Mothering and Oppression

When Robert was very little, something happened to him that was “the worst thing ever.”  I don’t remember what it was, and it’s entirely possible I never knew.  He was that small, that his explanation might have made no sense.

Lots of things were the worst thing ever at that age.  He tripped and hurt himself.  The water he was about to drink spilled down his front.  He’d started falling asleep and come suddenly awake for no good reason he could figure.

He was crying, mouth open, in absolute grief.  I remember I was in the bathroom, and this must be at the time we were potty training him, because there was a jar of candy on the toilet tank (something our friends found somewhere between appalling and amusing, but it worked.  Pee in toilet, get piece of candy.)  I sat on the tub (I think I was putting makeup on to go out) pulled him to me, hugged him, told him everything was all right, and gave him a piece of candy.

Like that, his crying went from unbridled grief to a big smile.  And I remember thinking “Ah, son, if only I could do that for the rest of your life.  If whatever problems face you could be banished by a hug and a piece of candy.”

He’s 25.  He’s gone through many things I couldn’t console him for, including illness and breakups.  Now he’s very nervous about upcoming exams, and my hugging him and telling him everything will be all right doesn’t clear it.

Younger son is worse at this sort of crisis, because he won’t tell us he’s in trouble, and sometimes he’s not quite sure what is trouble, what things matter and how to fix them, and by the time we figure it out it’s a much bigger mess than it should be.

I think there’s an instinct in humans, particularly in women to “fix everything” for someone else.  We want that magic bullet.  We want to make everything right.  But what actually happens is that when you try to fix someone’s every problem, nine times out of ten, you create another set of problems.

You see, people need to at least know what is a problem, know they need to be got out of them, and need to have some basic skills so they don’t fall into them again.

It’s very easy as a mother to insist on ironing their clothes forever, rather than letting them look like they slept out in the zoo with lions.  But if you keep doing that, they’ll never learn that there is even a problem with going out all rumpled.  Clothes become that weird thing mom obsesses about, and neatness never correlates to how people respond to you.

The same with, for instance, making them eat breakfast in the morning.  If you keep doing it, they’ll never correlate it with how attentive they can be in class during the day, etc.

It’s the hardest thing in the world as a mother.  You have to let them fall on their faces, before they figure out what they’re doing wrong and learn how not to fall.  It’s bad even with friends.  When I was young and stupid, I’d just hand out rent money to friends who were about to be evicted, we’d buy computers for friends who needed to finish a novel, even when it was going to hurt us all month, we treated friends and other relatives as though they were our minor children, in other words.

Even in adults this doesn’t work so well.  You end up with several weird behaviors, the most common of this being the people who come back again and again — we see this with several people who have become addicted to begging on facebook, it seems, and live on the verge of disaster but miraculously always keep going — or what you sacrifice to provide doesn’t get used at all (of three computers we gave people to finish novels, because they needed to sell, only one sold and that was 20 years later) or there is really no perceptible difference in people’s circumstances.

And that’s with private charity.  When you bring in government and the idea you’re entitled to never suffer hardship and never have to sweat towards anything because you were born in a time and place, then you’re really encouraging behaviors that brought people into trouble in the first place.  I think guaranteed minimum income (getting paid for drawing breath) is the sign of a serious pathology (besides never working when it’s been tried, and leading to the infantilization of the population and perpetuation of dependency and ultimately greater poverty for all.)

It’s an understandable impulse.  Few of us like to see people suffer.  But suffering, bit or small, is how humans learn.  If you don’t poke the fire you’ll never know it burns.

The trick with children and with friends, and with strangers at large, is to try to ensure the finger doesn’t go into the fire so hard it burns off the finger, but that it touches the fire enough to feel the burn.

Ultimately, no matter how much you want to protect people, at some point you realize not only you can’t, but it’s immoral for you to do so.  You’re interfering with the choices of adults, and their right to learn from those choices.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t practice charity.  I do.  There are unexpected blows of fate, unexpected expenses, and unexpected disasters, in which those of us who believe in freedom help our friends because we can do it better than any government can.

I’m saying that we need to exert judgement over when how and whom we help.  Even if everyone is crying and just experienced the worst thing ever, it’s important to think through whether this is recurrent, whether it’s a pattern of behavior, whether the person blundered ahead despite many, many warnings. Then you need to figure out whether there is some impairment that prevents people from doing what they need to do to not get in these situations.  If there is, you can’t make it worse by helping, and it’s like helping a child.  Someone has to.

But giving indiscriminately, without thinking and examining all circumstances carefully and keeping in mind “first do no harm” is as bad as never giving at all.

Which is why government is the worst instrument for charity.  And why indiscriminate compassion turns into infantilization and discrimination.


189 thoughts on “Mothering and Oppression

  1. Good grief. Parenting teen issue today. I swear, Someone told you to write what I needed to hear.

  2. Kids learn by screwing up. Deprive them of the chance to experience the fallout from screwing up, or the chance even to screw up — then learning will never be achieved.

    1. Ha! Never thought I’d be grateful for the teen years when my kids turned into absolute fiends. But maybe their impressive talents for screwing up were a blessing in disguise: both of them managed to get into situations where I couldn’t save them from the consequences. Painful for me, but maybe good learning experiences for them.

    2. I describe our discipline style as “natural consequences.” You spent 45 minutes getting dressed (actually sitting and staring) in the morning? Sorry you missed breakfast, I’ll let your teacher know that she’s got to deal with a hungry brat today. You think it’s funny to rip up [whatever]? Well, it’s trash now. Won’t be getting another one. Don’t lie or there will be consequences, but we’ll always help out with mistakes. And screen time is always up for removal if the behavior doesn’t suit.

      My oldest is nine, so we’ve still got a ways to go before it’s obvious how well everything works, but I seem to recall a similar style worked out really well for my parents—five kids, all with lasting, stable marriages and decent jobs. (Or better than decent; I have a brother who is literally a rocket scientist.)

  3. The major difference with private charity is that, usually, judgement still applies. The charity folks can say “Yes, they do have a need, but the last time they were gifted money it just went to things we don’t approve of, so not this time.” So to remain on the “OK to be bailed out” list, people have to conform to whatever societal standards the charity believes in.

    Once a government bureacracy is set up, judgement is overridden by the rule book, and playing that rule book is all the givee needs to do, no matter what consequences there are to society at large – the bureaucrats don’t care, and the government is only roused to intervene when publicity ensues, which is long, long after an effective intervention should have happened.

    But the left in the US like the concept of outsourcing their guilt assuagement, especially using other peoples money, so the government, with all it’s institutional stupidity, is pushed mroe and more into the “Mommy” role, handing out candy and building machines to give hugs.

    1. This is why I prefer private charity to government intervention in most aspects of life. The government has taken over the role of churches and non-profit organizations in a lot of areas, and it’s making a pretty bad mess of it.

    2. Nod.

      The “moochers” will always be with us.

      My parents were trying to help this woman who they thought was “about to get her life together again”.

