The Right To Go To Hell

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The left is very adamant about charity not coming “with a sermon.”  It is most of their excuse for wanting government not churches to preach.

But while I understand the convinced Christian’s need to preach and to save everyone from hell, which if you believe it is an eternal sentence and an awful one is mere human decency, I don’t understand the left’s similar need to ensure that everyone lives “a decent life” by its lights.

They refuse to understand that just as people are entitled to disbelieve and deny eternal salvation (and if you’re a Christian you know they are entitled to that. It’s called free will. Just as they’re entitled to sin. Doesn’t make it right. They’re still entitled to it. You can’t force anyone to be holy) they can refuse to live a middle class life. (Or better. The left keeps imagining that middle class is much further up than it is. Possibly because so many of them these days are spoiled rich kids.)

This came to mind last night, thinking of someone in the comments (sorry, I don’t remember the name) who said that maybe 10% of the homeless were aggressive and dangers to themselves and others.  Others simply were mentally ill or caught in the trap of child support but behaved like decent human beings.

The child support thing is iniquitous, and usually on both sides.  No, seriously. Women on the make will drive a man to ruin to finance her lifestyle in the name of “the children.”  Men on the make still find ways not to pay, and if the woman is decent and doesn’t want to turn her kids’ life into unending strife she ends up living in poverty to provide for the kid. I’ve known this on both sides, partly because it’s impossible for a judge to adjudicate fairly without truly knowing the parties involved. Partly because scammers gonna scam.  (It’s almost like no-fault divorce and marriage as a transitory fancy is a bad idea particularly when there are children involved. Never mind.)

The mental health… I’m fairly sure there are still services available should someone need them and know how to look.  And perhaps without the noise of the violent it would be easier for those people to find help.

But I still wonder if the mental health issues are such. And I wonder about other things like “but what if people just want to live like that?”

I have learned through rather bitter experience that you can’t help everyone and also that what you want for yourself and your life is not what other people want. Some people will do the absolute minimum to keep a roof over head and food on the table, even if the roof is leaky and substandard, and the food is whatever and they never do any house keeping and live in what can only be described as utter squalor.

I found long ago that given the absolute same income as someone else, we tend to live better.  Why? because we work beyond the money we have.  I don’t mean just that we work to get out of that level of poverty, I mean that we will trade time for the money we don’t have.

So, when my husband was the sole provider because my writing wasn’t selling yet, I made a lot of my clothes, refinished furniture and, of course, cooked absolutely everything from scratch.  Other than our cars, which we always bought used and fully paid for and drove into the ground, we easily kept up with our dual income friends.  Why? Well, not child care was part of it, but furniture, clothes and food were the other part. It’s just cheaper to do for yourself.

It was also a massive amount of work. Particularly since I was trying to break into writing, and was getting up every day at five am to write for two hours before the routine with the kids started.  I remember years of being short on sleep and going to bed with a long list of work that still needed to be done and I hadn’t got to in my head.

Was it worth it? Well, it was for me. I don’t like living in squalor.  I wanted nice furniture and a nice, clean house.  And I wanted my kids to have good food.

All of which amounts to: it was for me. It might not be for someone else.

It took me forever to figure this out. Let’s say the dime only dropped in the last ten years.  So, I kind of get the left not “getting” it.

Partly because if you come from a background where everyone worked a lot all the time to secure the best lifestyle they could, it’s almost impossible to visualize someone wanting to live in what we’d consider unacceptable circumstances.  Or perhaps not even “wanting” as fundamentally not being willing to pay the price to get a better situation.

Look, I’m not even a hundred percent sure of that last one.  We tried for decades with someone, and everything you gave that would bring a better life got either broken or ignored or thrown away.  Perhaps there is a Petersonian thing there, of people believing they only deserve to live at a certain level and anything above that making them uncomfortable. (Peterson says in terms of people not taking necessary meds, etc, that having seen our own brokenness and that we’re often untruthful and evil — even when we don’t mean to be — we think we don’t deserve to be well, etc.)

Or perhaps it is simply that doing anything, even using the thing that makes it easier is too much effort.

I’ve said before that I think the vast majority of people don’t feel the need to work above a subsistence level and that those of us who do are the mutants.  I still believe so. In evolutionary terms, if you continued hunting after you had mammoth in your cave, you were just going to deplete the game and end up starving eventually.

That’s not the way it works now, but the human brain is not a thing of the industrial revolution.

I believe a great number of the people who live in “chronic poverty” are in fact at the level at which they wish to be/the level for which they’re willing to work.  The left keeps coming up with increasingly fancier explanations, which are now devolving to “invisible demons” of oppression (seriously, in our society? Besides, if societal disapproval caused you to be poor, then a lot of gay people would be historically poor, instead of statistically at the top.)

It never occurred to me that a lot of people who are “homeless” might fall into the same category.  By which I mean the ones who aren’t crazy, addicted or dangerous to others.  Maybe what they have and what they do is the level they wish to live at.  Or at least it’s comfortable enough they don’t wish to do anything to get out of it.  But it makes sense.  After all, by the numbers, these people already live better than your average medieval peasant.  At which point, honesty, my only problem with their choice is whatever help they get that is non voluntary, i.e. taxation, not private charity.  If they’re living like that and it’s their choice, and they’re wholly financed by private charity? Don’t care. None of my business.  Everyone has the right to go to hell in the way of their choice.

What disturbs me about the left’s inability to recognize that choice is that those choices end up being financed from my purse, and the purse of the others who choose to work.  That they are in fact holding up a gun to the heads of working fathers and mothers and demanding money to keep people who (what was Occasional Cortex’s cutesy phrase, exactly, I can’t remember) “aren’t willing to work” in the level of comfort they are okay with.

And then the fact that those people aren’t living at what the left thinks American middle class level should be, in a decently ecologically approved house, with the car and the organic meals and full health insurance, the left will come back and demand more.  More and more money to pour down the hole of trying to change people’s choice on what they consider an acceptable level of comfort and living.  What they aren’t willing to work to get out of.  What, in fact, they’ll preserve if they get more “help” by doing even less to help themselves.

That’s what I object to. I object to the use of people’s choices to blackmail other people out of theirs.

I object to this holy crusade of the left that turns anyone who has less than you into a de-facto saint who needs to be championed, while you need to be tormented because you worked (or your ancestors did) to get to a level you consider acceptable.

I object to this Christian heresy with no redemption, no hope, no future, and no one being good or holy except those who envy and live at the expense of others.

I don’t think there’s ever been a civilization as rich as ours, but even in rich civilizations of the past, there were people who lived at all levels. And though social motility was smaller or slower or hidden, it was possible.  It could happen. It might take multiple generations and grim determination, but it happened.  Just the same, there were any number of people who were satisfied once they reached the “we’re not starving” level and went no further.

There still are.  In the infinite variety of humanity, what you consider comfortable I consider insupportable.  And it’s not just poverty, either. I’d probably die if forced to live the life of a socialite, forever minding what people thought, and having to have the latest styles.  I don’t want that. I’m not interested.

In the same way I suspect any number of the “poor” would think I was crazy, keeping the work hours I do, and taking time to refinish furniture, or clean, or…  Because they don’t feel the need to it.

And that’s their right. They are entitled to live as they want and to do just the minimum to get there.

And the left is NOT entitled to use holy envy to make everyone who wants better and works for it to feel guilty. Nor are they entitled to rob us to finance the lifestyle of people who don’t want to make any extraordinary effort and feel fine the way they are.

And it’s time we stopped this nonsense.

You choose what you want to sacrifice for what. I will willingly sacrifice time and effort for a clean and decent house.  You won’t because you place more value on time on the sofa watching your favorite program? You do you.  Just don’t ask me for money to get you a better house.

You see what you want and you pay the price.  And the do-gooders can go take a flying leap.  As long as your hand isn’t in my pocket, I don’t care.

 

 

289 responses to “The Right To Go To Hell

  1. Really good post. Lot’s to think about here. I know I used to put a lot more work into my house than I do now, and it irks me that I can’t (back won’t let me, or at least not for very long, and since I have an aversion to being bedridden….).

    One thing I’ve seen on forums, and shake my head at, is that some people seem to think that nobody should be allowed to live in what *they* consider to be substandard living conditions. As in, they think Tiny Houses are substandard (even though some of them look like palaces — tiny palaces, but still very high-end living quarters — to me). They think that any living situation that doesn’t have electricity and running water is, necessarily, substandard — even if the people living there have found other ways of staying comfortable and clean (and do stay clean). In fact, Children’s Services will remove the children from a home that doesn’t have power or running water, even if they are clean, healthy, loved, and not being abused in any way. I guess they’ve forgotten that 150 years ago, not even kings and queens had power or (usually) running water. So really the issue is — as a lot of socialism is — certain people thinking that they have not only the right, but the obligation, to make decisions for other people whom they consider to be ‘less’ in some way.

    • I grew up till I was six in a house with no running water. My parents kept me alive despite serious issues coming from being extremely premature.
      The do gooders are now actually doing straight up evil.

      • Yeah, we didn’t have running water or electricity until I was five or six, and we’ve lived without it several times as an adult (with small children). If you know what you are doing and are properly set up, it’s really not an issue, just a bit more work than the lazy suburbanites would be willing to put up with, LOL!
        And do-gooders cause more damage than those who actively mean harm, quite often.

        • Never without electricity, but I spent a couple of years in my childhood without an indoor toilet when my Dad bought a farm and we moved into the old farmhouse.

          • When my mom and dad were kids, my mom’s house was “high class” because it had water inside. Still a hand pump, but the handpump was at the kitchen sink. This was around the early 50’s. My dad, at age 10, would drive the family Pontiac a mile down the road for 55 gallon drums to be filled with water. It took some time for Grandpa to get the well at their new place operational.

          • Colonel John Boyd, “The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” (he did, eclipsing both von Clausewitz and Sun-tzu) spent every free cent on books, to the dismay of his family.

            Some people can’t imagine life without their television. Some can’t imagine life without travel. I can’t imagine life without learning. Everything else can be ‘good enough’, though I spend on things that free up time.

            Priorities and values

            • Eeh…Boyd is overrated, as far as the OODA loop is concerned. The concepts are obvious to anyone who studied the campaigns of Napoleon or Stonewall Jackson. Not to mention that Wayne Hughes, in “Fleet Tactics”, attributed the model to Dr. Richard Layton at the Naval Postgraduate School…but mentions there were indications that the Soviets had reached similar conclusions earlier.

              Energy maneuverability WAS a big advance.

              • Seeing it, and putting it together in a way designed to teach others what you already know, are two separate things. Boyd codified it in an easily transmissible way, and that is nothing to sneeze at.

      • Bureaucrats go for the soft target.

        No running water is a ticky box. Easy-peasy. Drug addict with serial child-molesting boy friends in a home with all the mod cons is a whooooole barrel-o-work and paperwork.

        Not that the busy-body meddling impulse (more powerful than sex) isn’t real, but it’s not the main explanation.

    • Warning on Tiny Houses– some of them ARE sub-standard, in the sense that “they make up the standard on the neighbor’s dime.”

      When we were in Seattle there were several “tiny house communities” that were built…assuming nobody in them would have a car.

      They all had cars.

      They all parked in front of the neighbors, sometimes in front of their driveways…how many days of work can you miss, because the idiot down the road blocked your drive way?

