrestrials.
I have a mental construct of concentric circles which I use to explain how much I am affected by tragic events. This construct is based proximity.
If a three year old girl falls on the sidewalk outside my house and breaks her nose and is bleeding all over, that is a big deal. If a three year old dies in Mumbai it is less so. This may seem cold hearted but consider this thought experiment where there are billions of planets, each with billions of people. If an entire planet is wiped out but it’s so far away that it takes 100,000 years for us to find out about it, how affected are we?
I personally believe that we as a people need to have compassion for the poor. If you are not contributing to help poor individuals then I strongly encourage you to consider making micro loans through KIVA https://www.kiva.org/