      Well, it seemed that no matter how much “money to tide her off” they gave, nothing seemed to change.

      IIRC Dad was about to cut her off when he died and for some reason she didn’t “hit Mom up” for more money.

      Shortly afterwards, she left town without leaving contact information.

      Since Mom & Dad had allowed her to give their phone number as a contact number, we got calls from people wanting to talk with her (I suspect about bills). 😦

      1. We used to get bill collectors calling us looking for a guy with the last name of MacGyver. Since ours was a new home, it must have been his old phone number. We got tired of them calling all the time and told them he moved and is living at the Phoenix Foundation while he’s off saving the world. Haven’t gotten any calls for him for the last 4 years so I guess they got the message.

    3. And the government bureaucracy rule book cannot, by its very nature, take into account individual circumstances (for good or ill). It has to be based on numbers and formulas and check boxes. Which leads to playing by/to the rule book and the development of increased dependence on the system and a much increased likelihood of passing poor self-management and self-reliance skills on to future generations.

    4. You cannot help the poor because “the poor”, like all collective nouns, doesn’t exist. There’s Bob who needs psychiatric help for depression and PTSD, Sue who needs someone to watch her kids while she’s at work, Tim who needs a shower and a clean suit before his interview, Jill who needs a swift kick to the fundament, etc.

    5. have to conform to whatever societal standards

      Well, yes. I’m fairly certain that falls under the axiom “beggars can’t be choosers”

      1. Yet I constantly hear of homeless who would rather sleep rough than avail themselves of a meal and a warm cot at the Salvation Army because those churchers insist you not be drunk, on drugs, or disrupt their service. Not pray mind you, but just be respectful while they do.

        1. Seattle regularly has guys walk up and complain about how the homeless shelters are unfair because they’ll kick you out if they catch you dealing drugs.

          Not call the cops, you don’t lose the drugs, you just don’t get to stay there anymore.

          1. Would the cops shut the shelters down if the shelters knowingly harbored drug traffickers?

            1. Probably not.

              They fired the guy who was “harassing” people by issuing tickets for smoking pot in public. As he was required by law to do.

        2. And this reminds me that there are homeless people who even have an apartment, and even receive public assistance, but don’t stay there, because their schizophrenia pushes them away from their own homes. Often these people resort to drinking and drugs to self-medicate….

          While I’m sure there are homeless people who are willing and able to work, but are just down on their luck, there are certain people who dismiss the notion that a very large percentage of homeless people are homeless because they are dealing with demons we don’t fully understand ourselves…

          1. Or mental health issues that were not served well by the deinstitutionalization.

  4. The desire to fix things exists in men, too. Sure, we’re geared more towards fixing physical things rather than emotional situations, but the desire is still there. And it is a hard thing to realize that there’s something you either can’t fix or shouldn’t fix. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to get them to help themselves, to learn from their failures and pick themselves back up.

    I learn best from failure, and I know I’m not alone in that!

    1. I’d actually argue that it is stronger in men. When a problem is brought to a man, his immediate reaction tends to be to give advice and/or give assistance to help fix and/or solve it. Occasionally, or so I’m told, my wife is telling me things/problems so that I can know and be supportive, not so that I would try to fix them/it or give advice as to how she should fix them/it..

      1. That’s the basics of the whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” thing. Women talk to communicate, even when there’s nothing much to say. Men talk to exchange specific information, and then we SHUT UP. Women want support, not solutions. Men don’t mention a problem UNTIL he needs some assistance solving it.

        1. Men talk to exchange specific information, and then we SHUT UP.

          Ever been to a con, gun show, car show or other venue where guys are permitted to geek out? What the heck is the entire “Moneyball” field of sabremetrics if not guys arguing about whether the 1927 Yankees could beat the 1976 Reds?

          1. Addendum: Anyone who trots out that old codswallop about “Men buy, women shop” has never accompanied a guy to a stereo store, gun store, fishing tackle shop …

            The difference is in what they shop for, not how.

        2. I think I finally figured out what’s so wrong about that– I could tell it’s wrong, but not in an obvious, easy to point at way, so mostly shrugged.

          It’s that men and women have different ideas of what is relevant information, because they’ve got different focuses; guys are more “immediate problem/direct improvement,” women are more “try to figure out where the problem is going to come from.”

          Which explains why guys brain-dump really important things (what do you mean, we don’t own ___ anymore? Why didn’t you tell me? What do you MEAN I signed the papers?) because they’re not currently relevant, and why women get overwhelmed relatively easier. (they’re dealing with many, many more problems– most of which not only don’t happen, but wouldn’t have even without all the preparation and dodging).

          Given the biology of the sexes, this makes sense; I’m very unlikely to be able to muscle my way out of a problem, and lack of proper focus can be deadly if you ARE muscling your way out!

    2. I have a friend with an “eating disorder, unspecified” (ie, she is anorexic but not so low weight it causes immediate issues) who is very aware of it and working on it. Every now and then I’ll ask, “is it time for an intervention”, usually if she mentions needing a smaller belt.

      Once she told me trying to force on EDs is counterproductive (since the disorder is about control trying to take control isn’t going to work well) and I responded that’s why I like machines more than people…I can just fix them.

      Oddly, my logical response to things (which usually gets me called cold and unfeeling) is one reason I’m a big support person…she knows if she comes to me when she’s overwhelmed and gives me the laundry list I will give the logical shootdown for each which is what she needs.

      It’s almost like men and women have different strengths (broadly evaluating…not necessarily any given pair) that compliment each other and both are needed.

      1. Men and women have different strengths that compliment each other and both are needed?

        Absurd. Something like that would require intelligent design or several hundred thousand years of evolutionary development.

  5. Looks like this is tailor made for a favorite Ben Franklin quote of mine:
    “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

    Sometimes people really do need help. And sometimes “help” just enables them to not deal with what’s actually causing their problems in the first place. The trick is knowing which is which.

    1. Breadcrumbs, not banquets. Let a man earn his own keep and keep what he earns. Let his moments of peace and idyll come at the cost of his own sweat and earnest effort, give him the satisfaction of knowing what he has built with his own hands is his and his alone- and a man will surprise you with what he can accomplish. Let the weak willed and indolent suffer the results of their own small minded ambition. There will always be some. By far and away it has been my experience that once a man gets a taste of success- the kind he earns, and not what is given to him- he wants more of it.

    2. One of my greatest fears of visiting the doctor about an ailment, is the fear that they’ll start treating symptoms rather than try to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

      Of course, it doesn’t help that sometimes you *can’t* figure out what’s going on! (To this end, I find it deeply annoying that “irritable bowel syndrome” is considered a disease rather than a symptom. As it is, if your symptoms are caused by dairy intolerance, or gallbladder problems, or pancreatic cancer, or gluten issues, it’s these things, but if everything else is ruled out, it’s “irritable bowel syndrome”. I would much rather say “All these things cause irritable bowel syndrome, but if we rule out everything, then we simply don’t know what’s causing it!” At some point it should be declared a symptom, and accept that sometimes we can’t identify the cause of the symptom…)

  6. There are unexpected blows of fate, unexpected expenses, and unexpected disasters…

    Yes, indeed. And some blows of fate can leave an individual or a family crippled for an extended period of time. But discernment is always required, lest one harm those to whom help is offered or proffer one’s pearls to be trampled in the mud.