      • One. After I called the cops and had it towed.

        • No, no, no!

          First you sell the wheels, battery, stereo, and other parts, *then* you have it towed…

        • The cops in Seattle don’t respond for trendy stuff like that, and they keep parking there. And you’re still paying for each and every tow, for those companies that will bother to show up when they know the ‘tiny house’ folks tend to have serious cash and act insane.

    • I should probably note that I think tiny homes and even boarding houses are an awesome idea, they just need to not be on someone else’s lawn. Heck, Boarding Houses are PERFECT for kids starting out– a glorified hotel with breakfast included!

      • Alas that zoning and Health Department requirements have doomed so many of them. 😦

        • Amen.

          Seattle effectively banned them waaaaay back before the 50s (from memory, sorry, was a radio history show and I only remember it was somewhere before ‘the war,’ not even which war) because they….well, were full of single men from the age of 16-35.
          You know, the guys who do most of the crimes even now.

          So yeah, they were trouble.

    • I have literally read someone saying that the laws forcing people — as in, you had to send in police to drag them out — out of “substandard” housing in the 19th century were a good thing because she couldn’t imagine their being worse off.

    • Child services leave the Amish alone. In their houses with no electricity and no running water.

      I know a few people locally who have water that’s totally undrinkable. But they have water….

      My house isn’t as fixed up as I’d like it to be. But it’s 5 BRs and 3100 Sq Ft on 8.5 acres. So– I live with the deficiencies.

      • I don’t know about now, but when I lived in Pennsylvania in the early 90s there were some special laws that helped protect the Amish way of life. Now, I’m fairly sure that if they thought about it the Left would decide that the Amish are full of bad thoughts, but their way of life means that they pretty much are not in the Public Square spreading their wrongthink. So I think that it’s likely that the Left will concentrate on subduing us (or at least getting us to shut up and not make waves) before they tackle the Amish, especially as long as kids who decide that Baptism and the plain life is not for them continue to run away during the Rumspringa.

        When it’s Amish Hunting Time the people who decided that remaining Amish was not for them will be interviewed in all forms of media almost daily, supplemented by a “support group” with vague funding sources which has a bunch of media savvy staffers and there will be intermittent attempts to “rescue” the kids who are out on the Rumspringa.

        • The big problem they will have with the Amish is that the Amish embody the Progressive’s ideal sustainable, low carbon-footprint lifestyle.

          Therefore they must go.

          • The plots that most Amish farmers have now are postage stamp sized because they got divided so many times. There aren’t a lot of Amish farms that can be divided and survive, even at their plain standards. So by the 90s a lot of bishops had given permission for their young men to do things like use power tools provided by their employer at work. I haven’t been up there in around 15 years, but there was a LOT of woodworking done. It was not unusual to see a flatbed truck with the back filled with roof trestles, garden sheds, and the sort of ornamental well that sits in the front yard where there is no well headed out for other states. Those men killing trees and using electricity might provide an entry point for an attack when they decide that the time has come.
            (Maybe 15 miles from here, out in the unincorporated part of Wake County (Raleigh area) there was a small roadside business that sold wooden potting and storage sheds and ornamental wells that look very much like ones that I used to see leaving Pennsylvania. It might still be there, I haven’t been over that way in a couple of years.)

  2. > So, when my husband was the sole provider because my writing wasn’t selling yet, I made a lot of my clothes, refinished furniture and, of course, cooked absolutely everything from scratch.

    That’s demented. It would require motivation, and it would take *far* too much time better spent on TV, Facebook, and Twitter,

    • That’s demented. It would require motivation, and it would take *far* too much time better spent on TV, Facebook, and Twitter,

      Some of us are old, we predate smart phones. Heck, some are ancient, we predate the internet.

    • Back in the day, my mom did all that – made all of our clothes, cooked from scratch, kept a nice garden, and Dad did all the property maintenance and auto repair – this on his salary alone. I can only remember a couple of vacations; road trips and family camping, basically, and done on the cheap. I can’t think that we ever felt particularly deprived because Dad’s job was one which barely scraped into middle class. There were quite a few families I knew who made more, and lived less comfortably on it.

    • The only way we managed our first few years in Oregon was by being willing and able to DIY. $SPOUSE did curtains and valances from scratch, I did winter panels and a fire-trailer with my mediocre welding skills, and a fair amount of carpentry was mine. (Had to contract out some, either because I couldn’t do it, or because my sense of survival said I didn’t have the right tools/skills.)

      Still doing DIY, though there are some things we want/have to contract out. OTOH, some things (solar electric for one) are things the local contractors have abandoned (loss of the subsidy had a lot to do with cutbacks). Fortunately, I can design and build, though somebody else handled the ground mount structure. I can’t dig that deep, and it needed a crew to handle a truckload worth of concrete.

    • *snort*

      I’m here and I do most of the household repairs (not as strong as Elf), teach the kids, and actually have a running mental “spread sheet” of what stuff that’s pre-made costs less than made from scratch; the much attacked “four to eight cans of stuff and some frozen stuff” style of American cooking is usually the least expensive route to a good quality meal.

      It’s not motivation, it’s that most of the kids these days already have student loans. You can’t stay home saving $75k in expenses when you have to pay loans.

      • Other factors in those outrageous student loan balances: tuition alone is a minor cost. Books, materials, lab fees, activity fees and other mandated expenses are outrageously exorbitant. Then there are the room and board required because “living on campus is a critical element of the college experience.” Factor in the opportunity cost of not getting a job and earning money, building actual job skills over the four to six years a typical college degree costs and you have a gaping maw of consumed wealth which has to be filled in before you can begin building a future.

        • One thing the feds SHOULD do is refuse student loans to any college that has mandatory fees. Tuition should cover everything required, both so the students and parents know the true sticker price, and so they can’t give you a full tuition scholarship and sock you for more money.

          • No. The Fed should make student loans absolveable via bankruptcy, with the college or university responsible for repayment.

            Qui bono.

              • Why do you want to feed the bear?

                Because I can’t imagine a better way of doing so by telling people who are barely adults that they have the right to stick third parties with their debts.

                • Good point, but unresolvable inflated debt, made available because of the government”s guarantees, is an insane tarbaby. Maybe we need debtors’ prisons- maybe for the loan officers. Bankruptcy should work for peons as well as GM.

                • Because the bear is already being fed. Ibet you majors that don’t and can’t secure employments, like, oh, Women’s Studies would vanish overnight.

                  • You assume that people will use this provision only if unemployable. Remember, they have no assets to lose in bankruptcy.

                • Third parties? You mean the institutions that sold them worthless degrees under false promises that “it will all pay for itself in increased earnings”?

                  Those third parties?

                  Hell, that’s what we’re already doing to the health care system, forcing the solvent to underwrite the free riders.

                  • You can’t run any sane legal system on the presumption that all those in certain groups — such as colleges — are guilty of crimes — such as fraud — by dint of group membership.

                    • I am sorry, but your proposal that we are running a sane legal system doesn’t pass the laugh test. If a college extends credit for a student to purchase a degree why shouldn’t it stand in comparable state with any other business making loans so customers can buy their product?

                      Not all colleges would be liable for losses due to voided student loans; the college benefiting from the student’s failure would have to repay the fund in whatever percentage is found appropriate.

                      BTW, are you aware of union contract clauses* that hold all employers in a certain line of business culpable for the failure of any one entity to pay its share? I forget the term, but if, for example, one NY construction contractor folds, all other construction contractors have to increase their payments to insurance and pension funds to make up for it. So there is legal precedent for such joint liability.

                      *I believe these are termed Association Agreements, but lack time to confirm.

                    • If a college extends credit for a student to purchase a degree

                      Huh? When does any college extend credit? They merely get the money. They do not make the loan.

                    • Perhaps you’ve never seen the inside of a student financial aid office. The college is partner in the loan, encouraging students to “buy” products of little value at prices beyond their means, without regard to any ability to repay those loans. Such colleges are no less predatory than a car dealership which pushes customers to incur debt to purchase vehicles.

                    • Not to mention scheduling that forces students to extend their schooling BY YEARS, thereby losing the student earned money opportunity. But also, because if you’re less than half time you have to start paying back the loans, forcing students who can’t pay back just yet to acquire a plethora of minors.
                      And we’re not talking for froofroo degrees, but solid stem.
                      Most parents with kids in college know this, Mary. It’s a scam, and we’re not amused.

                    • This. This. This. Between scheduling changes & conflicts, four year science degrees, take 5 year. Five year STEM degrees take 6. If you are getting a minor or a double degree, the options are worse. All of the above is also presuming you are going to school all year round (summers), not just standard fall, winter, spring.

                      It was bad 10 to 12 years ago. Suspect it has gotten worse.

                    • It’s gotten ridiculous. Younger son hoped to graduate in May,but… yeah. He’s fairly sure he can do it in 2020,but dear Lord 7 years for a double degree?

                    • 2020 … Let me guess. He has maybe 4 or 5 classes that are left to take, but because of scheduling he can’t get them all the same term …

                    • for next year? exactly four. Two of which CAN’T be taken concurrently. He thought they could and wanted to take them this semester. Then the other two simply weren’t offered this semester.
                      <pulls out her hair. He's going to be 25 looking for his first real job.

                    • He’s going to be 25 looking for his first real job.

                      At least he will be looking for a real job, and not one utilizing a degree in Idiocy Studies nor Applied Foolishness.

                    • If you can prove fraud, go ahead and do it. But there’s a reason why we insist on case-by-case trials.

            • With the qualification that if a degree is gained and later dissolved by bankruptcy, it can’t be used until the balance is paid.

              Maybe make a “no interest” requirement to try to thread the needle. IIRC, we got in this situation because folks got expensive degrees, did bankruptcy without paying much of anything, then went on their merry way.

              • In theory we wanted kid to have a small loan so he’d have some skin in the game. Oh, he put everything into it that he’d earned from the time he turned 16 & when not in classes. Plus earned scholarships, & small academic awards. But, the loans were all the “Parents Plus” variety that were charged interest rates right out of the gate … 6% or more … no thank you. We had a credit line that was less interest for emergencies, until we got credit jacked on it in ’09, so it never got used. We (3) got him through without loans. Last year it was coming up with the money the term before. Took every penny we had already set aside specifically for his college, and all the external (non-retirement) savings; but we pulled it off.

                While he was in school he had local firms contacting him. Then the year he graduated all those firms got bought out & shut down. He’s not using his actual field of study. But experiences got him hired internally into his current position at the firm he works at.

              • It would probably require a minimum period before dissolution, say five years, to insure student wasn’t quitting before making an effort.

                I would also suggest superior degrees “lock-in” subordinate ones, such that if you get a BA in Puppetry and proceed to acquire a Marionette Masters your BA loans are with you forever, and that you better think long and hard before collecting that Sock Puppet PhD.

        • *Imagine a bonfire pulsing*

          anti-trust needs to focus on “the teacher orders everyone to buy his book at stupid prices”, cus this is just getting stupid.

          But ignoring that, community college is good.

          All of which makes me very, very annoyed with my high school “how can you waste yourself not going to a (real) college?” folks.

  3. I have long believed in the Right to Go to the Hell of One’s Choosing — especially as we humans seem determined to do so. I am abso-effing-lutley confident that you won’t get into any Heaven of my choosing as a result of my having forced you to practice the rituals of my creed.

