*Sorry, but after two weeks of construction work, I find that TYPING is too tiring. I barely got through the post on Mad Genius and it probably makes no sense whatsoever. So I should probably take a day off, or at least a few hours, and do something non-demanding, like crochet. That way I’ll be better and able to write tomorrow. And FYI, I’m too old for construction work. So I have to write a million or so books, so I can pay someone to do this stuff for me. – SAH)
Tough Love by Dr. Karma
So I watching this TV movie on TNT years ago, because my parents and aunt were, and it hooked me after only a couple minutes. I would’ve been inspired if I hadn’t kinda already made the decision to head down a similar road a couple years ago. This is what it’s all about. Not coddling and excusing the behaviors of kids but toughening them up, teaching them what they’re made of.
People often complain that libertarians and conservatives have no compassion. That we simply don’t care about the less fortunate. While I can’t speak for others, I do care. Thing is, in my admittedly short time on this earth, I’ve learned the difference between acting like you care and actually caring. The dichotomy is something I’ve seen in relatives, friends, teachers, mentors…basically anyone in a position to affect the long-term behavior of anyone else in a meaningful way.
In practice, it’s quite easy to tell the two apart. One type defines caring in terms of what they themselves do. “I did [blank] for them.” Or “I gave them [blank].” The other kind of person defines it in terms of what they get others to do. The most important people in my life have always been of the latter type. In one or two cases, it took me several years to realize just how important they were.
Which doesn’t change the fact that without them, I would not have taken the path I did. I would never have known what it was like to break your own trail, to clamber over the obstacles in my way, to find the meaning of what strength is. Without them, I would have trudged down an easier path, worn smooth by the countless number of feet that passed before mine, and I would be lesser for it.
As steel must be forged in the hottest of fires, so too must the human spirit. And while there is a danger that one can go too far, becoming as brittle as the hull of the Titanic, in my eyes the far greater menace comes from not being exposed to the inferno in the first place.
We accept that the immune system is strengthened by exposure to pathogens, that muscles only grow when stressed to their limit, that without gravity, bones do not grow strong. But far too many of us deny the importance of being pushed to one’s limits when it comes to personal growth.
The key to a child’s success is not their diversity training, their self esteem, or their ability to use large words. It isn’t in making them ‘feel loved’, or in the clothes they wear. It isn’t in being passed along to get a meaningless high school diploma. It won’t be found in a four year degree either. People will only realize their potential when their success is contingent upon their own efforts.
Perhaps my biggest problem with leftist thought when it comes to this issue is that it is a mindset that consists of nothing but excuses. Why one ethnic minority can’t match the success of others. Why one sex hasn’t achieved what the other has in various pursuits. Why children of the poor are unable to achieve what the offspring of wealthier people are able to. And, as in all things, some of these arguments have merit, whereas others hold so little water as to remind me of my youth in the Dust Bowl.
The best of these are nothing more than extenuating circumstances. They explain why some people haven’t accomplished what they are capable of yet. And while they’re somewhat valid in that context, they do nothing to contraindicate the future success of these people.
Yet what the Left tends to focus on isn’t the fact that these people have unrealized potential, but rather the aforementioned extenuating circumstances. Social welfare now encompasses 43.5% of our budget. The ghetto? As large as ever to these admittedly cynical eyes. Affirmative action has before my very eyes grown to encompass some recent immigrant groups while ignoring others. Exclusionary politics and who hurt who are the rule of the day in their minds. And while righting wrongs is a noble pursuit, it does little to change what Maslow called self-actualization. While it’s a useful term, Maslow’s framework itself is exceedingly flawed. Many of the greatest figures in history never had the trappings of comfort and wealth; instead they succeeded because they were willing to push themselves. On the other hand, every one of us can point to many, many acquaintances who rather than being enabled by their wealth and comfort were instead hobbled by it.
Rather than getting their hands dirty as Mr. Clark and I do in our respective professions, they treat these symptoms, willfully turning attention away from the disease growing within. They reward people for their poor choices, they remove the sting of failure from the inability to realize one’s potential. They act like they care, but they never make the steps to actually better the lot in life of these people. They never show people what they’re capable of. And they never demand they do it.
They seek to spare us from the flames, and in doing so leave us as useless as a lump of raw pig iron.
** Dr. Karma is an attending physician at (information redacted). His many professional accomplishments include contributions to evolutionary biology and saving an untold number of kids from stupid adults and an even more stupid entrenched bureaucracy. His primary accomplishment remains convincing his coworkers that he’s a pediatric specialist rather than a hitman in a mere six months. He specializes in whatever he feels like that day, and his coworkers are too scared to point out that he’s ‘just a psychiatrist’. The kids get better just to get him to stop yelling, singing, dancing, or dressing up like batman. It works, so he’s good with it.