    1. So… be judgemental! It’s a good thing. 🙂

      If you aren’t you won’t have anything left to give the fellow who only needs this one time hand up to get back on his feet and be going on his way.

      I’ve come to believe that except for tiny handful of people who use the term judgemental to describe a paternalistic self-appointed authority who arrogates the right to praise or condem, ” don’t judge me,” simply means “do not condemn me.” Perfectly happy to be praised.

  7. In the middle of a big “consequences are a thing” kick– they do things they’re not supposed to, there are consequences. (stuff like: Sort out the clothes. Fold the clothes. Clean up this pile of scattered stuff I just swept into a pile. The household chore things that I would usually do– and that I’d probably be faster at, to be honest– and of course the “no, you can’t have/do what you want, because you did a manipulative screaming fit the last time you were told ‘no.’ We warned you, you chose it anyways.”)

    It is a pain in the neck, but it seems to be working– they’re starting to actually SEE the bad results they have as coming from stuff they do, at least sometimes, and it’s even carrying over to things like “ride bike without shoes, rip skin of toe off on porch, they’re connected.” It also seems to have headed off, slightly, the disturbing habit of blaming the nearest sibling when things go wrong.

    There’s also a nasty thing where one behaving badly, and at least seeming to get a benefit out of it, causes ALL THE REST to copy it kind of at random. An 8 year old behaving like a two year old is not charming.

    1. Oh gods. Yeah, and it’s harder when it’s a kid’s peers that do that and they pick it up. Son picked up a couple of rather annoying speech modes (manipulative whining like one of the girls in his class) and a “look at what I did” one from a boy. We are warning him that doing that is going to get his ass kicked ( either in video games or by someone who thinks it’s irritating) or worse people will simply stop inviting him to play especially in team co-op stuff.

  8. Periodically, of late (and I guess simmering on the back burner for the moment) we see discussions of backing parents away and encouraging resilience in our children. I suspect this is more of a father-taught virtue, which might be why the current zeitgeist is having nuttin’ to do wid it, but there are few lessons for a child more important than the idea that a skinned knee or a bruised butt is not life-threatening.

    I suspect all here have witnessed a child trip and not react until catching mummy’s eye — and then bursting into tears. Learned responses, learned fragility.

    Let’s hope Ben Sasse’s book finds a large audience.

    1. My mother may have done better that we (as kids) thought.

      She is a nurse, and until she could no longer handle the physical/mental stress preferred ER or surgery to ward nursing. This tied in well with her personality – the need to quickly analyze and deal with a problem always mattered far more than comforting platitudes.

      Trip and skin your knee? “Hold still and let me see how badly you’re hurt.” Break a wrist? “Hold still and let me examine that. I’ll use a magazine as a temporary split until we can get you to the hospital.”

      Anything less than that? She handled real, physical, problems well. Comfort? Not so much. She had the ability to put her emotions on hold in an emergency and function logically (I seem to have this, too). This is a good thing in a lot of ways, but it comes across as cold and almost uncaring when you’re a small child.

      Years later, when we were all adults, one of my younger brothers told her “Mom, when we were kids we always thought if we cut an arm off you’d tell us to hold still and quite crying while you fastened a tourniquet on the stump.” And the rest of us all nodded.

      On the other hand, we all learned pretty early that we wouldn’t get sympathy or support when we did something stupid, or were feeling self-pity for the entirely predictable results of bad decisions.

      1. Growing up on a farm, we had some idea what was bad and what was a “boo-boo.” It could betray you, like when I stepped on a belt buckle, didn’t think the resulting puncture wound was bad, and had it explained why such things were trouble and required a trip to the doctor for a tetanus booster and to make sure it was cleaned out. Otherwise, unless it required stitches or cast, it wasn’t considered bad (we never had burns bad enough to go to the doctor).

        Sympathy? Well, yes, but we knew that seeing to an injury was sympathy, though when I had a grease burn on my hand at maybe three, I remember my mother holding me But my father once peeled the skin off the back of his hand on an adjustment bar on the tractor-pulled “corn puller,” wrapped his hand in a paper towel, and finished the load before coming in. That was just life on a farm.

        It was also life on a farm when an acquaintance had his legs ground off to above the knees in a corn grinder, so that put things in perspective.

        Some of it seems to have trickled down to the kids. One of ours had a classmate who wasn’t allergic to bees, but kept going on about how bad it was when popped by a yellow jacket, and after the Nth time of “I’m going to dieeee,” said “Yes, you will, one day, but not from that.”

        1. Yeah. Life on a farm does things like that. My mom lost her foot to a mower because she was too close when her brothers were pulling it around the field. Once the surgeries and stuff were done, she had to figure out how to wash dishes, carry her books to school, and other things while on crutches or the next phase of learning how to use the latest special shoe or prosthetic. She learned to drive stick shifts wearing a hollow leg prosthetic that strapped to her knee after she put her lower leg into it. It is probably that upbringing that made it take so long for me to realize that technically, she could have been parking in the handicap slots for years, but she never did. Those were reserved for people who really needed it.

    2. Regarding Senator Sasse’s book:

      I do not doubt Huns’ support for kids sticking their hands up cows.

    3. Oh, yes — I saw this all the time with my daughter, just hanging around for a few minutes at day-care, picking her up every evening. Small kid falls from a playground thing – hits the ground, seems rather OK with it — until Mommy comes unglued. Then kid screams bloody murder.

      I encouraged my daughter to practice stoicism: “Sweetie, if there isn’t any blood, I don’t want to see any tears.

      But there was the time she took a header off her bicycle at speed, when she had just learned to manage a two-wheeler without training wheels, and was recklessly racing her best friend. Yeah, I never made it down two flights of stairs that fast, ever again. (Friend drove us to emergency room, for head xray. No damage, other than tiny piece of gravel that made a scar in her forehead.)

      1. I remember once coming home with most of the skin on the outside of my leg scraped off and generally scabby and bruised otherwise. Got caught up the mountain later than I thought, slid down an embankment, and had to make it home after that. Dad didn’t say much except “won’t be doing that again, now will you?” after helping me pick the little rocks, thistle, and thorns out. Can’t say as I made that *exact* mistake again, but I made plenty of others. I was probably ten or so back then.

        My godson is a little pingpong ball these days. Full speed into a tree, wham, bloody nose, gets back up and keeps playing. Mom sees the now cleaned face with tissue up the nose, and he bawls. Kid knows a sucker when he sees one. *chuckle*

      2. Emergency room missed a piece of gravel in his forehead after he faceplanted in a parking lot. Really surprised he didn’t get an infection from that one.