    People who insist on IMPOSING their morality on the unwilling are doomed to a particularly unpleasant Hell.

    • With all due respect RES, I am going to try to impose my morality on you with all my might and main, and trust in the good Lord to sort it out.

      I’m going to insist that you are responsible for caring for your own parents / family (if you can). That you don’t murder, maim, rape, rob, or abuse me or any other fellow citizen. I’m going to insist that if you slander or libel me (or anyone else) that you be held to account, to the extent that if you falsely accuse me of rape, YOU serve a rapist’s sentence. And I’m going to insist that any attempts at spreading Marxism are viciously dis-civic.

      Second table of the law.

      The problem is that too few folk know what morality is anymore, so so many live in Hell.

  4. Lots of truth in a short post. Thanks for putting into words what I have been thinking.

  5. The Left take the verse about “the poor you will always have with you” as Christians giving an excuse for not doing more, however the Left defines “more.” I was always taught that it meant that some people will 1. not want to work, 2. not be able to work for whatever reason no matter how much they might want to or try to, and 3. some will do better and some do worse through their own efforts as well as through life situations. We are supposed to help folks in situation 2, assist those who just had a bad break and need a little boost to catch their breath, and be wary of subsidizing those who prefer to live off of the fruit of others’ labors.

    • We weren’t really taught what it meant, other than a statement of fact.

      I took it to mean that there would always be folks who needed a hand.

      I’m not going to let someone starve at my door, even if they are a rat-b*red who walked into it– that doesn’t mean I need to drag them up to my level, it means that I can’t. Their existence doesn’t mean failure, or anything else. It’s like gravity, it’s a statement of is, and I must act based on each person.

      ….considering I grew up in legally defined poverty, I don’t have much use for the legal definition. We were doing fine.

    • I keep asking Leftists to quote me the verses where Jesus advocates charity via confiscation of alms at spear point, to be distributed as publicly as possible for the benefit of politicians, as opposed to the many where He advocates making charity as private as possible (a position which my rabbi’s daughter wife confirms is squarely within Judaism then and now).

      So far, the only reply I have received is the sound of heads exploding…..

      • But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
        Matthew 6:3-4

        Trouble is, that damned Left Hand is an almighty busybody, forever poking into what is none of the Left’s business. Ans, as we all too well know, the Left has some serious unresolved Daddy issues.

  6. The lack of responsibility is seductive to some. I have personally known people who live homeless because having a home is a burden of things that have to be done.

    • It’s also why socialism continues to seduce people, especially younger people, who are told they can have everything they want wthout having to work for it because The State will provide. No matter how often this is proven to be utterly false, many still fall for it because of the desire to have stuff without having to work for it.

      • One of the best tricks the current American socialist ever pulled is equating Capitalism with ‘having to go to work’. So, if you vote for them, they’ll make it possible to live in luxury without having to pay or work for it.
        Because everyone knows that the various People’s Democratic Republics are fun filled festivals of lazing around and sleeping around and getting high and being coddled.

        • ^^This! It just boggles my mind how much they really thinks this will happen! Or the promised “jobs for all” will be along the line of playing video games or doing art, as opposed to working at hard labor!

          What’s even funnier, if it weren’t tragic, is I’ve had some believe they will be leaders, when they rarely even leave the house to attend a SF convention, but once socialism takes over, their genius and leadership skills, will be immediately recognized and they will blossom!

          • I encourage the young folk I know to watch a few live-streams that are both (1) apolitical and (2) utterly nap inching in how much discipline and work are required to create cool stuff. Even if you lived in Social Unicorn Land, if you want to be kewl like them…. TANSTAAFL

            • Unflinching.

              Nap inching? Lord love a duck.

              • Got it! Sadly it’s all much older failed artists. Oh, they have the artistic skill sets, but zero practical skills or even speed of production or interpersonal skills. They produce *art*, which oddly no one hunts them down to buy. I had one say being a salesman was tacky, if the art is good it will be found ala Emily Dickinson. So instead they binge watch tv shows and wait for the revolution to deliver them to glory.

                • if the art is good it will be found

                  So, it stands to reason that there ought be no government grants to artists, as their art will be found if it is any good? I can get behind that. It would also seem to follow that, if the art isn’t being found then it is not any good, and the “artist” ought find decent work for self-support.

                  I agree that “being a salesman” is tacky, but many things in this world are tacky. Being a social leech is tacky, claiming to be an artist while acknowledging your work is not any good seems tacky. Having to explain economics to some pretentious twit who fancies herself an artist too sensitive for doing tacky chores is extremely tacky — but I do it anyway because, like sifting the cat’s litter box, it is apparently a necessary chore (at least, it is until I get fed up and have the cat put down.)

                • That’s another big lie- that Socialism promotes arts and artist.
                  Nope. Your art doesn’t do enough to promote the revolution, comrade. Now, get back to painting muscular workers with heads smaller than their necks holding up hammers and sickles.

    • I have an acquaintance who got 2 local brothers who live in a run down trailer good jobs with decent pay. Where they soon discovered they wouldn’t be able to take off the first few days of each new hunting season…. and quit. They do odd jobs ion the area, for cash, enough to live on, live in their (to me) squalid surroundings, and fish and hunt to their heart’s content.

      They feel sorry for us workers. And feel no jealously towards the rich. They’d never work that hard just for money.

      • Which works until they fall off the edge: age, illness, accident. At which point the social safety net, e.g. your neighbour, has to pitch in to help. Which they do, because they can. Then the other neighbour, who chose not to live in squalor, needs a heart transplant and there’s no money left.

        As Mr. Coolidge wrote “The normal must take care of themselves.”

        As much as I despise the commies, this hard question is why they get traction.

        • That’s one of the issues I have with “The Four Hour Workweek” and similar “timeout for real life” books and philosophies. If you set things up so you have a “Retirement plan”, even if it’s just disability or catastrophic care insurance for you having a hunting accident and needing constant care, more power to you. If not, and you’re just living day to day and not storing things up for when you’re too old to check your traps everyday…

          Well, you’re basically still just grasshoppers, even if currently self-sufficient ones. Which is better than non-self-sufficient, of course. But not as good as a grasshopper with a stash.

          Now, if only we could make such kinds of insurance profitable/easy to obtain/available, instead of focusing solely on “employer-sponsored health insurance”.

  7. The left keeps imagining that middle class is much further up than it is.

    In some cases it may be that the persons in question are working for people who are so much wealthier than they that they can easily see themselves as being at the center of the scale. 

    We know a very skilled attorney who was regularly employed by mega-wealthy clients, as well as serving on boards with such people.  This attorney is very well off, yet he knows how he isn’t able to spend, and imagines himself to be only middle-class. 

    • Yeah, I’ve met a few people who made over $200K per annum, who insisted they were lower-middle-class. Keeping up with their chosen peer group was expensive.

      Sam Walton was once the richest man in America. When someone asked him why he was driving a 10-year-old pickup truck, he answered “Because it’s not worn out yet!”

      • In all fairness, if you live in a blue state like New Jersey 200k is not enough to be able to afford many communities, because the cost of living is so high due to big government, high taxes and massive regulation.

        • Well, how can you represent the poor if you don’t ensure more and more people qualify?

          • JP: so right.
            That’s why the “poverty level” keeps moving up; now I’ve seen some people (government??) define it as the lower quartile or some such — and keep expecting that even more handouts will move everyone out of it.
            Face-palm.

            • Government defines it as the lowest quintile…which guarantees that you will always have “poor”…and thus always need a welfare bureaucracy.

              It’s also why I’m an advocate for changing the definition to a fixed standard of living…square feet of space, calories of food per day, etc.

      • yeah, a lot of the antifa and OWS crowd who lived with mommy and daddy who where complaining about the 1%- don’t realize their parents ARE the !%…

      • That reminds me of a story (perhaps apocryphal) of Ken Olsen who was president of Digital Equipment Corp. As many companies do he was on the board of directors for some other large corporations. He was on the board for Ford Motor company and one of the perks was any Ford you could want. Ken chose a Ford Escort. When asked why he said that he wanted to know what the people buying Fords were actually getting. In addition he didn’t trade it in yearly but kept the same one because much like Mr. Walton, “It still runs”.

    • I’ve seen a number of articles lately about what actually constitutes the middle class, and how much wealth/income is needed to make one “rich”. And some where middling/high six figure income earners think of themselves as “middle class”. Either because, as you said, they’re looking at people ahead of themselves and not realizing that’s the 1-percenters, and they’re in the 10% club themselves. Or else they’re looking at their expenditures and wondering how they could possibly cut anything. Often, they’re living in high cost of living areas and are completely unable to contemplate or imagine living elsewhere.

  8. “Holy envy.” I’m going to steal that.

    • Just so you know, there is beneficial use of the phrase — the old saints’ lives talked about how hermits or monks would be inspired by good men to work harder at being good. “Metal sharpens metal.”

      But they also noted that it could go wrong in a lot of ways, and holding a false idea is definitely one of them.

  9. Timothy E. Harris

    Maybe what they have and what they do is the level they wish to live at. Or at least it’s comfortable enough they don’t wish to do anything to get out of it. But it makes sense.

    That feels right. I know I could have made more money in my life if I had accepted jobs I would have been miserable doing. I have lived below my means, fixed my own home/cars/appliances etc. so I could save enough for a comfortable retirement while being content at work.
    I can easily see that as a sliding scale that some people are on the extreme ends of. And as you said, fine if it’s their choice, not so fine if the rest of us are forced to pay for it.

    • We were go to dinner friends with a couple who had several construction businesses. He was building a new condo development and asked if there was anyway he could get me in one of them? I said we were comfortable where we were. He kept at it and seemed to think we couldn’t AFFORD one of his condos.
      When I revealed our joint income he was not so much surprised as perplexed.
      “But you could be living in MUCH more house!”
      Why? So we can fill it up with more junk and have to clean it and take care of it? We don’t WANT ‘much more house’.
      It was like I was speaking a foreign language. He couldn’t understand why anybody didn’t live financed to the absolute last penny they could afford.
      It’s a sickness from my view.

      • Heh. When we bought our house the real estate agent was unhappy because, on paper, we could have afforded a much more expensive house. We didn’t feel the need to explain to her that we were already planning for me to give up what was then a high salary in the computer business for the much riskier business of writing novels.

        • Yeah — when I was house hunting here in Kentucky, the real estate agents wanted to show me houses that — while not expensive — were asking more than I wanted to spend. I wanted to be able to pay cash based on what I had in the bank and what I KNEW would be coming before the end of that year, and not even have a mortgage. Yes, we could have had a much nicer house (this one has a lovely location, but still needs quite a bit of work), but we don’t have a mortgage, and that’s worth all of the inconvenience we’ve had to put up with.

        • Same here when we moved to Plano in 2006. Every bank was willing to lend twice what we borrowed.

          • Longview, WA – 1980 It was like pulling hen’s teeth to get a loan. Then we’d only been working our jobs for less than 2 years & our credit ratings were infants. (Hint: Start you children on credit ratings as soon as legally possible). Fast forward 10 years it was a tad easier. Didn’t get the “more money” bit as we found the house first, then got the loan. Last time we went to refinance (our house interest is 2.79) we kept getting “But you can get $$$” cash. NO. Just pay off the last loan & credit line. Last time we even didn’t have that; pretty sure the loan officer glared at us. Oh, yea. When our credit ratings come back, loan officers get really, really, really, nice … Yes. We worked at it.

