Why do we countenance such silliness?
The push is on in Harrisburg to change the name of the state Department of Welfare to the state Department of Human Services. A gaggle of former governors is pushing the switch. Legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly.
Despite its dictionary meaning — from the original 1303 definition of a “condition of being or doing well,” to the first 20th-century usage of a “modern sense of social concern or provision for the well-being of children” — “welfare” these days is, to many, a pejorative right up there with — GASP! — “liberal” (the latter word regularly eschewed by liberals these days for “progressive.” That, after “progressives” thoroughly perverted the original meaning of “liberalism.”)
And so it has come to this — “human services” — a politically correct term sounding quite Orwellian. After all, “welfare” sends the wrong message, some gobbledygooksters go. Please. “Welfare” is a quite precise and accurate word, then and now, whose shelf life has not expired.
Now, if Harrisburg really wants to do Pennsylvanians a public service, it will change the name of, say, the state Department of Economic and Community Development to the state Department of Pickers of Winners and Losers and Unaccountability. Now, that's a name change reality truly supports.