        Doc told me I was wrong when I brought him to her a few weeks later, after it had healed, and that it was just a calcification, until she removed it.

        1. I had a chunk of glass in my foot for roughly six years– most of that while I was in the Navy. Just had a funny callus on a foot for years, and then scared myself half silly when I trimmed it off during foot-care and a sliver half the size of my pinky nail came out.

          My brain interpreted it as pus literally gushing out for about a second of abject terror from the size of the hole that would be required for that much pus and the size of the Thing making it, until I realized the “gush” wasn’t moving. 😀 In my defense, we had been to Indonesia and a couple of other places with interesting parasites, so it wasn’t totally off the wall.

            1. Me, too. Mom *still* isn’t sure how that happened, and thought I was putting her on when I texted a picture of it to her.

              Didn’t tell dad how big it was. He’d never let me do dishes again.

    4. I… wouldn’t fit the mold. Son or daughter trip, I tell them to get up, or help them up, and then pooh-pooh the scratches. “Ahh, that’s not too bad. It’ll sting, but you’re a big boy/girl, you can handle that!” And it works.

      1. Age 4, visiting my grandparents, I went to get something from under a picnic table, stood up too soon, and bumped my head on the table. I immediately began rubbing my head and bawling. My grandparents’ landlady saw it all, put her hands on her hips and sternly asked: “Did you hurt my picnic table?”

        I was so outraged that I forgot all about the bump on my head. 🙂

    5. I’ve had parents be amazed when one or another of my toddlers trips, falls, and gets right back up again. It’s simple; I don’t react until they do.

      My youngest is a bruiser of a child, though. Last summer, he took a header onto a picnic table support (big bar) and ended up with a HUGE lump across his forehead and cheekbone. I cuddled him while he sobbed, and about two minutes later, I offered him his chocolate milk. He smiled, took a big drink, and never seemed to take notice of his injury again. He still has a visually-unnoticeable lump in the center of his forehead, and given the bump I still have on my forehead from an accident in second grade, I wouldn’t be surprised if he always does. Only two minutes of heartbroken sobbing…

    6. “I suspect all here have witnessed a child trip and not react until catching mummy’s eye — and then bursting into tears.”
      I mentioned a similar thing yesterday. So often true. But not always the kid’s “fault”.

  9. “But suffering, big or small, is how humans learn. If you don’t poke the fire you’ll never know it burns.”

    With, as always, some caveats. Some things can be taken to heart purely on trust of the teacher, without having to test them oneself, and some things are so easy or fun to learn for some people that the time and energy cost goes unnoticed — this is one source of the Dunning-Kruger effect of people underestimating their own competence, I think, because if you don’t think of the process of acquiring a skill as work requiring effort, you won’t appreciate your ability in it nearly so much.

    But even this temporary avoidance can backfire in turn later on. I was one of those kids they liked to call “gifted”, in that I was lucky enough to learn to read very well very quickly and had a superb memory for anything I read, so I could ace most of my early classwork without needing to work at it — and as a result, it took me years longer than my fellow students to develop the discipline needed for the studies that I didn’t find so effortlessly interesting. Likewise, I got so used to taking people’s word at face value that the notion people could be wrong, or deliberately deceptive or malicious, took a great deal longer to sink in for me — it was only sheer luck I wasn’t victimized truly badly.

    1. I was one of those kids too. Add to that an inability to NOT speed read, and I struggled with studying for a long, long time when I got into college.

        1. Pretty much the same. In my case, I actually could focus and work hard on subjects that interested me, but the rest got just a quick read through and no additional study. This strategy worked fine until about the second year of college, when I started to encounter things that required careful study and though, not just a quick skim. A combination of this and low funds caused me to drop out of school in my junior year to work for a while.

          A few years working (and having started a family as motivation) helped me grow up a little, and I finished my degree while working full time. I’ll admit, though, that being able to test out of the boring/required/easy classes was a big help – it left me free to concentrate on the tough-but-fun and boring-but-tough classes. The boring ones weren’t, mostly, all that tough – but they required study habits I’d never needed to develop until then.

          Kudos to the University of the State of New York’s Regents College external degree program (Excelsior College, these days) for catering to folks like me, too. They made it a *lot* easier to go back to school than the local state universities, who had (and still have) barriers to transferring credits between other schools in the same system above a certain limit. But that’s spilling over into a whole other topic of discussion.

      1. Bit of both. The most famous Dunning-Kruger effect is overestimating one’s competence, but Dunning and Kruger’s experiment also discovered that the competent students in their study “tended to underestimate their own competence, because they erroneously presumed that tasks easy for them to perform also were easy for other people to perform.” (Source: Wikipedia).

        1. I used to be convinced that kids in my class were asking the teacher to re-explain things because they figured we’d have less work to do if they slowed her down.

          I’m still not sure they weren’t.

          1. I found the strategically asked question generally served to give teacher the impression I was following along and thus allowed me to read the book sitting atop my text with less concern for interruption.

            I also trend-mapped the teacher asking class questions, projected which I would be asked and prepared ahead for my answer.

            Didn’t everybody?

            1. My fourth-grade teacher figured out I was doing that with math problems, and would deliberately jump ahead to me in order to “catch” me. But the problems were never hard enough to cause me to pause more than a couple of seconds, so it never worked.

              1. Back when I was in college, I ended up for some reason going to talk to my Intro to Microeconomics professor in his office (don’t remember why). In the course of the discussion he mentioned that he noticed I was reading back there in the back of the class but I was able to keep enough attention on his lecture to perk up when a critical point was made and I was acing the tests, quizzes, and homework so…fine. This wasn’t a core course for me. I needed two social science classes for my degree and this filled one of them. It wasn’t like it was anything difficult (although considering how many people don’t even get the stuff the class covered the first day…).

        2. Hmm, yes, I resemble that remark.

          “Well, if I (with everything I don’t know how to, and everything I know I can’t do) can do something, then of course it can’t be that hard to do”

        3. Yeah, I don’t evaluate myself very well because I don’t predict the abilities of others very accurately.

        4. I’m guilty of underestimating my competence at some things, but for myself, I associate a lot of that with how many mistakes I have made in the process of gaining the skill, more than the ease with which I perform it.

          For ex.: I’m damn good at math. I don’t much underestimate my competence at that, because it’s something that always came easy to me, and except for silly, not-taking-the-time-to-be-sure mistakes, I don’t make many. But in repairing mechanical equipment, for the other example, I can do a decent job, but I’ve had to do things over so many times that I feel I can’t get it right the first time very often, so I must not be very good.

      2. Actually, they found both. Skilled people underestimate how well they compare, and unskilled over.

        The thing is, exposure to the work of others leads to skilled people realizing they are better, but unskilled people not realizing they are worse.

    2. I think this may be the real advantage to home schools over public– when my daughter has trouble, I sit there and make her do it…and if stuff is too easy, she gets assigned to wipe out the entire section in next to no time, with much praise for “look how easy it is, now that you worked at it!”

