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A strong society takes care of its weakest members

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  • Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 08:44pm

    #41
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

I wouldn’t be the least surprised C1oud Smile

I think while we disagree on implementations there are many times we are in violent agreement (arguing the same point with differing language, resulting in unclear communication) at the root cause of issues.

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 08:53pm

    #42
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

[quote=switters]

Let’s look at some examples.  I lived in a ghetto community for 2 years (on the fringe between a white ghetto and a black ghetto so we’re not singling out any particular races here) and saw the poor consistently make poor choices.  They’d buy pop rather than milk, drink alcohol rather than buy nutritious food, buy cigarettes rather than invest in their children, etc.  They’d prefer to watch TV to read at a free public library and prefer to hang out on a street corner or sit on a stoop rather than offering some store owner to sweep his walk for some food or money or perform some other worthwhile service.  I could go on and on.  This was certainly not all of them but it was a substantial majority.

This is exactly what I’m talking about.   Why do they buy pop?  Why do they drink alcohol?  Wy do they buy cigarettes?  Why do they watch TV instead of reading?  Is it because there’s something genetically deficient about them?  Is it because they’re just fundamentally bad, lazy people who make poor choices?

Or could it have something to do with the way they were raised?  Could it have something to do with the fact that there are liquor stores on every corner in those neighborhoods and not a single store that sells fresh produce and healthy food?  Could it have something to do with the fact that their parents drink too much and smoke, and so does every one of their friends?  Could it be that they never learned to read well because their schools were war zones and they were too busy just trying to survive?  

Could it be that they are as much products of the social, political, familial, racial and economic factors that make up the fabric of their lives as you and I are?  I learned to read, eat healthy food, take care of my body etc. because that was modeled all around me as I was growing up – at home, at school, in my local community.

Had I grown up in a community that modeled other behaviors, those are probably the ones I would have adopted.  Certainly, exceptional individuals or those that have a life-changing experience of some sort are able to break free of their conditioning and “make lemonade from lemons”.  But not everyone will fall into that category.  Does that mean they aren’t worthy of support? 

Once again, these issues are much more messy and complex than most care to admit.

[/quote]

I don’t disagree, but you’re missing two serious considerations… Advertizing and the Media, treat a person like a fool and they’ll likely act like one, treat them with respect and they’ll likely return it eventually. I’ve always been confused by inner city riots where people in the neighborhood burn down the local community center to “stick it to the man” like the community center is not there for them… Is this conditioning or acting as expected? I don’t believe that people are generally that stupid as individuals, however as a group many times groups of people have proven themselves this stupid and more.

BTW I think looking at communities past may not be the most effective means of creating a more successful community, after all those communities ultimately led to this current situation. So turning back the clock might be short term successful, but long term failure. I personally think we need to re-invent the community rather than adopt a prior incarnation.

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 09:07pm

    #43
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

[quote=switters]

Let’s look at some examples.  I lived in a ghetto community for 2 years (on the fringe between a white ghetto and a black ghetto so we’re not singling out any particular races here) and saw the poor consistently make poor choices.  They’d buy pop rather than milk, drink alcohol rather than buy nutritious food, buy cigarettes rather than invest in their children, etc.  They’d prefer to watch TV to read at a free public library and prefer to hang out on a street corner or sit on a stoop rather than offering some store owner to sweep his walk for some food or money or perform some other worthwhile service.  I could go on and on.  This was certainly not all of them but it was a substantial majority.

This is exactly what I’m talking about.   Why do they buy pop?  Why do they drink alcohol?  Wy do they buy cigarettes?  Why do they watch TV instead of reading?  Is it because there’s something genetically deficient about them?  Is it because they’re just fundamentally bad, lazy people who make poor choices?

Or could it have something to do with the way they were raised?  Could it have something to do with the fact that there are liquor stores on every corner in those neighborhoods and not a single store that sells fresh produce and healthy food?  Could it have something to do with the fact that their parents drink too much and smoke, and so does every one of their friends?  Could it be that they never learned to read well because their schools were war zones and they were too busy just trying to survive?  

Could it be that they are as much products of the social, political, familial, racial and economic factors that make up the fabric of their lives as you and I are?  I learned to read, eat healthy food, take care of my body etc. because that was modeled all around me as I was growing up – at home, at school, in my local community.

Had I grown up in a community that modeled other behaviors, those are probably the ones I would have adopted.  Certainly, exceptional individuals or those that have a life-changing experience of some sort are able to break free of their conditioning and “make lemonade from lemons”.  But not everyone will fall into that category.  Does that mean they aren’t worthy of support? 

Once again, these issues are much more messy and complex than most care to admit.

[/quote]

Interestingly enough, when their self-destructive behavior is brought to their attention, all too many of them will persist in it anyways.  Unfortunately, that’s been my personal experience.  My daughter (who is 20) was employed in a stimulus package program this summer where she supervised underpriviledged kids in various clean-up and restoration projects.  They were told very clearly from the outset what the parameters of their responsibilities were.  Yet many of them showed up late for work or not at all, walked off the job, or had one excuse after another for not fulfilling their obligations.  My daughter talked to them about nutrition, smoking, alcohol, drug use, reading, education, etc. but, for the most part, was ignored.  She’s much more of an idealist than her dad who has been there and done that and couldn’t believe what she experienced.  She had some small successes but generally found the experience disheartening.