            • For those wondering how:
              As soon as they’re born, get that bank account, the traditional “college fund” one. When they get old enough to handle cash, get them on the “grocery” checking account. (Is a good chore, too.)

      • My wife and i are good savers. It is not so much that we plan to save. It’s just that we hate to spend on frivolities. My wife hates paying for a meal that she could have cooked at home. I’m driving a 20 year old truck and a 55 year old car. Just because I’ve currently got a good job is no reason to spend more money. It took our daughter a while to realize we were better off than her friend’s family. They went to dinner all the time. Brand new cars, designer clothes etc. All the repossessions that occurred three months after her friend’s dad got laid off was a big shock to her.

  10. Why, it is almost as if Greed and Envy and Sloth were somehow intrinsically bad for us…. wow. Someone should write a book about avoiding that sort of thing.

    • Nah. It’ll never sell. No one wants to read about that. [paraphrased from rejection letters sent to Paul of Tarsus, Moses, Siddhartha Gautama…]

      • Those require effort and application to achieve their ends. Most people prefer to click on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s site advertising “Try this one, weird trick” to a comfortable life.

  11. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Firstly, I figured out as I grew up that there are mentally ill people that one cannot simply coerce and force to be healthy from the outside. Classic example is an alcoholic. Trying to make someone else go dry tends not to work. There needs to be some willingness or desire on their part.

    Secondly, my own damage includes a strong aspiration towards mental health, and a fear of mental illness. I’ve worked out that my priorities and preferences on this are not a universal condition of humanity. Because there are a number of people who live doing things I would rather die than do. If their sentiment was mine, they would have killed themselves long before reaching that point.

    Taking care of someone mentally ill is frustrating. You do it for love or for money. Government cannot coerce love. So it takes money, and spends that on the ill. Being government, it spends poorly. On top of that, the wise and the compassionate have elected to use the stupidest and most costly illness management system for that government spending.

    I hate the druggies, because their behavior is vile, inhuman, and I would sooner be burned alive with a slow match. In my eyes, child molesters and cannibal serial killers are as far inside the bounds of decent, civilized, acceptable behavior. I force myself to forget that they exist, so that I can have some measure of peace. But not as severely as when I was really unhappy with the state of my life.

    I am enraged that people pick my pocket, otherwise coerce my engagement with the druggies and their issues, and force me to do so according to their judgement and not mine. Their appetites, and tolerances, not mine. The intensity, the emotion, and the urgency with which I am extorted remind strongly of a flavor of mental illness which I do not love enduring. I condemn their notions of right and wrong, I condemn their faith, and I strive to erase their influence from myself.

    No wonder I get so angry that speaking civilly is challenge.

    • Hate can be a problem. Maybe consider that it is eating your liver one cell at a time, and think about whether it is worth keeping.

      Example: Druggies are what they are. Hating them doesn’t do -them- any harm. It only harms you. It creates evil ideation and scenarios of vengeance in your mind. (Ask me how I know.) Those are bad things to live with. They create suffering for you.

      Hate takes power away from you, and gives it to the thing you hate. Just an idea. Not a sermon. ~:D

      It isn’t a notion I see in fiction and media, but it forms a large part of the Great Religions. I’ve gotten five books out of it so far. The idea is, if you can do -anything-, and I mean anything, how much time will you spend hating stuff and taking vengeance on it? How long will you keep going before your mind is destroyed and you’re a demon standing alone on a blasted plane?

      With great power comes great boredom, if all you do is beat people up and break their stuff.

      • Does that person really merit a rent-free dwelling in my head?

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        It’s also better to kill your enemies with love in your heart, because then you aren’t tempted by the waste of cruelty.

        I got a little saner on the subject when I forced myself to notice how much of it was driven by self hatred. Maybe I wasn’t changing my own self destructive compulsive behaviors, but at least I wasn’t one of those losers who threw away their sanity for kicks and giggles.

        I got a lot saner generally when I actually addressed things, got my life back under enough control to plausibly hope for the future. Once I was a lot less angry at myself for messing up my own life, and for not effectively working towards a better situation, I blamed the acceptable targets less.

        I have been lazy about self-improvement, and probably need to work on the next set of changes. Whatever those need to be. Maybe I can stabilize things enough that I’d wind up actually sane by around here standards.

        • Tai Chi and/or Yoga and/or Aikido. Once the food/shelter/car shit is handled, that’s the easiest/fastest/best path to getting the Odd brain running smooth. Still going to be Odd, just well-tuned.

          Like Kung Fu Panda. He’s still a fat panda. He’s THE fat panda.

          BTW killing your enemies is a waste of energy. Get them to kill each other. And pay you.

  12. My wife and I were vacationing in a beach area back in the 1980s. On the barrier island we stopped at a typical rural store that had limited groceries, sports stuff and tourist doo-dads. The front door looked like it had never been washed since the place was built. There was just a halo of grime down the edge and around the knob. Inside the linoleum was horrid with corners peeling up or chipped off. The cooler doors were all finger print covered and – well you get the idea.
    We found a quarter mile away a newer store that was brightly lit inside and spotlessly clean. They had all the same things for the same prices are the horrid filthy store.
    My wife asked me how the old store got any business. I invited her to examine the customers in the new store. Then I drove back up and didn’t go in the old store but sat and ate our sandwiches we’d just bought and watched people go in.
    Do you see the difference? I asked after awhile.
    She did. The people at the old store looked just like it. Dirty and worn. The new store had tourists and prosperous looking locals.
    The new store made people UNCOMFORTABLE who lived in filth at home. That clean bright sanitary store was an indictment of them and how they lived. They might not even be consciously aware of it, but they felt at home in the squalor of the old one.

  13. Many years ago, in counseling classes I was taking, I learned the truth of the joke:

    Q. How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A. Just one, but the lightbulb has to _want_ to change.

    Many of these people don’t want to change and don’t no matter how much money the Left wants to throw at the problem.

  14. “I don’t understand the left’s similar need to ensure that everyone lives “a decent life” by its lights.”

    I don’t understand it either, but I know the mechanism. Leftists consider humans generally to be worthless, thoughtless assholes who will die of starvation without the noble and almost holy intervention from them, The Left.

    People are stupid. They must be controlled.

    And they do preach. Every damn thing they say or do is a sermon on some futile Leftist principle. That’s what we’re all fed up with! It isn’t fiction or a movie or a game anymore, its just one more fucking sermon on Political Correctness and the Leftist Way.

    Much is made of that C.S. Lewis quote: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”

    That’s a great quote about a -Christian- tyranny. They are, as history shows, very oppressive. Very unpleasant. Do-Gooders, getting up in your bidness for your own good.

    Muslim tyrannies are most famous for converting populations by fire and the sword. Better dead than outside of Islam, they say. Higher damage profile.

    Both tyrannies are like a paper cut compared to the Left. That is because both religions have rules that are set in stone. In the case of Christianity, literally. Follow the rules, or put up a good pretense of following, they leave you alone.

    But the Left doesn’t seek to save souls or enforce submission to Allah. They don’t care how it turns out for the individual. Because people are STUPID. They have to be controlled. The Left doesn’t have rules, they have systems of control. And because people are stupid, all the control has to come from the very few Smart People.

    That’s why Christian and Muslim (and Shinto, and Budhist, and Hindu etc.) tyrannies have wars and slavery, but Leftists have wholesale genocide against their own citizens. 100 million dead in the 20th Century. Because its about -control-. What better way to maintain an iron grip over even the most trivial things than to kill anyone who is within ten feet of a guy who stepped out of line?

    But because they don’t have the power of life and death over everyone yet, instead they use every single thing to further their control over the stupid. All entertainment media are bent to delivering their sermons. That the companies selling those entertainments are going out of business is unimportant, there will always be a new one that springs up which can be converted to a new Leftist megaphone.

    Sorry, rant just sprang out of me. I must be a bit cranky today. ~:(

    • No. I feel the same way. And when I feel like this I just want to set things on fire. Good thing you’re far away. We’d just encourage each other.

      • Setting things on fire sounds good. I’m in! ~:D

      • It’s because they’re thieving little bastards. And I don’t mean of money. Of VIRTUE. Only THEY are allowed to show charity, and only by stealing YOUR money to do so. They must be praised for *making other people* be virtuous. People doing so on their own cannot be allowed to happen.

    • What is really frustrating is their abject cluelessness. They don’t think they are preaching. No! They believe that they are simply stating the obvious moral truth that we are too stupid to notice.

    • Part of the problem is that folks skip over part of that phrase, and it totally changes the meaning.

      Of all tyrannies. And they take it to mean “any time someone says I can’t set the commons on fire, even though we all own it equally.”
      Kind of like that quote about consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds– it’s a foolish consistency.

      Once you get that all nicely blurred, it’s relatively easy to justify ‘liquidating’ the problem citizens.

      • People forgetting the “foolish” part of that quote really trips my trigger, because it’s usually people arguing against calling out hypocrisy who do so. Drives me all kinds of bugnuts.

  15. I’ve got to hand it to you, that picture is rather creepy.

  16. For me, it comes down to; what the Left claims to want (and many of them are probably truthful about it) DOESN’T WORK. I have no need to go into theory. Their vision of a world full of people living nice lives, getting what they need and doing what they feel like, is pleasant. But it’s just as much a fantasy as OZ or Barsoom. It. Does. Not. Work. In practice. The political Left has had a century in which to MAKE it work, and the repeated and sometimes massively lethal failures litter the landscape.

    OTOH, Capitalism, smaller government, and Protestant Christianity as practiced in the 19th century DOES WORK. It makes people overall better fed, better housed, and better educated.

    The Progressive Left does not believe that because they bought the ‘The Industrial Revolution was awful’ narrative hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, and wading boots. But studies have been done, extensively. And, contrary to Teh Narrative the poor of the early Industrial Revolution that Dickens got so exercised about were eating 1000 calories (give or take) per day more than the substance farmers that were their parents. They were less ignorant than their parent, too.

    Note; they WERE malnourished, often hungry, and ignorant. Their parents had been PIG ignorant and often starving.

    I think, from my occasional diggings, that an awful lot of the ‘the factories are dreadful’ narrative can be traced back to Aristocratic landowners who resented that they were no longer the top of the heap.

    I think, based on lifelong exposure, that the Narrative of the Left can be traced to a widespread feeling that they, the Left, as educated people, should be running things. They know that educated people were running things in the 19th century and earlier. Now, that isn’t actually true, or true in that simple a way, but it’s something they know in their bones. And explaining to them that having a college education is a little like having a two-seater convertible; it’s nice, but it isn’t necessarily terribly practical.

    Many commenters here have commented that the workplace today requires so much more expertise….but I’m not sure it’s true. The workplace has been MADE to require much more certification…which isn’t the same thing at all. The Left is all about checkboxes and certifications…and that’s two-thirds of the problem.

    • “Many commenters here have commented that the workplace today requires so much more expertise….but I’m not sure it’s true.”