      1. I’m very careful to praise effort instead of “smarts”, having gotten smacked in the face by the latter when I went to college. (I knew that things took work; I just had to build the habits.) I also make sure that my kids understand the concept of “of course you didn’t get it right the first time; that’s what practice is for.”

    3. “Some things can be taken to heart purely on trust of the teacher”
      Then there are people like my son, who insist on learning things their own selves – AKA “the hard way”. The painful, consequence-based things.
      What troubles me is he actually knows this and specifically affirms it. *smdh*

  10. Recently came across a very profane and vulgar cartoon squirrel that made some of the same points..

    Some Highlights.

    Stop Protecting Stupid People!
    Let Darwinism Run it’s Course!
    Growing up, getting hurt is an essential part of human evolutions. Eliminating that lets those that are too stupid to live KEEP LIVING!


    Because humanity it too stupid to be responsible with effective adhesives they stopped making the good super glue..

    Content warning

    1. But, this is objectively true. Lots of people are alive now who never would have made it to adulthood in the old days.

      It’s why, for decades, I’ve advocated the reintroduction of wolves and bears to the urban setting. Survival is an IQ test most of the time (occasionally it’s reflexes or brute strength, but intelligence is usually a determinant factor).

      1. Do D.C. First.

        If nothing else, it would cut down on the urban deer population, which are forever failing to make it across the Beltway…

  11. “If there is…some impairment that prevents people from doing what they need to do to not get in these situations…, you can’t make it worse by helping, and it’s like helping a child.  Someone has to.”

    Pardon me for asking, but isn’t that the argument used by the statists, globalists, and progressives? The only difference being a far looser definition of impairment. The point is, somebody doesn’t have to. Not forever, not by turn, or not even at all if that is their choice. That’s just it. Choice. When it is law, there is no choice.

    Am I saying that we should let the person crash and burn, starve to death, harm themselves? If all we are doing is delaying the probable, then yes. You determine the point where you say, enough is enough. Nobody said making tough decisions would ever be easy; and it’s a good thing they aren’t.

    I’m not totally without compassion. I have an adult-aged (25), impaired son. He has all the tools, including judgment; if he chooses to use them. But that requires he change his own thinking, and that’s never going to be able to be imposed from outside. The hand is there when he becomes able to see it, and my heart will be breaking every time he screws up. It’s already caused personality-cide. It may end up killing him. But that’s my burden, not anyone else’s.

    1. Note, I’m not saying the government or someone else should do it. I’m saying I don’t believe ANYONE should feel guilty about DOING it.
      If your child/friend/relative has an issue that’s not their fault which prevents them from being fully independent, you shouldn’t feel bad for helping over and over again.
      I don’t see how you misunderstood that.

      1. My family has a friend with CP restricting his mobility fairly strongly. He’s very intelligent and has made sure to keep his computer tech skills up to the latest operating systems. Unfortunately, he’s had to move back to California in order to take advantage of his family’s help, and California has structured overtime laws in such a way that he can’t do work-from-home. (Overtime kicks in on a daily basis, and call centers can’t deal with that, since one customer who needs extra help at the end of a shift can’t be kicked over to someone else unless they’re in a central location.)

        I will help this guy as much as I’m able, any time, simply because he’s trying for work and keeps running up against issues like location (has to be on public transit, as he certainly can’t drive) or people’s unwillingness to deal with someone who can’t walk quickly. (Not to mention that most physical requirements list “able to lift 25 lbs” as a matter of course.) He’d do great as a teacher (again) if he could get the transportation…

        1. (Overtime kicks in on a daily basis, and call centers can’t deal with that, since one customer who needs extra help at the end of a shift can’t be kicked over to someone else unless they’re in a central location.)

          Lousy call centers. It’s not dead simple, but it certainly can be done. The call center system we had when I worked tech support 10 years ago could have handled that. I call BS, and believe they are using that as an excuse for discrimination.

          1. It’s more that any companies that do business in multiple states will have their call centers on hand or elsewhere rather than do work-from-home and have to deal with the California rules.

            1. The one time I worked at a call center, they were having us call the Eastern US, from the Pacific time zone.

              Our shifts started at 5 pm Pacific time.

    2. I am sorry about your situation. I can see that it must be heart breaking.

      Unlike the statists, globalists and progressives Our Esteemed Hostess does not think that it is the job of the government to provide aid.

      Help should be provided only with careful thought about the consequences to the recipient. That requires knowledge of the individual and his situation and this cannot be done by impersonal bodies like the government.

      When the government not only provides someone who could take care of himself (possibly with a little assistance) a way not to take care of himself, tells him that according to their determination he is helpless, and puts him in a position where it is only through the government that he can receive assistance, then that government is neither compassionate or helpful — it is harmful. And that is all too often how the government works in such situations.

      1. And I agree with her, it’s not the responsibility of the government. It should be a free choice of non-coercive organizations or individuals on whether to provide that additional aid or not. However, as a product of the Roman Catholic Church and the State of New York education systems from 1965-1977, I probably got more than a healthy dose of socialism and statism, so between that, Ayn Rand and Libertarianism, and a dash of, “Do a Good Turn Daily”, I’m going to feel guilty no matter which way I choose.

        I’ve got the conflicted part down, the hero part is questionable.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a background would have you not only conflicted but spinning on the spot as well.

          I love The Daughter; I can even say that I would like her if she wasn’t mine. She is brilliant, has a handicap and two learning disabilities. Her greatest obstacle in life is herself. Caring for an infant who was not a sleeper was physically exhausting. Chasing and keeping up with a curious and rambunctious toddler seemed insane. Fighting the school system while trying to keep the her engaged in learning lead us to home educate. Navigating the intense moods of a teenage girl is never for the fainthearted.

          I am surprised at how hard the stage of parenting an adult is in comparison. It is no longer hands on, keeping the child alive and going in (more or less) a good direction. When the child becomes an adult what you do is mostly hands off, standing back and watching — and sometimes biting your tongue, hard. In my case all this involves a great deal of praying.

          I hope you can find a place of healthy balance … and that your son will do the same.

    3. The essence of Socialism is that the Government has carte blanche, has a duty to intervene in individuals’ lives to address, redress or prevent all negatives.

      The essence of Libertarianism is that nobody, especially the government, has a right (much less a duty) to intrude in behaviours which do not directly threaten harm to others, regardless how personally destructive.

      The essence of Conservatism is that there is a balance, a narrow path which must be trod, between those two extremes. Depending where you stand, the person walking that path may appear to be statist at times, to be libertarian at other times, but appearances are not reality.

      The fact that statists, globalists and progrssives use aan argument does not invalidate the fundamental argument; the Devil can quote scripture, after all.

      There is a reason so many Americans find a resonance within the Serenity Prayer:

      God, give me grace to accept with serenity
      the things that cannot be changed,
      Courage to change the things
      which should be changed,
      and the Wisdom to distinguish
      the one from the other.

