Thursday, July 23, 2009

A short statement of basic principals

David Seaton's News Links
My last post had some people wondering where I was coming from. One person who wrote to me accused me of being "elitist".
The problem with your point of view is that it exposes a fundamental hypocrisy in the minds of people like you. And I do mean to use the words "people like you". You like to cloak your condescending attitude towards the working class to give the appearance of compassion. And Palin and Republicans swoop in and take advantage of it.
First I am very interested in a stable society of healthy citizens living in peace, and that means taking care of people who are not exceptionally talented or motivated (the vast majority).

I don't consider this "elitist" -- although I don't much care -- because most of the ancestors and descendants of the exceptionally talented or motivated were and will be just average to below average. I would call these people "the salt of the earth" and I dare any "born again" to challenge the source of that term.

I believe that the exceptionally talented or motivated are more than able to take care of themselves and that society's true role is to "uplift the masses", which means to give the "salt of the earth" a comfortable life with the possibility of enjoying fully the simple pleasures of peace, a family, culture, health and leisure. Simple genetics plus a peaceful and healthy society will take care of producing the exceptionally talented or motivated.

I believe that this will also provide a better background for the exceptionally talented or motivated to make their contribution and to also enjoy with a peaceful heart the benefits of that contribution.

If that is elitist, I would say that anyone or any group that could put that program into effect could wear the title "elite" with some justification, certainly with more justification than the sorry assed crew that passes for "elite" today.

At the heart of the problem, as I see it, is that Americans, although mostly ordinary people, descended from ordinary people, and likely to beget ordinary people, in fact, despise ordinary people and to the extent that they find themselves ordinary, they despise themselves.

For me this explains most of the hostile and violent behavior associated with our country. DS


Publius said...

Great post and spot in. It is amazing that so many are so deluded to think that they are likely to rise to the top, when that takes a lot of luck, connections, and talent. Or simple criminality and fraud.

Anonymous said...

So what your saying that ordinary people pass on their "ordinary" genes and the elite pass on their "elite" genes? That's arrogant, and a little racist too. A white supremacist could use that to justify black children scoring below white children and being unable to hold down a job.

The masses are not children. They are supposed to be adults. I call you elitist because it's obvious that's how you see the blue collar worker. Without YOU and those like you, what would the fragile masses do? Only an arrogant bastard wouldnt see the self-congratulatory narcissism in that.

You cant give someone a comfortable life, they have to earn that through hard work. I guess I have to repeat myself, expecting the elite to behave responsibly towards the less fortunate is just stupid. The "sorry asses" you are talking about are the same kind of sorry asses that have always occupied positions of power. They think only of themselves and waiting for them act differently displays an ignorance of history.

Publius and your opinion cofirms your arrogance. Europeans think they are all descended from royalty, but actually they are descended from the slow witted stable boy who shoveled horse manure. And Americans are too. The difference is we LEFT. And we actually benefited from it. That's why we're better. Every American you meet is descended from someone who left the master's care. Your solutions to life's problems are like a slave who has been given his freedom and is scared because he's used to "massa" taking care of him.

It's not about people thinking that they'll get their "turn" at the top (another display of condescencion I've heard pass many liberals lips). It's about people leading a free, independent life that makes them happy. It's about choice. The number one restrictor of freedom is lack of money. So, can you name a system that could distribute that kind of wealth to the people besides free trade?

How is it that Americans hate ordinary people because we're ordinary? Isnt that what people hate most about Americans? We revel in how ordinary we are? How middle class we are? Again, elitist BS. We dont hate ordinary people or poor people. We hate arrogant dicks and lazy, shiftless Gallic culture.

By the way, I'm not born again. I barely believe in God. Most independents turning on Obama right now wouldnt call themselves that either. Just another display of prejudice that will be manipulated by the Republicans.

The Impudent Dogsbody

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

"So what your saying that ordinary people pass on their "ordinary" genes and the elite pass on their "elite" genes?"
I said exactly the opposite. Things always return to the mean.

I said, quote, "most of the ancestors and descendants of the exceptionally talented or motivated were and will be just average to below average" unquote.

I think you are going out of your way to prove Alberto Moravia right.

oldfatherwilliam said...

I've found I can ride my hobby-horse on almost any trail, if I ignore the context and meaning. People who have discovered they're not going to grow up to be Clark Kent still hope that, through some fluke or wormhole or lightning strike, they too can rise beyond, and the most foolish of those vote free trade.

forensic econmist said...

On why there will never be socialism in America

Not only is there no class consciousness, most Americans have bought the rhetoric of "rugged individualism."