      I agree. A flexible mind and a decent classical education are more than what’s sufficient for most jobs. The ones that require an actual Gift, capital G, like physician, programmer, race car driver, artist, certification is mostly a waste of time. (Sorry Lefties, truth is you can put anybody through medical school but most of them can’t be a Doctor. It requires resources and commitment that most people do not have.)

      • Agree – a good classical education, flexibility and the ability to quickly learn new skills did me all kinds of good. I’ve done everything from editing English translations, working as a classical music DJ, data entry for a classical CD music service, porching newspapers, retail sales, simple graphics design, administrative assistant (secretary, basically) and then there is the writing…

        • Which of course why the left is seeking to utterly destroy good classical educations and eliminate them as options at universities to the point where even proposing to teach such things is deemed thoughtcrime. Such an education gets in the way of the lefts pursuit of total power because people with a classical education learn to think and solve problems themselves, and the left simply can’t exist if the people are self-reliant and do not mindlessly accept the left’s nonsense.

          • “Such an education gets in the way of the lefts pursuit of total power because people with a classical education learn to think and solve problems themselves…”

            Absolutely. I’ve done jobs from basic construction to computers to fabrication to physical therapy and now, writing great big books. Basic education showed me how to learn, and how to spot BS when somebody is selling it. I’m pretty smart, but by no means some kind of polymath. Other people can certainly do what I’ve done over the years.

            That’s what the Left can’t compete with. That’s why they love certifications and so forth, it nails people down and imposes barriers to movement.

      • TEACHING. Good teachers have a gift. I know because I have one, and I feel guilty I don’t really use it (except for other lost souls who also want to write.) I can make “The drying of paint, 101” interesting and make people work hard at learning it.
        But I LIKE writing better. And it doesn’t have a ton of crappy paperwork that the state requires of teachers. And I don’t have to get an AMERICAN teaching degree.

        • Yes, teaching is a gift. Unfortunately, we seem to follow the old adage “Those who can’t do teach.” Those who have a hard time at university congregate in the Education Department. Then they infect innocent children with the propaganda they were fed. Sigh…

          • I’m self-taught on paint-drying. (F’rinstance, latex paint won’t dry much faster than geological timeframes if the temp is < 50 F.) OTOH, painting on the south side of a structure is best done in the cool of the day. And I still need to get another coat of paint on the pumphouse. Maybe in March. Sigh.

          • Previous (on paint) was supposed to be a reply to SAH.

            Rumor has it that the Journalism school takes those who couldn’t make it in Education.

          • The problem with the mantra “We should encourage the best and brightest to teach our children” (which I have heard or read on and off since I was in high school) is that our best ad brightest mostly have something they would rather do. Yes, there are people for whom teaching is an avocation, but there aren’t all that many of them…and many cannot tolerate the bullish*t they would have to put up with to get a teaching certificate.

            We really need to push vouchers. The Public School system didn’t start out this awful, but it has reached the point where a severe shake-up is about the only hope, and vouchers are about the only way to do that. Above all else we must make goddamned sure that ‘requirements’ are kept to a minimum.

            • “The problem with the mantra “We should encourage the best and brightest to teach our children” (which I have heard or read on and off since I was in high school) is that our best ad brightest mostly have something they would rather do.”

              That’s one problem. The other problem is that high-quality people (who have options) are not going to be willing to put up with the climate of chaos and disrespect that pervades so many public schools.

              • Yup.

                In the 1992 campaign, there was a story about a Texas school district that hired a retired engineer to teach math and science. The school was delighted to get someone who knew the subject. The students were happy to have a teacher who not only knew the subject, but could tell them WHY the information was useful.

                The teacher’s union went ballistic. They are TERRIFIED of their little monopoly being broken up.

                • Yep. I was a multilingual scientific translator, but they wouldn’t allow me to teach high school French and German or, for that matter, Portuguese.

                  • We didn’t use it (didn’t home school). But there is an alternative school for home schooling that offers classes based on parental expertise. So, the parent who was a chemist could teach chemistry. The native Portuguese, or multi language linguist could teach whatever language that students had an interest in. Etc.

                    Don’t know what the criteria was to have a class actually taught other being listed as an option because someone had the expertise, i.e. a minimum number of students who wanted it.

                    We didn’t home school. Had more than a few scouts whose parents did, so we knew some of their options. Just couldn’t get there then*. Ours is an only child & grew up enough of an only child. He has had friends both through school & scouting, but they’ve all drifted apart over the last 12 years. Don’t know about college & now work.

                    *Supplemented his education a lot. Directed it through HS (no wimpy easy options). Don’t know what we’d do now. He graduated class ’07.

                  • Yeah, the :vocational” tech school I went to required that the course instructors have a minimum of 10 years experience in the field of whatever subject they were teaching. The other interesting thing was that if someone came into the school with 10(IIRC) people interested in learning a particular usable trade the school would find an instructor and set up a curriculum.
                    Back when I was going through the place, major companies stood in line to hire the graduates out of that school

              • The other problem with using “The Bright and Bestest” is they often make lousy teachers. Learning came so readily for so many of them they have no idea how to motivate others nor to explain processes that are bright as day to them but clear as mud to most students.

                There were good reasons that many of Major League Baseball’s best managers were marginal players, many of whom never had even a full cup of coffee as players. Guys for whom greatness came comparably easy or who found pleasure in the endless drills that form muscle memory are often incapable of understanding players who lack their dedication to excellence.

                • A friend of ours who was physically gifted tried to “teach” Robert to ride a bike by putting him on a bike then pushing said bike down a slope covered with pine needles and roots. And she couldn’t understand why he fell or refused to try again. “He did it on purpose” she told me.
                  I told her patiently that while I learned to ride a bike, three times in fact, I not only took a long time to learn it each time, but I was never good at it and forgot it immediately afterward.
                  She was flabbergasted. People JUST ride bikes, of course. Why would anyone even struggle to learn.
                  I (and Robert) gave up.

                  • That’s the less well-known aspect of the Dunning-Kruger effect: people who ARE competent or knowledgeable think everyone else can naturally perform at the level they do. You get people together who are suffering from it in the opposite direction, and things get real interesting real quick. Not in the good way.

                    • Yep. The hardest thing about software testing is that most of the developers are computer competent AND utterly familiar with the application being tested. When someone who doesn’t have those bases proceeds to break the crap out of their system just by doing what the program allows, they go ballistic and say “But no one will ever do that!! Everyone knows you don’t do that!!!eleventy!!!!”

                    • Yes. My job from ’96 to ’02 had a testing department. I helped develop the testing documents, but I was lousy at following them … “Yep. I know that works. Next.” Thankfully the person in charge of making sure they were followed was draconian about them.

                      I learned to figure out how to break code where I was making the change or adding to it; testing thoroughly. I got relatively good as it, as a programmer. Compared to someone who is a tester … nope, not even close.

                      My last job new clients would always come back with “who are your testers?” My response was always “shhhhh. (whisper) You are. That is the cost of the ability & willingness for the company to customize.”

                      Personally I despised repeatably going into code after I’d sent it out. So I tested the heck out of changes being made & tried to have a list of specific clients that if X changed for someone else, that those clients’ situation were double checked to be sure wasn’t affected adversely; could still miss it, but I tried.

                      Unfortunately, none of the other programmers did; they tested the change for the client they were making the change for, otherwise, not until someone complained. You do not want me going into that rant …

                • Indeed – and my father was one of those impatient, brilliant guys who was a lousy teacher. He just couldn’t understand why other people (specifically his kids!) couldn’t instantly grasp something so obvious to him.
                  My brother and I were scarred permanently from his efforts to teach us to tell time, when I was about six and my brother 5.
                  On the other hand, he gave fantastic nature walks. But I sure as hell didn’t want him teaching me to drive – I went and got professional lessons for that. (He tried to teach my sister to drive – she was in tears before they every got out of the driveway.)

          • Y’all ‘re o’erlooking the most basic fact: teaching ain’t permitted in our schools.

            Modern pedagogy has teachers trained as presenters, folk what present instructional material according to the prescribed methods and manner of state boards of education. Those who want to teach are weeded out by the inanity of the education schools, frustrated by classroom materials and disciplinary limitations (e.g., they arn’t allowed to discipline the truly disruptive kids, only the ones who object to classroom chaos) and stifled by the union career ladder.

            Calling these instructors “teachers” is lie calling an ox a bull. While grateful for the compliment, he’d much prefer restoration of that which is rightfully his.

            • This is actually true. My older son’s best teacher had all quit by the time the younger one hit the schools 3 years later.

            • I was on vacation last year with the wife, daughter and her friend, a grade school teacher, who could take off in the summer. I started going off on Common Core. She calmly explained how the new math methodology was truly an improvement. At this point we mutually decided to drop the subject. She may be brainwashed, but she is a pleasant young woman. Politics on a vacation is a nono.

              • FWIW, they’re both true.

                As theorized, the new method (which is basically “make sure they know all the methods!”) is a great improvement, it makes it much more likely that you’ll find a method that ‘clicks’ for you, individually.

                As actually practiced, it’s freaking horrible, because most of the teachers don’t understand half the methods so they can’t even SEE what they messed up when they’re teaching it, and the kids don’t get enough practice in all the different methods to understand them all and pick the one that works best for them.

                About the only good thing is that it did provide me with easier ways to expose my kids to different methods I hadn’t even heard of, and once they find a method that works for them, it becomes “solve it, show your work so I can show you where you messed up if you get a wrong answer.”

                • As theorized, the new method (—) is a great improvement … As actually practiced, it’s freaking horrible,

                  So, essentially just like Socialism.

                  (Aw geeze, where’d I leave my shocked face; I know it was around here someplace!)

                  • *laughs* It’s not THAT bad! Socialism doesn’t work with human instructors, this just requires decent teachers.

                    I’ve had pretty good luck with things like Khan, because then each method is taught by someone who actually understands what they are doing.

                • Well she seems pretty intelligent. So maybe she personally is implementing it well. Your comments just highlight the continuing perils of the public school system.

                  • I started digging after a good friend (who is a really dedicated high school math teacher) also liked it, but I saw how horrible it was for my niece, and then I couldn’t find anybody in a normal school who didn’t hate it with a passion.

                    Also got me on to Khan academy, since that came up time and time again as where parents were going to figure out what the heck their kid was supposed to be doing on a math lesson.

                    Which, as you say, highlights the Much Big Issue in public schools.

                    Homework is supposed to be /practice/, not “the parent teaches the kid.”

                    (Reason umpty-zillion why we home school; if I’m going to be teaching them anyways….)

        • “I feel guilty I don’t really use it…”
          Well you can stop now, because as an enrollee in the School of Hoyt I have learned a lot. So say we all, I’m sure.

        • *whispers quietly* Private school…. private school…*

          • Or offer a class on writing for home schoolers . . . plenty of folks know they didn’t learn to write well in the nineties and are trying to teach their kids to write well.

            Teach essay writing, I mean. Though if you want to go for stories, I suspect you’d find a market.

      • “What do you call a person that scrapes by in medical school?”
        “Doctor.”

        • Very often people who suck at medical school get into residency and do great. School is a completely different skill-set than the Real World of doctoring.

          Not always, of course. Sometimes they suck at both. That’s why there’s school -and- residency.