  12. The old question of when is helping becoming enabling. This varies. Part of raising kids is letting them make mistakes and suffering the consequences. That’s part of learning to take responsibility for their own lives. As a parent, it’s hard, but it’s worse if they don’t learn.

    Yes, this applies to adults as well. Knowing when helping becomes enabling is difficult. There’s no set answer, but that point does indeed exist.

  13. I’m not the most functional of human beings. From the other side of the equation, yes, too much help can be crippling. Sometimes you ask yourself whether you need this bit of help, or if accepting it just lets you kick the can down the road.

    Fun talking point on UBI: “Do you want me to have resources and nothing better to do with my time than make you miserable?”

    I’m really not happy with this UBI crap. I see it as “and we aren’t going to let the marginal ever find work. Even if there were something they could do if they could only manage to find the right place.” My emotions may run high and overrule the cold strictly rational analysis.

    1. I could tolerate the UBI if it would eliminate minimum wage laws — if the government thinks your time is worth $15 an hour and an employer thinks it is worth only $5, let the government make up the difference via EITC (Earned Income Tax Credits).

      But we all know that is not what Progressives will let happen, that like Sauron all that is good they will corrupt.

      1. The problem is, when it comes to money, the government doesn’t have any unless they take it from you; even if they’re going to give it back to you.

    2. It would turn everyone into wards of the state, receiving an allowance as though we were minor children in our parents’ houses.

      Maybe the people who complain about how hard “adulting” is (and actually mean it, not just for a joke) would enjoy that, but for anyone who has developed the skills to live competently….? No.

        1. I’m not happy about the prospect of everyone as patients in a government asylum either. Pop culture’s conclusions about diagnosis and treatment horrify me, and my own preferences probably horrify most everyone else.

            1. Might be? Might be??? When the key to becoming keeper is to be crazier than the inmates?

              In the Kingdom of the Blind the one-eyed man is a raving lunatic.

    3. “Fun talking point on UBI: “Do you want me to have resources and nothing better to do with my time than make you miserable?””

      No one seems to get it when I point out that automating all the jobs that can be done by the left side of the bell curve (and that list of jobs is growing) is going to leave ever more people that will have nothing else to make a living on than the promise that they WON’T make trouble.

  14. I will see your mothering and raise you some oppression.

    “A Canadian province has passed a law that gives rights to the government to take away children from families that don’t accept their kid’s chosen “gender identity” or “gender expression”.”

    Ontario, for you Canadians who still care what happens here.

    If little Johnny, at age 8, decides he’s going to be Janey, and the child’s parents tell him no, you’re really Johnny, CPS can come around and take the kid. That’s the bottom line.

    Also, in Ontario you can have foster children taken away for not telling them the Easter Bunny is real. I know that because two people in Hamilton are suing CPS for doing it.

        1. California is, so I hear, accepting any non-Americans they can get, so there is that.

          Not sure it would be an improvement.

          1. While I, on the other hand, are making preparations for leaving California and moving.

            Actually, if the “Healthy California” plan (single-payer socialized medicine) plan passes, I plan to lobby for California to secede from the United States, and to move to Texas on the last day that California is in the Union. And then watch in glee as the progs here burn.

            1. We got out three years ago. Now it’s just making more popcorn and watching things drift further and further sideways…

            2. ” “Healthy California” plan (single-payer socialized medicine)”

              You forgot the “that is projected to cost twice the current entire state budget.” And don’t get me started on that proposed tax for 3.2% of gross receipts of any business making over a million in receipts. Grocery stores average a margin of 2.6%. Food prices would explode (“women and children hardest hit”.)

              1. I didn’t “forget” it at all; the State Senate passed it EVEN KNOWING that it would cost the equivalent of California’s entire budget, and without any CLUE of how to pay for it. That’s one of the reasons why I’d like to cut California free, to sink on their own without any possibility of Federal aid.

                This would also eliminate the most socialist quarter of the House, and the two most radical Senators. The Democraps would never again win an election. Win-win!

                1. This would also eliminate the most socialist quarter of the House …

                  I will rise in defense of the dishonor of Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hank “Guam Tipper” Johnson, Jan Schakowsky, Carolyn Maloney, James Clyburn, and Sheila Jackson Lee.

                  1. I said quarter, not all. But I would counter with Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi as trumps.

      1. I’d be packing and applying for immigration ANYWHERE.“*

        *Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela and other cesspools not included.

        There. Fixed that for you.

          1. Oh no, Sarah, in Canada they would never force you to do something like that. Please! How barbaric!

            It’s socialized medicine. They do it for you.

          2. I thank God every time I read one of these stories that they didn’t have access to me as a child.

            “But are you a boy or a girl?”
            “I’m Codex.”
            “I think he’s a boy. He looks like a boy.”
            “I’m Codex.”
            “No. I am sure she’s a girl. You are a girl, right?”
            “I’m Codex.”
            C’mon. Tell us you’re a boy. Cuz you’re a boy, aren’t you?”
            “I’m Codex.”

            Apparently, this went on for some time and my mum was laughing her head off. These days I’d be some mutilated pseudo-man, if I hadn’t killed myself after discovering that transgender does not, in fact, “fix” autism.

            There’s a special Hell…

      2. I understand that you are quite safe if you are anything-but-Christian. So, if it becomes a problem, all you have to do is throw a scarf on your head, and/or proclaim yourself gender-fluid. Problem solved!

        The Ontario government has made the gender thing very easy, you can get your driver’s license changed from whatever gender you are to whatever you want, by asking. They might charge $20 too.

        1. So all it requires for a guy to attend a “Women Only” showing of Wonder Woman is a $20 surcharge? Heck, he can probably pick that up in one evening at his night job as a Chippendales dancer!

          1. Yep. You can show up at the women’s shelter and claim you were abused, you can use the women’s bathroom/change room/locker room, you can get into the chicks-only showing of Wonder Woman. Wearing overalls, three days stubble of beard and a lumberjack shirt.

            Ain’t Canada grand?

            Oh, and we had our very own Allah-ackbar knife attack yesterday too. Some lady went after people with a knife at the Cedarbrae Mall Canadian Tire. Had her ISIS headband on and everything. Worse, she used a golf club too!

            Some kid punched her in the face and took her knife away. Canada. Don’t start none, won’t be none.

            1. [S]he used a golf club too!

              5-iron? That’s probably the best for intermediate shots and can be played longer or shorter in a pinch. Don’t tell me she used a Driver!

          2. For a week or so the best thing to watch on Twitter was @redsleaze (Stephen Miller of Heat Street) after he bought a ticket to the women only showing of Wonder Woman in New York. As you might imagine, it generated a LOT of hate and discontent. Meanwhile, he calmly explained that NYC laws about “Public Accommodations” meant that it was illegal for the theater to discriminate based on sex.

            1. …and tons of excuses trying to claim it somehow didn’t count when THEY did it?