From Terkel's "Hard Times" you find people in the depression thinking that if only they had worked harder, they would have done better.

In the '30s, Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" was a best seller. He held out that if you had positive thoughts, and avoided negative thoughts you would be successful. Back when I was attempting to be a salesman in the '70s my supervisor recommended it to me. It is still in print.

Also from the '30s was Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." WIth the right amount of positive thinking and flattery, you too can influence powerful people.

In the '50s was Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" another best seller with the same message.

A lawsuit I am currently working on involves a Church of Religious Science, which advocates Affirmative Prayer - "instead of saying "I wish I had my own home" I say... when I am in my own home in September" over and over again as many times as it takes until my belief and my feelings change..."

The flip side of all this is that if you aren't successful, it is your own fault because you are having negative thoughts. You aren't affirming hard enough. Your lack of success has nothing to do with race, lack of opportunity, bad schools, lack of health care, jobs being outsourced to non-union states, then outsourced to Mexico then to China. You just need to think more positive thoughts.

So Mr. Dogsbody, if you have to earn it through hard work, apparently those who aren't successful weren't working hard enough and it's their fault. Is that what you're saying?

From a couple of lawsuits I am involved with: did you know that average wages of grocery store workers have risen on average 1.5% less than inflation over the last 10 years? Did you know that legal service workers (not lawyers but the law clerks) also have had their wages rise 1% less than inflation over the last ten years? How is it their fault if they can't get ahead?

The American working class is told by an oligopolistic media to sneer at "east coast elites" and to think that they are "real Americans". They are told that unions are a "special interest" and that "government bureaucrats" are wasting their taxes, and the solution is to cut taxes on the elites, resulting in poorer schools and health care for the non-elites.

What I am saying is that there are a whole lot of hard working people who are not getting ahead through no fault of their own. There are a lot of policy changes that could make it easier for us, but are stopped by the actual economic elites. How about a public health care option? The French have public health care, longer lives, lower infant mortality and at a lower cost. Why is that evil?

A lot of this is wrapped up in racial or sexual terms - your money is being taken by welfare queens; the media is run by effete snobs, etc. This only serves to divide the working class against itself.

Yes, I know there are a few who rise from nowhere to the top. Ronald Reagan, son of an alcoholic salesman comes to mind, as does Bill Clinton from nowheresville in Arkansas. But for all those examples most kids will end up in the same socio-economic class they grew up in.

I would like to restore "elite" as a compliment meaning someone of higher training or education is more knowledgeable or skilled than the average.

PS - I don't think meth heads use because of economic trouble, or that hard times justify what amounts to suicide. That really is their own fault. I remember Frank Zappa running public service announcements against speed back in the early '70s. I would like to see that done again - we seem to be pretending their is no epidemic.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Forensic has got it nailed.
It took me quite a long time, and close observations of other societies to realize that America had found the recipe for unhappiness.

Near the Mediterranean, I first discovered that to be happy was much simpler than I had ever been taught to believe.

Not even in Stalin's USSR or Mao's China were people's thoughts so manipulated to benefit an economic system as in the USA.

In a land of plenty, people are never satisfied... satisfaction is subversive.

Anonymous said...

Prove what? Alberto said nothing. It was a more eloquent version of "shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in 3 generations" and that's it.

So some children of successful people suck. Not surprising, look at Paris Hilton. And some people who come from humble origins rise to unimaginable heights. Look at Richard Pryor, Johnny Cash, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, etc. The point is that success is not dicated by class, as some Europeans(and a few people on this site) seem to think. You rise or fall on your own merits. You have sovereignty over you own life. Do you really think Ted Kennedy or George Bush want to give the caddy who carries their golf clubs the same opportunities as their children?

At the end of the day the problem is that you seem to think that prosperity, healthcare, happy feelings, etc are all things to do be distributed to the public by the elite. Well that would be fine if we were living in feudal society. But we dont, so it's time to join the 21st century. Let's have something which is more egalitarian than what "Oldfatherwilliam" would be in favor of. Socialism is dead, let it die like God did.

The Impudent Dogsbody (Adam)

Anonymous said...

No I'm not saying that Forensic. You dont fail because of "negative thoughts". That sounds too much like something a palm reader would say.

The idea that most people "end up in the same socio-economic class they started in" would mean that class identity is static. Most millionares in the US are first generation wealthy, so are you sure about that?

If someone works hard and doesnt make it, yes it's their fault. That's my answer to that loaded question.