          • My last job. It came down to me & someone with a PHD in computer science. Why a PHD in computer science was looking for an entry level paying programming job, have no idea. Probably the same reason I was with 20 years programming experience … we needed the money. I was shocked I won. Got told it was because I could actually, you know, program …

            • The stuff they teach in college “Computer Science” curricula doesn’t have a lot to do with skeezy “programming” stuff. It’s language and compiler design, flow charts, lots of math, algorithms, maybe some database or OS design.

              Designing, writing, debugging, and getting signed off on software, that’s “employee” stuff, probably trade school people or remotes from Delhi. Nothing to do with Computer Science…

              • Won’t disagree.

                Only reason I got the Bachelors in CS is because after getting a 2 year programming degree my first employer put emphasis on certification, including the CS bachelors. He figured that since I already had a bachelors of science, I’d just have to take a few computer classes … well he wasn’t far off. “Only” needed 8 upper level CS classes. Problem was I also needed 7 (8 if you count retaking first term calculus) math classes, first!!!!! At one class a term counting summers that’s 4 years. Hey, he paid for 3 years of classes, books, & fees. Then firm moved out of town. What the heck, finished it off. Not saying I didn’t get anything out of it that helped, because I did.

                Heck I went after the 2 year programming degree, because I already had a 4 year degree, & didn’t want to go through that BS again & I didn’t want to commute from Longview to downtown Portland. Then we had to move to Eugene. Commute then was from downtown to campus, a few blocks, that I walked (2 hour lunches …) Someone else pays for it, I wdas willing to put up with the BS.

                I’ve never been into the theoretical stuff or the “lets see if we can …” portion. Yawn …

    • Part of the “horrors of the Industrial Revolution” narrative was also the fact that the poverty was concentrated in one place, rather than being spread out over a wide area, and hence was more visible.
      Also the fact that the rural poor usually have more of a fallback if something goes south than the urban poor do.

      • From what I’ve read the idea that the rural poor had more to fall back on is part of Teh Narrative. Remember; 1000 calories a day less, on average. Yes, the safety net in places like London was inadequate. In the countryside it was often nonexistent.

        • Without good transportation nets, a local famine was a horrible thing. There might be food twenty miles away, but no way to move it easily.

        • In the countryside, you can forage, if you have to.
          In the city, that option becomes much more dubious.
          That having been said, American rural poor might have more options than European rural poor.

          • aye, on that last. On the first the problem is if the crops failed in your region they failed for EVERYONE.

            • And this part of why Socialism/Communism/Central Planning fails: When (not IF, WHEN) it fails, it fails for everyone. A million by-guess and by-golly experiments will NOT all fail at once. Some will, but some *won’t*. And by that, they win by simply surviving.

          • The Austrians and Germans have a verb “to hamster” which came from the bags city people took with them on weekends when they fled Vienna and the other cities in order to find food during WWI. Vienna started rationing food in October 1914. War had been declared in late August…

    • “I think, from my occasional diggings, that an awful lot of the ‘the factories are dreadful’ narrative can be traced back to Aristocratic landowners who resented that they were no longer the top of the heap.”

      Interesting commentary on this point from the British writer C P Snow:

      “I remember talking to my grandfather when I was a child. He was a good specimen of a nineteenth- century artisan. He was highly intelligent, and he had a great deal of character. He had left school at the age of ten, and had educated himself intensely until he was an old man. He had all his class’s passionate faith in education. Yet,he had never had the luck-or, as I now suspect, the worldly force and dexterity-to go very far. In fact, he never went further than maintenance foreman in a tramway depot. His life would seem to his grandchildren laborious and unrewarding almost beyond belief. But it didn’t seem to him quite like that. He was much too sensible a man not to know that he hadn’t been adequately used: he had too much pride not to feel a proper rancour: he was disappointed that he had not done more-and yet, compared with his grandfather, he felt he had done a lot.

      His grandfather must have been an agricultural labourer. I don’t so much as know his Christian name. He was one of the ‘dark people’, as the old Russian liberals used to call them, completely lost in the great anonymous sludge of history. So far as my grandfather knew, he could not read or write. He was a man of ability, my grandfather thought; my grandfather was pretty unforgiving about what society had done, or not done, to his ancestors, and did not romanticise their state. It was no fun being an agricultural labourer in the mid to late eighteenth century, in the time that we, snobs that we are, think of only as the time of the Enlightenment and Jane Austen.

      The industrial revolution looked very different according to whether one saw it from above or below. It looks very different today according to whether one sees it from Chelsea or from a village in Asia. To people like my grandfather, there was no question that the industrial revolution was less bad than what had gone before. The only question was, how to make it better.”

      The above comments make an interesting counterpoint to Peter Gaskell’s 1836 book about the social impact of mechanization, which paints a pretty gloomy picture. I reviewed it here:

      https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/56406.html

  17. “Besides, if societal disapproval caused you to be poor, then a lot of gay people would be historically poor, instead of statistically at the top.)”
    A wonderful point Sarah! I need to use that.

  18. Anyone who has worked in ministry dealing with the ‘Less Fortunate’, or has relatives or friends likewise knows this to be true. Some people are just plain sorry no-accounts (bless their hearts).
    Give them a car or a house to use, and they’ll trash it. Offer them a job, and they probably won’t show up. If they show up at all, it will be late (and they’ll spend most of the working day slacking off, then leave as early as they can). Give them educational opportunities, and they’ll work hard to not learn. Give them food money, and they’ll buy cigs, booze, and dope. Give them food, and they’ll sell it for cigs, booze, or dope.

    And there lies the rub- give them something, and they just assume you, or someone else, will just give them more of the same.

    • In Texas, 2008, we had one Temp who sat around as much as he could get away with, and missed often. We called the Temp Agency and asked for a different worker who would show up and actually work when they did.
      Why yes, he was a Che wearing 0bama fan, how’d you guess?

    • I swear half my hometown was like this, and a good portion of my family members, too. My cousin turned 20 last month. Her Facebook is full of “I’m so depressed” posts interspersed with “Smoking out/Want to go drinking” posts. Plus the obligatory romantic drama. I bite my tongue to keep from lecturing her about putting those kinds of posts out in public where a potential employer could see them, if only because I KNOW she will never seek employment with anyone who would do such a thing. She’s the sort who will work a couple months each at every fast food place in town, and then start the circuit of Walmart and other such stores, but never stay longer than six months at the outside. I love her, but I’ll never undertake to support her financially. It would be nothing but a hole to throw money into.

      Eric Raymond has talked about this a bit on his blog. Some people simply do NOT have future time orientation, and cannot think about their future selves. Which is fine–it takes all kinds of kinds. BUT, it is not the responsibility of those who ARE responsible to take care of those who are not.

      • When I took a temporary second job at a convenience store (yeah, they’ll hire damn near anyone/anything if they don’t have [too bad] a criminal record) I was amused by the remark, “Oh, you’ve been at $PRIMARY-JOB a long time!” when it was less than a year. I’d been at $PREVIOUS-JOB a decade. When I claimed it wasn’t that long, I was informed that for them, it might as well have been an Eternity.

        • I mean, I’d quickly get bored being a retail clerk or pharmacy assistant or whatever. But I would use that as incentive to get a better job, not up and quit. And even at those kinds of jobs, after a year you start getting benefits like insurance and 401K contributions. And they’re fairly easy to take time off from if you want to do that. But seriously, you quit after six months just because you didn’t like it, with no other plan? And you’ll complain about other people and businesses doing better than you.

          (general you, if that wasn’t clear.)

          • Really, for them six months would be considered pretty good. Heck, when I was a bit short and asked about a single *season* I was re-hired almost instantly… but then I was also a Known Quantity by then. It was jarring to be informed I was one of a precious few who knew how to keep the simplest of accounts balanced. What’s so hard about “If you tale $20, you need to put $20 in”? (Exchanging one denomination for another). Simple enough ox can do it!

          • I would use that as incentive to get a better job

            In glorious socialist economy, comrade, there are no better jobs. All work is necessary for advancement of egalitarian society, and all workers treated same, with dignity and benefits needful.

            Yes, some workers seem to have greater benefits but that is only because their particular jobs so require, such as large houses and lavish entertainment budgets for diplomats and people whose prestige requires they provide entertainment to Capitalist running dogs. It is shameful burden but they bear it with good cheer because they know it advances socialist cause.

        • When I first worked at the airport I was told it would take a long time, maybe over a month for my ID background check to clear me, so get used to having to keep someone with a badge nearby.
          A week later I had my ID. They went 10 years back, and I worked at 2 places in that time. Meanwhile, the guys telling me that, 2 had a record, the other was 19, and had 20 jobs in his “Adult” life. After 20-jobs got fired, he went to the second company I worked for there (in their cargo dept.), and actually quit it to join the Navy. Gave his only Two Weeks Notice. Blew a knee in basic and was medicaled out, so even the Navy pretty much fired him. He came back, was fueling second shift while I was there, for maybe 4 months, and got fired by that second company, moved to the third fueling company and worked a year before being fired again.
          He was less than 25 years old, and been fired from every single employer he ever worked for (I believe the count was 24 jobs by then).
          SWA ops agents named him “The Wet Chicken”

        • I had a part-time job for a while, driving a delivery van for a “commercial pharmacy”, the kind that supply nursing homes and hospitals.

          All they wanted was someone with a clean driving record who could pass a drug test, which turned out to be a fairly high bar, as they were always trying to find people.

          Yes, it was minimum wage, and it ran from 6PM to 2AM, but all I had to do was show up three days a week, pick up the basket of drugs and the van keys, cue up the next audiobook on my player, and drive three or four hundred miles with half a dozen stops. As :”work”, it was down there close to “paid to breathe.”

  19. The left is very adamant about charity not coming “with a sermon.” It is most of their excuse for wanting government not churches to preach.

    They just don’t want it to be a sermon that is not theirs. A leftoid leaning church charity (they’ve infested a few) is fine as long as it works with the gov’t and does what they want
    They also don’t want money in politics, which translates to “We don’t want anyone we disagree with to have any amount of money in politics”
    They want “Free Speech” as long as they determine just exactly is speech.
    Effin’ control freaks.

    • they dont want money in politics, but anyone who is worried about the amount of money that George Soros spends on our politics is paranoid.

  20. oh, and because this got stuck in my head afterwards:

  21. Second Thessalonians 3:10-13. Don’t work. You don’t eat. And don’t be idle, bothering other people and getting into their business.

    Great verses from the Bible ….

  22. It never occurred to me that a lot of people who are “homeless” might fall into the same category. By which I mean the ones who aren’t crazy, addicted or dangerous to others. Maybe what they have and what they do is the level they wish to live at. Or at least it’s comfortable enough they don’t wish to do anything to get out of it. But it makes sense. After all, by the numbers, these people already live better than your average medieval peasant. At which point, honesty, my only problem with their choice is whatever help they get that is non voluntary, i.e. taxation, not private charity. If they’re living like that and it’s their choice, and they’re wholly financed by private charity? Don’t care. None of my business. Everyone has the right to go to hell in the way of their choice.

    Haven’t gotten even through the article, much less comments–
    but my problem beyond that is that they tend to depend on “charity” of the “anything not nailed down is mine” flavor.

    Including the “if I can break down the door and pry it up before the cops get there, it’s not nailed down” aspect.

    • “Including the “if I can break down the door and pry it up before the cops get there, it’s not nailed down” aspect.”