    1. Not telling them the Easter Bunny is real????!!!!

      How do they know it is real? Have they documentary evidence to prove this egg-disbursing rabbit exists? Are they endorsing the principle of government compelling people to lie, to assert as fact that which cannot be demonstrated?

      Insert your own Anthroprogenic Global Warming/Income Redistribution produces economic growth snark here.

      1. Apparently the Easter Bunny is an Important Part of Canadian Culture, and failure to tell the kids there is an Easter Bunny is a serious breach.

        After being pressed, the CPS minion was forced to admit that the Easter Bunny is -not- real, but you’re supposed to pretend. And if you don’t, we take your kids. And they did, too.

        1. Then they damned well better hop to it and put out baskets of eggs and candy, ’cause wallabies don’t play that.

          1. I’m certain there is an Easter Egg subsidy/grant/allowance available from some helpful government bureau if you look hard enough. Contact your friendly and helpful local apparatchik for more information.

            1. I am curious about the ramifications here.

              At what point in the child’s life are you permitted to admit there is no Easter Bunny? Six? Eight? Twelve? Eighteen? Sixty-Four? How does the state determine this? Is there a government approved list of responses in case the child asks where a rabbit would get eggs, candy, baskets, jelly beans, marshmallow-creme eggs, peeps and plastic grass?

              What if the tyke has a Muslim playmate who denounces the Easter Bunny as a Khaffir lie?

              1. What if the tyke has a Muslim playmate who denounces the Easter Bunny as a Khaffir lie?
                That’s easy. POC trumps fairy-tales all the time. OHRC (Ontario Human Rights Commission) always sides with the POC even if it’s another grievance group complaining.

                1. Is there an official hierarchy of POCs listed somewhere, or is it determined on a case by case basis, leaving everyone in the dark until the proverbial hits the fan?

                  1. Thanks to Intersectionality it takes an advanced degree to sort the varying ranks of victimhood. It is very similar to casting a full horoscope except it is less logical.

                    The one thing of which you can be most certain is that everything is the fault of White Cis-normal Males and those who deny the existence of Intersectionality as a method of determining relative victimization.

              2. I’m sure there’s a memo citing the guidelines at the CPS website.

                No, really. There probably is.

                And only Christians are supposed to to the Easter Bunny thing. Everybody else is exempt. Because.

        2. Interesting from another perspective:

          We neither had nor believed in the Easter Bunny. A bunny is a rabbit, rabbits are major pain in the garden and small game, and rural kids know where eggs come from.

          They wouldn’t let me serve rabbit at the Sunrise Service breakfast, though.

          1. /laugh
            I always ask my wife if she want me to make hasenpfeffer for Easter.

              1. I could pot three of them on my front lawn. There’s a plague of the little rodents this year.

                But I’d have to throw a rock. Shoot them? Unpossible!

                  1. Try a blowgun.
                    Very quiet.

                    A BB gun works too, and is easier to use, but it’s a little noisier than a blowgun or slingshot.

                    I once went rabbit hunting with a dog and a shovel, which worked, but was really TOO MUCH work.

              2. In answer to “how to cook them”, check out It will help you cut up the critter properly, and give you some very tasty recipes for it. I have used them for several recipes (sometimes using substitute meats) over the last few years, including schnitzel!

          2. When in Williamsburg with The Daughter and I were part of a group being given a tour of one of the household vegetable gardens. I asked the docent what was done about rabbits in the garden. With a smile, he moved from the garden to the back door of the house, pulled out a long gun, and announced to the somewhat startled group, ‘Harvest ’em, of course.’

        3. Eh, what if you tell your kids, “The government says that the Easter Bunny is real, whether you saw me hiding the eggs and placing the Easter Baskets or not.”

    2. I’ve told the kids that if they want to pull that card, they can, but they will NEVER BE ABLE TO COME HOME.

      It won’t be because we don’t want them to.

      It’ll be because they pulled that card of ‘have police come take us away.’ And once it’s done, they can never come home. They’ll have to live with complete strangers, who don’t know what they like, and they won’t have the nice food Mum makes, or Uncle Aff who knows how to install the video games they like and fix their computers, or Daddy bringing home the movies and books they like best.

      I think the fact that all their friends want to live with us kind of helps too.

      1. Unfortunately, there was a point at which that would have pushed my younger son into doing it. I won’t say you can’t imagine it, because you probably can, but one of the worst heartaches in my life was when he came to me (at age ten or so) and said he wanted to be adopted, and handed me a paper with Pros and Cons written on it.

        I just sat back dumbfounded, and I don’t think I breathed for nearly a minute.

        We get along ok now, though.


    “There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

  16. Government judgement, one-size-fits-all, can cause serious problems. Take WIC, a program to help with child nutrition for poor families. My husband’s younger brother was allergic to the formula that was allowed. The doctors filled out the forms and gave the prescription for the specialty formula. WIC kept denying them. Brother had some potential malnutrition issues related to not being able to eat before WIC finally approved the use of the special formula (and I don’t think it was even a super high cost one, just a slightly higher cost one that didn’t contain the ingredients that were causing the problems).

    Or the issues with people who are getting on disability because they have honestly hit the end of their ability to carry on. The standard is “two denials and a trial” before approval. Meanwhile, fraudsters somehow manage to get on without issue.

    And then, the private charities that do try to help get hit hard with stupid regulations that prevent them from being able to help so they withdraw from the system and cause more burden on the government.

    1. A friend’s church ran a food bank for a while. The Federal and state regulations were such a hassle that they decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

    2. It turns out that you can get on 100% disability pretty much immediately if your reason for applying is expected to leave you dead within the next 1-2 years.

      So that might be one avenue that a scammer could use.

        1. Gee, can’t imagine why …

          The mere election of Donald Trump has had salutary effects with regard to illegal immigration. Reportedly, for example, the number of people trying to enter the country illegally has dropped dramatically. The Associated Press hasn’t expressed an opinion on that trend, to my knowledge, but it is concerned about a similar phenomenon: fewer illegal immigrants are signing up for food stamps.

    3. I’m not sure the fraudsters get on without an issue, it’s just that it’s not a serious hardship for them to wait for the process to work out. Then, as long as they aren’t automatically disqualified by the nature of their application (For example, applying for Social Security Disability without enough work months during the qualifying period, or applying for SSI and admitting that they have a spouse who makes a decent income), the trial doesn’t necessarily deny them, because they generally come up with some kind of psychological reason that is hard to verify.

  17. Now he’s very nervous about upcoming exams, and my hugging him and telling him everything will be all right doesn’t clear it.

    Of course it doesn’t—you’re forgetting the jar of candy.

  18. I pray for the day when our society is so rich that we can offer a guaranteed minimum income to any who need it. Get our chit together and mine the asteroids for raw materials and we might just make it.
    I pray much harder that we have the wisdom to require that any who accept that guaranteed stipend must also lose the right to vote. For wiser men than I observed long ago that democracies die when the citizens get to vote themselves benefits.