By the way, where I lived, there weren’t that many liquor stores and those little local mini-marts and grocery stores did have fresh produce and other healthy food but its sales were greatly outpaced by food of the Twinkies and coke variety.  Many folks have parents who drink or smoke too much but they don’t consistently make the same poor choices.  My dad was a smoker and I thought it was foolish.  Although I loved him and admired him, I had no desire to emulate that aspect of his behavior.  Also, I went to a junior high and high school that was a war zone (they called out the National Guard for our race riots and I had my first experience with tear gas) but still managed to get an education and become successful.  My grandfather was so poor that he ate sawdust mixed in with potatoes to get enough to eat but still managed to come to America and make something out of himself.  This is not to pass judgement on folks who are mired in poverty (for whatever reason) but just to say that while appearing messy and complex, at its core, the matter is often quite simple.  It comes down to choices.

How do you propose we support these individuals?    

 

 

    

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 10:35pm

    #44
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

Like Gungnir, I think there may be a lot of violent agreement here . . . . Certainly we can all agree on the conditions we see, such as large socioeconomic groups, on average, making bad choices . . . . .  and whining about the consequences.  And if one looks at that, from a superficial viewpoint, it truly is exasperating.  However, there are forces in effect on those socioeconomic groups, many of which exert their influences from very early childhood, including advertising and subliminal messages conveyed by authority figures (think:  police, politicians, educators, clergy) that predispose one to make those wrong choices.  Additionally, I don’t think that the effect of chronically poor nutrition from fetal development to adulthood can be underestimated.  In an environment in which one does not have access to essential nutrients and stimuli to develop a highly functioning brain, the odds are heavily weighted against spontaneously finding one’s way to the path of better choices.  Nutritional deficiencies, especially during development can be the root cause of serious mental disease . . . . . Is it unreasonable to assert that they may also cause more subtle deficiencies in the ability to reason clearly, to feel motivated, to get satisfaction from work, and to feel compassion?  Additionally, there may be toxic exposure in some environments (lead, mercury, and fluoride are examples that spring to mind) that contribute to poor brain development.  The scientific community is quick to embrace chemical solutions to conditions, such as depression, which are characterized by apathy, fatigue, lack of motivation, and sometimes rage and despair.  These symptoms sound suspiciously like the very manifestations that, on superficial examination appear as “laziness” or “violent tendencies”.  If we can readily accept that there may be pharmacological (chemical) solutions for these conditions, can’t we also entertain the possibility that there are also nutritional (chemical) causes of these conditions?  Likewise, we readily embrace environmental treatments for psychological conditions, including rest in a remote location of natural beauty, or, in more extreme cases, a healthcare facility in which the environment may be controlled.  Isn’t it also reasonable to postulate that environmental causes may be at the root of symptoms that manifest as poor decision making, impulsive behavior, lack of motivation, and angry outbursts?

Of course, none of this answers the question of what should be done for individuals once the damage is done.  I suspect that blindly throwing money or medications at these problems is unlikely to have persistent impact.  However, I do believe that, on a local level, where one can observe conditions, behaviors, and responses to assistance, we will be able to ensure that whatever assistance we render will be more efficacious than that administered blindly from the federal level, simply because we can selectively choose how to apply our efforts, and closely monitor the results of our assistance.  In short, I suggest that assistance for the unfortunate is best done informally, by direct observation, within the local sphere.  I would further suggest that the federal government has no place in deciding the content of our school curriculum, how charities and other assistance programs are administered, how we obtain our food, and what we may or may not eat or grow.

  • Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 10:41pm

    #45
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

C1oudfire

Well said. 

D

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 04:11am

    #46
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

I don’t disagree, but you’re missing two serious considerations… Advertizing and the Media, treat a person like a fool and they’ll likely act like one, treat them with respect and they’ll likely return it eventually. I’ve always been confused by inner city riots where people in the neighborhood burn down the local community center to “stick it to the man” like the community center is not there for them… Is this conditioning or acting as expected? I don’t believe that people are generally that stupid as individuals, however as a group many times groups of people have proven themselves this stupid and more.

I’m not missing it at all.  On the contrary, I’m including all such factors in my analysis.  The media plays a huge role in influencing people’s behavior, just as other social, economic, political, racial and gender factors do.  

The middle and upper-middle class are just as influenced by the media and just as likely (if not more so) to act in ways that are self-destructive and harmful to their own communities.  The fact that we’re in the predicament we’re in right now as a nation is blatant evidence of this.  We’re not in this position because poor people guided us here.  They never had the power to do so.  

 

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 04:59am

    #47
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

[quote=switters]

We’re not in this position because poor people guided us here.  They never had the power to do so.  

[/quote]

I just love it, Switters, when a simple, obvious observation makes a powerful statement without elaboration.  Well done.

 

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 02:52pm

    #48
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

This thread is a huge waste of bandwidth.
We’ve said a lot, and accomplished nothing.

Whole lot of back patting considering those facts.

Aaron

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 02:55pm

    #49
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

Get out and do something.

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 03:40pm

    #51
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    Re: A strong society takes care of its weakest members

[quote=Aaron Moyer]

Get out and do something.

[/quote]

Before posting this morning, I foraged and collected 4 half-bushels of crabapples for canning, and pruned the tree as a courtesy to the owner, who had been pressured by the school district to do so (blocking bus driver’s view) . . . . After this post, I’ll have my breakfast, and then I’ll can several dozen jars of spiced crabapples, some of which will go to folks who have been generous enough to share their excess fruit crops with us. If there’s time left before dusk, I’ll harvest veggies from my garden, prep and freeze them.  Then I’ll be sitting down to do some online ordering to replenish our bulk spice stock, nutritional supplement stock, and canning jar bulk supplies. 

I cannot speak for all the denizens of this thread, but, for me, taking time to reflect and share those reflections does not interfere with the work at hand, but rather serves to clarify my values and and cross-check my thinking, so that when I do act (in this case, on assisting the less fortunate), I can do so in a way that is effective. 

It seems that this thread did not take the direction that you had hoped for . . . . . . But I don’t think that implying that the participants are not persons of action is warranted.

 

Edited, for accuracy

 

 

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