      Which is why I favor the broadest interpretation of the Second Amendment that doesn’t actually involve private ownership of ICBMs. I don’t own a gun (slew-foots should not own firearms or power saws, for about the same reasons) but I live in an open-carry State in a neighborhood full of farmers and blue-collar types. Herd immunity. No mook in his right mind is going to rob a house in this area; the odds of stopping a double load of 00 buckshot. And no look OUT of his right mind is going to FIND the place.

      • Owning an ICBM is a) expensive to buy, and b) digging the hole and lining the hole is a pain in the butt, and c) capping the hole to keep out the rain and the looky-loos just adds to the expense. Then there’s the aiming, a bear in itself. Now if’n you’re young enough and smart enough, you could likely join the AF Underground and become an missile launch officer, and get paid to babysit the birds you’re connected to, but you can’t just aim any of them where you want to (AF don’t go for THAT; huh uhhhh!). Also, now they have men and women on the crew force, sometimes together, so I hear, which could be a source of problems… Haven’t heard of mandatory chastity belts, but then there’s a LOT that I haven’t heard of…

        • And a short-range cruise is more the tool for the job.

          • Don’t forget that (AFAIK) it’s legal to have black-powder cannons most everywhere. The guy I know who had a towed version (75mm WW-2 vintage look-alike) said he never had a problem with tailgaters when trailering the thing. 🙂

        • The people that could afford to buy a nuke are the same ones that probably could today just as easily. Never mind buying governments

    • (Nods) I’ve met people like that, especially when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Some were willing to work a bit to earn their keep. Others were simply straight-up parasites.

      • My bi-polar BIL lived in Tennessee outside of Knoxville. Fell in with a good Christian building contractor who took BIL under his wing. He was a good worker when in an up phase. The contractor owned a red-tagged house on a country road. House had suffered flood damage. He let BIL live there rent free. Kept the vandalism down. No electricity, gas or water. Carried buckets of water from the creek for cooking and flushing. Heated and cooked on a wood stove. He was happy there for years. A perfect fit for his ambition.

        • Once upon a time, Pa had renters at a place he yet to sell. They skipped out, and THAT got him upset enough to go through small-claims (and win). “He[ck], had they said they couldn’t pay the rent, I’d have let them stay at least until late Spring, just to keep the water running there.” But the skip[ping out? That was a sort of dishonesty, up with which he would not put.

        • Glad he found something that worked out. It can often be very difficult for people who have neurological issues that are just bad enough to make it difficult to function in society, but not bad enough to make them a danger to themselves or others.

          There’s also a strong correlation between high-functioning autism and poverty/homelessness. They can do the tasks of a job, even a relatively high-paying one, but often can’t do the social stuff that comes with the working world. So neurotypical bosses often see them as bad workers even when they’re doing good work. As the blots and black marks accumulate, it becomes more and more difficult to get any job because they’re seen as problems before they even get a chance to show they can do the work if they can get the necessary supports (even things as simple as advance warning when routines change, or the supervisor accounting for the tendency to very literal understanding of language in giving directions).

  23. “So, when my husband was the sole provider because my writing wasn’t selling yet, I made a lot of my clothes, refinished furniture and, of course, cooked absolutely everything from scratch.”

    Sarah, you realize that’s a fairly scarce skill-set these days? The old-fashioned domestic skills have become a lost art.

    • Making clothes is no longer of us unless you need unusual clothes. The price of cloth has gone up now that it’s a specialty product.

      • Indeed. I only make costumes these days, and a lot of them you can buy online now at great prices.

      • yep. Now if I want to I buy fabric at the thrift stores.

        • I gather that thrift stores and estate sales are great sources of quality fabric, provided you know how to disassemble and outfit, recut the pieces and reassemble them to your dimensions.

          Men’s suits of amazing quality are especially available for those who know their tailoring.

          • I actually meant just fabric. Sometimes bolts of it. I used to make the kids Halloween costumes from such.

            • I am now reminded of Great Grandma… who sent such things at times. And knew Packing Theory better than any mathematician. So help me, if you took everything out of a box she sent, you would NOT be able to get it all back into that box. She had a Talent.

              • Remembered from a rather demented text adventure game (WARP, afaik only available for the HP3000)

                “Put black pill in box.”
                “Put wrench in box.”
                “Put bowling ball in box.” ; I said it was demented!
                “Put box in box.”

                Never found the source code, IIRC written in Pascal. Only game-world I know of that was a toroid.

              • My father once packed a car with a pile of stuff larger than it was, with room for him, my mother, and my older sister in her car seat.

                Neighbors came out to watch.

              • We used to do some touring on the bike. I had a “6 liter” tank bag, which was small-to-medium as such things go; I wanted to be able to see the instruments and have full steering lock which limited size quite a bit.

                That’s about a gallon and a half. My wife could pack a week’s worth of clothes and “stuff” for two people into that bag. Unzip it, and it was like a giant Jiffy Pop.

                That woman really *can* pack ten pounds of stuff in a two-pound bag…

                • oy, mine is much smaller, and still toots the horn from time to time.
                  Then again, I got plenty of room in the bags and trunk or dry bag (depending on which ST I am on)

      • This – home sewing is now a hobby rather than a necessity. And bobbies are always more expensive. But there is still an option for looking fashionable on a budget: re-designing thrift store finds. Last year, I saw a number of stories and links for the website of a home sewer who had lovely before-and-after examples of garments she had altered (in some cases severely altered!) to suit and fit her two daughters. A commentor last year provided a link to a costume enthusiast who also does the same thing with bargains from the thrift store.

      • $SPOUSE makes sure she’s on the JoAnn mailing list. The 40-50% off coupons and careful planning takes the sting out of fabric/yarn/notions purchases. Her sewing shop is too hard to heat in winter, so material waiting for projects gets stored there, though right now, she’s keeping warm by knitting lap blankets. Sewing happens in warmer weather.

    • Hon, having attended university in Portugal, I was expected to have SERVANTS. My first day alone in the house, when Dan went to work, I poked around and found uncooked pasta and was baffled. I didn’t know how that hard stuff turned into the pasta I knew.
      My SIL (in Portugal) bless her, had got me a book of Portuguese cookery with pictures. I spent a year doing a recipe at a time. Sewing I taught myself (and am not wonderful, but good enough to follow instructions.) Furniture refinishing, I had some glimmers from following grandad (a cabinet maker around) but mostly because the products are all different, I got books from the library and LEARNED. Just as I learned to clean because though I did that for mom in Portugal, again products and techniques were all different..
      BTW, when I’m annoyed I’ll say things like “If I hadn’t married across the ocean, I’d never have had my hands in dishwater.” And while that’s true, I don’t regret it a bit. Both the man and the country are the best decisions I ever made.

      • Every so often, when you write comments like these, I wish so much you could meet my mom. You’re both storytellers.. and you have the same hmmm.. don’t have the right words. But she’d be nodding her head: didn’t own a pair of shoes until 13, but…

        Different world.

      • $HOUSEMATE had grown up with a(n electromechanical) dishwater. I’d never had one before moving the current house. Upon $HOUSEMATE’s first visit, when I did the dishes sans machinery, it was observed almost as if I were performing a rain dance or such.

  24. I don’t think the ringleaders of the Left are really interested in poverty…except to keep people in it. Their lodestones are Power and Status. They mean to be the Lords…and WE are to be the Serfs. Licking their jackboots just so…or else.

  25. Today and yesterday – Sarah is hitting out of the ballpark!

  26. Yes. In my mom’s home town you could tell the two types described in this post apart because they only had mango trees. “Only mangoes grow out here.” Nope. Everything else just takes serious effort because of the ants. (You needed hammered tin leg guards to clear the nest)

    I disagree, however, on the libertarian “pick your own Hell-bent handbasket, it’s none of my affair” philosophy, except, as Mrs. Hoyt describes it, in “what I’m forced on pain of law to pay for.” I used to, mind… but now it’s just too short term. Long term is how you got the mango farmers. Out houses were a civilizational upgrade.

    The problem is that we all simply do not agree on cultural norms, so we get a policeman on every street corner. Which is where the storytellers come in… but we’re divided on what those stories should be too. Interesting times galore.

  27. Addendum: Unfortunately for me, brevity is not the soul of wit, so com boxes are not my friend, for complicated expressions (as abovementioned). Fortunately, better men than I have tackled the question.

    Here you go: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2376

  28. I’ve related a time or two on the condition of my grandparents house when they finally were forced to relocate, just before they passed away. As in their kids & grandchildren (& great grand) considered it a shack. Not insulated, small 3 bed, one bath, maybe 900 sq feet. It did have running water from the well & electricity. Although according to mom it didn’t have either when they moved in in ’52.

    OTOH I’ve seen the one room 400 sq foot (or smaller, we didn’t get to go in, it was locked) cabin that grandma & grandpa had with a new born & a 3 year old, when grandpa worked in the mines in Montana. No electricity, no running water, no well (water was a creek across the mine road).

    Based on what Sarah has written today. I take it back. To them their home in Oregon was a palace. Mechanic work VS the mine … OMG, need I say more? That their place was full of “junk”, well that was the WWII generation, I think; nothing was thrown away.

    For our area, the next generations are all solid middle class (where middle class can be well under < 100k/year FWIW). Yet, it is interesting on differences. For reasons, mom lives on $2000/month between SS, her Pers, & required distribution from limited IRA (dad's stroke at 50 put a dent in plans) AND saves money each month (I help with taxes on Turbotax, so …). Her baby brother & wife income estimated is around $7000/month (or more), easy, between each SS & her Pers (after 30 years), no idea about IRA, etc., and they cry poverty.

    • This is also the grandmother that taught me how to knit, crochet, embroidery, hand quilt, & hand sew, … That she wasn’t able to teach how to music keyboard, or him the guitar, is not their fault, they tried.

      • That she wasn’t able to teach how to music

        There is a distance between “could not teach” and “could not learn” and part of it is covered by “would not learn.”

        I do not think anybody was going to manage to teach 9-year-old me how to play slide trombone, as all evidence is that I have no rhythm and no ear — but the matter is moot as I also had n interest.

        • Well yes, you are correct. Implied I couldn’t learn, what I meant, by “not their fault”. No rhythm. Pretty sure it’s called “tin ear”.

          • Somewhere I have on tape a song recorded long ago from Dr. Demento’s show, about a boy, scion of a wonderfully talented musical family who had somehow been born tone deaf. Marvelous example of vocal discipline, as I am sure the conditioned reflex of every singer is to sing ON key, even if the song requires the note be OFF key and flat.

            The song did have a happy ending as the lad eventually met, from a family of miraculous dancers, a young lady who had two left feet and no sense of rhythm, and the two lived happily — if unmusically — ever after.

            I’ve searched, fruitlessly, for the song online.

            • Reminds me of Yang the Youngest
              https://www.amazon.com/Yang-Youngest-his-Terrible-Family/dp/0440409179

              I sympathize, having been asked by the choir director, if I could not, please, find another way to serve?

              See also: Taran Wanderer.

            • It take really good, if not outright brilliant, musicians to perform “badly” and yet still manage to be listenable.