Wow, grocery workers wages have gone up .5% higher than law clerks? Oh my God! How could those law clerks (making more at the end of the day than a grocery store clerk) ever afford food?!

So you involved in lawsuits huh? What do you get out of that? A piece of the settlement?

There are alot of hardworking people who are not getting ahead through no fault of their own. It's always because of somebody else's BS. And often times that somebody is someone with more money, connections, etc. So, follow the logic trail, why give those same elites more power?

Hey David, how many Europeans do you know who are happy? Not that many from what I hear.

It's not about making $20,000,000 a year like George Clooney. It's about being able to lead a comfortable life that you earned. You worked for it, it's yours. Why should you pay for someone else's mistakes? That's not fair.

The Impudent Dogsbody (Adam)

Anonymous said...

Dont worry, I'm not going to post here anymore.


forensic economist said...

Adam - regarding my employment - I don't get part of the settlements since I am not an attorney. I work in litigation support. We are called on to given an independent evaluation of a case. To have our pay be contingent on the outcome of the case would destroy our credibility as unbiased and in my field would be considered an ethical violation.

There is a myth that evil plaintiff lawyers are destroying business in America. It is one of those misleading average stories - the average plaintiff gets a million dollars! However, actually the median plaintiff (ie more than half of those filing lawsuits) gets zero; in the jargon of the trade we call that getting defensed. Averages are skewed by a few big winners. You know, if Bill Gates walks into the room on average we are all billionaires.

It is my job to look up wage rates in many types of cases where a plaintiff says he can no longer do a former job.

I could give a lot of other wage examples - the point is both grocery clerks and law clerks have gone received increases LESS than inflation for many years. Grocery clerks have had the purchasing power of their income decline 15% in ten years, law clerks 10%. Another example - union ironworkers have exactly matched inflation over the last twenty years. No real wage gain at all. You would think that union membership would get you ahead. It doesn't, but at least it ironworker membership keeps you from falling behind.

Certainly there are exceptions, such as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, making it from nowhere. But most of those on the top started a lot closer to the top than average - think of the Kennedy, Gore, and the Bush families. Bill Gates' dad was on the board of IBM. There is a lot less social mobility than you might think.

I appreciate a good argument, Adam. I doubt if we will change each other's minds. Love to stay and chat but I am headed for Pinecrest CA tomorrow. No email, no cell phone connection.

bailey said...

I married a European, he's a pretty happy guy. He has two sisters, both post graduate types, worked hard, happily married, lotsa kids, power brokers; one works high up in the UN on global climate change and seems to garner a lot of satisfaction with her job. My husband's parents were broke after the war, had to escape germany and italy to the states for a few years. my father in law worked in the army, was sponsored by a milkman in new jersey, and my italian mother in law knocked on Scaasi's door (the designer) in NY and became his head seamstress and even delivered dresses to Mimi Eisenhower at the White House.

Then saved their money and moved back to europe, now live in the south of france and northern italy, and well, they all seem quite happy, the whole family, certainly happier than my family in the States, but then my brother died and we all kinda fell apart.

i grew up in Seattle, a prosperous place, didn't utilize my family contacts but exploited the tech boom and worked as a tech recruiter. Worked harder than anyone else made more money than anyone else, then hired 5 more to do what i did but no one wanted to work after 6, like I did, so they didn't make much money.

Go figure. You get lucky sometimes, then you work, keep it positive and all sorts of nice things happen but what struck me when I first started making alot of money in my late 20's was that the money didn't make me happy, didn't love me, even though I bought lotsa shiny stuff, I wasn't any happier than when i was broke writing and producing drag shows, which was a gas but didn't pay much.

So I suppose it depends on allot of things, but I find the Europeans I lived next to, dined with, partied and argued with in Rome and Paris to be pretty darn content in general.

I live in Malta and I'd have to say they're not so happy but that's because politics and religion play a large part in their life and their isolated so they have to feed off everyone else. They're survivors, not innovators so they rip foreigners off, which is why we're sailing back up to Northern Italy where they're pretty darn happy.

and the food is so much better....

We'll probably end up in Geneva where the people aren't necessarily happy but they're really serious and focused and business oriented. And I'm fine with that, but America?

It's too big, too fragmented and the systems are simply too large to fix. I feel so much unhappiness there, so much angst and resentment, even when i comment with my europhile moniker (which simply means i like old cultures) people get pissy and resentful of everyone outside their little bubble.

When my friends come to visit they say 'isn't american the best place on earth?'

No, and that's why i'm writing a book on how dorothy finds a better place than home....