  19. Ah… but what you’re writing here, Mrs. Hoyt:

    “The trick with children and with friends, and with strangers at large, is to try to ensure the finger doesn’t go into the fire so hard it burns off the finger, but that it touches the fire enough to feel the burn.”

    Is that people need the equivalent of loving, capable, clued-in parents not only to succeed, but for everyone, in the whole of society to do so.

    But how much of what the sexual revolutionaries have fought for (including so many of us on the libertarian side of things) have undermined at every step folks’ ability to form lasting sexual bonds? Because someone cried and stamped their foot, and told a tale of personal woe, and didn’t see how THIS bit of anti-nomialism, or that institutional destruction, could possibly do that much harm?

    And so it goes.

  20. “I think there’s an instinct in humans, particularly in women to “fix everything” for someone else.”
    It’s funny to think of it like that. The complaint about men (particularly engineers) is that when a woman complains about something the man tells them how to “fix it”, when the woman just wanted to commiserate. But, I think these are two distinct phenomena. The woman wants to “make it alright” – which mostly means making the pain go away. The man wants to fix the problem – which might entail even more pain in the short run.
    Just thinking out loud on that.

    “I’m saying that we need to exert judgement over when how and whom we help.”
    And this is the primary reason, imo, that gov’t simply can’t “do” charity. Gov’t must be run one of two ways: rule by man, or rule by law. With rule by law, you can’t simply exempt someone from the rules because you think they just really, really need the help. It’s an open door – nay, a door-pulled-off-the-hinges-and-replaced-with-a-bead-curtain – to graft and corruption and nepotism. (IOW, rule by man.)

    Only with private charity can you exercise judgment and persist with one while cutting another off. Or, perhaps with a gov’t that is very, very small (like a town of a few hundred souls).
    Which is, of course, what you say (a little differently) here:
    “Which is why government is the worst instrument for charity. And why indiscriminate compassion turns into infantilization and discrimination.”

    1. Just thinking out loud on that.

      One of the better ways to think, it means you’re poking at other folks’ brains, and they can poke at yours.

      I think it’s more of a difference in identifying problems.

      Sample conversation:
      me: Oh, gads, I don’t want to go to this @#$# family event….
      Husband: So don’t.
      Me: I have to.
      Husband: Why? You know you’re going to get mad at your aunt, deal with snotty remarks from your Liberaltarian cousin and spend most of the time running around keeping the Required Grandchildren (One of each sex, only grandchildren of either set of grandparents), and then you’ll spend the next month unteaching our kids whatever bad habit those guys are working on this month.
      Me: because she’s just hurting from making what everyone said was the right choice forty years ago, he’s bugnuts from too much pressure to fulfill contradicting parental dreams, the cousins that weren’t produced as a service need re-enforcement and even if they’re crazy, they’re still family and mostly harmless. Oh, and X, Y and Z are busy dying, and so-and-so is becoming slowly disabled, and… well, I need to go. They’re family.
      Husband: No, you don’t. Just visit the sane ones.
      Me: Can’t, they’d cause even more trouble for the relatively sane ones, and none of them are bad enough to write off entirely. Even the Liberaltarian cousin I know I can count on if things are really bad– he’ll bad-mouth me, but he’d also beat the crud out of his (hypothetical, and I avoid him on facebook to keep it that way) best friend if the Antifa twerp raised a hand to me.
      Husband: Then you want to go.
      Me: No, I need to go. I just know it’s going to be unpleasant, and this really isn’t helping to focus on the positive in the mandatory.
      Husband: It’s not mandatory, you don’t have to go….


      I identify problem as:
      this is an unpleasant thing which I still must do. Deal with the mental aspect.
      Husband identifies problem as:
      this is an unpleasant thing you don’t really have to do. So don’t do it.

      1. Digressing: part of why I formed a preference for a lot of kids is seeing what being The Only Kid did to kids; sometimes there were even two or three, but the ones who had to fulfill all the expectations for another human being….? Ouch.

        1. Siblings keep one humble. There’s nothing like being reminded that you used run around with your underwear on your head. Also, you are never the sole focus of the parents attention. And finally, you always have enemies and allies!

        2. ..and now I might cry. You know who else the feminists silence in their campaign to erase inconvenient female voices? Women who married late and can’t have more than one kid. if that. they’re not allowed to mourn becuse it would expose the architect of their sorrow.

          Frickin commie filth. Even Islam had hope before they got their hands on it.

          1. The folks who did what they were “supposed” to do, and now regret it. There’s a variety of ’em, too.

            I’m right there with you.

          2. “Even Islam had hope before they got their hands on it.”

            Sadly, no. Reading the Koran, Islam embraced fatalism to a degree that’s insane. Allah creates the world every instant and therefore everything you do is because he wills it? Ewwww,

        3. but the ones who had to fulfill all the expectations for another human being….? Ouch.

          Only child who plans of having several children reporting in 😀

          Having one child also encourages a parent to get into Nothing Must Go Wrong mode. Which of course guarantees that something will go wrong with ensuing freakout.

      2. This is delightfully mindful of a scene from one of the Harry Potter novels in which Hermione explains the conflicting emotional pulls which are why Cho Chang is acting oddly and Ron responds to the effect that “If I had to do all that my head would explode.”

        1. Looking back, that’s one of the scenes where you could totally tell the author had mothered boys. (No idea if she HAS boys, but she definitely dealt with them in a motherly way!)

        2. And this is why I feel I have far more feminine components to my brain than most guys – that explanation would have never (at any age) seemed terribly odd to me.

      3. Part of that may be that he’s working on your problem, instead of one of his. (Some solutions are easier when you don’t have to implement it.) But, hopefully, he has identified an element for you to add into your own calculus about the issue – maybe one you didn’t want to acknowledge.

        I can also read into that hypothetical (and your summation, especially), where it seems you’re looking for support to get through it, while he is looking to solve the underlying problem. Which is the commonly ID’ed man/woman split. 🙂
        And I think your wording of things is another way of stating the exact same problem. 🙂

        (Also, don’t poke this particular part over here. Please. It tickles.)

        1. Part of that may be that he’s working on your problem, instead of one of his. (Some solutions are easier when you don’t have to implement it.)

          Heh, he’s not suggesting I do anything he hasn’t, or at least hasn’t seen happen… several of his relatives are the kind of corrosive that, in my family, means they are just dropped waaay before it gets to “so and so will walk off if the other comes in” states. There’s some behavior differences involved, too. #complicated

          From his perspective, I’m just being “too nice” when people are jerks– and they don’t do most of the things that are annoying around him. Definitely not more than once. 😀
          (A lot of it is the infamous “private chats,” which at least are miles better than his family’s sisterly vendettas after public confrontations; they just can’t yell at each other without feelings getting hurt, argh! The rest is bad behavior and inaction by those who have standing to do anything…of course, if the Mandatory Grandchildren are brats while they’re playing with my kids, I do have standing…and goodness were they shocked.)
          (( I’m being halfway silly, at least.))

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