            • I have never heard the song, but one of the Osmond boys was deaf. My first real-world sale in the late seventies was to his mother, of a minicomputer, so he could have a profession.
              She just walked in the door one day while I was the only one in the office. A very nice lady.
              My boss framed her check for a couple of months, then had to cash it — we were not a “big name,” but one of the very few computer sales companies back in the day.
              Why yes, our company was in Provo Utah —

            • “as I am sure the conditioned reflex of every singer is to sing ON key, even if the song requires the note be OFF key and flat.”
              There is an excellent play (now movie) of a socialite music lover (Florence Foster Jenkins) who hosted salons and concerts for many people; the catch was that occasionally she was the featured singer herself, and was excruciatingly bad. However, she was such a great person that her friends abetted her delusions and everyone was happy.
              A friend of mine, a very good singer herself, played the role on stage once (we got to see her) and said that singing so badly was extremely hard to do, which I can believe.

            • I never heard that one, that I can recall, and haven’t listened to Doc Demento in yearsssssssssssss.

              • It used to play late Saturday nights here, but it got to be 10 minutes of Dr. Demento and 50 minutes of commercials, and I quit bothering.

                All (well, all three) local rock stations have “morning programs” now, so from 0600 to 1000, they play no music at all. Just gibbering idiots and commercials. I guess the idiots are cheaper than the music fees…

              • I could be wrong about where I heard it (it has been decades), but where the heck else would it have been played?

                I’ve tried searching Dr D databases with no luck.

  29. That things about boarding houses and their disappearance: One thing I found interesting in Little Women was the fact that Jo went off to New York City, by herself, and lived in one, and *nothing was made of it in the text*, nothing that would indicate that that was unusual, or frowned upon, or anything of the sort. So much for the idea that women have always been oppressed and homebound. Another nail in the coffin of feminist narrative (not theory, because that is {properly} used in science as a thing that can be experimented against).

    But the other thing I was thinking of was the “not allowed to live as less than WE think people should be able to do”. Looking at factory dorms in China, hot bunking for TCNs in the Middle East, and the packing of “undocumented immigrants” in the US– it’s this kind of thing that lessens our competitiveness in the world. The fact that people can’t choose to save their money by living how they like is ridiculous.

  30. By coincidence, my bed-time reading last night was Jordan Peterson’s Rule #3: Make freinds with people who want the best for you.
    He says it’s good to hang out with people who support you instead of tearing you down, so I think he would approve of the Huns & Hoydens!
    He also talks about all of those “light-bulbs who don’t want to change” (yes, he tells the joke) from the view-point of a clinical psychologist, and pretty much supports everything Sarah said here and in yesterday’s post on “Compassion.”
    I do a lot of “social service” work in my church, and most of my leadership also agree that there really are some folks that aren’t going to “improve,” so we just do the best we can to help them where they are.

    • I finally felt motivated to look up this adage of Ben Franklin’s:
      “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.”

      Were I president I think I would have that posted in every welfare office in the land.

      Of course, were I president I would search the retired officer corps for those such as Tom Kratman and nominate such people for any government position requiring Congressional approval which they could conceivably fill.

      I would do that not because I think they would be the best fit for the job, not because the Senate would be likely to approve the nomination; I would do it with the explicit instruction to the nominee that I want the senators charged with confirming the nomination to be treated as and to have their questions answered with, all the respect they have earned.

      They only limiting instruction I would give the nominees is that they cannot say, “You want the Truth? You can’t handle the Truth!”

      Hell, I would even start a White House pool on the over/under of how many such nominees I would have to send up before the Senators learned to behave themselves.

  31. This is a reply to RES at 2:12 am today; for some reason WP won’t always take my replies.
    “as I am sure the conditioned reflex of every singer is to sing ON key, even if the song requires the note be OFF key and flat.”
    There is an excellent play (now movie) of a socialite music lover (Florence Foster Jenkins) who hosted salons and concerts for many people; the catch was that occasionally she was the featured singer herself, and was excruciatingly bad. However, she was such a great person that her friends abetted her delusions and everyone was happy.
    A friend of mine, a very good singer herself, played the role on stage once (we got to see her) and said that singing so badly was extremely hard to do, which I can believe.

    • I recall the film. In similar vein, it is always interesting to watch a good actor portray a bad actor. That was one of the (many) charms of watching “Whose Line Is it, Anyway?” (in the original British, preferably.)


      Like a lemon, let us squeeze the love out of each other …

  32. I hope WordPress starts remembering my credentials again, or I’m going to have to get a shorter email address to type in every time I write a reply…

    • OTOH it is keeping me from brushing against the “Post Comment” button too quickly (she who sees silver linings) … but yes it is irritating.

    • There is a workaround for this. Open a text editor, such as Windows Notepad or an email blank, type in your credentials to copy/paste whenever wanted, then shrink and forget until needed.

      You can also use the editor to compose comments while reading the daily blog entry for posting later or for spell & grammar checkery before posting.

      If you use a Notepad text file you can even save it to a convenient spot, such as desktop or toolbar, and open it when you want it. Along with your credentials you can file complex HTML tags, such as those used for embedding a linked address in text. For example, I have this:

      [A HREF=”http:/URL”][BTEXT[/B][/A]

      with angle-brackets in the place of the square ones, stored to facilitate easy posting of such items as the below with naught more than a few copy/pastes:

      The One Wrong Premise at the Center of American Politics Today
      By Sarah Hoyt
      With President Trump declaring that America is not now and will never be a socialist country, the masks have come off.

      All the establishment left that a mere ten years ago would have denied strenuously that they were in any way, shape, or form socialists, are now defending their precious dream of socialism (really, communism, but the difference is academic and like the difference between male and female penguins, it matters only to themselves. Let’s remember the USSR only ever called itself socialist).

      Occasional Cortex had to come out and talk about how socialism is getting more popular all the time (someone told her it was to die for) and the Washington Post (democracy dies in darkness while we hold a pillow over her head) said Trump will lose his “war” on socialism (just like we were always going to lose till communism, till the wall came down. Unexpectedly! As far as the left was concerned).

      This means communism and socialism (100 million dead. Why not try again?) has been much in the minds of most of my contacts both on the right and left, and I’ve been reading testimonials on our side and people pointing out it’s not Trump’s war on socialism. It’s our war on socialism. It’s merely a relief to have a president who, unlike Mr. Obama, doesn’t think the ridiculous and abominable system is inevitable.

      Thing is, because of it being in the news, I’ve heard an awful lot about why communism and socialism (its pink, pale cousin who causes death by stagnation and piecemeal instead of the honking big mass graves of communism) don’t work. …

      • And THIS [A HREF=”http:/URL”][BTEXT[/B][/A]

        Is why you don’t want to have to type this sort of thing out every time you want [A HREF=”http:/URL”][B]TEXT[/B][/A]

        • I don’t have to type in the entire email or name (not that I’m not being lazy & just using first initial, but whatever …). Get a drop down list of options. Don’t know if that is the way of my browser & settings or what. Don’t get that on my banking or credit card sites on user name. Still it is a PIA …

      • I suspect the Democratic Party is realizing that Occasional-Cortex is like that gal some dude hooks up with, and he finds out she’s a total psycho. Like send you a hundred plus text a day, has a fit because you liked another girl’s FB post, makes serious plans without consulting you (and gets mad because you have other commitments), turn everything into a fight, kill your pets crazy kind of psycho.
        Once it actually dawns on them, they’re going to have a hard time breaking things off.

  33. The word “freedom” means “free doom”, metaphorically connoting individuals as personal Masters of their Fate (see Kipling, “Invictus”). “Liberty”, on the other hand, derives from “liber” (book), meaning that one is subject to statutory codes legitimately vs. despotically enacted by State Legislatures with consent-of-the-governed conferring “force of law”.

    In Anglospheric contexts, the emendation of Greco-Roman polities under Judaeo-Christian auspices began with King Henry I “Beauclerc” (r. 1100 – 1135), who mollified his barons on William II Rufus’s accidental death by issuing a Royal Charter codifying limitations on Divine Right monarchs that became Britain’s AD 1215 Magna Carta at Runnymede, where two dozen “wolfish Earls” stood surety for English liberties against King John “Lackland”, brother to Richard Lionheart (d. 1199).

    In light of Beauclerc and Lackland’s militantly coerced concessions, American pamphleteer Tom Paine made much of Jefferson’s 1776 Declaration as a successor to England’s centuries-old Common Law tradition, adducing consent-of-the-governed under Rule of Law as merely “Common Sense.”

    • > consent of the governed

      Yet the Fed has never asked my consent for anything. Ever.

      At least my local polities occasionally let me vote on a bill before doing something I disapprove of…

  34. Great post. A good explication of an old concept: you have the right to make the wrong decision (if it’s harmless to others). As Hoyt makes clear, it’s fundamental to basic freedom.
    The discussion of homelessness was personally interesting to me because of some charity work I’ve done with the homeless. There is no question that a large majority have “issues”. Substance abuse and mental illness (both, frequently). They are not functional people. But I recall some (a small minority, to be sure) that seemed quite coherent and simply found living out of a tent to be a-ok. It was weird. The concept of living a completely purposeless life is hard to get your head around. I mean, a lot of people struggle to find purpose, but we know it’s a hole that needs to be filled. To encounter someone who just exists for no particular reason, with no aspiration or higher purpose whatsoever, I mean, what’s the point? Of course, I didn’t really know these people, so there’s probably a lot more to the story. But encountering people like this certainly has a way of focusing one’s mind on the question of “what am I doing with my life”.

  35. I’ll tell you something about child support cases that I learned as an attorney. I was the child advocate for a three counties back in my home state. My job was to make sure someone was supporting children of divorce or single mothers besides the state. I really didn’t see women trying to break men for child support, but I saw plenty of men who had previously had no interest in their children, even during the marriage and especially after they’d left their families, until they were taken to court for support. Then, suddenly, they decided to petition for full custody. Many of them were enraged that they had to give money “to her.” Never seemed to dawn on them that regardless of their relationship with the biological mother, they had a duty to provide for their children and that yes, their ex would logically be the adult that managed the money they contributed to their children’s upbringing. They just wanted to make sure the woman got nothing, even if they had to take away children that they didn’t even bother exercising their visitation rights with and many times shoved the care of these kids off on girlfriends, their own mothers or new wives when they did have them for visitation. It was about control and punishing the woman. Very rarely did I run into a vindictive mother. Mostly, they just wanted the man out of their lives and their children to be okay. I know that’s not the preferred narrative, but that was my own personal experience with family law conflicts regarding children.

    • We had ranch hands that bragged about getting their child support down to below $50 a month for two kids.

      She’d objected to her husband having girlfriends at the bar.

    • Well, I know of a few cases in which the woman broke the man.
      One of which she divorced him because he “spent too much time with the children.”
      I doubt you’d have realized that if you were the attorney though. Women are REALLY good at pretending. It’s only if you’ve watched the whole thing as a friend or relative that you GET it.
      The issues are on both sides, and women are better at the game.

  36. I recently spoke with a local cop about the homeless in our neighborhood. My perception, for years, has been that over 50% of homeless are that way by choice. The cop, who deals with them daily said, “No way. Try 95%.” This is simply the way many people choose to live; minimal effort, letting others provide for them.

  37. I recently spoke with a local cop about the homeless in our neighborhood. My perception, for years, has been that over 50% of homeless are that way by choice. The cop, who deals with them daily said, “No way. Try 95%.” This is simply the way many people choose to live; minimal effort, letting others provide for them.