Olbermann routinely mocks exhortations to charity and self-help, reflexively reaching for shitkicking hayseed imagery from Walnut Grove for want of any other comparison that will sufficiently get across just how backward and ridiculous that kind of thing really is.
Helping your neighbor out directly, or participating in voluntary self-organized efforts to spread risk and cushion against sickness and unemployment, is all right in its own way, if nothing else is available. But it carries the inescapable taint of the provincial and picayune, almost as if such efforts were administered by men in rimless spectacles and sleeve garters—very much, incidentally, like the stigma attached to homemade bread and home-grown veggies in the corporate advertising offensives of the early twentieth century.
People who help each other out, or organize voluntarily to pool risks and costs, are to be praised—grudgingly and with a hint of condescension—for doing the best they can in an era of relentlessly downscaled social services. But that people are forced to resort to such expedients, rather than meeting all their social safety net needs through one-stop shopping at the Ministry of Central Services office in a giant monumental building with an imposing statue of winged victory in the lobby, a la “Brazil,” is a damning indictment of any civilized society. The progressive society is a society of comfortable and well-adjusted citizens, competently managed by properly credentialed authorities, happily milling about like ants in the shadows of miles-high buildings that look like they were designed by Albert Speer. And that kind of H.G. Wells utopia simply has no room for the barn-raiser or the sick benefit society.